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Saturday, August 01 2015 @ 03:44 AM EDT
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A Day at the Museum

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
A Day at the Museum
by Bill Thompson   

 

 



The annual Rick Davidson/Bill Thompson road trip has once again entered the history books, with an add twist this time. Fishing was still an important part of the trip, however this year we added a trip to the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum. We have been wanting to visit the museum for some time now and with Rick ailing from as shoulder injury we decided to make it the highlight of the trip and ease up on the fishing.

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Dog Days

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Dog Days
by Bill Thompson
  

 

 


Over the last few days we have been experiencing temperatures in the 80’s. Perhaps the dog days of summer have arrived; it is after all mid-July. We were blessed with a rainy June which served to keep the Saco’s water levels high and the temperatures low. At present the water levels are getting low, however the temps are still quite low for the time of year and anglers are still having good fishing. 

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Six Minutes of Fame

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Six Minutes of Fame

by Bill Thompson  

 

 


  Fishing guides are a hard working lot and rarely get the recognition that they deserve. Guides put in long hours at the oars, untangling clients leaders and replacing lost flies and listing to stories of the big fish they caught in Montana last summer, with the hope that at the end of the day they catch a few trout and show their appreciation with a good tip. This past week Nate Hill, head guide at the North Country Angler, got his shot at the elusive 15 minutes of fame; in this case 6 minutes. WMUR Chronical News Magazine came to town to do a feature on Nate. 

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Another Day on the Saco

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Another Day on the Saco
by Bill Thompson   

 

   


Last week was Janet’s birthday and we made it a week-long celebration. One of the best presents was a day long drift trip on the Saco. As luck would have it, for Janet and I, Nate had a trip canceled at the last minute and as a result invited Janet to spend a day on the Saco; I came along for the ride. A couple of weeks ago I had made the trip with Nate and Janet had wanted to do it ever since. 

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Alone Time

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Alone Time
by Bill Thompson

   

   

Alone on the
Alone on the "Glide"
Fly fishing is a rare sport that one can participate in without the aid of others. Although fishing friends can be enjoyable, there are those times when it is preferable to be alone on the river. The quietness of an evening on a stream can be therapeutic and help restore a few of the frazzled nerves lost in the course of our daily lives. It was, after all, the master himself, Izaak Walton who said: “Study to be quiet”.

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Floating the Saco

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Drift Fishing the Saco
by Bill Thompson  
 

 

 

   


If you hear someone say they’re going to float the Saco River the first thing that comes to mind is that a canoe or maybe a large plastic tube will be the means of transportation.  For the most part the Saco is the almost perfect river to wade and using a boat is unnecessary, but in high water wading can be a dangerous proposition. After the heavy rain of last week the Saco was no place for a wading angler. However, at the same time the high water created the perfect serrano for a drift boat. As luck would have it my friend Nate Hill has an inflatable drift boat and last week he called and asked if I wanted to join him and Steve Haney for an afternoon drift on the Saco. It didn’t take me long to answer in the affirmative.  

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Collecting Data on the Saco

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Data Loogers on the Saco
by Bill Thompson

  

 

 

Dianne Timons NH F&G Region 1 Biologist
Dianne Timons NH F&G Region 1 Biologist
 Way back in 1959 the New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioned a report on the Saco River Watershed. The report was titled “Trout Stream Management Investigations of the Saco River Watershed Survey No. 9”” and was written by Richard G, Seamans, JR. who was then the department’s biologist. The Director of the department at the time was Ralph G. Carpenter. It is a good bet that Director Carpenter never did get around to reading the report and it is doubtful if any of the directors that came after him ever did as well. As far as I can determine none of the recommendations that Mr. Seamans made were ever carried out. Seamans was a man ahead of his times and among other things recommended curtailing the stocking of trout in some areas and putting the money saved into stream restoration. 

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Slow Memorial Day Weekend

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Slow Memorial Day Weekend
By Bill Thompson 

 


 Over time our memory of events seems to dim. Nate Hill and I were arguing this past week (something that we do a lot of) about how well the fishing has been over the last few Memorial Day weekends. Nate took the position that it is always poor right up to the first week of June. My position was that in general it is good. Some anglers keep a record of these things; recording stream flows, temperatures, and how many fish they caught. Unfortunately I am not one to do this kind of thing, however I do write a weekly fishing column for this newspaper and over the last 13 years I have just about always written a column about the fishing conditions during the last week of May. A quick look at my past five years of columns revealed that both Nate and I were correct. Apparently, if you can believe what I wrote, we have had alternating good and poor seasons during that time period. Last year it was fantastic whereas the previous year was only marginal. This year we were back in the slump mode, much like the Red Sox. 

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Love Affair with the Hornburg

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
New England's Love Affair with the Hornberg

by Bill Thompson

 

 

Classic Hornberg
Classic Hornberg
  Quite a few years ago, when I was just starting out as a fly fisherman I used to fish a small pond  almost every evening during the first part of the season. There were two older gentlemen who also fished the same pond. These two fellows amazed me with their ability to catch trout when I could not. They fished from an decrypted old wooden boat which they kept chained up near the boat landing at one end of the pond. One afternoon I had stopped at the landing after work and was contemplating whether or not to fish for an hour or two before going home to supper. I happened to notice that the boat that belonged to these two men. One of them had left his fly book on the deck of the boat. The two old anglers were no where in sight and so I decided to take a peak at their flies. I sheepishly picked up the well used leather fly wallet and gingerly opened it up. Expecting to see an assortment of flies I was surprised to see that there was only one pattern in the book. There were a few different sizes and a couple of variations in color, but every fly was a Hornberg.     

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The Case for Wild Trout

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
The Case for Wild Trout

By Bill Thompson
 

 


 Fish any little back water stream in New Hampshire and you will most likely come across a few wild brook trout. Old timers often refer to these trout as “natives”.  Conventional wisdom dictates that because of over a hundred and fifty years of stocking hatchery raised trout it is impossible to find a true “native”. That may have held water up until a few years ago when Dianne Timmins, the state cold water fisheries biologist discovered a true “heritage” Brook trout; a trout that arrived in New Hampshire right after the last ice age.

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