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Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 01:55 AM EDT
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Fathers and Sons

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Fathers and Sons
by Bill Thompson

 

   


 Many years ago, while fishing the Androscoggin, I came across a family fishing near Seven Islands Bridge. An old man was setting in a lawn chair surrounded by several younger men. The young men represented at least three generations; sons, grandchildren and maybe great grandchildren. The old man in the chair was holding a fishing rod and his eyes were focused on a red and white bobber a few feet in front of him on the water. A young woman was standing by and I said hello as I approached her. She returned the greeting and I mentioned that it was nice to see a family out fishing together. “It’s Father’s Day” she said, “and the boys always take Dad out fishing on Father’s Day”. She went on to say that it was a long standing family tradition and this year the whole family had come because they thought it might be the old man’s last time. I wished them a good day and went on my way. I have often wondered if they still carry on the tradition today and if grandpop had managed one more good year.

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Fishing in the Rain

Valley Angler

  Valley Angler
Fishing in the Rain
by Bill Thompson
 

 

   A rainy day often crates opportunities that might not be available on a sunny day. This was the case for me last Sunday. Thanks to Mason working the shop for me I have been able to take Sundays off; thankfully giving me some needed time away from the shop. I had a number of things planned to do around the house including mowing the lawn, however because of the rain I put that project on hold and decided to go fish instead. Just so you don’t think of me as a total slacker I did manage to get in a dump run before taking off to play.

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Alders

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Androscoggin Alders
by Bill Thompson

 

 


 Rivers are often defined by anglers by their hatches. The Saco is widely known for the Gray Drake Sinner falls. Mention the Alder Fly, to any area fly fisher, and they will immediately say; “Androscoggin”. The Alder is not really an alder at all, but a member of the caddis family.  The other alias that the Alder goes by is the Zebra caddis. When they are on you will have no problem identifying them. They are a large, size 10 or 12, bug with a typical caddis tent shaped wing. The wings colors are what give them the name Zebra. The wing is a dark purplish gray and tan stripped camo pattern. The other give away is that they hatch in biblical proportions. It is not uncommon to see clouds of them moving up river. When they move into the vegetation along the river bank the simple act of shaking a tree can cause a feeding frenzy of trout.

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A Night of Debauchery

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
A Night of Debauchery
by Bill Thompson

  

 

Gray Drake
Gray Drake
It has already started and it will likely continue all summer long; however the next few weeks we will experience the worst of it. Those who dare venture to walk along the banks of the Saco, in the early evenings, will witness astounding displays of lust that would put a Roman orgy to shame. Most of the good church going residents of this Valley will never know what happens, on warm spring nights, on the river, unless they are fly fishermen. I am, of course, speaking about the mating rituals of the mayfly.  

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Get Away Spots

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Get Away Spots
by Bill Thompson

    The fishing, in the Valley, has finally started to heat up. Considering snow flurries locally and a couple of inches of snow on the ground up in Pittsburg “heating up” may be an overstatement. The warm weather in April set us up for disappointment in May. However, all of the right signs are in place; buds on the trees are the size of a mouse’s ear, fiddleheads and swamp cabbage in the damp places, and the fishing has been fair to good depending on who you talk to. 

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Learn to Fish

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Learn to Fish
by Bill Thompson  
 

 

 


The fishing season is in full swing now and there are a lot of upcoming events of interest to anglers of all ages. I say “of all ages” because there are several events aimed at young fishermen. On May 7th Saco Valley Anglers TU will be holding a “Kid’s Only” Fishing Day at Cranmore Mountain. This event is part of New Hampshire Fish and Game “Let’s Go Fishing” program; both NH F&G and Saco Valley Anglers pitch in to stock the snow making pond with hundreds of catchable trout for eager young fishermen to cast to. The Let’s Go Fishing program is geared to teach aspiring anglers how to go about catching a fish and there will be instructors on hand to do just that. Rods and reels will be available for those that need them and there will be a supply of worms as well. If you have a youngster who is interested in fly fishing there will be instruction and gear also. This is the third year that Saco Valley Anglers has held this event and it has grown in size every year. Come join us for a fun, free day of fishing and free you kids from the shackles of the Internet. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Early Morning Opening Day

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Early Morning Opening Day
by Bill Thompson 

 You could not have planned a finer morning even if you had tried. When I left the house at 4:30 the thermometer read 55 degrees; the warmest opening day of trout season that I can remember. When I arrived at the pond I was the only one there; just as I had planned it. The moon, Saturday morning, was nearly full and shining brightly through the trees. Off in the distance I could hear a flock of roosting turkeys that were just waking up. Before rigging up I walked to the edge of the pond and took a few moments just to take it all in. I had a camera with me and I thought about trying to capture the moment, but I knew that it would be impossible and it was much better to just try to remember the way it was. I finally remembered why I came here and walked back to the truck and put on my waders.

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Why We Have an Opening Day

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Why There is an Opening Day
by Bill Thompson

   

Today is the day, the fourth Saturday of April, the beginning of trout season. I know the rivers have been open to trout fishing since the first of January. However, for those of us old enough to remember, the fourth Saturday in April, is the traditional opening day and the day when most of us start fishing in earnest. If you are lucky you may even remember as a youngster getting up in the dark one April morning and going fishing on opening day with Dad or maybe Grandpop. . It is a good bet that not only was it dark it was darn cold as well and there might even be some snow or sleet thrown in for good measure. 

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Opening Day Flies

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Opening Day Flies
by Bill Thompson


   


What fly to use for that all important first cast on opening day is a question that many fly anglers give great thought to. Some are bound by tradition and have used the same pattern that their fathers or maybe their grandfathers showed them on some long ago opening day. Others are more apt to relay on science or an attempt to guess at what might be hatching. Hatching mayflies on opening day in New Hampshire would be a rare event indeed given that the fourth Saturday in April is most often colder than the first day in January and is often accompanied by snow and sleet. 

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Local Knowledge

Valley Angler

 Valley Angler
Local Knowledge
by Bill Thompson

 

 


Spring orders have started to arrive at the shop. Yesterday I finished putting out an order of streamer flies tied by Ken Grimes. Ken is a native New Hampshirerite, who lives in Columbia. I like to tell my customers that I import flies from Columbia; Columbia, New Hampshire that is. Once in a while someone gets it. Ken started tying flies commercially when he was in high school. Later on, when he got married his wife Mary joined in and tied too. Ken told me that he thought she had the record for tying the most Gray Ghosts in New Hampshire. The Gray Ghost was her specialty. 

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