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Saturday, August 23 2014 @ 03:48 PM EDT
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The Common Man's Fly Reel

Valley Angler

The Common Man’s Fly Reel

By Bill Thompson

 

    It is safe to say that I am a collector of things. I have been doing it since my earliest years and have never stopped and probably never will. Not long after I began to fly fish I discovered the wealth of angling literature and soon was collecting fly fishing books. I still dabble with this obsession, but my enthusiasm has slowed down in the last few years. I am guessing, but I probably have well over two hundred books on the subject. I love them and continue to refer to them all the time.

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Finding Solitude

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Finding Solitude
By Bill Thompson

  


  This time of year I spend a lot of my fishing time on the smaller streams. As much as I love the Saco it is not easy finding any peace and quiet on the river in August. We are fortunate to have several smaller streams in the Valley, where it is possible to take refuge from the madding crowd. Fortunately these places are largely over looked by those looking to party in the outdoors rather than to enjoy them for their natural beauty. These places are too small to launch kayaks or plastic tubes and in some cases require one to walk a few hundred yards. I must admit, I cringe when I see a car parked anywhere near one of my favorite places.

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Saco Still Gets No Respect

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Still No Respect for the Saco
By Bill Thompson

   


Spoiler alert, what follows is my annual rant about the condition of the Saco River. I know that you have heard it all before: the river is going to hell in a hand basket, too many people, too many cheap plastic boats, too much trash and a total disregard for one of the Valley’s most beautiful places. On the whole things are pretty much the same as always. I have no way of knowing for sure, but it seems like the traffic on the river may be down a little this year. We have had a few more rainy days and some high water that has kept some people away. However, it is not hard to find the usual abandoned campfire rings and litter at the more popular locations.

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Summer Pickerel Fishing

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Pickerel Make for Good Summer Fishing

By Bill Thompson

  


  August already? Where has the summer gone? Fishermen generally associate August with the “dog days” of summer and many hang up their rods until the cooler days of September arrive. So far this year we have been fortunate to have had plenty of cool days and rainy days interspaced to keep our rivers full of cool water. In addition we were treated to a late stocking that has provided excellent fishing to date. This morning, as I set writing this column, we are having another set of thunder storms moving through the Valley that will no doubt keep the streak going for some time. However, how long this will last is anybody’s guess. There are those who for some reason think that I am some kind of oracle and have a direct link to the fish gods and can predict what the fishing will be like months in advance. I always am amused when I get a phone call, or Email, asking how the fishing will be on the week that they will be visiting the Valley three months from now.

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Lost in the Maine Woods

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Lost Again in the Maine Woods
By Bill Thompson

    It happened again this year, just like it has for at least decades, Rick Davidson and I made our annual fishing excursion once again. I can always tell when school lets out; almost like clock-work Rick will call and a date will be set for the annual event.

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Summer Fishing Prediction

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Summer Fishing Prediction
By Bill Thompson

  


  It was nice of Mother Nature to provide some needed rain last week. OK, it might have been a little too much, it might have been better if it had been spread out a little. The Saco River hit 13,000 cubic feet per second last Thursday and was the color of chocolate pudding; not the best conditions for fishing. The good news was that the river was back down to a reasonable level allowing good fishing for the weekend. 

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First Road Trip

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
First Road Trip
By Bill Thompson

    So far this season Janet and I have been sticking close to home and up until last week we had not ventured out of the Valley to fish. High water had kept us from heading up to the Androscoggin, but tales of big salmon below the Pontook Dam enticed us to find out for ourselves. 

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Fishless Days Angling Nights

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Angling Nights
By Bill Thompson

    One of the most iconic fly fishing books is “Fishless Days Angling Nights”, written by a fellow who used the pen name Sparse Grey Hackle. His real name was Alfred Miller and the book was written long before the other book that went on to be a movie, “A River Runs Through It” came on the scene. If you have not read it you should. The title “Fishless Days Angling Nights” just about sums up what is happing on our own rivers right now. Those of you who fish during the day, especially on the Saco, are going to have a lot of casting practice. Those who fish the evenings or the very early mornings are going to experience “Angling Nights” and catch trout.

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Family Night

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Family Night on the River

By Bill Thompson

    Did some guiding this past weekend; I don’t do a lot of guiding anymore so it was fun to get out again. Guiding is a lot more fun when you have a good client and this weekend I was fortunate to have three great guys. Nate Hill does just about all of the guiding for the shop now and I just fill in the gaps once in a while. Which is how I happened to be guiding on a weekend as Nate was away at a wedding. It still amazes me why so many people insist on getting married in June when the fishing is at its best. 

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Happy Days are Here Again

Valley Angler

Valley Angler  
Happy Days are Here Again
by Bill Thompson

 

 

  Happy days are here again, at least for us trout fishermen. I have not seen the movie and the book doesn’t shed a lot of light on the subject, but I am betting that even Noah would have been depressed after all the rain we have had in the last forty days. At last the Saco is at a fishable level and it has been warm enough the last few days that we are starting to see some of the good bugs. The Gray Drakes have been showing up in the evenings giving the trout something to rise for. I like the feel of a heavy strike on a streamer fly, but after a while I grow tired of chucking heavy weighted flies. Nothing beats catching trout on dry flies.

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