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The Outlook for 2020
The 2019 season begun as a cool one temperature wise but by mid June temperatures soared into the upper 80's and low 90's with humidity causing water temps to elevate early. Little surface activity early for drys due to the above but fish were readily taking nymphs and emergents in and below the surface film. Due to the warm weather and water temperatures in the low to mid 60's the fishes metabolism picked up and they are starting to feed pretty well. The fish averaged between twelve and fourteen inches high in the water column with larger fish staying deep. Early evenings produced some nice as one would expect. As predicted we saw many of the three year old browns as twelve to fourteen inche fish which by 2020 will add another 3-4 inches by mid summer. Their large numbers bodes well for an excellent natural reproduction last fall. Having caught four different age classes of trout in the Connecticut during 2019 is an encouraging sign for the future of this magnificent river in the upcoming season.
The new regulations put into effect below Murphy dam three winters ago promise to find more big fish in the river downstream from that point than in the past. Increased natural reproduction should follow. Both browns and rainbows, measured in pounds not inches, have traditionally been harvested on a regular basis by spin fishermen during the winter months when their metabolism is low and are more easily landed. These fish are now protected by special catch and release regs until April 1st when they revert back to the 5 fish limit. Many of us (guides & fisherman alike) have longed for similar regulations for many years with no success convincing the Fish & Game commisioners until campowners in Pittsburg and the fisheries biologist both showed strong support for these changes. Kudos to all for helping these changes come to fruition. What a fishery it would be if these regs. were extended through out the season ! Nonetheless it is a step in the right direction and we at Osprey Fishing Adventures applaud the move.
All fish caught on the Connecticut thus far and throughout the 2018 were, and are, strong and in great shape which bodes well for a good growth and survival rate in the 2019 season. We should start to reap some rewards from the special regs and fishery management on the upper Connecticut put in place during the winters of 2015-2016. Brood stock previously taken from the river during winter months when they are most susceptible to being caught are now protected with single barbless hook/ catch and release only from October 15th to the fourth Saturday in April. Good news for the entire upper stretch with more fish measured in pounds instead of inches. Kudos to Dianne Timmins Region I fisheries biologist.
One thing that I hope to relay to readers of this page is a tool found to be fantastic in releasing fish unharmed to swim and propagate. I have been using the 'Ketchum release' tool, marketed by several dealers inclunding Orvis and Cabelas, for the past several years and am constantly amazed at how simple something can be and yet work so well in the release of fish while at the same time minimizing stress associated with handling the fish. Last season I watched an angler no doubt fishing a barbed hook stress the hell out of a couple of fish as I took out my boat. Both fish were grappled while he struggled to get the hooks out. Most likely leading to the fish mortality. The tool comes in three sizes with the mid sized going over beads and streamers with no ill effects on the flys. I have even used the smaller one with small parachute drys resulting in no damage to either the hackles or post. As the old commercial use to say, "try it.. you'll like it".
last updated 12/27/2019
2019 Hatches were good
Weather conditions and water levels intially postponed the hatches for a couple of weeks in 2019. Some hatches were sparse while others were fantastic. Early season caddis and brown drakes made a play for the action early with with sporadic hatches of blue wing olives and midges taking the stage at the season's start on the Connecticut. With mid summer Syphlonous (Adams like) and Paraleps were great and fishing emergents worked very well.
The Androscoggin experienced extreme fluctuation in water levels perhaps due to work on the dams upstream. Water temperatures characteristically rose to extreme levels reaching to the mid 70's in late June and fishing only stressed or killed trout. Fishing these high temps throughout the river by a number of guides and independents took its tole on the Scoggin fishery. Hatchery fish dominated with few wild fish appearing most likely due to overfishing. If this beautiful river keeps being fished like the past two to five years more of the same can be expected. We left the Scoggin in late June and didn't return until fall with varying results. Hopefully 2020 will show a vast improvement.
In 2019 t wildlife sightings along the river were incredible perhaps due to the mosquitos in the woods and wetlands in large numbers. For whatever reason we saw several bears along the river including a small cub on the river bank. The cub on the gravel bar looked to be playing in the water or washing its paws. The mother or sow wasn't visable but we didn't get too close to find out just where she was as knowing she had to be close by. Unfortunately the angler dropped the rod while trying to get a picture and the critter took off for the uncut in a hurry. The night before after having pulled out of the river we almost collided with a full grown bruin, a doe, and a fox in a only a half mile. Have yet to find the eagle nest Chris Martin, Audobon biologist, is convinced to be in the area between North Stratford and Colebrook. In a float last year we watched an immature female and a mature male fishing the same area giving conniptions no doubt to the Ospreys which nest in an adjacent area. Thus far neither seems to be negatively affecting the other. When the water drops and the young ospreys fledge that may change. The Osprey population has rebounded incredibly with numerous nests here in the Great North Woods bordering both rivers. The Eagles likewise have had an increbible recovery with nesting pairs throughout the upper watershed. Occasionally I wonder what kind of affect this has had on the fishery and more specifically fish density in any given section but then I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with this picture because as a famous naturalist once said only the 'fit survive' to pass their traits on to the next generation leading to a healthier population of fish in the long run.
Another thing I wanted to pass on to our guests (and visitors to the site) is that you now have the opportunity to purchase your fishing license any hour of the day online by clicking on the NHF&G link below. After connecting to the page scroll down the bottom of the screen to purchase your license. If this helps in getting you more time on the river and less spent waiting at the counter for the licensing agent to fill it out for you then it has served its purpose. All you will need is a driver's or previous license and a printer to print out the copy to carry with you on the river. After you receive the e-mail confirmation don't delete it as you can reprint another copy at no charge if the first one is lost. Simply click on this link and get started: nhfishandgame.com
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