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Mid Summer report
The water level in the Connecticut as in much of the Northeast remains extremely low at this point in the season despite the rain over the past week. We could use a month of the same to replenish what the lack of snow pack and spring rains for the second year in a row. Fishing however remains excellent despite this situation. Water temps. are in the low 60's due to dam release and the hatches have begun to naturalize a bit. Continued large numbers caught in 2021 bodes well for an excellent natural reproduction last fall despite the low water. Having caught three different age classes of trout in the Connecticut during 2021 is an encouraging sign for the future of this magnificent river in the upcoming season.
The Androscoggin River remains at half it's normal flows. The low water and hot dry summer have combined to raise water temperatures to extremely high levels. This fact with continued fishing has stressed the fishery to the point of dangerous levels. If any of you decide to fish this river it is highly recommended to bring all trout in as quickly as possible. Fish should not be handled if catch and release is being practiced. A tool such as 'Ketchum release' is far better than forceps. It is simple to use by sliding it down the leader/tippet while keeping your fish in the water until the fly is inside the tube. At that point the tool is inverted with a mild shake to release the fish. It should be noted that fishing a barbless fly makes this easier and quicker. The fishery on all rivers would benefit incredibly from its use and larger more healthy fish would result.
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 I have almost exclusively used it and am constantly amazed at how simple something can be and yet work so well in releasing of fish and at the same time minimize 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. 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 7/22/2021
Copyright © 2021, Osprey Fishing Adventures
The unusual low water conditions and larger than normal river traffic, due to people staying locally or those out of work, will both undoubtedly haveaffected the fishery. Much of the river normally inaccessible is now easily waded and fished by all. If the water continues to stay low the fishery in both rivers will undoubtedly decrease in numbers. With my training as a biologist I realize that in the long run there will only be more room for the survivors to grow larger and perhaps one day be on the end of our clients line.
The Androscoggin stayed extremely low leading to higher than normal water temperatures throughout the summer and we fished it only in the early spring and late fall. Fishing these high temps throughout the river by a number of guides and independents has taken its tole on the 'Scoggin fishery. All anglers should avoid fishing this river when water temperatures are 70 F and above. Playing fish in this water stress them to the point that mortality is not uncommon. Any physical handling of trout is only detrimental and forceps or 'Ketchum release' tools are highly recommended. If this magnificent river keeps being fished like the past five-seven years fewer wild fish can be expected. We left the Scoggin in late June and didn't return until fall with varying results. Hopefully the future of this river will be as bright as it has in the past
This past week alone has illustrated the bonus of drift fishing regarding wildlife sightings. While a client was casting their fly I sensed something in the water to my left. As I looked down I saw a yearling fawn swimming less than two feet from the boat. The fawn continued swimming downstream as seen in the photo above until it disappeared from sight some hundred yards downstream. This incredible sight was most likely caused by a predator such as a coyote leading it to jumping in the river to escape and fear kept it swimming instead of climbing up the bank. I only wish that I had remembered the camera sooner.
A second even more incredible sight occured as I was floating a still water section in Columbia,NH. The clients were fishing when 30-40 geese charged into the river directly towards us from a farm field. Initially we were all dumbfounded as they honked loudly. Geese always have a leader and an adult rear guard following any group of geese and this was also the case as it seemed to be pushing the others towards the river. Seconds later the largest red fox I've ever seen, maybe 35-40 lbs, charged down the slope and deftly caught this rear guard by the neck. It then turned and disappeared with the goose into a small gully. It should be noted that the geese are in full molt now and can not fly so it wasn't an unusual situation. Unfortunately it happened so quickly no photos were taken.