Fly Fishing New Hampshire: Pemigewasset River

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just be…

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia...the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.


Pemigewasset (Pemi) River Facts

Length: 65 miles.
Origin:  Profile Lake, located in Franconia Notch State Park.
Termination:  In Franklin, New Hampshire, the Pemi merges with the Winnipesaukee River to form the Merrimack River.  The Merrimack flows to the Atlantic Ocean, ending in Newburyport, MA. 
Location:  Starting in Franconia and ending in Franklin, the Pemi runs along highway 93 and route 3. The river travels through much of the white mountains. 
Tributaries:  Smith, Newfound, Squam, Baker, Beebe, Mad, Lost, East Branch Pemigewassett.
Fishing Season: January 01 to October 15th. Please see special rules http://www.eregulations.com/newhampshire/fishing/freshwater/rivers-streams-with-special-rules/
Licensed Required: Yes, general fishing only. 
Floating:  Yes, for sport and recreation.  There are a few businesses that offer kayak, canoe and tube rentals.  The entire river is classified as a non-technical, easy river to float.  However, be aware of dams and falls. More technical information is available at https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/3735/
Walk-Wade: Yes.  From Profile Lake to Franklin, there are many pull-offs.  
Entrance Fee: No.
Camping & Lodging: Yes, there are many private and public camping options.  
Depth:  Not known as a deep river.  Greatly varies due to the structure of the river and dams.
Access:  Extremely accessible by boat or foot.  North of Plymouth, NH, I tend to favor walk-wade access points along route 3 and 175. 

For 20 years, NH attempted to restore Atlantic Salmon to the Pemi and Merrimack River Watershed.  In 2014, the program was cancelled.  To think, before dams, this tremendous specie swam freely in the Live Free or Die state.  Photo courtesy of NH Fish & Game. 


Why Fish the Pemigewasset River 
    
  • Native Species:  Eastern Brook Trout, Atlantic Salmon and Fall Fish (chub).
  • Non-Native Species: Rainbow, Brown Trout, Small Mouth Bass, Blue Gill, Yellow Perch.
  • Stocked Fish:  NH Fish & Game stocks EBT, and Rainbow and Brown Trout.  NH Fish & Gamed used to stock Atlantic Salmon, but the program has been cancelled.
  • Structure: Varies greatly.  Due to dams, the Pemi has long runs of slow shallow water.
  • Location: Much of the Pemi runs through the white mountains of New Hampshire. 
  • Communications:  You'll have good cell service throughout the river system.
  • Experience:  In my opinion, of all the rivers in New Hampshire, and despite human influences (e.g. dams), the Pemi feels like a big wild river.  There are stretches of this river that are wild and beautiful.
  • Scenery:  The combination of mountains, tree's and blue sky is hard to beat.  Seasonal colors are good, especially in the fall. 


How to Fish the Pemigewasset River

Option A:  Hire First Cast Fly Fishing, or another licensed guide.

Option B:  DIY (Do it Yourself).  If you plan to fish this section on your own, your best bet is:


  • There are many known fishing haunts like the Bristol and Franklin areas (below the dams). After stocking by the NH Fish & Game is complete, these well known areas get fished hard. If you li ke to walk-wade, I encourage you to explore other sections of this river (from Franconia to Franklin, there are dozens of less accessed spots that hold fish).
  • As the season progresses, the Pemi's water flow can drop and water temps can warm quickly. In my opinion, early season produces the best fishing.  There is a STRONG correlation between good fishing reports/experiences, and when NH Fish & Game stocks (i.e. to increase your odds, fish immediately following a stocking).  
  • Fly Rods: Depends on your strategies, but 3wt to 6wt, should get the job done.  
  • Fly Line:  A standard floating line, with sink tips, if needed.
  • Techniques: This is a great river for swinging flies and using a two handed rod.  I love using my 10'6" 3wt switch rod on the Pemi.  I tend to favor nymphs and dry flies.  As water levels drop and warms, I target water with the most oxygen, and structure. 
  • Trophies:  The Pemi and Merrimack Rivers are well known for a fish management program called the Atlantic Salmon Brood Stock Fishery. This program is no longer functioning, but in its heyday, anglers caught salmon up to 15 lbs!  
  • Plan B: If you encounter crowds at the well known areas, be prepared to go to option B. With 65 miles of water, and multiple tributaries, you should not have a problem finding less pressured water.
  • If I have not been clear, parts of the Pemi can warm quickly.  That being said, during peak summer months, wet wading is possible, and desirable.    

Final Word

I have a love, hate relationship with the Pemi.  I love the Pemi because there are stretches that feel very wild, very beautiful, and very soulful.  For a fisherman, these stretches have some of the most tantalizing waters in all of New England.  Specifically, some stretches of the Pemi look as though they would hold an abundance of trophy fish, but they don't.  To understand why the Pemi does not hold/sustain trophies such as the Atlantic Salmon, I encourage you to read a book written by a New Hampshire author, Jack Noon. http://www.amazon.com/Fishing-New-Hampshire-History-Series/dp/1893863026

I hate the Pemi because of what it once was; a very wild river filled with an abundance of wild fish. Correction, I don't hate the river. I hate the fact that humans chose to destroy something very wild.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Gone Fishing,

Mark

Fly Fishing New Hampshire: Mad River

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just be…

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia...the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.


Mad River Facts

Location:  Campton and Waterville Valley NH area.  Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/ufK4y
Fishing Season:  General Rules; January 01 to October 15th. 
Licensed Required:  Part of the Mad River is within the boundaries of the White Mountain National Forest. Throughout our nation, you don't need a fishing license to fish in national parks (please double check this info).  If your not fishing in the national forest, you will need to purchase a general fishing license. 
Floating:  No. This is a small stream.  Professional guide services and DIY (do it yourself).
Walk-Wade: Yes.  There are many sections for DIY walk-wade.  
Entrance Fee: No.
Camping:  Yes.  Think white mountain national forest camping areas, or private campgrounds.
Length:  17.9 Miles 
Origin:  Greeley Ponds, located in Mad River Notch. 
Termination:  Pemigewasset River. 
Access: There are plenty of pull-off's and access points.


Why Fish the Mad River 
    
  • Native Species:  Small Eastern Brook Trout. 
  • Non-Native Species: Rainbow and Brown Trout.
  • Stocked Fish:  NH Fish & Game stocks EBT, and Rainbow and Brown Trout.
  • Structure: A true mountain freestone river (think lots of boulders). Small plunge pools and pocket water created by large boulders. 
  • Location:  From the south,  it's an easy drive up interstate highway 93.  Get off the exit and practically start fishing.
  • Communications: You'll have service in/around the valley.
  • Experience:  In the lower section, in/around the valley, expect crystal clear water and a natural maze of boulders that have been smoothed by water and time.  Beyond the valley, as you hike and fish towards the source, expect thick forest and solitude (fish in this section are very small, but wild).

Stocked Rainbow Trout, caught on a 12ft Tenkara.


How to Fish the Mad River

Option A:  You could hire a licensed guide.  First Cast Fly Fishing and other guides service this river.

Option B:  DIY (Do it Yourself).  If you plan to fish  this section on your own, your best bet is:


  • In my opinion, the river no longer sustains a robust population of wild fish.  Therefore, if you want to increase your chances of catching decent sized fish, following the New Hampshire Fish and Game stocking reports.  
  • Overall, I tend to favor early season fishing. Be mindful of high water, due to snow melt. Typically, as summer approaches, and due to lack of rainfall, water warms and water flow can be low. During warm temps and low water, fish early A.M. and search for deep water and structure. 
  • Fly Rods: 1wt to 4wt should get the job done. I often use my 12ft Tenkara rod.  
  • Fly Line:  No need for sinking lines of any kind.
  • Techniques: You could use a streamer, but I believe this river is ideal for nymphs, and dry fly's (dry-dropper combo is ideal!) 

Final Word


When I have the desire to fish a mountain stream, and if I don't have a lot of time, the Mad River is my first choice. Why?  From my home in southern New Hampshire, this is a quick and easy drive.  I can fish all day, and even explore other nearby rivers, and then be home for dinner.

Thanks for reading.  We hope you enjoyed this post.

Gone Fishing,

Mark< /span>

Self-Made Fly Patches

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, ju…

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine and type in key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc.  The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia...the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.

We all know the fly fishing industry offers many opportunities to buy gadgets.  There is nothing wrong with this, but what about making your own gadget?  In this post, I will share a few self-made gadgets that you can easily make on your own.  Specifically, I am going to focus on devices designed to hold your flies, outside of your fly box.  But, before I share my knowledge and self-made devices, allow me to show you what the industry offers.

Industry Fly Patch Hat

Hat is sold with built in patch, or a device that can clip on.

 Industry Attachable Fly Patch


Modern Foam
Classic Wool

Industry Automobile Fly Patch

A piece of foam that clips or sticks.

Self-Made Devices

I bought a package of self adhesive velcro strips at a local store.  These strips come in a variety of sizes.  Before adding the velcro strips, I added a thin layer of glue to the bill.  Why?  The velcro strips are designed to adhere to smooth surface, not fabric on the bill of a baseball cap.  Figure out a system that allows the velcro strips to dry and bond to the fabricate. The ultimate goal is to avoid to poor surface contact (gaps).  I used a set of heavy books to press the velcro strips overnight. You'll find this to be far less expensive than the above industry option.  NOTE:  If you don't pinch down the barbs on your hooks, you'll have a hell of a time getting them out of the velcro!

Do you drink wine?  Then you have already procured the key component of this hand made fly keeper.
Step #1: Finish drinking your glass of wine and enjoy good company.  Step #2: Drill a hole in the center of the cork.  Be sure not to drill into the surface you are working on; especially your wife's kitchen table.  FYI, synthetic corks are easier to work with. Be sure to make the hole no bigger than the diameter of the line you intend to use.  Your choice of line is entirely up to you. Step #3:  Feed the line through the hole.  Make sure you use enough line to make two knots seen in the photo.  I used Albright stopper knots for this set-up, but on the top knot, you could forgo the snap swivel and easily use a loop knot. Step #4: On the tag ends, to prevent fraying, put a match to the line. By introducing heat to the tag ends, the material will permanently bond.  Step #5: Attach to your lanyard, fishing vest, sling bag, etc.  Compared to the industry options, this is extremely inexpensive and effective.  They make great gifts for beginner anglers and friends.  If the cork wears out, buy another bottle of wine and repeat the steps :)  PS. If you buy the wine, I'll teach you for FREE!
Easily clips to my lanyard.  Speaking of my lanyard, can you see my surgical tweezers? Tweezers have proven to be a good tool.  Also, rather than buy a retractable zinger for my forceps, I use a fixed length of line = I have never had a problem. For safety, emergencies, and general communication, I use a coaching whistle.  I believe every angler should have a coaching whistle, especially DIY anglers, who like to explore.  


Similar to my hat idea, buy velcro strips and attach to your car visor.  I did not have to use extra glue to bond the strips to this surface.  Compared to the industry options, this is very inexpensive and does not effect the value of your vehicle.  

Final Word

You could spend a small fortune on fishing gadgets that you don't need, or you could easily make them yourself.  So, the take away message is: think about your options and dare to be creative!  In the end, the fish don't care what gadget you prefer, only the people watching you.  Plus, you just might save enough money to buy an extra bottle of wine.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

Gone Fishing,

Mark

PS.   Here's a quick blurb on fly line straightener's/cleaners.

The outside is leather.  The inside is one part rubber, and the other part, is a synthetic material for drying/cleaning. 














I use a piece of old bike tire inner tube. I can get a bike tire inner tube for free, from my local bike shop.  How to use?  Add water or saliva to the rubber patch; place leader in the middle of the rubber patch, and then fold it in half; then run leader through, as desired.  While on the river, I have never had the need to have a fly line cleaner, or a device to dry my flies.  If I need to clean my line, this process is done at home, with warm-soapy water.