With a four-day weekend in front of me and no immediate plans, I packed the car with gear, put Tippet in the passenger seat and headed to New Hampshire. Pre-holiday traffic lengthened our route, but provided better scenery and a chance to see roads less traveled. Less than 5 hours later, we were in our hotel scouting maps for the next day.
My plan was to fish the Saco River. I’d heard some good things and knew there were some smaller streams in the area as well.
Saturday morning I checked in with Steve at North Country Angler. He told me that waters in the area were low but fishable. During the day the Saco River was popular place for tubers, so I may want to give other places like the Ellis River a shot. Good advice.
Headed to the Ellis River. I’d describe it as a small stream that runs by the highway with easy access. Plenty of pocket water, but be prepared to do some rock climbing and crawling to find the good pools. As expected, water was cool, clear and low.
Was chucking streamers and picked up this guy, a wild tiger. Also landed some smaller browns.
In the afternoon I did some scouting. Drove along the Kancamagus Highway, which runs from North Conway to Bath, NH, through the White Mountains. Beautiful road with plenty of scenic overlooks and wild streams. The Swift River parallels most of the highway, but was also pretty low and clear. Saw a number of cyclists and motorcyclists, along with ambitious hikers and sightseers.
The next day I returned to the Kancamagus Highway, with a focus on sampling the many small streams crossed during my scouting trip. Scenes like below are quite common. Wading is fairly easy, but again, be prepared to do some climbing.
Found quite a few of these guys – hungry, eager, and colorful. Dries, nymphs and small streamers all worked.
Took off the middle of the day to do some exploring in North Conway, but that evening got a chance to fish the Saco River.
Went to First Bridge, the beginning of the fly fishing-only section. The tube hatch died down, and I had a large glassy pool mostly to myself.
Tied on a Usual, and a few minutes later I was catching these. Cookie cutter 10″ stocker browns, but a lot of fun to have on the line at the end of the day.
If you’ve never been, North Conway, NH is a great place to spend a weekend. Plenty of restaurants, shops and activities. Something for everyone. During the winter there is nearby skiing, and summers are for hiking, tubing, biking, fishing and taking excursions like the one below on the North Conway Scenic Railroad.
Hope you’re finding new streams and adventures. Enjoy!
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