Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Best Fishing I Can Remember...


     Summer has arrived in the North Country.  Ask anyone around and they will say that it took a little longer than usual to get here this year.  A cold and wet month of May was good for prolonging the salmon run, but it slowed the warming of the rivers as well.  The Pittsburg Anglers association once again did a great job with stocking the Trophy Stretch in order to kick off the spring fishing, but the fish that were put in seemed to be a bi tricky to find at first.  As May rolled into June the water temps still struggled to reach 55 degrees which was slowing the fishing a bit and the hatches as well. 

     I wrapped up teaching in the middle of June and was itching to move back to my summer home in Pittsburg.  With the truck packed to the cap, I was off to continue a tradition of guiding and fishing in my favorite place in the world.  I was guiding within a day of getting here and with two more bonus stockings from NH Fish and Game, the fishing was finally how it should be.  Let me re-phrase that.  The fishing was UNREAL!  I can remember times over the years that the fishing has been great.  I think that the fishing in our memories has a way of becoming even better each time that it is recalled, but there have been years that were outstanding.  This year, so far, has been the best that I can remember.  There are not only LOTS of fish in the river, but there are some absolute MONSTERS in there as well.  Some people say, “oh, they are just stocked fish.”  While this may be true of some of the huge brook trout caught lately, I don’t care who you are, fighting a 5-6 lb brook trout on a fly rod, in a beautiful river, is just plain fun! 
Ed with a nice Brookie
Look at the nice colors on that one!
 

     For others, the chase for wild or holdover fish is their game.  I completely understand this as well.  The cool part is that Pittsburg has a huge variety of stocked, holdover and wild fish!  I had repeat guests who wanted to do a little more exploring, so we went a bit more out of the way to find some wild fish.  The result was spectacular!  We were hooking and landing Landlocked Salmon and Wild Brook Trout with no one else in sight. 
Dark
Wild
 

     Two guests were even lucky enough to break Fish Story Guide Service record fish within a week of each other!  First up was Mark with a brook trout that was net measured at 19-20” and most certainly was pushing 5 lbs.  It was caught on a black Feedinator in an area that had already been fished before we arrived that morning.  We got lucky with this one as we were able to net it before it went down river into the rapids.  What a great moment that was.  Seeing the excitement and relief that the “fish of a lifetime” was in the net! 
"Fish of a Lifetime"
 

     Just a week later Winslow got in on the action.  To be honest we were fishing in a very well known area and had been catching plenty of stocked fish.  There was a mix of large brookies in this pool and I actually thought for sure it was another large one when he hooked this fish.  Then I saw it leap!  Instantly I knew we were into something special for this section of river.  After three more drag screaming runs and great angling skill on Winslow’s part, we netted this monster rainbow.  I was second guessing myself as to whether it was just a big rainbow that Fish and Game had thrown in, or if it was a really old holdover fish from years past.  Once I got a good look it was pretty clear.  The fish had two BAIT hooks stuck in its mouth!  The only way that could have happened was if this fish had broken two different anglers off down at the lake and then traveled all the way up into the Trophy Stretch during the spring.  A true holdover monster that measured 20” on the nose!  What an old warrior this fish was! 
Holdover Monster!

     The Hex Hatch on Back Lake has been a bit slow this year.  Actually the hatching of the Hexes seems to be going just great, but the fish just don’t seem to be cueing in on them with reckless abandon like normal.  That being said I did get out last night and landed 5 nice rainbows along with a handful of “Red Eyed Demons.”  Hitting the Hex Hatch on Back Lake is one of my favorite traditions.  It reminds me of fishing with friends and good times on the water.  Knowing that around 9:30 we head back to camp for some good food and drinks while we unwind the fish stories of the day, puts my mind at ease.  I hope to get back out again before the annual hatch is over. 

     Before I know it, summer will be ending and I will need to take care of business at home, but for the next couple months, I plan to make the best of what Pittsburg has to offer.  If you would like to get up and learn about fly fishing in Pittsburg, please feel free to shoot me an email.  I do still have some open dates through mid August that I would love to fill!  I hope that this entry has ignited that fly fishing spark inside of you and that you will get out on a river and fish!  As always, if you see me on the river come over and say hello!  Thank you!
 
-Patrick

Saturday, April 29, 2017

New Beginnings ...

     Here we are folks.  The beginning of a new fishing season is upon us.  It is difficult to describe all of the feelings I have when thinking about the upcoming year of fishing.  I am so excited to get out on the water with repeat clients and meet new ones.  The relationships you forge with someone during hours of time spent on the rivers is something unique.  It is not all just about catching fish.  It is so much more than that.  It is about sharing a passion and letting someone else get a glimpse of what it is that truly makes you tick.  "Welcome to my world," is a phrase that often comes out of my mouth during first trips with new clients.  This is not a sarcastic phrase, this is a sincere welcome to them and a hope that they will be able to appreciate and fully experience the sport of fly fishing.
     I have been in Pittsburg for a few days and just going out to my "home" water and visiting familiar pools, puts my busy mind at ease.  I have quite a few things going on in my life at the moment, the most important of which is my wedding at the end of May.  The stress of getting the plans just right can loom large on your mind after a while, but time spent on a beautiful river can help me melt the stress and look at life on a larger scale.  What really means the most in life to you?  I can't say that fly fishing matters most to me because it doesn't.  My soon to be wife and hopefully family will continue to be the most important thing as time rolls on.  But fly fishing will always be there for me when I need to decompress from a long stretch of work or think about how to get through a difficult time.  It is a constant that is dependable no matter what outside influences try to change it.  The woods, lakes, streams and rivers are not what make my life, they are what help me be a better man, husband and eventually father someday.  For this I will be forever grateful. 
     So what about the fishing?  Well everything is very high up here right now.  Snowmelt, rainfall, river levels, you name it.  I have been scouting all of the usual early season areas and we are right on track for a great spring.  I started guiding a few weeks ago and right off the bat we were catching fish in the southern and middle parts of the state. 
Silver Leaper

Having fun!

Young Blood gets it done!

Beautiful Bow

     The Pittsburg area is just about where I thought it should be for this time of year.  The ice went out on Lake Francis and Back Lake on April 28th and I am guessing 1st Lake will be out by the 30th.  With that comes the opportunity to get into some spring salmon.  As of right now our flows are 800 out of 2nd Lake Dam, 400 out of 1st and over 1000cfs out of Murphy.  That is high all around, but early season I would rather have it high.  Hopefully this will bode well for the rest of the spring and summer.  I wanted to feel the tug, so I headed out in the canoe and paddled some ponds.  I was actually able to sight fish for brook trout with high sunshine overhead.  It was a fun little trip with a bunch of fish to net. 
 

      I hope this update finds you happy and ready to start the new season if you haven't already!  If you are interested in setting up a trip in Pittsburg for June, July or August, please feel free to let me know.  Dates are filling fast this season, so don't wait!  Thank you as always!

Here is the best way to get ahold of me:

Patrick@fishstoryguideservice.com

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Late Summer is Here...

Hey Everyone!
     I have been putting most of the quick updates on the Fish Story Guide Service Facebook Page lately, but I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to put some recent outings here as well! 
     I have been guiding more than ever this summer and with a wedding in the near future it is actually fairly important for me to do so.  I booked as many trips as I physically had time for this summer and even had to send a few "sports" to friends.  The trips that we were able to get out on were fantastic though.  I would venture to say that this may have been the most consistent fishing from May - August that I can ever remember in Pittsburg.  There were lots of worries early with low water levels but most everyone assumed that the rain would come at some point.  Unfortunately, the rain did not come at all and the flows in the Trophy Stretch were at 125 cfs for almost the entire summer.  Fortunately, they did not go any lower and the water temp stayed under 70 which was the most important thing. 
    I thoroughly enjoyed guiding all of my "sports" this summer and remember specific highlights of each trip. 
*Getting a chance to teach my fiancé was certainly a highlight and I look forward to watching her enjoy being on the water for years to come. 

*I got my brother out and that was a long time coming.  We had talked about it for years and finally accomplished the goal. 

*I was able to get my future father in law in the river and he had a successful day as well. 

*Hopper fishing with multiple sets of "sports" was just action packed and very enjoyable. 

*Getting into lots of nice LL Salmon even under low water conditions was a pleasant surprise.

*Fishing with friends on my "home" water was just the icing on the cake.

     The best flies for us lately are as follows:

- Patrick's Pink and Red San Juans
- Patrick's BWO Emerger
- Patrick's Feedinators in all three colors
- Patrick's Egg Patterns
- Hoppers
- Emerginators
- Caddis Dry
- Sulfur Dry

     Another key point is using light tippet.  4X and 5X are not pulling nearly as many fish this time of year.  I am on 6X most days. 

Mike gets it done!

That's my girl! :)

First time fly fishing!

Dark Brookie

Great people!

Fly fishing is "easy"

Rain can't stop us!

Nice leaper in the mix!


     I will be returning back to "the fake real world" in a couple of weeks and I will miss all that guiding the summer in Pittsburg gives to me.  The refreshed mindset.  The time with family and friends.  The days on the river that I wish would never end.  But as with all things, if it were fantastic all the time, it would lose its allure.  Like the seasons, we move in a circle and some stops are more enjoyable than others along the way. 

      I hope to see you all on the river!

Patrick@fishstoryguideservice.com
https://www.facebook.com/fishstoryguideservice/

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Buster Wants to Fish!"

     Ok so maybe it wasn't as comical as that scene from "A River Runs Through It", but when my brother finally asked me to take him out fly fishing, the thought did pass through my mind. 

     I have been waiting patiently for the day when my brother actually had the time to get out on the water with me.  We have had many adventures over the years together, but we just never seemed to line up our schedules for a real fly fishing trip.  Well a few weeks ago it happened.  Lance was able to get up to Pittsburg and I did not have a guide trip, so we went for it!  After gearing up at the camp and making sure that he did indeed have a fishing license, (which we had to reprint at Treats and Treasures), we were off to the river! 
     The situation was classic.  The anticipation of all the fish I would be able to help him catch was finally coming into sight!  You see, I have been telling him for years how he would be catching fish after fish and how my clients have been having great days lately.  In my head it was going to be easy.  I guess that was my first mistake.  I should have known better, as teaching a family member is always one of the trickiest things to do. 
     Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea.  He caught fish.  It just took us a bit longer to make it happen than I had initially thought it might.  We started off in the "Bear Pool" which had been producing quite well as of late, and after an hour of fishing had only one fish on that came unbuttoned before we could get it to net.  It was certainly not the fisherman's fault either.  His hook sets were quick and strong, his presentation was dang near flawless, but the fish were being fish.  Subtle takes and short strikes were the theme of the day.  We couldn't just have one of those afternoons where the fish were just slamming the flies to make it easy?!  Nope.  But that is fishing. 
     We kept moving down river and finally got into a couple of runs where the fish were doing their normal feeding and what a difference.  Lance was hooking up and we were landing fish!  Now I do remember his first fish that he landed and I do remember the big battle with a monster that got away.  But most of all I remember the things in between.  I remember how I was looking forward to that day.  I remember how we hiked through the woods from pool to pool and how we talked about fly fishing and life in general.  I remember thinking we should do this more often.  I remember the feeling that not everyone gets to share an afternoon on the water with their brother doing their favorite pastime and how lucky we were to have had that opportunity. 
     The day came to a close and we headed back to the camp for some food and drinks.  All I am left with now is that fond memory and the anticipation of the next time that we can venture back into the river as brothers.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pittsburg Magic...

Hello Everyone!

     I have been in Pittsburg for over two weeks now and I can already feel the frustrations of living "down below" slowly leaving my soul.  My thoughts are clear, my energy is revived and my way of life is back to who I truly am.  I have been extremely fortunate to have found a fiancé who has the same love of the outdoors that I do and have recently gotten her to join me on the river.  She is a quick learner and very simply, a natural fly fisherman.  You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle themselves on a river and she does not disappoint me in any way.

 
 
     I was actually able to get my father out of his beloved "Trophy Stretch" and he was rewarded for it!  We went a bit farther south and got into some larger fish rather than numbers of fish.  First up was a nice 17" fat brown to tie my father's personal record brown trout.  This would have been plenty of fun for the morning but he was not finished yet.  One hour from the remarkable first trout, my father hooked a much larger beast.  After a great battle he now had his new personal best brown trout measured at 20" and pushing 5 lbs for sure.  Needless to say I think that he may be spending a bit more time away from The Trophy Stretch in the near future. 
 

 
 
     I am in "full guiding mode" at the moment as well.  We had the annual Trout Unlimited Kid's Fly Fishing Camp about a week ago and it went very smoothly.  I was the assistant director of the camp for the first two years it was held and now I am able to just be a counselor and guide for the kids.  Next years camp will be the 10th annual!  This camp is something I hold very dear to my heart and will be a part of it in some way for the rest of my life.
 
     I was able to have some of my good friends up to camp during last week as well.  We were able to share many good laughs, good drinks and good meals which always seem to make time fly faster than you would want.  These times are replaced by great memories though, which will stay with us forever.  We also got out on the river one evening and it was one of the best nights I have ever had!  After watching patiently for a caddis hatch to materialize for over an hour, the bugs were enticing enough for some large fish to start feeding on the surface.  I positioned myself carefully and waited for the larger fish to get comfortable with his meal.  After many large swirls, I cast out my size 16 "Murphy Caddis", (pattern created by my buddy Jake), and watched it drift.  The whole time I was hoping that when I tied the fly the night before, that it would look good enough to fool a large, smart fish.  Well, on the first cast the fly was thrashed hard by a very large fish.  I set the hook hard, but carefully, knowing that my 6x tippet would not handle excessive abuse.  After a long battle, filled with leaps and powerful runs down river, we had corralled the beast into the net.  Without the help of my friend Jake, the end result may have been utter disappointment rather than pure elation and I am very thankful for his help.  What we found in the net was my largest brown trout caught on a dry fly, on 6x tippet of my entire life!  It measured 22" and was estimated at 7+ lbs.   Pittsburg Magic is alive and well this summer!
 
 
      This is just the beginning of what is shaping up to be a great summer in Pittsburg!  
 
                     I hope this update finds you happy and full of fish stories!
 
* If you would like to get up and experience some Pittsburg fly fishing, I do still have some open dates.  Please email me for my full availability and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!
 
 
 
 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Striper Fishing!

     I used to love getting out and fishing for Stripers.  Over the years I have slowly lost the free time that it takes for me to get to the salt and in recent years I have not been able to get out at all.  Well, I made a deal with myself this year.  I would at least get out and cast a fly for Stripers once, no matter what it took.  My first effort was a trip down to my old stomping grounds of Plum Island in May.  I rigged up my 7wt fly rod and reel with a sinking intermediate fly line and grabbed my 7 year old hand tied saltwater flies and headed for the Merrimack River.  I planned it out so that I would be fishing the last 3 hours of a dropping tide on the river side of Plum Island.  From my days of really getting into Stripers I had remembered that this was usually when the fishing was best.   I hopped in and immediately started to hook lots of "little", yet very strong and fun Striped Bass.  I enjoyed a hand full of fish up to 16 inches over a few hours and I was happy. 
     Next up I got lucky and mixed a "date night" with some Striper fishing in NH.  My fiancé was in the mood for some seafood and I just love Brown's restaurant in Seabrook, so we ate and then I fished.  I hit the river directly behind Brown's and planned for it to be incoming tide and the fishing was great!  I think I landed close to double digits with a couple of fish pushing the 20" mark.  This was right before dusk with a wonderful sunset to boot. 
     So not only did I get out twice, but I actually was able to land fish each time!  I figured this would be about it for my Striper fishing for the year, but then I made a quick call to Zak Robinson.  I met Zak at the NH Fly fishing booth this winter and we agreed it might be fun to "swap" trips if we ever had the chance.  So he happened to have a few free hours and so did I am we made it happen!  I met Zak over at Pierce Island and was able to enjoy some great fishing on his boat.  Zak showed me how it was done as I have never cast to Stripers from a boat before.  We zipped around the river looking for breaking fish and when we did, we cruised up to the edge of the pod and I double hauled a fly into the mix.  BAM!  The fish were on it!  This was just a visually exciting way to cover ground and catch some nice fish.  I was so pumped to be able to get out and give this type of fishing a shot and I can certainly recommend Zak's service to anyone out there! 
     I am not sure that I will get back out for Stripers again this year as it is time to head to Pittsburg for my summer of guiding, but the next time I get the itch I will look back on these trips and just GO!





    

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Birthday in Pittsburg is the Only Way to Go!


     I just turned 32 years old and I was in Pittsburg when it happened.  I was in my favorite place in the world with two of my favorite people (fiancé and father), catching my favorite fish (Salmon), on one of my favorite stretches of river.  If there was ever a better birthday gift I can not think of it!  Here are a couple of pictures, but be sure to check out the new Facebook page for videos and updates as well!  I still have some spots available for June, July and August in Pittsburg, but they are filling in fast!  Let me know if you want to get out in the Great North Woods!

www.facebook.com/fishstoryguideservice

Patrick@fishstoryguideservice.com

20.5" and old! Also it was 70 degrees and sunny


18" and on the skinny side

The next day it was 37 and starting to snow!  The fish were biting well though!  I was able to land double digits with four fish over 20".