One word. Connections.
Ever wonder how your buddy, who goes fishing once a month, always catches tons of huge fish on his trips? He barely goes fishing, but whenever he goes, they are always biting. Luck? Probably not. Connections probably play a bigger role.
What do I mean by connections? I am talking about having a number of good, reliable contacts or resources who can give you reports, updates, and advice on fishing in your area.
When I moved to Massachusetts, I knew nothing about fishing around here. I didn’t know any good rivers, ponds, or lakes. I didn’t know what bugs hatched around here. I didn’t know what sort of flies would be best. I didn’t really know anything. I learned a ton of stuff from the Internet, but I didn’t have the resources I used to have. So the first thing I did was go into fly shops. I would hit up my local fly shop every time I was in the area, and buy a few flies, but more importantly, talk with the owner and other employees. I learned a lot from my local fly shop, about good spots, flies, stocking times, and much more.
Now when you are on the bank of a pond, you meet a lot of people. I quickly made some friends in the area, who I still meet up with for fishing to this day. Since I fish all over the state (and occasionally in NH, NY, CT, or ME), I have a number of knowledgeable friends who can give me reports on all manners of fishing. I get updates on water levels, fish stockings, hatches, and more. The group text is your friend on this one- I have a big group text with all my fishing friends in it, in which we share all sorts of information.
If you don’t have any friends who fish, and some of us don’t, you can still get good reports. First, there are many websites like Fish Finder, that are great for sharing reports, asking questions, and learning all sorts of new stuff. I’ve included a list of the most helpful websites that you should check out, at the bottom. There are also good sites that can give you accurate water levels, which can be an important factor on the water.
Next, there are also blogs that can give you up to date reports on local rivers. Thats sort of what I hope to do with this blog. I’ll add some blogs to the list of websites at the bottom of this post.
Finally, don’t be shy asking new people. I’ve learned a ton of information from emailing or messaging new people. Most people are willing to help, if you simply ask.
Last week, I got an email from a boy who reads this blog, and had a few questions on a local river. He was making a trip out there with some friends, but had never fished the river before. He asked if I could give him a few pointers – spots, flies, etc. to get them on the right track. I enjoyed seeing this, and recommended a few spots, flies, and techniques to hopefully give him an advantage on the water. (I’m not sure how they did that day, but I heard from another friend that the fishing was very tough that day, so I would be impressed if they got something. Let me know if you read this.) Either way, I was glad to see some young anglers being involved with fly fishing, and was glad to give out some advice. While I don’t give out all my “top secret” spots, I am happy to give out information on local fisheries, so if you have any questions, or are planning a trip, shoot me an email or post a comment, and I’ll be sure to help out however I can.
As your number of contacts grows, you’ll probably notice your luck on the water will increase. I get reports all the time from friends and other people I ask, stream flows and reports from websites and blogs, and I even learn when certain bugs or types of bait appear from biologists and other environmentalists who I have asked. I learn when the cinder worms are out (for stripers), frogs and salamanders (for bass), and what bugs are hatching (for trout).
So try expanding your connections, and join the 10% who catch 90% of the fish!
A few helpful links…
MA Fish Finder – All sorts of reports, discussions, and tips
North American Fly Fishing Forum – Everything fly fishing related, including regional sections
Evening Sun Fly Shop – A good fly shop that has an overview each month on some local rivers
MA Trout Stocked Waters – Trout stocked waters in MA (there is also a schedule on the website)
Just Google “ River MA water flows” and you’ll see many results come up (waterdata is a good one)