Christian Denninger’s First Post: Who I Am, Where I Fish, and What I Use

Christian Denninger wrote to Ashu, asking if we needed more blog writers. We love people who are passionate about fly fishing, and Christian clearly is such a person. He chases fish on the fly all over New England, from fresh to salt, throughout the year. His Instagram is here. Here is Christian’s first post.


Before beginning, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the administrators of this blog for allowing me to post my escapades, insights, along with what else follows. I hope my posts help other anglers in the areas around me uncover what beautiful waters and fish there in southwestern New Hampshire, western Mass., and western Connecticut.

Growing up in southwestern Connecticut, “home waters” for me have always been the Farmington, Housatonic, and East Aspetuck rivers. These lovely streams, where I taught myself how to fly fish, really set the building blocks for a hobby that has turned into a lifestyle. Now, questions such as “Could a trout be holding there?” and “Where am I in relation to fishable water?” are all that are on my mind, as well as a driving force behind most decisions in my life (a true double-edged sword).

These types of questions are what brought me to New Hampshire as a college student and ignited a new fire within me for the wildness of the places fish can be found as well as their protection.

Being a senior at Keene State College I have found much love for the Upper Ashuelot River, Cold River, North Branch River, Otter Brook, and many other small rivers and streams within an hour’s drive of me over the past three or so years, and I know there are many stretches of water and fish I may never find.

Over the few years on these waters I have not seen many other anglers which could be a result of time, location, or any other factors. However, I am beginning to wonder if most anglers are unaware of the bounties that are held in these waters. Whatever the case may be the waters in southwestern New Hampshire are not to be overlooked.

The Upper Ashuelot in Surry and Gilsum (pictured above) has been very productive over the past few months, I have managed both enthusiastic rainbows and browns out that water on a variety of flies from hoppers to nymphs. Lately, as expected, the bite has become more focused on nymphs and streamers. Over the past few outings on this river, I have had success double nymphing with a strike indicator (I will admit I am not a very skilled Euro-nympher, so if anyone is up to the challenge of teaching me I’m willing to learn).

Prince Nymphs 18-22 have been popular. Also, CDC Pheasant Tails with a pink bead head and tinsel casing, Zebra Midges and red Copper Johns in sizes 18-20 have also been hot. I don’t know what it is about fall, but, for some reason, the fish seem to be going after anything tied with a little red (thread or wire).

I was out last week on one stretch of the Ashuelot and nothing had been working, I tied on a size 18 fly that I tied when I was first learning. It alternates red and gold wire and a silver bead, and I fished it below a size 16 bead head Pheasant Tail. I then went on to go three-for-four (all three on the red and gold wire nymph) with the fourth breaking off the fly itself.

This morning, I went out to the another section of the Ashuelot for a couple hours before my class at 10, The river was looking healthy thanks to the rain we had a couple days ago, I managed to hook into and net only one, but it was a nice brown around 10″ on the pink bead Pheasant Tail. I will add a photo so you all can add it to your boxes, I was thinking about varying the bead color so if anyone ties it and changes it up let us know how it fishes!

I look forward to contributing to this page in the most helpful way possible, chronicling my fly fishing adventures across New England, from Connecticut to Cape Cod, and hopefully providing insight and guidance to everyone along the way! Thanks again to Jo and Ashu for allowing me permission to add to this already amazing collection of information and people! I look forward to seeing some of you on the water soon, and look for the red Tacoma!

Tight lines!

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4 thoughts on “Christian Denninger’s First Post: Who I Am, Where I Fish, and What I Use

  1. Good post. My sister lived in the area for a while and I got to drive by but not fish these streams. Nice to know what treasures they contain!

  2. I was surprised not to see the contoocook on that list. I’ve heard there’s some construction on part of it, but 20yrs. ago it was a really dependable destination.

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