My Game Plan

These days, my fishing game plan is mostly nonexistent. I usually don’t have one.

I’m non-committal about a fishing destination until the morning of. I wait for the most current USGS gauge flows and see the latest weather report. Then, I wait as to which river calls me. Then, I decide.

I usually am diligent about reloading my fly boxes. But, I’m low right now. We went through quite a few flies during the trip to Pittsburg, NH, and I now do not have some of my favorite nymphs.

So, no game plan and am low on flies. Thankfully, it all worked out today.

The forecast for thunderstorms did have me wonder this morning if I should go back to bed. But, in the end, I decided to fish the Deerfield. I’m still new to that river and wanted to log in some more hours.

Spot A, normally productive, was unusually quiet. I mean, real quiet, not a take. The water was 62 °F at dawn, and so, I expected the fish to be more active. After fiddling with all sorts of seams and runs with both indicators and tightlining, I almost gave up on the spot.

In the 9th inning, I decided to tightline a very shallow seam at the top of a riffle. I figured it was worth a shot. I felt and saw the sighter pause. A quick snap of the wrist, and I was off to the races.

A good-sized and very powerful ‘bow leapt twice and pulled line four times. I was relieved when I was able to ease it into the net.

Rejuvenated, I decided to head up river and flog some new water. It was a nice walk, but I didn’t see any fish.

On the way back, I eyed the same seam where I had caught the bow. This time, I was above it and decided to bounce a Caddis up top. I crawled to the ideal spot to keep a low profile. On the first cast, I saw a splash, set the hook, and felt a mother lode of weight pull line. Fear immediately kicked in. A big fish was below me, which sometimes means that it drops off.

I applied some side pressure and pulled the fish into quieter water. Then, I eased it slowly above me, which made me feel better. Thankfully, I was able to net this 14.5″ brown, which had a fat gut. It had a clipped adipose fin, which means it was stocked this spring.

Happy, I moved to Spot B, with its shallow water, where I tightlined, threw indicators and spent way too much time throwing low-probability dry flies. I sat on my haunches as I fished from the bank. Fish were everywhere and inspected closely a few of the dries. I did land some more trout, including a good-sized rainbow that pulled line a few times.

At 11 am, the flows went up, and the river completely changed. Two guide boats soon came through, and an endless stream of whitewater rafts and kayaks paraded by. I reeled up and decided to check out a new spot.

Spot C is an area about which I’ve read online. Supposedly, there are many fish there. Well, I flogged it thoroughly, almost slipped a few times, and didn’t have any takes. It was time to move on.

Spot D, an old reliable, generated a few fish.

At this point, it was 2 pm, the thunderstorms had yet to start, and I felt that I had pushed my good luck. Time to head home. I went seven-for-seven for the day, not a high-volume outing by any means, but got some elbow room and saw some clean-looking fish.

While walking to the car, I called the Cold River Café to place a lunch order to go. A Reuben with fries was perfect.

As I drove back, the rain really started to come down. Another good day at the Deerfield.


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