In all honesty, the fishing here has been tough. Many anglers have yet to bump a fish, and I feel that fellow blog writer, Ashu Rao, and I have had to work very hard for our salmonids.
So, I awoke early. My thinking was to hit some pools before they were trampled with the crowds. Eager to see some salmon, I headed to a stretch in the dark, waited for civil twilight, and eagerly swung streamers.
I was at a run with little back-casting space, and so, went to the basics, put on a bobber, and sent some roll casts out and about.
Soon, a take. I glimpsed a salmon! It popped off. In a few minutes, a nice brookie showed itself.
I rotated flies and finally found the “magic flies,” which were egg patterns and about which I will blog in the near future.
Surprisingly, it soon was lights-out fishing. The best of the bunch was a buck salmon that taped at 17”.
Then, suddenly, as the sun rose and reached a mysterious angle in the sky, the bite window shut down. I moved spots, managed a stockie rainbow after many casts, and decided to reel up.
All was well, though. It was time to meet Mickey Cunliffe.
Ashu was the first to tell me about Mickey (our interview with him here). He hired Mickey as a guide years ago and yesterday described him this way: “He is very knowledgeable yet humble. He is the perfect guide.”
Since then, Mickey has become the senior guide at Tall Timber and has quite a following.
Mickey offered to take me and Ashu out for a float trip for free, just to fish together as buds. It was a perfect day for it, neither cold nor warm, and peak foliage everywhere.
We took turns at the oars, moved quite a few fish, and landed many. We all threw visible streamers, and it was pure joy to see fish chase and sometimes take.
It was a great way to close out the NH salmonid season. Ashu and I had agreed ahead of time that we would surprise Mickey: pay him the full rate and include a gratuity. We had such a great float, and it was a no-brainer.
Pike season is still open. Book Mickey! More info here.