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Valley Angler: Trout Unlimited

By Bill Thompson

Salmon season is underway, however, it is pretty clear that Mother Nature has been playing a cruel April fool's joke on us. I doubt that there was 50 feet of open water on any lake in New Hampshire on opening day. Over the last two years, we have witnessed unusual early ice outs on our lakes. It would seem that things even out in the end. At this point, you have to wonder if the ice will be out on the trout ponds in time for opening day.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 04:55

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Valley Angler: Fly shop fix

By Bill Thompson

Despite snow up to the eye balls and more predicted this evening there is a change in the air and fly fishermen can feel it. Since the beginning of the month we have started to be busy at the shop. More and more people are stopping by for their "fly shop fix." If you are a dyed in the wool angler then you know what I mean. Fly shops have been providing this service since the first fly shop opened on the Nile. Little known fact: Noah had two of every known fly on the ark. Every Boy Scout who ever read the "Think and Grin" column in "Boy's Life" knows that Noah didn't fish with bait because he only had two worms on board. Sorry.

It is true that fly shops are a cheap alternative to visiting a psychologist — unless you happen to walk out with a new fly rod. A lot of fly shop owners have dedicated floor space in their shops for just this purpose. In larger shops you might find a fire place or maybe a wood stove with a couple of chairs where visitors can sit and swap stories. It has always been my dream to have a shop large enough to have these accommodations, in the mean time we will make do with our fly tying table.

Most of the shop's regulars know that in the winter months we set a large table up on the sales floor. To accommodate this, I remove one of the shop's fixtures. The table is converted to a fly tying area which becomes the home base for "The Liars and Tiers Club" that meets every Saturday morning during the winter. We have a lot of fun and it helps, at least for me, make the winter go faster.

Surprisingly, we sell a lot of fly rods during the winter. During the first couple months, we always sell a few salt water rods. These rods are purchased by anglers lucky enough to be traveling to some warmer climate where they will chase bone fish, tarpon, red fish and maybe a permit or two. Closer to spring, rod sales go up again. These rods are the result of reading rod reviews in fly fishing magazines or on the Internet. These rods come under the heading of "stress release" and are very important to keeping a lot of fly fishers sane.

Last weekend, Nate Hill and I were in Bethel, Maine for the Western Maine Fly Fishing Expo. We have been doing this for three years now and we always have a lot of fun meeting old and new friends. This year's show was no exception. The Molly Ockett Chapter of Trout Unlimited hosts this show to help raise funds for their many worthy projects. This year the proceeds from the show were being dedicated to building casting platforms at Songo Locks to create fishing opportunities for wounded military veterans. The idea for this project came from George Westerberg and after a long permitting process the plan has come to reality. What remains to be done is to raise the $80,000 needed to build the platforms. We are pleased that in some small way we have helped to fund this cause.

In the meantime, if you need a fly shop fix your welcome to stop by the shop. And, if the mood strikes you, it doesn't hurt to buy a fly.

See you on the river.

Bill and Janet Thompson own North Country Angler in North Conway.


Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 05:30

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State reminds fishermen to remove bobhouses from ice by April 1

CONCORD — Attention ice anglers: The ice might still be quite nice in many places, but according to state law, all bobhouses (aka, ice shanties) must be removed from the ice no later than the end of the day on April 1.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 05:36

Hits: 607


Valley Angler: Saco Valley Anglers auction

By Bill Thompson

A lot of people have been asking about the date for this year's Saco Valley Anglers' auction. The date has been set for April 12 and the event will held at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson. As in the past, hot and cold hors d' oeuvres will be served and there will be a cash bar. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the social hour and silent auction. The main event, the live auction, will begin at 7:45 p.m. As always we will have some awesome auction items. Saco Valley Anglers members have been accumulating items since the day after last year's auction. Tickets can be purchased online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at North Country Angler and at the door.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 05:34

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Valley Angler: The coming season

By Bill Thompson

Slowly, but surely we are closing in on spring, opening day for salmon season is only 24 days away. I guess that it is safe to say that ice-out may take a little longer. Fishing fever is starting to spread and judging by the many anglers we talked to this past weekend at the New Hampshire Fly Fishing Show, a lot of people can't wait. I had two emails this week, from folks from away, inquiring about fishing the Saco next week. Sadly, I had to inform them that the prospects were dim. "Wait until Memorial Day," I told them.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 March 2014 06:36

Hits: 717



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