FREE FLY-FISHING COURSE OFFERED June 23-24
OUTDOORS and FREE with Bob Harris: An upcoming two-day workshop in Haverhill, New Hampshire offers beginners a chance to learn about the timeless sport of fly-fishing. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s “Let’s Go Fishing” Program is teaming up with the Haverhill Recreation Department to host a fly-fishing course on Saturday, June 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, June 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Haverhill Recreation Department. There is no charge for the instruction, but class space is limited and registration will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up or to get more information, call the Haverhill Recreation Department at (603) 787-6096
The class is open to anyone age 13 or older. However, those age 13 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Class space is limited and registration will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.
The course is primarily designed for first-time fly-fishers (male or female). The workshop will cover the basics of equipment, fly-casting, stream ecology, knot-tying, safety and how to find those “hot spots” along New Hampshire’s rivers and lakes. On Sunday, the class will pull on waders and head out to a local pond to put their newly learned skills to the test.
Over the past 10 years, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s “Let’s Go Fishing” Program has taught thousands of children and adults to be safe, ethical and successful anglers. This program is federally funded through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.
Fly-fishing is a great sport and one you’ll love to participate in. My friend, John Stevens of Vermont, introduced me to this way of fishing many years ago while I was visiting he and his wife. It was so much fun and I was amazed at the trout I caught on flies, that when I got back home, I purchased my first fly-rod and reel. Although I had bought some flies to use, I felt the sport would be more exciting if I caught the fish on flies that I myself had tied. It was then that I took fly-tying lesson from Bill Hunter, of then Hunter’s Fly Shop, in New Boston, New Hampshire in the early 1970s. The shop closed many years ago and I miss it.
Tying my own flies made a great difference. In addition to making my fly-fishing time even more exciting, it also helped me stop smoking and drinking which greatly improved my life style and marriage. I met many wonderful people who also enjoy the sport of fly-fishing, including professional fly-fishing instructors and fly-tiers, such as Marla Blaire, Bob Mitchell, Jack Gartside and others.
One of my greatest times of fly-fishing was back in New Hampshire’s Coho Salmon days in the 1970s and 80s. These salmon were awesome fish to catch, especially with various fly patterns. Coho spawn in freshwater rivers. Although they die after spawning, their young will finally leave the river and go out to sea. They grow rapidly, spending two years in the saltwater, and then return in the fall to spawn in the freshwater rivers from which they came..
However, our returning adult coho salmon where taken to the Milford Fish Hatchery when they returned to the fish ladders of the Lamprey River, in Newmarket, as well as other coastal rivers. They were stripped of their eggs for hatching. Then the adult salmon were brought back to the Lamprey and other rivers and put into their freshwater sections. This gave anglers a really great opportunity to catch them. It was a wonderful opportunity for those who enjoyed fly-fishing to catch these monster fish in their beautiful spawning color of red.
This gave us an opportunity to fish freshwater sections of the rivers from October through part of December. The salmon weighed anywhere from 10 to over 15 pounds. I eventually realized that the best fly-fishing success for catching them lay in using bright colored fly patterns. I innovated a fly I named the Orange Sleeve Fly and the Green Sleeve Fly. My friend, Andy Bisson, and I tried the flies in the upper Lamprey River and had very good success. On one of our trips to the River in early November, I caught a 13 pound male coho on the Orange Sleeve fly pattern. that took twenty minutes to finally land. It made me one happy fly-fisherman.
Bob Harris can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org