Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fly Fishing New Hampshire: Mad River

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Mad River Facts

Location:  Campton and Waterville Valley NH area.  Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/ufK4y
Fishing Season:  General Rules; January 01 to October 15th. 
Licensed Required:  Part of the Mad River is within the boundaries of the White Mountain National Forest. Throughout our nation, you don't need a fishing license to fish in national parks (please double check this info).  If your not fishing in the national forest, you will need to purchase a general fishing license. 
Floating:  No. This is a small stream.  Professional guide services and DIY (do it yourself).
Walk-Wade: Yes.  There are many sections for DIY walk-wade.  
Entrance Fee: No.
Camping:  Yes.  Think white mountain national forest camping areas, or private campgrounds.
Length:  17.9 Miles 
Origin:  Greeley Ponds, located in Mad River Notch. 
Termination:  Pemigewasset River. 
Access: There are plenty of pull-off's and access points.


Why Fish the Mad River 
    
  • Native Species:  Small Eastern Brook Trout. 
  • Non-Native Species: Rainbow and Brown Trout.
  • Stocked Fish:  NH Fish & Game stocks EBT, and Rainbow and Brown Trout.
  • Structure: A true mountain freestone river (think lots of boulders). Small plunge pools and pocket water created by large boulders. 
  • Location:  From the south,  it's an easy drive up interstate highway 93.  Get off the exit and practically start fishing.
  • Communications: You'll have service in/around the valley.
  • Experience:  In the lower section, in/around the valley, expect crystal clear water and a natural maze of boulders that have been smoothed by water and time.  Beyond the valley, as you hike and fish towards the source, expect thick forest and solitude (fish in this section are very small, but wild).

Stocked Rainbow Trout, caught on a 12ft Tenkara.


How to Fish the Mad River

Option A:  You could hire a licensed guide.  First Cast Fly Fishing and other guides service this river.

Option B:  DIY (Do it Yourself).  If you plan to fish  this section on your own, your best bet is:


  • In my opinion, the river no longer sustains a robust population of wild fish.  Therefore, if you want to increase your chances of catching decent sized fish, following the New Hampshire Fish and Game stocking reports.  
  • Overall, I tend to favor early season fishing. Be mindful of high water, due to snow melt. Typically, as summer approaches, and due to lack of rainfall, water warms and water flow can be low. During warm temps and low water, fish early A.M. and search for deep water and structure. 
  • Fly Rods: 1wt to 4wt should get the job done. I often use my 12ft Tenkara rod.  
  • Fly Line:  No need for sinking lines of any kind.
  • Techniques: You could use a streamer, but I believe this river is ideal for nymphs, and dry fly's (dry-dropper combo is ideal!) 

Final Word


When I have the desire to fish a mountain stream, and if I don't have a lot of time, the Mad River is my first choice. Why?  From my home in southern New Hampshire, this is a quick and easy drive.  I can fish all day, and even explore other nearby rivers, and then be home for dinner.

Thanks for reading.  We hope you enjoyed this post.

Gone Fishing,

Mark
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