My Home River
It must have been just a dreadful sight the year after Mr. Lowell built the Essex dam. The mighty Merrimac was a substantial salmon river and there would have been many thousands tiring in vein to reach the headwaters in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I like to think of her as my home river.
For six years in the 1980's I spent every free hour during the run between Haverhill and the Essex Dam in Lawrence Massachusetts. Mid May until the first week of July. The results were this one fish. That was the last time I have wet a line for bright salmon on the river.
I am responding to this thread because I want to let everyone who reads it understand that the numbers of salmon in the river are extremely small. In addition, during the run the numbers of places to fish are minimal due to mountain run off and rain. This river fishes extremely large and it took me years of searching to learn but a few of the holding spots. This is clearly not a viable fishery.
Now, in addition to the possible loss of the program for brights due to funding, will be the loss of the brood stock fish. These brood stock fish, that range from 3 to 12 or more pounds, are stocked in the Pemigewasset and Merrimack during the spring and fall. Strictly for angling pleasure. Bristol N.H. has some of the finest looking Atlantic salmon water I have ever seen. It is a place of great imagination of what the past must have been.
I have heard of these fish finding their way down below Lawrence. Juro, if you had a bright fish take it would mean that it didn't find the ladder. I am only speculating but I do hope that is what is holding there. They act very much like bright fish and can scream line. They take a fly on the swing just like the real thing.
I would like to believe that down stream passage would be the answer to the rivers returns. I now believe that what is lost will never be regained. If we could get DNA of a Merrimac river fish we might have a chance. But the fact is that Mr. Lowell in all his wealth and ambition was mindless of Salars future.
I go to the river to clear my mind. I take from the river what flows by as each moment becomes history. The thoughts of my home river are reflected in time. My age is a harsh reality as I look at this photo.