Tine for the Upper Merrimac!
[New England - April 2000]
This is the time for hitting the upper Merrimac River in NH for adult salmon! The river from Franklin south to Sewalls Falls offers great opportunities for hooking atlantics (sometimes exceeding 20 pounds).
Some of you may have seen the video footage at the Wilmington Show, where director John Greenwood explained some of the ins and outs. He is a true steward of the restoration program and a wealth of information on the topic. If you get a chance to attend the seminars held at the Fish and Game office periodically, I recommend it.
NH offers maps with access points to the river. Flies and presentation are similar to atlantics in Canadian rivers, but recently flourescent bunny / zonker and marabou patterns have won the favor of local anglers. Another classic favorite is the mickey finn. I have had luck with steelhead patterns geared toward early season fish. (Special tags are required to retain brood salmon).
Although they are not the adults returning from the sea, they are impressive fish and have been instrumental in inspiring many anglers to support restoration of salmon in the region. According to Greenwood, last year was a good year for ocean run salmon with over 200 adults re-entering the river to spawn. Although some years have much worse return stats, the hope is that the fishery will someday rebound to something that reflects it's historic past as a major atlantic salmon river.
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