Upper Merrimack Riddle - Fly Fishing Forum
Warmwater flyfishing Bass, pike and even muskies in your backyard

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Old 07-28-2003, 02:16 PM
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Lefty Lefty is offline
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Upper Merrimack Riddle

With the salt slow I decided to take my son and a neighbors boy out warmwater fishing. I had the idea to try something new. I had heard (that's always trouble) about great bass fishing in ther upper Merrimack. For us Mass. folks, that usually means anywhere above the Essex dam in LAwrence. So I sniffed out a nice little launch in Chelmsford and slid the boat in without the butt plug. After bailing out the 20 gallons of water we were off. Right away I was awe struck at the beauty of the river between Lowell and the N.H. state line. Clean water, much wildlife, and incredible bass cover. Almost every inch of miles of shoreline dotted with submerged boulders and sunken trees. The long and the short of it: couldn't buy a fish. Had many strikes by smaller fish. But I threw everything at them for flies (except clousers, doh!). The boys were spinning with topwater and rubber worms, bass assasins. Nada. What gives? Everything was perferct for a monumental bassin evening.Any local wisdom? Wind was SW, beautfiful summer eve. ???

Lefty
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:40 PM
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Dble Haul Dble Haul is offline
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When this happens, there's usually one or two things going on.

First, this time of year the sizable bass can be very nocturnal. You may have been hitting them right on the head with your flies and they just weren't active, or you were hitting cover that they would be using after dark and just weren't there yet.

Second, and more common, when every inch of the shore looks like it should hold fish because of the cover you're seeing, it's time to actually ignore the cover. What's that saying...90% of the fish are in 10% of the water? If everything looks great, then there's still going to be a lot of water that looks like it should hold fish but actually doesn't. That's when you forget about the cover and start looking at changes in depth and bottom contour. The biggest concentrations of fish will be at great cover that accompanies these changes.

One more thought...if the water levels have been dropping in the river, that can put the fish off for a while too. I'm not sure what the prevailing conditions were in that vein, but it's another potential candidate. I experienced it a short while ago on a usually reliable area of the CT River.

Whatever the reasons, it sounds like a nice stretch of river. Hope you get out there again with better results.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:46 PM
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. . . and sometimes they just aint bitin'! :hehe:

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Old 07-29-2003, 08:24 AM
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Thanks DBL. Good points to consider. Q, I'll fix you at the Boneclave.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:32 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
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Terry, maybe the fish moved to NH for lower taxes, or cheap booze!

Actually, with the rivers running higher than average this year I think that the fish are more dispersed than usual for this time of year. The last 2 years had low water that concentrated the fish in a comparatively few spots. It makes for a heck of a contrast on one of the tributaries of the mack I fish regularly.
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