The Upper Connecticut Region of New Hampshire is considered one of the prime fly-fishing grounds of the Eastern United States. The headwaters of the mighty Connecticut River rise near the Canadian border. As the river begins its 440-mile route to the sea, it is collected in a series of impoundment lakes. The tail-water dams release the icy cold water into fast-running streams. They are the perfect environment for Brook, Brown, Lake, & Rainbow Trout, as well as Landlocked Salmon to make their way into the river during spring to chase smelt and return in the fall to spawn on their annual spring and fall spawning run.
Sections of the Connecticut River below 1st Connecticut Lake and 2nd Connecticut Lake are reserved for fly fishing anglers only. There are shallow, rocky rapids, quiet backwater pools, and fast-running deep channels. On both banks the native vegetation gives rise to the amazing variety of insect life that provides the main source of food for the voracious fish: Caddisflies, Mayflies, and the Duns. This results in a fly-fishing paradise that results in some of the best fly fishing in New England.
All around us in this pristine section of New Hampshire are lakes and ponds, most open to fishing of all kinds. Starting as a trickle near the Canadian border in Pittsburg, NH, the river forms a chain of the deep, cold-water Connecticut Lakes before flowing some 440 miles south to Long Island Sound. The river has two fly-fishing only sections equating to approximately 6 miles of river. Two tail-water dams provide cold, clean water for miles downstream making the summer fishing on the Connecticut River some of the best in the state. One of which is the “Trophy Stretch” of the Connecticut River begins a mile south of Lopstick. This is a tail-water release, fly fishing only stretch which is famous to anglers from all over.
The river from Lake Francis is also a tail-water release section and will maintain cold water temps for approximately 30 miles downstream. The upper portions of this stretch just below the dam are well known for holding Trophy Brown Trout. As the river flows south it begins to widen and slow down, flowing through pristine farmlands. With steep muddy banks it becomes difficult to wade, and is best fished with a guide from a drift boat or raft. As the river flows further south the water temps warm and become the perfect hunting grounds for Northern Pike & Bass.
Across the state, just over an hours drive from Lopstick Outfitters, the Androscoggin River begins its journey south, flowing out of Umbagog Lake in Errol, NH 169 miles to its mouth at Merrymeeting Bay. The section of the river below the dam in Errol is well known for its fishing and it is home to Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout, as well as Landlocked Salmon. The Androscoggin has many rapids, riffles, and wide meandering stretches, and is a popular river for wade fishing and drift boats. Since this stretch is not a tailwater, the Trout & Salmon fishing is best in the spring/early summer months and late fall. During the summer anglers can still enjoy pursuing both Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass and Eastern Chain Pickerel.
Throughout the Great North Woods Region there are numerous streams that are home to New Hampshire's State Freshwater Fish, the Brook Trout. These beautiful fish usually range in sizes from 3" to 6" and are very opportunistic feeders, eager to take a small dry on the surface. For those who like a little more adventure and want to get away from the more popular fishing locations, small stream fishing is a great option. Grab your 2 or 3 weight fly rod, a backpack, and a map to start following those "Blue Lines".