A SUCCESSFUL angler often understands the relationship between fish and the world they live in. This complex system, often referred to as ecology, is crucial to catching fish.
The variables of life are vast and everything from preferred food sources to seasonal habitat preference have an impact on fishing in New Hampshire. At a level just below this scientific certainty can be found the less-proven traits of conjecture and anecdotal observation.
Finally, settling at the bottom of this scale but practiced more than any other is good old-fashioned B.S.
I try to utilize all of these in my personal approach to angling and apply them evenly to many of my adventures. When I have a great day on the water, I try to offer a solid explanation based on science and experience. If my day is more of average success, I use a simple colloquium such as “wind from the East, fish bite the least,” or something similar. When I experience a day of outright failure, I take the final, desperate approach and seek to place blame on something as insignificant as not wearing my lucky hat.
Over the years, I have observed a direct relationship between Brook Trout and beavers that warrants further explanation. My favorite trout fishing is often small streams where beautiful brookies swim in pools and undercut banks. It is no secret that beavers create aquatic habitat where it might not otherwise exist and their role in expanding fishing opportunities seem clear.
To investigate further, it must be noted that beaver ponds/impoundments trap not only water, but many of the nutrients necessary for fish to grow larger than they would otherwise.
In short, I feel like beavers and I are working together to make the world a better place for Brook Trout. They set ‘em up and I knock ‘em out –- metaphorically speaking, of course. I don’t exactly knock them out but, rather, release them gingerly into the water I found them in. More accurately, I enjoy the experience of exploring a system perforated with small streams and still beaver ponds. I can catch fish in the fast moving current on a heavy nymph, and cast a dry fly on the still water of the pond. I find this type of fishing irresistible.
The brooks that connect these ponds are much different from clear, cobbled streams of a higher gradient. They are instead slower, warmer, and carry a bit more sediment, giving the water a darker color. It is best not to step in them as mud will rise and signal a suspicious presence to the weary fish. The ponds are also different from a glacier-formed water body lined with solid rock. They are often very small, less than an acre, and quite shallow. It is again not advisable to step in them as things will get muddy very quickly.
The final selling point of these beaver ponds and connecting streams is that they are constantly changing — so frequently, in fact, that you will never see them on a map. I may fish a system for two or three summers only to find it gone the next. Beavers die, they move on, and dams break.
In contrast, these busy creatures are always moving into new areas. They are looking for water and unknowingly create awesome fishing experiences for a simple guy like me with an admittedly average understanding of the ecology that surrounds me.