White Mountain Brook Trout
While others anglers dread the dog days of summer here in the White Mountain of New Hampshire I secretly await them like a kid waits for Christmas, the big rivers shut down as the water temps rise, but the high mountain trickles remain icy cold and clear under a canopy of Maple and Fir, perfect territory for Brook Trout. Generally, when anglers talk of chasing brookies in the White Mountains, they are talking about doing so in things that most would call a stream. Head uphill a few miles and three or four tributaries removed and you find what I enjoy. Little blue lines on the map missed in the blink of an eye if you were to walk by.
Some of my spots depart from popular trails on well-travelled peaks. When it’s time to depart the well-trodden tracks and head to my trickle, a quick look up and down the trail to be sure the coast is clear, it’s then a mad scramble to descend to my goal and the cool solitude it offers. I can be fishing as close as 50 yards from well used trails and no one would ever guess that brook trout and I were so close.
You don’t catch 10” brookies up here, because no one ever comes up here and because brook trout just don’t get that big this far up. Anything that hits 8” gives you bragging rights, but better to just smile and never tell. These little trickles draining the highest White Mountain peaks, cascade through sweating rocks, into crystal clear pools some no bigger than a bathtub. A 7’ 7” 2 is my weapon of choice, over lined with a 3 weight line to take in to account the short-range casting that is the reality of this type of fishing. Tackle is simple, a spool of 6x Fluorocarbon Tippet in your pocket and a small box of mainly foam beetles and hair winged caddis, one day I’ll break down and empty my box of everything else, but for now, the other patterns offer a used security blanket. A well-planned trip will have you stashing a beer in the first pool ready for your return.
So clear are these pockets of liquid crystal that you can watch in awe as a 6-incher darts from under a rock to attack your beetle. Each fish landed is a treasure savored, colors radiate as sharp as can be, yet back in the water they soon become a dark shadow and then disappear.
Like many things that are special, trickles are delicate and while a delight to fish, overindulgence can damage what you love the most. I treasure my blue lines and ration myself to fishing the same section to just a few times a year. With so many to sample this is not the hardship, it may appear. I’ve yet to meet another angler on these little no-name dribbles and I hope to keep it that way. Besides who would come this far for a few tiddlers anyway? Just think of all those big rivers down in the valley stuffed with big fish, that’s where you should head not here.