Sunday, June 28, 2015

New England Fly Fishing Lessons: Cocheco River, New Hampshire

Fly Fishing Lessons: $5 per Hour!

We believe, in order to get more people into the sport of fly fishing, you deserve the very best instruction, at the lowest price possible.  This is why we offer lessons based on a donation only fee system.  In other words, if you have a well paying job, do the right thing by paying the suggested minimum donations.  If money is tight, make a donation that works for you and your family.  It's that simple.

Beginner Casting Class Donation Rates

  • (1) Angler: suggested minimum donation is $20.00 per hour
  • (2-3) Anglers: suggested minimum donation is $10.00 per hour, per person
  • (4-6) Anglers: suggested minimum donation is $5.00 per hour, per person
  • Minimum Course Time: 2 hours
  • Age: Under 12 years old, must be accompanied by an adult  
  • Monday- Sunday

You can read more about our lessons and guiding programs at

Cocheco River Facts

Location:  New Hampshire. Google Maps:
Fishing Season: April to October.  Please visit
Special Rules: Yes.  From October 16th, until the 4th Saturday in April, this is a single hook, catch-n-release fishery.
Licensed Required: Yes, general fishing only.
Floating:  Yes. Walk-Wade. Wet-Wading in summer.
Entrance Fee:  No; however, anglers should strongly consider donating to Three Rivers Stocking Association. For information
Camping: No.
Length: 38.3 Miles.
Origin: Northern Stafford County.
Termination: Piscataqua River, or for some, downtown Dover, NH. 
Fly Rods: 1wt-4wt during mid/late summer. Perhaps, with high water, 5wt early spring.
Fly Lines:  99.9% Floating.
Flies:  Fish are not picky, but we only share this information with our FCFF clients.  

The Cochecho River or Cocheco River is a tributary of the Piscataqua River, 38.3 miles (61.6 km) long,[1] in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It rises in northern Strafford County and runs southeastward, through the town of Farmington and the cities of Rochesterand Dover, where it provides hydroelectric power. Below the center of Dover, the river is tidal and joins the Salmon Falls River at the Maine border to form the Piscataqua.
Cochecho is an Abenaki word believed to mean "rapid foaming water", referring to the river's falls in today's downtown Dover. Settlers adopted the name for the entire river. It is believed that the shift from Cochecho to Cocheco can be traced to a clerical error at the 1827 incorporation of the defunct Cocheco Manufacturing Company.[2] The spelling "Cocheco" was adopted as the official name of the river in a 1911 decision by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The river has also been known as the Dover River.[3]
Significant tributaries include the Ela River, the Mad River, and the Isinglass River.  
Information provided by

Why Fish the Cocheco River
  • Native Species:  American Eel, Chub, Suckers, Pumpkin Seed/Sun Fish, Perch, Golden Shiner, Alewives. Hundreds of years ago, the Cocheco sustained Atlantic Salmon runs.
  • Non-Native Species:  Small Mouth Bass.  In the slow water, I have caught 1-2lbs smallies!
  • Stocked Fish: Rainbow and Brown Trout, and Brook Trout. 
  • Location:  A short drive from all points in southern NH and Boston, MA. 
  • Experience:  There are parts of the Cocheco River that will make you feel as though you are in a different world.  In other words, within minutes of downtown Dover, you may see deer, turkey, beaver, otter, osprey,  ducks, geese, bald eagle's, and heron's.
  • Size: long and wide enough to do some great walk-n-wade fishing; and fish from a kayak or canoe.  In the early stages of spring, the rocky falls may offer class (4) rapids!
  • Structure and Depth:  Varies greatly.
  • Scenery:  If you want New England hardwoods, but don't have time to drive four hours north. 

How to Fish the Cocheco River

Option A: This is our home water, and we actively guide and teach on it.  For beginners, the Cocheco is a great teaching river offering a chance to practice dry and wet fly fishing.  We would be happy to work with you.

  • You can fish for stripers in downtown Dover.
  • From Downtown Dover, up to the Whittier Street bridge, it's best fished by kayak or canoe. Water is slow and holds an abundant amount of warm water species.  Think smallie's on the fly.
  • From the Watson Rd Dam, downstream for about 1 miles, holds both cold and warm water species. 
  • From Watson Rd Dam, heading upstream, expect lots of slow water and a few small runs of fast water.  This section is best fished by kayak and canoe.  Since the dam, located at the Watson Rd bridge prohibits passage, expect warm water species only.

NOTE: To prevent soil erosion and habitat loss, please park in the new parking lot; And, please carry in/out all garbage.  Thank You!

A TRSA stocked Brown Trout. Photo courtesy of R.Hutchins.

Special Rules and Three Rivers Stocking Association (TRSA, is a Non-Profit)

Fact: Without the private stocking done by TRSA, this river would not hold ANY trout.  As a result of the tremendous effort by TRSA and it's legion of supporters, you can now enjoy some great trout fishing.  To protect the stocking efforts by TRSA, NH Fish & Game has implemented special rules. From October 16th, until the 4th Saturday in April, you must use a single hook, and practice catch-n-release methods. Personally, I encourage you to do two things:

  1. If you fish this river, make a donation to TRSA. More info at
  2. Catch and Release 24/7, 365.  Allow other anglers, within your community, to enjoy this resource.   

Final Word:

Enjoy! The Cocheco River is a great mid-sized river that offers both warm and cold water fishing.
Thanks for reading.  We hope you enjoyed reading this post.

Gone Fishing,