Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day of Firsts

Long overdue, I brought my wife to the West Branch Farmington River recently for her first taste of fly fishing. I wanted her intial experience on the river to be a good one--warm sun, moderate flows, cooperative fish...but you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Conditions were tough. It was a chilly morning and the river was higher and colder than normal due to a dam release from the swollen reservoir. We went over basic nymphing mechanics and Mosey got the gist of it pretty quickly. With a few backyard sessions and another trip or two to the Farmington, she will be giving Joe Humphreys a run for his money.  The fishing wasn't easy, but Aaron managed a nice Survivor brown trout on a homemade golden stone after we left, which Tommy captured perfectly with an underwater photo during its release.

Mosey being a trooper in tough conditions. (Photo credit: Aaron Swanson)

The orange elastomer tag over this trout's left eye indicates that it was stocked last spring. (Photo credit: Tommy Baranowski)

We had better luck out of the water. On the walk back to the Jeep, a spring delicacy revealed itself as fiddleheads were poking out from the detritus. I've heard my uncle talk about how tasty they are, but I've always found them too late. Fiddleheads don't just grow anywhere and their locations are closely guarded for good reason. There is a small window in New England each spring to harvest the ferns before they unfurl.  I snipped a Ziploc-bag worth for a family dinner that night. We cleaned, blanched, then sautéed them for three minutes in a little butter, garlic and olive oil. It was only a small serving, but everyone around the table ate their first fiddleheads that day. They were extremely delicious and tasted that much better knowing where and when they were picked.


  1. The fiddleheads should be just right this weekend here at Mid-coast Maine..can't wait for my first batch!

  2. Thanks for reading, penbayman. I hope you found your fiddleheads!

  3. Fiddleheads! Looks divine...in all that butter! I grew up on a farm, and I agree...there is nothing like knowing where your food comes from -- makes it taste exponentially better...

    Great blog!