Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Over the weekend a good friend and I returned to a part of the state where we spent many days fishing during college. It's an area crisscrossed by wild trout streams and large tracts of protected land. Neither of us had been up there in years. One of our goals was to fool some wild trout by employing tactics we had learned since our last visit. With our blaze orange hats, a lunch-filled backpack and two fly rods each, we set off into the woods. 

It was a perfect late autumn day with air temps in the mid-50's and a water temperature of 46. The stream flow was a little lower than ideal, but still very fishable. A seine net sample in the first pool revealed a healthy array of trout food to imitate. As always we both had high hopes starting off, but neither of us would have guessed how hard we would have to work to see a few wild fish. 

Memories of great battles, won and lost, came roaring back with every bend of the stream. We swore that every pool that we stopped at held trophy fish, though none dumb enough to fall for our imitations. The native brook and wild brown trout found here are wary creatures--there is not as much traffic here compared to other small streams in Connecticut. And the thick brush and overhanging limbs sure make a proper presentation a challenging task.

We enjoyed a spread of cheese and crackers at a spot once dubbed Champagne Pool. The a fallen tree once stretched bank to bank here causing the bubbling white water that gave its name. The lay down was now gone, but the new set up consisted of a beautiful shelf perfect for nymphing. When this run didn't cough up a fish, we realized we were in for a long day. It wasn't for the lack of trying either--we busted out all the tricks in the book and a few dozen different fly patterns.  

A few hours into the trip, I finally broke the skunk with a yearling brown trout that fell to a yellow prince nymph, perhaps mistaking it for the golden stoneflies we encountered while sampling. It wasn't in the size-class we were after, but it felt good knowing there were still fish to be found!  We ate lunch at the same pool and soon began the long walk back to the car, stopping at a few old favorite pools along the way. 

Upon reaching the final stop of the day, Aaron made a last ditch effort using a fly that had brought so many fine trout to the net here in the past; a black Woolly Bugger. In a very fitting way to end a great day, he fooled a marvelous native brookie on the old classic pattern. It was awesome reconnecting with a special place after so many years had gone by. 

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