Hooray! Free fishing days are almost here. Below are the dates for New England.
Mass: June 2nd and 3rd.
RI: May 5th and 6th.
VT: June 9th.
As everyone who reads this should know, I got married last week. Since I spend a lot of time in the woods and I love New England I decided to custom make my wedding ring to suite my tastes. What I ended up with is a New England inspired ring that is made up of a Sugar Maple burl outer with a Moose shed inner. I had it custom made for me by a fantastic craftsman out of Ohio named Chris Peterson. He knows his stuff and helped me pick something just perfect. He does more then rings and if you're in need of anything wood related then ask him, he's very talented. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
After my canoe trip on Saturday I planned a few easy to access fishing spots for Sunday morning for a friend and I. Since I was getting married at 3pm I chose a few spots I knew of, then chose a few spots on the Mill River on Routes 5 and 10. They were simple spots with a pull off by a bridge and walk a few hundred yards in either direction. My alarm clock went off at 4:40am, but I was already awake. I woke up at 3:45am excited to hit the rivers. I jumped out of bed and made sure I had everything. I keep all my fishing gear in my truck anyway so I just needed the camera and a canteen of water. We took off at 5am for northern Mass. My buddy isn’t a trout fisherman at all. He’s a bass fisherman through and through. I gave him a bare 1/8oz Mepps Aglia, which is the “money maker” lure for me. Within minutes he hooked into a good sized trout. Unfortunately (on purpose) I left my camera in my truck so that photo was never taken.....oops. I got the camera and was just in time for another fish. I moved around the brook and missed half a dozen fish on short strikes. At about 8am we decided the fish are no longer fooled by our presentations and we moved on. We traveled to a few spots but the water was to low so we eventually made our way to the Mill River in Whately and Hatfield. I planned 3 stops to fish there. The first stop was promising, I had a few follows but no strikes on the upstream side of the bridge. I walked to the downstream side and that’s where the action was. I had a few follows and finally hooked into a fallfish. A fallfish is the largest fish in the minnow family that can grow up to 3lbs and 20in. Mine was no where near that but he put up a good fight. I walked the banks a bit and saw a submerged tree and knew that was the ticket. I threw the cast and instantly a rainbow was on the line. Very feisty and light colored. Generally light colored rainbows mean they are wild, that’s my guess with this one. Down the bank I caught another fallfish and that was the end of the fishing for us. The second stop proved uneventful for us and the third stop I couldn’t find a place close to park. In total we got 5 fish and had many laughs.
I’ve been trying to get out to the Quinebaug Canoe Trail for a few weeks but haven’t had any luck. The Canoe Trail starts at Holland Pond and travels the Quinebaug River all the way to East Brimfield Lake. The website states that the trail is 5.5 miles from the start to the boat launch at East Brimfield Lake. We traveled about three miles then turned around. I had quite a difficult time locating the area’s to park. The sign at Holland pond reads “East Brimfield Lake”, which is where the problem was. I was trying to get to that parking lot but at a different location. Now that I know we can plan a chase car at the finish of the trail. We paddled about 6 miles total, we essentially went to the East Brimfield Holland Rd bridge and turned around. That was another source of problems. The map on the website doesn’t have the full street names. Outside of bad info, the trail is great. It’s a flat section of water with very little current. The wind direction effects you more than the current. The wind wasn’t to bad today, it was around 12mph but we did get to a couple areas where it was gusty in our face. That’s when the canoe really doesn’t move well. We saw around 50 painted turtles on the trail and we even saw two Sandhill Crane’s. There isn’t much of a fishing opportunity on the trail because the water is very shallow. There are maybe a half dozen spots where it gets deeper, I only saw two fish of any size. I did happen to see thousands of small young bass and panfish. On the trail there are three spots to stop and rest. They are located at 1 mile, 2 miles, and 2.4 miles in. Each area is very well maintained with benches to sit and a fire pit. If you do canoe or kayak the trail make sure you get there by noon on the weekends. The parking lot was full when we got back to the trucks. The Canoe Trail is maintained by the US Army Corp of Engineers.
To visit the Quinebaug Trail click here.
I only had an hour to get out today so I went to a local river. I fished a pool below a dam and ended up with a little Brown Trout on a Wooly Bugger attached to an inline spinner. I waded up river a bit but didn't catch anything of any size. The sun was shining and the air temps made for a perfect day of fishing.
After my Northfield Mountain hike I scouted a couple fishing areas. Since I always keep an ultra light rod in my truck I quickly grabbed it to see how the action was on this new spot. The action was on fire. For small streams and brooks I'm partial to throwing a Joe’s Fly or the inline spinner flies that I built myself, which are around 1/12oz. I used a black and red wooly bugger with a gold blade. I caught 3 brook trout in the short time I was there to scout. I certainly will be back sometime soon.
I wanted to scout out a few fishing area’s in Franklin County so we decided to hike Northfield Mountain. Northfield Mountain is a pumped storage hydroelectric facility owned and operated by FirstLight Power Resources. It’s a four season recreation area with a 10 mile stretch of the Connecticut River and over 25 miles of trails. The trail system is broken up into four colors, three of which follow the skiing difficulty rating. Green is easy, blue is moderate, and black is the most difficult. There is also a red trail which is designated as a hiking and snowshoe trail. I was a bit confused at the trail ratings because green, blue, and black look to be no more than dirt and paved roads that lead all around the property. Red is a hiking trail through the woods, I would think it would be the hardest. There are three scenic area’s on the trail system. Two of them are on the Rose Ledge Trail and the other is an 1100ft summit that overlooks the Northfield Mountain Reservoir. Just past the Reservoir to the East is the Erving State Forest and Hermit Mountain and southeast of the Reservoir is the Wendell State Forest and the Farley Ledges and Boulder field. We’ll get into those Forests on a future post. From the look at the summit of Northfield Mountain you can see Hermit Mountain off in the distance. You could also see the Green Mountain Range, Haystack Mountain, Mt. Snow, Stratton Mountain, the Pisgah Mountain Range, Beers Mountain (may or may not be a mountain of beer), and Crag Mountain.
We started our journey taking the Tooleybush trail to the 10th Mountain trail. The 10th Mountain trail is a power line trail that leads all the way around to the summit. We quickly took the Hemlock Trail to the Rose Ledge Trail which we followed to the top. The Rose Ledge trail breaks off to an upper and lower trail. We chose the upper so we could see the views it had to offer. The views weren’t spectacular but they were a good place to stop for some water and a quick break. As you exit the woods at the top you are greeted by a paved road that makes you wonder why you just didn’t drive up like everyone else. You will quickly realize that driving a paved road up isn’t fun and continue to walk around the “rotary” and come to a bench and a sign that points you to the overlook. The overlook area has a couple picnic tables which would make a good place for a lunch. Today was windy so the lunch would have ended up everywhere except my stomach, so we waited until we got back down to eat our packed lunch. On the way down we switched it up a little and took the Summit Trail down to the West Slope Trail. The West Slop Trail essentially leads us to the Rose Ledge Trail and our way back to the parking lot. In total we hiked 4.23 miles.
I recently picked up a book about covered bridges in New England and decided to go take a look at a local one. I visited the Gilbertville/Ware Bridge. It was built in 1886 and was recently restored to working order again. It's 137' long and 19'10" wide. It's over the Ware River and has been a National Registered Historic Place since 1986.