Monday, May 28, 2012

Sticking To Your Guns Part-2

A few hours after we parted ways on his birthday, we decided that another trip was in order.  We chose the very next day.  I like to have a few hours to plan spots to take him, but this was short notice so I whipped together a few places.  I took him to the East Branch of the Swift River in Petersham for the first stop.  I got to bed at 1am and woke up at 3:47am because I was excited to go.  Somehow I fell back asleep and was up at 4:40am when my alarm went off.  He arrived at my house a little before 5:00am and we were off.  We got to the water at about 6:00am and the fish were active.  We saw rising trout everywhere.  I stuck to my guns and put on a Parachute Adams and he chose to fish a nymph.  My third cast out I landed a brown trout on the surface.  This is how a day should start!  Little did I know that it was my last fish of the day.  As I was retying the fly he fished upstream a little of the pool I caught the fish and he landed two brown’s of his own.  He said he landed two, I only saw one.  We know how those fish stories grow don’t we.  Next week he’ll tell me he landed five.  He decided to walk downstream and fish a larger pond area to see if there were any lunkers, there wasn’t.  Well, there wasn’t any that wanted what he was offering.  I continued to fish around that pool, without any takers.  We then headed to another area of the East Branch of the Swift a little farther downstream.  We parked close to a closed bridge and fished upstream.  This was a great location because it was shaded, quiet, and secluded.  I missed a fish when we arrived there, which gave me some false confidence that the dry fly was going to work.  He waded upstream and caught another brown behind a large boulder.  He cast upstream and when it passed the boulder the trout attacked.  The exact spot you’d think the trout would be.  I waded up and had no luck on the dry fly, it wasn’t until we turned around to come back that I finally gave up and put on a wooly bugger.  I casted out a few times on the way back to the truck but had no takers.  In hindsight I should have put on the wooly bugger a few hours after that first fish.  When it came down to it the nymph outperformed the dry fly at least 2:1.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sticking To Your Guns Part - 1

As you’ve read, I’ve been catching many trout on a dry fly lately.  Once you catch trout on a dry fly, you want more and more and more until it clouds your judgement.  Yesterday was a friends birthday and he wanted to go fishing.  Far be it from me to disappoint a friend on his birthday, so of course I went fishing.  I took him to the section of the Scantic River that I’ve had good dry fly action.  We fished that section for a couple of hours and I couldn’t get a trout to take my dry fly if my life depended on it.  I had a few rises but once they got a closer look they passed on my feather and thread meal.  I caught zero trout he caught two brown’s on a nymph.  He gave up the dry when it wasn’t working and tossed a nymph near some downed tree’s.  We moved up river a few miles to another spot we have fished many times.  I gave him the prime spot, it was his birthday after-all, and I waded up stream.  As I get 50 yds. upstream he pulls out a feisty brookie........on a nymph.  I walked back and fished the same pool as he moved down river, no luck for me.  We waded downstream a quarter of a mile then walked back to the vehicles to visit one last area.  This last area is where I had water in my waders a few weeks back.  I could see trout rising and I stuck to my guns.  I casted and casted and casted in a pool until finally I hooked into a brown trout.  Somehow in my mind I accepted that it was all worth it to catch that fish on a dry fly.  We called it a day and each headed home.  Deep down I knew I should put the dry fly away, but............

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Race Brook Falls Hiking

My next trip was to the Race Brook Falls, which are within the Mt. Everett State Reservation in Sheffield.  These falls are unique because there are five of them, all of which are unique.  They are unique because you get what you put into it.  If you want to see just the lower falls then it’s only a little over a half mile.  If you want to visit them all it’s almost 4 miles total.  The lower falls drop around 100 ft. within a hemlock grove. The second and third waterfalls are a 30 ft. drops of horsetails and cascades.  If you wade through the brook on the second falls you can lean up against the near vertical wall as the water splashes down.  Just bring a biodegradable bar of soap and have yourself a unique natural shower.  The fourth waterfall is generally the hardest to get to but it’s a great reward.  It’s a gorgeous 60 ft. horsetail when water is high.  The fifth and last waterfall takes some bushwacking to get to and is only 15 ft. tall.  Generally the flow isn’t that great as it’s higher up in the mountainside.  Each waterfall is a sight to behold for their own reasons.  One word of caution, keep any eye out for Timber Rattlesnakes as they are in the park.  If you don’t mess with them they won’t mess with you.  Just keep an eye out.  The parking lot is very easy to get to, it's right on Route 41 between South Egremont and the Connecticut line.

Click here to go to the Mt. Everett State Reservation.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Campbell Falls Hiking

I decided to recently visit the four best waterfalls in MA (more on that later).  First up on my trip was the Campbell Falls.  The Campbell Falls is located within the Campbell Falls State Park, which is in Connecticut.  The falls itself is located in New Marlborough Mass.   The hike is very short and easy, 10 minutes at best.  The falls consist of the Whitney River plunging and cascading 50’ through a tight gorge.  Quite a spectacular site, especially after a couple days of rain.  It’s fairly easy to get to, just take Campbell Falls Rd, a dirt road, and follow it until you see a chain link fence.  There is no huge sign for it just a small sign on a tree.  Look for the fence and you can’t miss it.  This is the best waterfall in the state, in my opinion.  It’s usually not packed, like Bash Bish Falls, and the way it zig zags as it falls is something that should be seen by everyone.  It takes a bit to get to since it’s not directly off a highway but if you go you won’t regret it.


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scantic River Dry Fly Fishing

I took another trip to the Scantic River this morning.  This time much farther downstream and virtually unknown to myself.  It took all of 15 seconds to realize that the trout wanted nothing to do with my wooly bugger and were feeding on dry flies on the surface.  I tied on a Parachute Adams with a bobber 6’ up the line for casting weight.  I missed a brown trout but hooked him the second time.  Unfortunately the fly was starting to sink and I couldn’t dry it enough to float.  I also didn’t have any floatant to put on so I was forced to switch flies after each fish.  The second fly up was an Orange Stimulator.  First cast with  this fly and I connected on another brown trout.  I decided to try a fly that hasn’t seen the light of day in 15 years.  It was a Royal Wulff my dad.  It was aged, like a fine wine, but did the job.  I tied it on and cast it out and caught another brown trout.  I dug around his fly box for another fly to tie on. This time it was an Adams.  It took a little longer with the Adams but another brown trout made it to the net.  After the fourth fish I waded out of the river and went home.  I caught two browns on flies I bought from Orvis last year and two browns caught on flies tied by my dad 15 years ago.  Not a bad morning on the river.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Part Fisherman, Part Fisheries Management

I made my way back to the Scantic River a few days ago before dinner time.  I fished for about an hour total.  The first fish was caught right under a bridge.  The trout was short striking so I slowed down the retrieve and hooked up on the third try.  Much like last time it was a brown trout.  I saw that there were fish taking flies off the surface on the other side of the water so I walked down by a dam and waded upstream.  I got to a submerged log and noticed there was a brook trout swimming in circles.  It looked like a fish with whirling disease, which would have been a disaster.  I watched the fish for a few minutes and finally noticed it was hooked and wrapped around a log.  Who knows how long it was there but I netted the fish and removed the hook.  It took a little effort but it swam off without a problem.  I told myself I'd leave after five more casts, within that time I landed another brown trout.  After that I waded back downstream to go back to the truck when I thought I’d hit a pool of water for a few casts.  To my shock I landed a.......pickerel! What the hell is a pickerel doing here!  I removed him from the water and picked a few wild flowers for the wife and was on my way for dinner.  It’s really great to have a river a couple minutes from my house.  I can get out and fish for short periods of time whenever I want, which would otherwise be wasted doing house chores.  I'd suggest everyone look at a local river/brook/stream and go try it out, you might be surprised.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chest Waders and Brown Trout

I took another trip to the local river today.  The water level was down compared to last week, but I still wore my chest waders.  I noticed a newly formed slack pool caused by a tree that was pushed down river last week and cast to that first.  I was somewhat rewarded.  I caught a fish, but it wasn’t a trout.  It was another fallfish.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy catching them, I do, but the fallfish is a boring looking fish.  You can’t admire it like you can a trout.  I fished a few more spots then went to the bridge.  I waded in knee deep and that’s when it started.  I ended up catching five or six brown trout.  They ranged from 11” to 14” and were all caught on a gold inline spinner with a wooly worm.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Small River and High Water

A friend had a few hours to spare so we went to a local river for some fishing.  When we arrived it was at flood level due to the week long rain.  My normal fish holding spots were mostly useless because of the strong current.  Of course I chose to wear my hip waders and I think we all know where this is going.  We fished a few hours downstream to various spots.  I ended up catching one small brown trout and three fallfish.  The trout was tucked away behind a rock and the fallfish were all in a slow pool next to cover on the edge.  Once we got a quarter of a mile down the river we decided to walk back to the vehicles and drive to another spot.  I haven’t fished this next section of the river, but it looked very good.  There were a few deep pools with submerged logs I tried to get to.  I successfully hooked into a log and the fun started.  I waded out to within half an inch of the top of my waders and could reach the fly when a slight stumble let gallons of water into my waders, you’d be surprised at how quickly they fill up.  The water felt barely over 50 degrees but it did warm up while in my waders.  A few moments later our time was up and we each went our own separate ways.  My way was to a dry pair of pants and socks and he went back to work.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Always wear my chest waders.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tips: Two By Two Fire

Here is a short but VERY handy tip to remember.  When starting a fire we need enough "fuel" for it to start and burn.  Just remember the phrase Two by Two.  Use two handfuls of tinder and two hatfuls of kindling.  That should be enough to get a fire started and keep it going while adding larger pieces to it.