Category Archives: New England

The Pilgrims landed here, the first shots of the American Revolution were fired here, the Second Industrial Revolution kicked off here and these same people saved the Union during the Civil War. New England’s chilly crystal clear waters and massive forests create some of the best trout fishing East of the Mississippi. The rivers once heavily polluted by logging, dams and industry are returning to their natural states. These pages are dedicated to the hunt for Trout in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and the rest of New England.

Knobby Tires and Bass

Post Mills Airport Circa 2008
Post Mills Airport Circa 2008

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Robert Frost ~ excerpt from, “The Road Less Traveled”

Me with my XT 600 circa 2008
Me with my XT 600 circa 2008

The inaugural summer trip I took up to Vermont was in August of 2008 with my good friend Brandon. I always used to go up to this scenic paradise for snowboarding and skiing but not for summer time fun. By 2008, I had largely wrapped up the most difficult part of graduate school and again had time to start Fly Fishing and begin Dual Sport Riding again. In my college years, we completed many dirt miles on the rural roads of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Vermont exists on a whole different level of riding because of their unique Class IV seasonal roads.

Brandon on the trail with both of our bikes circa 2008.
Brandon on the trail with both of our bikes circa 2008.

So much has changed since our first trip up to Vermont. New houses, new jobs, new bikes, new people, marriages and now babies! However, Post Mills, Lake Fairlee, the surrounding forests and hills, they are timeless. The airport, the lake, trails, the hills and mountains it is all there each time you make it back.

The motorcycle gang.
The motorcycle gang Summer 2015.

During this trip we rented out a cottage on the lake for ourselves instead of staying at the airport. This new development made access to fishing on the lake much improved. Fly Fishing for warm water and cool water species is quite excellent in Lake Fairlee. The lake features some prominent drop offs and extensive shallow weed beds, which lend themselves quite well for fly-fishing.

Brandon and Nicole on the TW 225.
Brandon and Nicole on the TW 225.

Fly Fishing For Bass

Brandon paddles up the Middle Brook.

Brandon paddles up the Middle Brook.

A lake is a vast expanse of water to read, comprehend and adequately explore for fish with a fly rod. However by working with the limitations of basic fly gear and Bass habitat you can reduce the size of the problem to a manageable puzzle. Fly gear will be most effective around structure in less than ten feet of water, near to the shore or weed beds.

Nice Smallmouth caught on the fly.
Nice Smallmouth caught on the fly.

Fly Fishing for bass is better in the early morning, late evenings or cloudy days. All of these factors contribute to bring Bass nearer to the surface and within reach of your fly tackle. If you fish near shore in the early mornings, late evenings or cloudy days, you should be able to rip a few ‘ole bucket mouths from the lake.

Fly Tackle For Lake Bass

I have fished with everything from 4WT to 8WT for Bass and other warm or cool water species. My favorite rod to use is my 7WT St. Croix Bank Robber, a rod designed to throw the heavier flies and streams that Bass like to eat. This rod equipped with weight forward Rio 7WT line and a Sage reel is a Bass lip ripper for sure. Alternatively, I have fished an 8WT Cabela’s salt-water rod and a 6WT Scott Radian, all function great, however, my preference if for the 7WT streamer rod.

St. Croix 7WT Bankrobber
St. Croix 7WT Bankrobber

Fish Tales

Every cottage needs a one of these for home defense.
Every cottage needs a one of these for home defense.

The ride up to Vermont on Friday afternoon and evening was a long and soggy one. After departing work at around 4PM, I loaded the GMC 2500 and started driving. The rain I hit around Troy, NY certainly slowed me down as I drove through the Green Mountains in the pitch black. I did not arrive at the lake house until around 11:30PM. I suspected that as these rainstorms cleared, it would yield postfrontal conditions and negatively impact Bass fishing in the morning, I was proven incorrect.

When this is your window, its easy to get up in the morning.
When this is your window, its easy to get up in the morning.

After staying up late imbibing as the rest of the team arrived, we all hit the sack in the wee morning hours. Fortunately, the beautiful sunrise over the lake awoke me from my slumber and once I paddled out across the placid waters my head cleared and I was focused on the watery depths. I allowed to canoe to blow into a cove and quickly tied on my Thin Mint fly and some tapered Bass Leader.

Rock Bass
Rock Bass

This was to be my best day for fishing, the sun rising, burning off the fog; fish after fish chasing my fly. Mornings like these are why men and women have traveled to Vermont to escape for hundreds of years. For the hour and a half I stole away to fish, I landed ten fish and missed countless more. Of these fish, one was my first pickerel on the fly! A little fourteen-inch predator that came tearing out of a weed bed and took some line off of my reel.

No shortage of Perch on Lake Fairlee.
No shortage of Perch on Lake Fairlee.

The fish in Lake Fairlee were in post spawn hunger mode with a few stragglers remaining on nests. These conditions paired with the low light of sunrise and sunset bode well for catching a variety of fish, especially Smallmouth Bass. We were able to get out on the canoe or the rowboat equipped with a 6HP outboard every day until Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Eurasian Milfoil removal team interrupted our Tuesday morning fishing. Eurasian Milfoil is a highly invasive plant to North America that finds its way into lakes through non-cleaned boating gear. It is common in publicly accessible lakes and must be removed mechanically or with special herbicide. Always make sure your boat is dry and free of weeds or other debris when moving from lake to lake.

The Yellow Brick Road

Dave motors down the trail.
Dave motors down the trail.

One morning in 1940 New England, the entire population of a town, 572 souls walked up a winding logging trail into the wilderness and was never seen again. Or so says the fictional account of the American gothic style horror movie, “The Yellow Brick Road.” Exploring class IV roads of Vermont, it is not difficult to see the inspiration for this movie and others of the genre. Scattered along the trails and abandoned roads you will find in Vermont’s highlands stone foundations and cemeteries nestled deep in reforested pastures. Many of these farms were abandoned during the civil war, the owners or children who never returned from their crusade to preserve the Union.

It is easy to lose track of where you are, always carry a paper atlas.
It is easy to lose track of where you are, always carry a paper atlas.

Over the years, dual sport riding in the Green Mountain State we have experienced varieties of gnarly conditions. Be it massive mud puddles, logging roads that terminate at seemingly insurmountable rock faces, beaver dams in the middle of trails or off the grid hermit cabins inhabited by residents that don’t take kindly to visitors. Being out here on the trail is surreal and disappearing into the dense forest seems remotely possible. In fact, I recall one time while riding east of Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Brandon and I took a turn onto what we thought would be a semi-improved road. Several hours later around dusk, we finally made it off of this over ten-mile logging trail. “Trail” is a generous term for the animal path we were riding on.

Contemplating how to cross the mud hole.
Contemplating how to cross the mud hole.

Bike Troubles Resolved

Skirting the side of a mud puddle.
Skirting the side of a mud puddle.

Up to this year’s trip, the last time I had my bike running proper was right after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. That trip was fun, however in regards to dual sport riding it was somewhat of a failure. The XT 600 was all re built in October of 2012 and that trip was the maiden voyage. That year, the cards were not in favor of the XT’s operation, the stator shit the bed within minutes of cranking the ole girl up. Running on battery alone we made it about 15 miles before the bike needed a pickup truck ride home.

Brandon and I taking a break on the trails.
Brandon and I taking a break on the trails.

Fast-forward to today, three years later, one stator, one voltage regulator and a starter solenoid for good measure and the XT 600 is purring like it is 1992. Twenty-three years have passed since my father purchased this bike brand new from Action Cycle in Metuchen, NJ. This trip was an endurance test of all of the repairs we have completed to get this bike up and running like new again.

Some of the creepier things we find out in the woods.
Some of the creepier things we find out in the woods.

All told, we completed 91 miles of trail and class IV road riding over the four days. We did an additional 21 miles of improved road riding. Now this may not seem like many miles, however, when a 30-mile trail ride takes you four or five hours, it is an incredible amount of riding. I believe this was an adequate test of the XT’s abilities for now. When I get home, I fully intend to take her out again to explore some local terrain.

Dave and the mud.
Dave and the mud.

Bald Top

How do I get out of this?
How do I get out of this?

Each and every time we get out on our favorite familiar trails we try and locate new challenges and roads not taken. Without fail you tend to locate a new area to explore or a trail to try or even a hidden lake or historical oddity. This time we found the ATV/ Snowmobile trail up to Bald Top Mountain.

About as far as I was able to go on Bald Top.
About as far as I was able to go on Bald Top.

The trail started with a deep-water crossing caused by a beaver’s engineering handiwork. The trail continued to slowly meander around the base of Bald Top, gaining altitude as it went. There was a large rock, standing out against the landscape, which we had to crest, intimidating at first, not so much when you arrived at the top. The real trouble lay ahead, as we started to ascend Bald Top, the trail developed into a rocky and muddy path.

After all the rain, you can always expect mud puddles.
After all the rain, you can always expect mud puddles.

Brandon made it about 25% of the way up the final ascent, I was not ready to begin the real ascent and held down at the base. After a little bit of walking around and evaluating the various options, we decided this was a puzzle better solved on our next trip.

New Additions

Admiring the forest.
Admiring the forest.

This Vermont adventure was unique in that it was the first trip we have taken with Brandon and Nicole’s new addition Wyatt! Also with us riding dual sport bikes was Dave and his wife Carly. Out there fishing and paddling with me was Bob who was also accompanied by his wife Steph and son Logan. This was one of the larger crowds since we attended the Vermonster back in 2011.

Bob with a Bucket Mouth.
Bob with a Bucket Mouth.

All in all it was an excellent trip and I cannot wait to go back again!

Happy couple Brandon and Nicole enjoying a break on Potato Hill Road.
Happy couple Brandon and Nicole enjoying a break on Potato Hill Road.
We've been riding buddies since high school.
We’ve been riding buddies since high school.

The North Country

Exploring

Maine has wolves, this one had the misfortune of being on display at L.L. Bean.
Maine has wolves, this one had the misfortune of being on display at L.L. Bean.

MKFF last visited the wilds of Maine during a 2011 float trip with Fly Fishing guide Kate Farnham. Depending on where you are headed to in Maine, the drive is in excess of seven hours, a distance by any measure. It would be quicker and simpler via floatplane, bush plane or some other awesome means of transportation.  Having not attained enough wealth at this point in my life for such luxuries, we hopped in the FJ on Friday after jamming the truck full of gear and headed up.

The FJ rigged, loaded and climbing.
The FJ rigged, loaded and climbing.

Pleasant River Campground

I prefer to camp in a primitive setting, doing so allows you to disappear far away from civilization at no cost. In addition, its more fun to escape in the woods and imagine you are Danielle Boone. Either way, you leave civilization and its burden’s for a short time and check out high quality cold-water fisheries.

The tent site, Pleasant River Campground, Bethel, Maine.
The tent site, Pleasant River Campground, Bethel, Maine.

The Pleasant River Campground features secluded wooded sites along the Pleasant River, a tributary of the Androscoggin. The bathrooms are of high quality and the place is generally quiet. The owner rents out Canoes and Kayaks while providing popular amenities like a swimming pool and horseshoe pit.

Upper Andro Scenery
Upper Andro Scenery

Mount Washington

Mt. Washington is immersed in clouds most of the time, this is the valley view before ascent into the cloud.
Mt. Washington is immersed in clouds most of the time, this is the valley view before ascent into the cloud.
Going through a cloud, not in an airplane...
Going through a cloud, not in an airplane…

“Home of the world’s worst weather,” Mt. Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Mount Washington holds the record for highest wind ever recorded by man, a speed of 231MPH on April 12, 1934. This record was surpassed in 1996 though a human being did not actually stand there and record the wind speed as was customary in 1934. At one time, people were stationed on top of the mountain all season to record the weather.

Building chained to the top of Mount Washington.
Building chained to the top of Mount Washington.

In present day, anybody can drive to the summit on the Mt Washington Auto Road. The auto road is a 7.6-mile road that climbs Mount Washington. The road was completed in 1861 to serve carriages. The roadway has an average gradient of 11.6%; it is so taxing on your transmission that the road operators have created certain vehicle restrictions. In a future expedition, I think actually hiking Mount Washington would be interesting.

View down the Presidential Range in New Hampshire.
View down the Presidential Range in New Hampshire.

The Androscoggin

View of the Upper Andro looking downstream in a kayak.
View of the Upper Andro looking downstream in a kayak.

The upper Andro is a big east coast stream that consistently delivers larger than average sized Trout. Based upon Sunday’s float, there is also a population of Smallmouth Bass and Chub during the summer months. I floated the river with a kayak and used a Rapala floater on my LL Bean spin rod. The total catch was one Rainbow Trout, three Smallmouth Bass and five Chubs. I also had an air jaws on the line during a sudden summer thunderstorm that blew through. Eagles are common in these parts, they feast on the Trout and we did see one of them enjoying a meal.

This is the largest Chub I have ever caught.
This is the largest Chub I have ever caught.
The Thunder Rolls
The Thunder Rolls

Freeport, Maine

The Mandatory Boot Shot
The Mandatory Boot Shot

Home of L.L. Bean, the giant boot and a collection of outlet shops; Freeport, Maine rose to notoriety starting in 1912 when Leon Leonwood Bean created the Maine Hunting Shoe or Bean Boot.

L.L. Bean Hunting and Fishing Store Atrium.
L.L. Bean Hunting and Fishing Store Atrium.

L.L. Bean has grown into a global retailer and manufacturer while remaining one of the last US retailers to maintain a manufacturing presence in the USA.  Its reputation for quality and customer service is unparalleled and often studied in business school.

L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Artifacts
L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Artifacts
These snowshoes are beautiful, someone buy me them for Christmas.
These snowshoes are beautiful, someone buy me them for Christmas.

Portland, Maine

J’s Oyster Lobster and Steamer platter.
J’s Oyster Lobster and Steamer platter.

The largest city in Maine has the 19th century industrial ambiance common throughout New England. The city is a change from the lakes, rivers and forests of Maine while still maintaining the New England small town ambiance.

On the ride up it was agreed that we would all order the largest Lobster available in Maine. The cab driver recommended J’s Oyster; I ordered a heaping pile of Steamers and a Lobster. The platter was delicious although the sizes of Lobsters were fairly consistent.

Bull Feeney's assures us that, "Lobsters Love Guinness"
Bull Feeney’s assures us that, “Lobsters Love Guinness”

The next stop was Bull Feeney’s Irish Bar; I was enthralled with their slogan and sign, “Lobsters Love Guinness.” Another excellent point about Bull Feeney’s is that they have, “Maine’s most extensive selection of single malt Scotch and Irish whiskies.”

The Long Ride Home

The trip home always seems shorter than the haul up. The problem with this is you are leaving the beautiful scenery, camping and fishing of Maine and New England in general. The drive provides ample opportunity to stare out at the many fish filled rivers of New England and hope for more good days of fishing. I hope to get back sooner rather than later!

Get Your Striper On

striper1
Block Island, RI

I love stripers.  It had been almost a year since I hooked up with one, but my recent annual family trip to Block Island, RI, reminded me how fun they are.  Striped bass, stripers for short, are a migratory fish that inhabit the coastal waterways of the mid-Atlantic and northeast.  Stripers have a range from North Carolina to Maine.  They are aggressive predators who fight hard and can grow quite large.  Their annual migration pattern along the most heavily populated part of our country inspires fisherman up and down the eastern seaboard.  Strict commercial and recreational restrictions and limitations have brought the fishery back from near extinction in the 1980’s.  You can catch stripers all year long; however, the prime time is May-October.

striper2

Pursuing stripers on the fly just might be my favorite type of fly-fishing.  I don’t think any other fishing gets my heart racing like seeing a striper blitz occur on the surface.  Any decent trout angler expects to catch trout every time they hit their favorite river; it is just a matter of size and numbers.  This is not true with stripers, and even the best are fooled and puzzled by this amazing game fish.  Chasing stripers is a great way to break into saltwater fly fishing without having to pay the big bucks needed in tropical environments pursuing bonefish, tarpon, or permit.  Other game fish, such as bluefish, flounder, false albacore, and bonito, also inhabit the same vicinity as stripers, and they are just as fun to catch.  My blog post today is intended to help the newbie saltwater fly fisherman get started chasing stripers.

Setup

Rod:  Medium to fast action 8-9 weight rods in the 9-10’ length.  You want a rod that will turn over large flies and not tire your arm out.  You will also need a stick that can mend and reach over crashing waves.

Reel:  Large arbors with a decent drag system.  A solid drag will help you tame the powerful bursts of energy that the stripers can display.  A large arbor reel will also help you pick up line more quickly when fighting a fish.

Line: Intermediate.  This line will cover 99% of all your striper fishing.  I also think this is the most important part of your setup, and I highly recommend paying top dollar on this piece.  Get a quality coldwater salt line like RIO’s Intermediate Outbound.  Also, you should have around 150-200 yards of solid 30lb. backing attached to your fly line.  All saltwater species will push the limits of your tackle.

Stripping Basket: This is the second most important piece of equipment, in my humble opinion.  It will keep your line in one place, help you easily shoot casts, and fish more efficiently.  You can buy these from any online fly fishing retailer; however, I made my own about 4 years ago with material from Walmart for a total cost of $10.

Leader: I have three different leaders I use given the conditions.

  • For the crashing surf, heavy rips, or rocky turbulent structures, I surgeon loop both ends of a 2’ strip of 50lb. mono.  Then I attach one end to my fly line, the other I will loop to loop connection to another 3’ foot section of 25lb. mono.
  • For calmer back bays, salt ponds, or tidal creeks.  I take the leader mentioned above, and then I will blood knot another 3’ section of 15lb. fluorocarbon to the end of 25lb. mono.
  • For the flats or extremely picky stripers, I will switch to a store bought 9’ 12lb. bonefish leader.

Flies:  Deceivers, Half and Half’s, Snake Flies, and Saltwater Poppers.  These flies will get you into the game and as you progress you will branch out.  However, the most important thing to keep in mind is size, color, and shape.   Use these three characteristics and then work backwards.  For example, at Block Island, the main bait or forage in the area are sand eels; moreover, this calls for slender, long, olive/green/chartreuse patterns, i.e. a skinny Half and Half.  In New Jersey, menhaden are the main bait, and this calls for large Deceiver style flies with more colors, such as blue and pink.

Match the hatch and use your brain just like you would for trout.  Also, in regards to color, the standard dark sky/ dark fly rules apply, so have some all black flies for dusk, dawn, and night.  Finally, I always use a non-slip uni-knot to connect my fly to my leader.  Lefty Kreh has called this the best way to attach a saltwater fly.

Stripping Basket: 1 Utility Belt 1 Plastic Storage Container 6 Zip-Ties
Stripping Basket:
1 Utility Belt
1 Plastic Storage Container
6 Zip-Ties
By varying colors and sizes on Lefty Kreh's Deciever, you can mimic about 99% of all bait encountered on the Northeast coastline
By varying colors and sizes on Lefty Kreh’s Deciever, you can mimic about 99% of all bait encountered on the Northeast coastline
When fishing for stripers, you will no doubt encounter bluefish.  They get a bad rap; however, they are hard fighters and will pounce on a well placed fly.
When fishing for stripers, you will no doubt encounter bluefish. They get a bad rap; however, they are hard fighters and will pounce on a well placed fly.

Approach

This might be the most intimidating thing for a freshwater fly fisherman to wrap their brain around.  When you get to the coastline, your jaw might drop and wonder how you are going to locate fish in this entire ocean, especially if you are fishing without a boat like me.  Here are some rules to help guide you and increase your chances:

  • Stripers love structure, just like any other predatory fish.  Structure creates competing currents, eddies, and rips.   This creates a natural trap for bait and easy pickings for stripers.  When you get to your coastline, look for jetties, sandbars, rocky outcrops, and tidal coves.  Anything that can create an ambush spot is game.
  • Break everything down. Attack these structures in segments like you would any trout stream.  Be methodical, and take casts on the face of a clock working from 9 to 3 o’clock.  Work the drift, and let the currents present your fly in a natural manner.
  • Know your tides.  Tides create moving water.  This adds more character to the structure you have already located.  When fishing on foot, I find the two hours before and after high tide to have the greatest chance of hooking up with stripers.
  • Dusk and Dawn.  I find these two times of day most productive.  There is less boat traffic to put fish down, and predatory fish hunt during these low light conditions.
  • Hand over hand.  After I have cast and when I am starting my retrieve, I put my rod under my armpit and do a hand over hand retrieve stripping line into my stripping basket that is around my waist.  This position will seem unnatural to most fly fisherman; however, in my mind, it is the most efficient way to fish by foot along the Northeast Coast.  It also allows for constant connection of you to your fly so you do not miss any strikes.  You don’t have to worry about your line tangling around your feet or rocks.  And it adds distance to your casts.
  • Do your homework.  There is plenty of information out there on striper fishing and spots to hit up.  These two books are my favorite and will cover you from New Jersey to Maine. Fly Fisher’s Guide to the Northeast Coast and Fly Fisher’s Guide to the New England Coast: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine
  • Stay positive.  Saltwater fly-fishing is a pure dedication.  It’s a little frustrating watching a guy a next to you cast a plug 200 feet out on a convention surf rod.  As a fly fisherman, casting distance may seem like a huge handicap; however, I view it as an opportunity.  The 20-40 foot range is where most of my hookups with stripers occur.  Conventional guys are too concerned with getting their plugs out a country mile that they never fully work the close structure.  This is where you can shine.  Your biggest pro will be that you can present a more life-like fly (besides live bait) to these fish.  Conventional guys say stripers are not picky.  I say that is bull.  I had a great view one calm morning this past week as 5 different stripers followed and then refused my fly.  These fish are not stupid.  Measure success not only in fish landed, but also in fish that you rolled on your fly or any missed strikes.  Kelly Galloup says if you can get the fish to roll on your fly, you are doing everything right.  There will be plenty of skunks, but one successful day will make up for it.
Rough seas and choppy surf are some of the best conditions when fishing for stripers.
Rough seas and choppy surf are some of the best conditions when fishing for stripers. Asbury Park, NJ
Switching to a all black Half and Half paid off near dusk this past trip to Block Island, RI.
Switching to a all black Half and Half paid off near dusk during this past trip to Block Island, RI.
Stripers can be caught throughout the year.  This on was taken the day before Thanksgiving in Asbury Park, NJ
Stripers can be caught throughout the year. This on was taken the day before Thanksgiving at Shark River Inlet, NJ.

It took me over a year to land my first striper.  Looking back, I didn’t have a clue to what I was doing that first year.  But I eventually, got my bearings and learned through the school of hard knocks.  I even had my best trip to Block Island this past week with 8 stripers and 3 bluefish landed, breaking off another 3 fish, and about a dozen and half missed swipes/rolls/refusals on my fly.  My time hitting the salt has been paying off.

This post is not the end all of fly fishing for stripers; however, it is merely intended to cut down the learning curve that I experienced.  Once you feel the power of the strike, the pull of the fight, and the joy of landing a striped bass.  I promise you will be addicted.

Bob's Banger is a great saltwater popper.
Bob’s Banger is a great saltwater popper.
This is bluefish is one of the biggest fish I have ever caught on the fly at 37" and approximately 19lbs.
This is bluefish nailed a Half and Half outside Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  It is one of the biggest fish I have ever caught on the fly at 37″ and approximately 19lbs.
The only downside to bluefish is that they will destroy a fly with their sharp teeth.
The only downside to bluefish is that they will destroy a fly with their sharp teeth.

For further inspiration, read The Blitz: Fly Fishing the Atlantic Migration.  It’s a great book of two fly fishermen who for one year followed the entire Atlantic migration from North Carolina to Maine.  They documented the places they went, the people they met, and the fish along the way.  Here is also a link to their ten-minute you tube trailer of the book.

More Vermont…

IMG_1547

Jess and I got back over to Vermont for the Stowe Food & Wine Festival this past weekend.  We had an amazing time trying local cuisine, wine, and beers from the area.  The Stowe Valley is home to Stowe Ski Resort and Smugglers Notch.  There is also some solid trout fishing.

IMG_1533

IMG_1552
The Lamoille River

I got up one morning to hit up a local river, the Lamoille, before the heat and humidity put the fish down.  The Lamoille meanders through the valley like a giant spring creek with long runs and not many pools.  I landed a dozen in about an hour.  A team of wet flies, a Picket Pinn and a Mini-Muddler, working down stream and a 16 high-vis Adams back upstream did trick.  All the fish were rainbows in the 10-14”.

IMG_1525
Size 14 Picket Pinn
IMG_1526
Size 10 Mini Muddler
IMG_1530
Size 14 Picket Pinn
IMG_1532
Size 16 Hi-Vis Parachute Adams

After that it was time for the festival hosted at the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  Great cooks and local brew masters provided amazing food and beverage the entire afternoon.  To wrap up the day, I took Jess back for an evening session on the Lamoille.   Since my 4wt is in the rod shop, we split time on my 6wt landing around another dozen between us; however, I didn’t mind one bit.  Jess doesn’t get out fishing with me too much, but she did an amazing job fixing her cast, working the flies, and landing half a dozen fish.  I think she will start coming out on the river more often now.  It was great to see her light up and yell that she had a fish on.  I find it more enjoyable to help someone catch a fish on the fly then catch one myself.

Audi brought their convertible for everyone to get a close look
The local Audi dealership brought their convertible for everyone to get a close look
Taco Wrap
Taco Wrap
Best dish of the festival:  Truffle Butter Gnocchi by Michael's on the Hill
Best dish of the festival: Truffle Butter Gnocchi by Michael’s on the Hill
Jess working the dangle on a team of wet flies
Jess working the dangle on a team of wet flies
Wet wading on the first day of summer
Wet wading on the first day of summer

The next day we hiked a remote mountain stream called Stevenson Brook.  It is a small tributary of the Waterbury Reservoir.  The stream is tucked away in the woods, and has many broken pockets and plunge pools.  There were small brookies behind almost every pocket.  The real surprise was the decent size rainbow that fought through several pools.  We finished the day off with trips to the Fiddlehead and Alchemist breweries on our way back to the Adirondacks.  Another great trip to Vermont.

IMG_1554

IMG_1555

IMG_1558

IMG_1556

IMG_1557

IMG_1559

The former head brewery of Magic Hat started this brewery 6 months, ago.  Keep your eyes out for this stuff!
The former head brewer of Magic Hat started this brewery 6 months, ago. Keep your eyes out for this stuff!

Green Mountains Fly Fishing

IMG_1390

Jess and I got over to southern Vermont in the Green Mountain National Forest for the past two days.  We love the area and especially visiting the town of Manchester; the town has a lot of colonial history, quaint shops and restaurants, and beautiful scenery.  For the fly-fishing enthusiasts, there is a plethora of attractions.  The famous Battenkill River and its picky large browns are in the immediate vicinity.  The Orvis Company was founded and is still headquartered in Manchester; its flagship showroom is awesome as well as their trout pond with hordes of 30” rainbows.  The American Museum of Fly Fishing is located here too; it has some amazing exhibits.  This is truly great place to visit.

mt vt

I was really excited to fish the Battenkill; however, it has been raining for the past two weeks and the river is at flood stage flowing 4x its normal flow at 3600 cfs.  I decided to blue line some tributaries of the Battenkill, and it paid off.

river gauge

 

Nowhere to wade
Battenkill – too high for anything
Chocolate Soup
Battenkill – chocolate soup

The flow in the tributaries was still high but I found some nice wild trout in a remote setting among the pockets.  It was nice to be forced to fish these tributaries because I would have never done it if the Battenkill was at normal levels.  The fish were beautiful and small and colorful and wild.  I had an amazing time blue lining.  Some samples below.

cover bridge vt
Classic Vermont

trout vt

Fishable Water
Small Tributary – fishable water, brown from far pocket

brookie vt

IMG_1440

IMG_1439

IMG_1443
Small Tributary – slow oxbow
Small Tributary - still moving fast
Small Tributary – still moving fast

When it comes to rods, I am an Orvis guy.  The Helios rods are arguably the best on the market.

IMG_1449

IMG_1444
American Museum of Fly Fishing
IMG_1446
American Museum of Fly Fishing
Wish I could wet a line here
Orvis Trout Pond – Wish I could wet a line here
orvis pool vt
Orvis Trout Pond

IMG_1437

IMG_1451

Bow at the Buzzer

Fishing for 8 or 9 hours takes a toll on the body; we anglers would normally quit any other sport in a shorter time. Imagine your back is sore, your arm is numb and you don’t even think you would remember what a bite feels like, despite the adversity you just want that last fish! I was throwing this guide tied streamer resembling what I know as a Zonker Minnow on a 5WT FFO rod equipped with sink tip line.

That is what a bite feels like...

Kate kept cajoling me to cast a few more times as we drifted slowly into Newts landing. I load the pole for my final cast, as the line soars through the air, the thought going through my head, “Wow that cast is nice, I’ll be damned if that doesn’t hook some lip!.” Kate exclaims, “Nice cast and good placement, strip the line in at varying speed!” I follow direction complete two quick strips of around 2 inches of line, pause and accelerate a final strip of over one foot of line….Fish On!


Share


Upper Andro Part 2

We reached our destination in Maine for our father & son fishing trip well after dark. As we drove past tiny hamlets in this desolate area, I understood how Stephen King has been able to gather ideas for his novels from here. Perhaps one of the towns we had passed was inspiration for ‘Salem’s Lot. In the morning, we met our river guide: Kate, and we immediately felt confident she would provide us with a good day of fishing.

The day was overcast, however, the day’s lighting reflecting off the river, gave the autumn leaves a brilliant hue. As I drank in the majestic view of Mt. Washington in the distance, I noticed ominous cloud cover approaching us indicating a change of weather would be upon us. In addition, I spied an eagle circling the river searching for prey. I marveled at the stoic beauty of this bird, the symbol of the United States.

For up in the sky the eagle circled silently, effortlessly, and determinedly, uncaring of us, focused only on its quest for the prey. Just as we had left the city escaping the concerns of the worlds financial, military, and cultural strife’s, in search of some memorable autumn fly-fishing. As Kate expertly navigated the drift boat down the river, just as the eagle spots its prey, I viewed an enormous red maple spreading its branches like an umbrella over the water, directly over a drop off in the river.  I instinctively realized that I only had seconds to present a cast before our drift boat would silently glide past this inviting spot.

As I released the cast, amazingly, it actually landed where I had hoped. As the eagle grips its prey with its talons, I felt a fish strike the fly, and I firmly set the hook in its mouth. From the feel of the rod I knew I had a good-sized fish on the line trying not to be pulled to the surface and into the awaiting net. Kate scooped a beautiful rainbow trout into the net and onto the boat. The rainbow’s colors blended splendidly with the spectacular colors of the Maine woods.

Unlike the eagle, which would share its prey with its young; the rainbow was released back into the river allowing it to grow. Perhaps, another father and son may again land it on their fishing trip. Kate eased the drift boat to shore, where she prepared delicious hearty soup of fiddleheads’, potatoes, and sausage for all of us to share. The meal was perfect, as the weather had turned cooler. As we sat enjoying the meal, we admired the scenery, listened to the hypnotic sound of the river, and prepared for the final hours of our trip.

Check Out Part 1

Share