Another Fish Story
This past week I was in both VT and the Adirondacks, fly fishing.
Here’s some pics. Click them to enlarge, if you wish.
Vermont has a lot of little tributary streams that come down into the Mad and White rivers and some of them are pure and cold, good brook trout habitat. Many are seldom fished, especially in September. These are secret places and I will not divulge their names or locations.
When fishing small streams its best to go alone, which is what I did in VT. I prefer the solitary nature of it. Wading up the stream and ascending the mountain, always something new, and challenges to be confronted around each bend. Being quiet and not moving much means you see more wildlife too. A cool thing I saw was a mink on the bank of a beaver pond.
How brook trout get up these falls is beyond me. In approaching a pool you have to be very slow and quiet, sometimes crouching low to avoid giving a silhouette, or from projecting a shadow on the water. Then cast the fly, nymph or spinner up into the fall or chute, and let it drift down into the run of the pool. That’s how I do it anyway.
In the mid day hours both trout and fisherman take a siesta, especially if its sunny and warm. A deep pool can be a good place for a swim. At the base of the waterfall this pool (see photo below) is ice cold and at least five feet deep. Then have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a can of beer. Maybe a short nap if the bugs aren’t too bad.
After a couple days of this I left VT and went back across into the Adirondacks. This is because when the old man heard I was fishing he insisted I come over to Au Sable Forks and we could meet up. And so I did.
The old man is a purist, old school, ties his own flies and prefers to fish only in the evening hours. Strictly a dry fly guy. But he is 80 years old, and his knees aren’t good now, so he can’t get down into the rocky and difficult places or wade the rough and fast waters. Nor can he see all that well lately, I discovered. With my eyes and brawn and his knowledge and common sense we are a capable team.
I love the Adirondacks. Here’s a photo of the Sentinel Range I took early in the AM. This view, looking across the broad valley, it almost has that look of the American West.
Below is a typical Adirondack trout stream. In some streams the water is stained with tannin. I like the natural tea color of these waters.
Here (below) is a beautiful stream in the High Peaks region. Its very cold, even in late summer.
Didn’t catch anything here, but what a great spot for a swim, consuming PB&J sandwiches, working on the tan, and the always welcome noon-day nap. Crystal clear water. The pool is about four feet deep where it cuts the bank on the far side (shaded). Nice little beach on the near side. This place is secret. I will tell no one its location, except maybe Tipping Point.
Below is a shot of the West Branch of the Au Sable River. Probably one of the best trout streams in the east. Up at the higher elevations the best reaches of the river are strictly “catch and release”.
I included the above shot because it marks the spot where I took an involuntary swim. Attempting to wade above the chute I lost my footing and got swept down into the rather chaotic mess (shown below):
The water was over my head, but I was probably underwater only for a couple seconds. The above photos were taken from a rock in the middle of the river after having successfully completed a second attempt at crossing above the chutes. Luckily the camera was sealed tight in double zip lock bags! Good call me!
Subsequently I caught this good-sized brown trout on a little Panther Martin spinner. FYI, I squish the barbs down on the hooks with pliers so as not to damage their mouth. As a result, I lose a lot of fish. But not in this case:
Eventually worked my way up where the old man was practicing his craft on the flat waters above the rapids. Here’s a shot of him wading the pool:
If he’s got room the old man can really work a fly rod. After all, he’s been doing it for probably at least 50 years. He can get a lot of line in the air and lay it down where he wants. I like to say that he could pick the wallet out of your pocket with his fly rod, from a block away, and you’d never know it.
I showed him the above picture and told him he look like he was in his temple. He liked the photo. He said fly fishing was what made him feel good, “ …like chicken soup”, he said. Whatever you say Pops. So I nicknamed him “Chicken Soup” for (at least) the rest of the trip.