Saturday, February 13, 2016

Warren Winders A Brook Trouts Best Friend

Back in 2005 TU published an article in their magazine TROUT about a little stream in southeast Massachusetts called Red Brook. The stream flowed through property owned by the Lyman family to it's meeting with the salt water bay known as Buttermilk. In this brook lived the remnants of a once thriving robust breed of trout called "salters". These brook trout were special, spending part of their lives in salt water and part in fresh. The salters attained some serious size and were the quest of some notable anglers. But it seemed to be to good, and like many fisheries of past it took a turn, and not a good turn. The dams of early days, to much agriculture, and just poor management proved to much for the brook trout of Red Brook. That's when a man named Warren Winders and a group of dedicated anglers, as well as many environmental groups took action and they reversed the bad effects on the salter.

Jeanette and I first visited Red Brook in 2008. That day I can remember seeing a stream that was already under a restoration. A stream that still had wild brook trout, a stream that was in an area that my words could do it justice. This is a stream where you could leave your fly rod in the car and spends hours and not even miss it. The smells of pine and wildflowers, the calls and screeches of many birds, and the red stained waters flowing through watercress would provide words for your journal.

Since that day back in 2008 we have visited the special place many times. Each year spring and fall will find me casting to brook trout. These days I'm glad I've been graced to know Red Brook.

Days here few people are about. From time to time we have witnessed a few trail walkers, and some anglers, most of those are anglers who seek larger fish that Cape Cod has to offer. The research and restoration effort continues today. Mass Fish and Wildlife, TU, Mass Maritime and more groups along with countless hours of volunteer labor have really paid off.

In September of 2015 Jeanette and I fished Red Brook. That day we were introduced to a group that included Steve Hurley, MF&W, Geoffrey Day, of the Sea-run Brook Trout Coalition and a couple of wonderful interns from Patagonia Boston....and Warren Winders. It was a pleasure and honor to finally shake hands with this tireless fighter for the welfare of the brook trout of Red Brook. What can you say to a man that has done so much....two words...THANK YOU..from the heart.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

"Hemlock Creek" In The Snow

Hemlock Creek flows into this river

We had some snow yesterday morning, a common occurrence lately but I was going fishing and that was not a bother. It was late morning when I left, the drive to the stream was not bad. The real issue came when I arrived. The town had done an outstanding job on clearing the roads, but they did not clear any roadside turn-offs. A 4 wheel drive would have no problem but a little Honda just would not cut it. I drove around until I found a spot where I could park, and that was a half mile hilly walk. I grabbed my gear and was off to Hemlock Creek.

Another tributary to the river above. I fished it once and don't think I caught anything.

Walking to where the trail starts and Hemlock Creek was right where I had left it in sunnier days.

I found some receptive brook trout in the pools. They were not tentative, and took the fly with authority, several fish dancing in the air.

No one here but the snow, the stream and me. Winter angling can be so peaceful.

An outstanding specimen of a very healthy stream. When you focus on this brook trout you can see why I call them jewels.

No prints here but mine. And another accomplishment this day was that I never slipped on the snow or into the water.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Day "Phil" Got It Right

A few days after "Phil" said we were to have an early Spring it seems that Winter took offense and hit us with snow, and looking out my window it's snowing again. Although the snow may put a hold on the fishing it's sure to put some water into the coffers for later use. Last Thursday two days after groundhog day I took the opportunity to get out and fish. The weather was so beautiful I thought it was April. The forest was barren of snow and the stream was as good as it gets. This stream is never really "ripping" and I knew that the brook trout would have no fear and would be looking for food.

I always fish the lower end of this stream, mainly because the access is so welcoming. But this day I chose to work the upper reaches and see what it was like. Aside from the laurel thickets it was not to bad. I was wearing hiking boots so access to some of the pools was a challenge.

The brookies seemed to be holding right at the base of the stones in the plunges. Your fly would be swept under and sometimes when you pulled it up there was a brookie on it.

A gorgeous brook trout. This fish had such an awesome rust color to it, and that tail was so beautiful. I'm going to have a print made of it and put it on my tying desk.

I walked further upstream, each pool and run looked more inviting than the last.

Most of the brookies caught today were as this one. This little hen shall be part of next years egg goodness what beautiful offspring!

I did not make the top of this stream, perhaps next time out in "Brook Trout Forest"

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Connecticut Native

He has been around since the last ice age, proof of this can be seen in the white icy edges of his fins. When the first settlers arrived from Europe they found him in the streams that flowed clean and cold. He was at home in the deep lakes and the beaver ponds, his only threat came from nature.

Soon the growing population of a new nation, and  everything  needed to supply that population began to boom. Towns and cities sprang up on the banks of rivers and streams, The waterways were dammed, mills and factories were built to supply the needs of a growing nation.

The natives homes were becoming less and less. This encroachment caused the native to go into survival mode. He retreated to the headwaters of tiny streams, streams that provided safety from the swell of man. He became prolific in these streams, and at times his numbers exceeded what the little streams could handle. His growth was stunted, for the streams could not provide the food needed to reach larger size. But survive he did.

Today this native is making a comeback. While he may never be the giant in size that he once was, he more than makes up for it in his beauty. His dark green back with worm like markings. His sides are spotted with gold and red dots the latter with blue halos. His fins are orange with edges that are black and tipped with white. His beauty is enhanced come the natives finest season, Autumn the time when his belly is the brightest orange. A true wild jewel of the stream.

I have had a long and wonderful relationship with this native, one I hope will continue.
The Wild Brook Trout.

Brk Trt...Alan Petrucci