Yesterday I was given the opportunity to fish a few wild trout streams in Northwest Massachusetts. The land in which these streams flow will now be a safe haven for wild brook trout. The effort to save the land as well as the brook trout and the wildlife that to call this forest home is the work of the Franklin Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, and Mass. Fish and Wildlife. These are lands that are now open to the public, and those that tread on these lands enjoy, and please respect all.
I met Josh Morse, who was my guide and teacher this day at the Land Trust office in Shelburne Falls, which is on the Deerfield River, at 7am. After a brief talk about the day ahead we placed the gear in the car and started for our first stream. It was about a 25 minute drive and while we drove Josh filled me in on some of the work the Trust and it's partners are doing. The drive was a pleasant one through the foothills and higher. Soon we were there at the once working farm, the base of the tract of land. It was a beautiful day and the forest as well as the fields. There were numerous birds flying here and there going about their daily business. Josh was there to point out and identify each one of them.
This is where we started our trek. In the valley of these mountains sits the streams we were to fish. There were two of them, one a feeder to the larger stream. The feeder is Burrington Brook, which flows into the West Branch North River.
Burrington Brook. This is the stream that we first tossed a fly. We found many little plunge pools all of which were inviting.
The flies we chose to start were wet flies. After several retrieves of a Picket Pin I managed to raise a little brookie. Next Josh tried his hand, that's him in the picture. He had on a Dark Cahil wet and moved it through the pool. Suddenly from out of nowhere the brook trout slammed the fly. A moment later Josh had a Burrington Brook wild brookie at hand.
We made our way down to the North River and fished through the valley. There is so much more to fishing these small streams. One could fish the day and not catch a single fish and still have one of his best days.
We leap frogged down fishing pool and riffle. Fooling brookies, and loosing most.
A wild brook trout. This is an amazing creature. This fry was just of the redd. Born in an environment that is so very healthy and beautiful....and very hostile. Hopefully he will survive the harsh New England weather and be here for us next year. By the way there were hundreds of these little fry on this watershed.
A beautiful pool. This stream is healthy. There were a variety of insects hatching, caddis, stoneflies, Hendricksons, and probably some others I can't identify. But there were very few rising fish. That did not stop us from throwing a dry. We each took nice fish from this pool on dry flies.
Josh, and I hooked fish that jumped liked salmon. In fact we both thought they were. But at hand we saw yet another coloration of the brook trout.
This guy did not miss many meals. A true survivor.
We stopped for lunch streamside, and both tipped the restaurant.......