In our wanderings we like to find off the beaten path places to eat. Most time we are in search for a good breakfast. Now breakfast is not only at breakfast but there are times when we enjoy a breakfast menu in the evening. On this day we were on our way to Vermont when we saw a sign for good eats at the Whateley diner. The diner is located off of I-91 in Whateley MA. Walking up to the door you can see 1950 come back to life. Everything inside has that 50's look. There are even juke box selections right at your booth. Atmosphere is nice, but the service and food here are awesome. We had a waitress who took the time to tell us of the history of the Whateley diner which is quite a story.
The diner is clean and with glass windows almost all around it is also very bright. And the food was great.
There was a movie filmed in the diner too.
The Berkshire National Fish Hatchery...an enjoyable and historic place to spend a few hours. Lots of trails to walk. We also had a wonderful guide for awhile who informed us of what the hatchery does. It's focus is on native cold water fish, and that is lake trout and brook trout. The lake trout are part of the Great Lakes restoration of these big fish. The brook trout are part of the local needs and is part of the Trout in the Classroom programs.
One of the several houses on the property. I love these.
A ham sandwich. I finally tried this stuff called "off the bone" ham at a local deli...two thumbs up...this ham is awesome. Lean, and tasty. A slight smoky flavor and not a lot of salt.
From the vise...Sakasa Kebari...these orange bodied flies have been working well.
"The wild brook trout is one of the most colorful native freshwater fish in Connecticut. If you are fortunate to capture one of these fish, you will easily understand the nickname "Aphrodite of the Hemlocks"....Connecticut Wildlife...
There is not much more I can add to the words so simply put in the opening lines of this post. I wish everyone who has the chance to seek and catch one of natures finest creatures does so. It is truly a blessing that we have such fish swimming our streams. They are a testament to clean water and outstanding habitat. We must take care and preserve this valuable salmonid for future generations to enjoy.
Not as full as they were last year at this time they still are doing OK. Recent thunderstorms in certain areas dump lots of rain which boost the flows and make the fishing easier. I try to get out on the stream if possible after these rains and enjoy the time out there. The streams I fished in northwest CT. have had temps from 60-62. These streams flow through thick hemlock and pine forests so they tend to stay cool.
I have been fishing the Farmington for some time and it sure felt good coming home to my friends...there is nothing like fishing a small stream.
Pools, pools and more pools. In between are riffles...look to the riffles.
This little guy was impressive. Taking on color and a small very black lower jaw.
Late summer blooms.
Sometimes a picture actually shows the dorsal of the brook trout.
They liked this fly...thanks Mike.
So I think I'll take the bamboo rod and the Altoid box and find a stream today.
That simplicity thing...a hook with some brown thread and some peacock along with a feather. About as effective a fly for me in the last week or so on the Farmington. I'm not a hatch specialist and could not tell you what this emerger represents and frankly I don't really care. What I do know is that it works. The two patterns here are tied on curved hooks Sakasa Kebari style but I have a feeling they would be just as effective on a standard hook. The first fly has a wing from a grouse.
This fly uses a thorax of opossum and a feather from a hen pheasant.
This pattern is a variation of the Pheasant Tail-Partridge.
Yvon Chouinard the founder of Patagonia and simplistic fly fisher and fly tyer shows his way of tying the Pheasant Tail-Partridge.
Walking from the parking area a soft rain began to fall. The sky dark and the promise of sunshine was not in the future. It was going to be one of those days where coping with rain drops would be necessary if I was to find what I was looking for. So before I made my first cast of the day I found what I was looking for and that was what you see in the first photo. The day would have been a success even though I had not brought a fish to hand.
On these late summer outings the dampness seems to highlight the beauty of the woods. I love these days more so then bright sunny days. A slow intermittent rain also puts the brookies at ease. This was seen in the fact that not one spooked while I walked along.
Wood in the stream provides so much for the trout that inhabit the tiny blue lines.
It is also a road map to finding willing brookies.
This time of year one can see some subtle changes taking place.
What a promising looking spot. Not only that I noticed a small dimple on the surface, a brookie maybe, or might it be a crease in the current.
It was both a crease and a brookie.
Time and water keep moving. The fish do the same...here one day and gone the next.
I'm glad they were here this day, a day through the rain drops.
Out and about over the weekend checking on the waters I frequent. Found some interesting things, had a frustrating few hours fishing and realized that brook trout always seem to pick me up. The stream in the picture was flowing nicely when I visited it on Saturday. Thundershowers in certain areas seemed to dump a lot more rain than they did in other places. I took a water temp and it showed 66, which is not bad. On to selective brookies. I hear you say what the heck is he talking about. Most feel brookies are always hungry and will eat most anything they can get in their mouth. I agree but there are times when they blow that thought out of the water. Case in point was yesterday when they would not take my usual offerings, instead they were choosy and it took me a couple of hours to get it figured out.
This big fly would normally be crushed the moment it hit the water, not this day. Even my friend the "bomber" did not create a surface crease. The fly that helped me avoid the skunk was a wet fly, and that wet fly had to be a size 14.
I managed to bring these two to hand on the wet fly.
I know it's only mid August but I have my mind set on those October days when I'll be here fishing for those unique strain of brook trout...yes sir.
I want you to check out the photo below of a sea-run cutthroat trout. It was caught on a dry fly. Broad shouldered and silvery. It measured 17.5" and was taken on a 2wt rod.
I have been poking about the Farmington these last weeks. My small streams have been given a rest. I do miss them and have been monitoring a few and I'm glad to say they are doing OK. My trips to the river have been about three hours in duration and have been very fruitful. Many hook-ups and some luckily to hand. One outing I sat along the bank and observed the goings on of life along the river. Three types of ducks, lots of geese. A fantastic flight of a mature bald eagle. A whitetail deer crossing the river, and heaps of fresh moose droppings. You don't have to catch fish to have a complete outing.
Cardinal flowers, the first sighting this year. These flowers are like brook trout in the fact that a camera can't catch the true color of these blooms.
This was a nice rainbow that took the fly in some pretty fast water. He was a fighter leaping several times before giving up.
Can you identify the fly?
Pretty nice view at 6am.
Typical Farmington brook trout.
Clear, shallow water hardly the place to find brown trout. A well drifted Partridge and Orange soft-hackle did the trick.
Tomah Joe is one of those classic wet flies that are no longer found in fly shops. It seems that it does not "fit" what's happening, or perhaps it may be it's a bit tricky to tie. It's a fly that was created by Tomah Joe a fishing guide in Washington county Maine. Tomah-Joseph was a member of the Passamaquaddy tribe and was later their representative in the state legislature. The fly was created about the late 1870's and used extensively in Grand Lake Stream for landlocked salmon. Like many flies Tomah Joe has gone through many variations and I myself tie it using three different wing feathers. The variations don't seem to make the fly better it's just that I have those feathers available and I used them. All three have been successful with brook trout and rainbows. I believe Tomah Joe would make a great streamer fly for sea-run brook trout as well as other sea-run species. Below are the three Tomah Joe flies. The various feathers used are Chuckar, Lemon Wood duck, and Black and White barred wood duck.
Hook-Mustad 3906 #8...Tail, Yellow Hackle...Butt, Peacock Herl...Body, Silver Mylar Tinsel...Throat, Yellow followed by Red Hackle...Wing, Either Chuckar, Lemon Wood Duck or Barred Wood Duck.
Over the past weeks I have spent some time roaming the Farmington river. A very popular place these days but one can find solitude if if one seeks it out. Along with solitude comes the chance to find wild brook trout. I think this is over looked in this river known for it's big brown trout and rainbows. I for one find the brookies much more appealing. My time on the river has also yielded some fine browns and rainbows which I will feature in a later post, but for now I'll highlight the brookies.
The fish were found in various water types, from fast waters to calm pools and everything in between. I fished a variety of flies and most were successful. Side note here, I tied a couple of classic wet flies and have given them water time and I'm glad to say they to work. In this report you'll see that the dry fly really shined. Various patterns from thorax duns to parachutes and haystacks. The fly size were 14 to 18.
Beautiful healthy wild char...
Where should I drift my fly?
Is there a camera made that can truly capture the beauty and colors of a brook trout? This jewel had the most beautiful olive colored back and prefect vermiculations.
Fishing those seams...one never knows what can be found there. I found someone who let me know just how productive these areas are.
This master of the riffles took my little dry fly and gave me an education in knowing how to avoid capture. As you can see his plan did not work. An incredible brook trout.
I'll be looking for you come this fall...if you still like the dry I'll be ready, but with that mouth maybe a big Mickey Finn might be in order.