Monday, September 13, 2010

On the water, Deerfield River, 9.12

It's been far too long since I wet a line in trouty environs but low water levels have prevented those short trips to local waters that usually fill my summers. Unfortunately, there's just been no time/energy to travel more broadly with any frequency so yesterday was the first time in almost a month that I'd fished for trout. So, a special trip was in order and that meant a call to Dan Harrison.

The Harrison brothers guide up on the Deerfield River so the boys, myself and my best buddy Ross drove north early on Sunday. I've fished and hunted with the Harrisons a bunch of times over the past couple years and can't say enough about their skills as guides. More than anything, they're good people. It's fishing, so some days are good and others are mediocre (I'm reluctant to say that I've never been skunked fishing with them so as not to jinx myself so consider it unsaid) but regardless, Tom and Dan are great people to fish with on some very pretty and trouty water.

The weather report threatened rain but we managed to avoid it. It was cooler than I would have expected but we had packed layers and that didn't detract from the fishing. The water was low, but not too low. The Deerfield is a tailwater so like the Farmington it gets cool water year-round. It's also a power generation tailwater so it gets a regular surge of water. Not quite the pond and release regime the Housy used to see but it does go through the daily up and down cycle.

The day for myself started out slow with nothing to the net at mid-day but everyone else was into fish with the friendly boat vs boat competition dead even at lunch (well maybe one of the boats was ahead of the other but I did mention it was a friendly competition, didn't I?). 

While we did have an odd Smallmouth or two (those ten inch Smallmouth fight like a trout at least 50% bigger) including the smallest I've ever seen taken on the fly (congrats to Ross), the largest Sucker I've ever seen (20"+, congrats to Sam for dragging the beast to the net), a tiny Shad (scored by Chris and generally referred to, and utilized as, bait) all the trout we caught were rainbows and all fat, chunky and in the 13"-18" range.

Most of the fish, perhaps all of the fish, came nymphing a variety of nymphs. Mixing it up was the name of the game and we worked hard for the fish. There was no hatch to speak of though towards evening we did see a fairly regular light hatch of a small cream colored mayfly. The weather seemed ideal for BWOs but none appeared. Oh well.

The boys surprised me and stuck with the fly rods all day. During one particularly slow period we did resort to some "non-fly fishing" methods to try and tempt the trout but there was no reward for the dark side (well, actually, there was one nice Rainbow who went into the cooler) and we went back to more traditional methods.

We ended the day with a tie -- both boats had netted the same number of trout and the difference between high guy and low guy was one fish so we had all caught around the same number of trout. We couldn't have planned that result better if we tried.

A few photos from the day.

Chris looking mildly pleased with himself.
First of several in the net for Sam
My best of the day, 17.5 inches. 1/2 inch too short....
More smiles
Sam fighting a monster Sucker
The Sucker!
Dan at the net. Chris keeping his head down. Ross fighting an 18" bow. Best of the trip.
I got action late in the day.
Another Bow
Myself, Tom, and Sam

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