Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Sandwiches & Fruitcake

Black Friday started with the patter of rain against the skylights in the bedroom. Fortunately, it was the gentle tap of rain that telegraphed "no impact" to river levels. The ground and small streams would absorb the run-off and it would easily be twenty-four hours before the Housatonic saw any effect, if at all.

Even before I got out of bed I knew that the river was running at just over 800 cfs and the spitting rain would end soon yielding perfect blue wing olive weather. Technology certainly has taken some of the wonder out of the sport.

I met Jon at the commuter lot in Danbury and we drove together to Starbucks and then on to Housatonic Meadows to meet up with Don. We expected to be nymphing all day and Torrey recommended egg patterns when we stopped by the shop on our way up.

The day started of slow for Jon and I as we worked to find the right water and dial in the right fly combo. Don had things under control with a couple of fish to hand in the first hour or so. The pink egg and the red Brassie worked well and that was to be the pattern for the day -- eggs and midges. Jon and I struck out at the first spot but our fortune soon turned.

Catch and Release
Noon came far too quickly but because of a late start we had only been on the water for about two hours. Jon came through with an awesome packed lunch of turkey & stuffing sandwiches and fruitcake. It is my opinion that the day after Thanksgiving, leftovers are at their best. One hasn't yet become sick of the monotony of turkey, turkey, turkey. Stuffing has a delightful texture and taste that can only be achieved after sitting in the fridge overnight securely in Tupperware or, ideally, in its original serving container covered with tin foil.

Don shared a new piece of water with us after lunch. He had good intel on how to wade it and where the fish were hiding. The wade was tricky for those unaccustomed to such things but we were able to find solid footing from which to begin our assault on the trout bastions.

We were all into fish in this spot. Don again was high man and the midge and egg, in both pink and yellow, were king. Surprisingly, I didn't get any interest in the heavily weighted Yellow Stonefly that was my upper fly. Last year, same day, the Yellow Stonefly was the go-to fly. I suppose the super low flows this past summer had taken it's toll on the stonefly population much as it did with the trout but we were happy to find flies that did the trick. My favorite fish on this run was a thirteen inch rainbow that spent more time in the air than it did in the water. With the forty-three degree water numbing our toes we gathered stream side to determine next steps.

My first fish of the day

Don demonstrated his nymphing prowess picking up fish throughout this pool.
Don decided to call it a day and Jon and I were determined to finish the day on a piece of water up north that has become the traditional "last hole" of any trip to the Housy.

Jon and I agreed that the structure of the hole had shifted slightly since our last visit. The slot seemed shallower. In fact, in maneuvering to what I thought was the seam near the ideal holding location I actually ended up standing in the ideal holding location. I did manage at least one tug on the line but decided to regroup a little lower in the run to spot I erroneously thought was fishier.

Jon, much like last year, demonstrated why this was one of his favorite pieces of water. His first fish was a very healthy Brown -- thick and long. The fish was a bit uncooperative for the standard grip and grin photo but we did manage a quick photo as Jon wrestled with him. He then followed that up by catching the twin brother of the first and then a sprightly Rainbow.

Jon with the best fish of the day

It was only 3:30 p.m. but the sun had dipped below the hillside, the clouds had cleared and the temperature had dropped about ten degrees into the low 40s. It was a good day of fishing and it was time to go.

There aren't too many fishing days left in this year but I may sneak out again when the women-folk gather for the day of cookie baking in mid-December.

I can't really complain. This has been a good year.

Like most years there's been far too little fishing and far too much work. But the paycheck has been steady, the work interesting and we made good use of vacation time to try and reconnect with our two boys who are growing too damn quickly.

In this season of thanks, I'm thankful for a spouse who accommodates my fishing habit and ensures that the important things in life remain my priorities. I'm thankful for two friends always willing to share good water and for trout willing to take a fly and return to the waters until that time when we're ready to play again.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Well said Steve. Great time, as ever.

    And that fruitcake was fairly awesome, wasn't it!

    Until spring, be well.


  2. Steve,
    An enjoyable read.

    I agree with you comment on turkey, and stuffing sandwich's.


  3. Thx, Brk. I look forward to this event (and the dining) each year though I'm still enjoying it being too hot.

  4. Only this year we must venture further north, to the land o' steel.

  5. You naughty boy. I must search for lodging.