The Rats Nest

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Must Be A Full Moon Or Something.....

So I made the suicide run up to the West branch yesterday with good friend Josh.  Josh has been chomping at the bit to fish this river for the last 2 years, so when an opportunity presented itself to go, we seized the moment.  The 5:00 alarm clock came too soon after working late the night prior, but adrenaline and some good coffee got rid of the crusty eyed daze real quick.  5:45 on the nose Josh showed up at the house and we were off for the 3 hour drive to what many deem the best tail water fishery in the Northeast.  Exactly three hours later we were stream side and gearing up.  Josh was excited, I was just happy to sneak in a day of fishing as life's been pretty jam packed with family obligations, work, fly orders and guide trips leaving me with little time to wet a line myself.

We geared up and walked down to the waters edge only to see a very off colored river.  Hmm, they must have gotten a good shot of rain the night prior as we did back home as the conditions prior were very clear with the occasional pod of green slime from the reservoir floating by.   Well hoping for the best we spun our wheels for about 2 hours.  Nymphs, streamers nothing to show for it.  I made the command decision to head up river to hopefully get above some of the smaller tribs that were filtering in the off colored water.  Knowing how fickle the river can be early as a result of the colder water, I figured the feeding would pick up later in the morning and be going full tilt by mid afternoon.

The second portion of water ended up producing for us as we started to net some smaller but very pretty rainbows and browns.  As the fishing picked up so did the crowds.  I really feel the pain for the guys up there guiding as the river was an absolute circus.  I have never seen so many fisherman on the upper river ever, each parking area had a minimum of 8 cars to as many as 2 dozen crammed in with fisherman occupying everywhere your eye could wander on the river.  Throw in a couple dozen drift boats on a lower than roomy flow, and dozens of canoes and kayaks and you have one damn pressured fishery.  And I thought the pressure on the Farmington this summer was bad?  Think again.

Now to detail the reason for the title of this blog.  Sometimes fishing trips are highlighted by instances that aren't even related to what your doing.  Before we started getting into some consistent fishing, I took a good spill courtesy of my Vibram soled boots and fully submerged myself.  Water from head to toe, in the waders, pockets hat not a square inch dry.  Good thing my camera is waterproof and I left the Iphone in the car as usual.  It was very comical to say the least and I was waiting to hear a loud chuckle from Josh, but he graciously was more concerned of my well being than making me the brunt of a good joke.  In hindsight, I actually benefited from the dunking as it would turn out, it kept me cooler and comfortable all day in the hot sun.  From countless fishing excursions I have learned one very good lesson, don't give up and be patient.  Perseverance usually equates to a reward come days end and after we hammered this one piece of water pretty hard with a good number of smaller fish but nothing of note, we regrouped, me drenched,  ate a quick lunch courtesy of Josh, and then headed to some new water.

21-1/2 Inch Brown.
As we arrived to some more of my favorite "in between" water, there was a small 100 yard stretch that I know holds good fish open, with anglers on either end of it but with plenty of room for us to sneak in.  We slowly inched our way into position and started catching fish in between the others who were going through the motions with very little success.  Josh was working this one nice riffle over pretty hard, and pulled a couple of small ones out, but we both knew that something larger might be lurking under the surface.  Josh graciously said lets switch, offering to take the tail of the run.  After a few drifts and a couple of smaller fish, the line stopped and a good couple of gator rolls and a nicer fish was attached.  I managed to get the toad in quick and Josh was very impressed with the looks of this fish, and was now able to see just what the draw was as when asked in the past, if I had one place to fish in the northeast why I always gave him the same answer.  We continued to fish the same run when Josh snagged something on the bottom.  A few hard yanks on the rod and "Snap", the upper portion of my echo explodes.  Hanging his head, Josh opts to stop fishing.  I pitch him the keys to my truck and tell him to grab another rod and meet me at the riffle downstream of us as it had cleared out.  Another 1/2 dozen fish later and a recharged Josh we lumber back into the truck to hit one more spot before we head out.

It was slowly nearing our departure time and Josh still hadn't hooked a larger fish.  Voicing that he was fine if we started the trek home, I didn't want him to leave the river on a sour note after the rod explosion.  We motored down river driving by various pools that were inundated with anglers till we found one out of the way place with only one car in the parking area.  As we geared up one last time and started making the walk in, the owner of the lonesome vehicle was on his way out.  Wow, we had a piece of water without company for a change.  Having only about 45 minutes to fish until we had to go as I promised my wife we would leave at 5 PM, we got into position in a shallow riffle and started our attack.  I pointed out two good little non-descript pockets of note and gave Josh first crack.  A few smaller fish and then Josh gives me a shout as he has a better fish on the end of his line.

Josh's Bow
I reel up and come down river to give him a hand and we get a good look at the fish and it was a nice rainbow of about 18 inches and all colored up.  After a couple of funny spins and dips, we managed to get the fish in the net, and Josh's day was made.  With a grin from ear to ear we snapped a few pics, revelled in the fish's beauty and headed out to the truck to make the drive home.

Although the fishing wasn't epic, and the crowds were ridiculous, we managed a successful day despite some laughs at our own expense.  I wish that the releases were as they were about 5 years ago on that fishery however, as the river could accommodate the traffic better, and spread the fish out as well.  I can only imagine what the fishing would be like if that were the case as it seems it was so long ago that the water levels were better.  At any rate, another successful day, and Josh finally got a taste of this great fishery, I know he is already jonesing for another run up there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Something You All Should Consider

So I learned today that a recent court decision involving an individual recreating on MDC property equated to a pretty hefty payout, the MDC is seriously considering closing all of it's properties to the public for recreational use.  As an angler, and guide who frequently uses some of these areas that are adjacent to the Farmington, I find this a rather problematic dilemma.   There is some sort of loophole in the law that was overturned some 15 years ago that allows outside individuals the ability to sue private land owners if they are hurt in anyway while recreating on these types of properties.  Prior to the overturn, private landowners had immunity from liability if they granted others the right to recreate on their property.   But after a landmark case overturned this immunity and forced a private landowner to assume financial responsibility, things have been different ever since.

A group of concerned people have formed a group and are currently offering an online petition to have this overturned, as well as gather bodies to attend a public hearing on the 20th.  I mean think about this for a second, whole areas like Greenwoods and Boneyard might not be accessible anymore if the MDC decides to close access.  You think there is pressure on the river now?  Take away a huge chunk of the river and you will confine a large group of fisherman to an even smaller area.  Now I am not saying that this is going to happen, but who knows, it is a possibility.   From a fisherman's perspective, we are a small piece of the puzzle in terms of those who utilize MDC property to take part in some of the hobbies we enjoy.  This is the time to get together and make sure that these area's remain open for our use.  Remember not too long ago we worked on the trail to allow access to the lower Boneyard pool?  That could all be history if we don't act.  Take the time sign the petition. 

This is the perfect example of taking things for granted, we should all be thankful for the MDC and its generosity over the years, lets do our part to see this through and keep these treasured area's open to all of the people who enjoy their use.

To learn more about how to get involved, sign the petition or help overturn the legislation, visit:


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