Somewhere out there. (Thataway.)

Middletown isn’t actually in the middle of Connecticut. It’s more like the mid-point between New York and Boston. Being centrally located has its benefits. I’m 45 minutes from Housatonic stripers. Just over an hour to Rhode Island. The Farmington River is as close as 35 minutes. But to get where I was going Thursday, I needed about two-and-a-half hours. One way.

In addition to drive time, the price of admission includes a hike that sends your heart rate soaring. (And, if you like to detour off the trail to get to those feeder streamlets that tumble down the sides of mountains as much as I do, some semi-treacherous bushwhacking.) It’s definitely not for everyone. But for the adventurous soul, rich rewards await in the form of magnificent solitude. Seductively clear water. And armies of obliging brookies.

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The day began grey with dense fog banks and light drizzle. My energy on the way into the woods was the typical I-can’t-wait-to-get-my-line wet rush. It usually takes a lot to distract me when I’m in hurry-up fishing mode. But I was captured by this splash of color against muted brown.  Sitting here at home now, I’m glad I stopped.

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We haven’t had much rain in the northeast during the last month. The brooks were way down compared to last fall. (And nice and cold at 50 degrees.) But even the feeders were teeming with char. Nature finds a way. Like this hemlock, growing hard against a rocky outcrop, roots searching for precious water, splayed out like the tentacles of a beached squid.

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I began fishing downstream, dry, with a size 16 Improved Sofa Pillow. When streams are this low and clear, the bite is often better if you go subsurface. It’s easy to figure why. The fish are feeling vulnerable in the lower flows. Whereas they’re bashful about showing themselves on top, they remain undisciplined gluttons below.  Once I made the change to weighted beadhead soft-hackles, I saw an exponential increase in strikes. The nips began the moment the fly settled beneath the surface. One of the flies I used — as yet unnamed — was a soft-hackle with a hot chartreuse bead head I tied up a few weeks ago. I could easily track the fly in the water, as well as the dark forms that would materialize out of nowhere to attack the intruder.

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“Unnamed”
Hook: 2x stout, 3x long, size 14
Thread: Black
Bead: Tungsten, chartreuse
Tail: Black Krystal flash
Body: Peacock Ice dub
Hackle: Grizzly hen

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Most of the brookies I pricked and brought to hand were in the 3-6″ class. But there were a few more substantial fish in the mix, like this handsome buck, ablaze in fall spawning colors. A proper Brobdingnagian, he’s been in the brook for quite a few years.

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Turned out nice again. It’s hard to manage the thought of the coming snow and shelf ice when the mercury’s pushing 65 and the sun is dancing off the tree tops.

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Can you stand to look at one more picture of a brook trout in blazing fall technicolor? If we must. I could wax poetic about the Fontinalis fin, the haloed spots, and the vibrant belly. But the camo pattern on the dorsal fin is inspired.

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Like fishing trips, all fishing reports regrettably must end. This is the fish from the photo above just at the moment of release. Till we meet again.

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2 comments on “Somewhere out there. (Thataway.)

  1. Alan says:

    Hey buddy thanks for the outing. It was very enjoyable.

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