A Back-Country Brookie Adventure

Due to the prolonged drought, I have been keeping my distance from my precious small streams. But, my patience extends only so far. So with the recent cooler weather, I decided to head out. As expected, the water was low, clear, and cold. I find that in lower flows, topwater flies are the best producers. Of course, you can find subsurface action in the deeper plunge pools, but the vast majority of my action came on dries: Elk Hair Caddis, Improved Sofa Pillow, Ausable Bombers, etc.

I pricked dozens and landed quite a few. Most of the fish were smaller (<5″) but there were a few more substantial char in the mix. Even though the summer was dry and hot, nature finds a way. In one small, glassy pool I call “The Incubator,” I witnessed a burgeoning population of young-of-year brook trout. My guess is that thousands of generations have come of age there — something wondrous to ponder while you’re sitting streamside blowing smoke rings from your Aging Room corona gorda.

Some days I’m in full camera geek mode, actively seeking out shots. Other days, like this one, I’m far less motivated. Still, when incidental magic occurs, you take advantage. I had just squatted down into position at the head of a run when I looked down at the rock at my feet. From the chaos of falling leaves comes order. Have a nice day.

Have a nice day


One of the best fish of the day, probably 7″-8″, about to make a dash for the depths. He took an Ausable Bomber.

Brookie on the bottom


Dark char. I am fascinated by how brookies change colors to match their surroundings. On one limestone stream I fish, the fish have a lighter background cast to their flanks. This guy came from a deeply shaded pool. His head is almost black.

Dark Char


Paul was out hiking and shooting, and asked if I wouldn’t mind posing for him. I found fish on the dry from the head of the plunge to the submerged rock halfway down the run. Surprisingly nothing subsurface. It’s a gorgeous shot, even if the model doesn’t quite reach the level of the beauty of his surroundings.

Fishing waterfall

18 comments on “A Back-Country Brookie Adventure

  1. Jefferson Kolle says:

    Best post ever. Jefferson

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Ted Rzepski says:

    Fun post. What’s a char?

    • Steve Culton says:

      The basic rule of thumb is this: if it has a light background and dark spots (brown, rainbow) it’s a trout.

      If it has a dark background and light spots (brookie, Dolly Varden) it’s a char.

  3. Alton Blodgett says:

    Nothing prettier than a native brookie.

  4. Alan says:

    Hey buddy nice going. I to am fascinated by the various colorations of our brook trout.

  5. bmanser says:

    my kinda fishin…. thx for the post!

  6. Dwight says:

    I assume this is somewhere in northwestern CT? Or is it western Mass? What a beautiful brook. I spent my teenage summers at a camp on West Hill Pond in New Hartford. Of course don’t tell me your spot (I live in SC anyway) but I’m curious as to the general region. Is there a photo of the Ausable bomber somewhere online?

  7. Steve M. says:

    Great photos. Care to share the camera make? I often carry a waterproof point and shoot but haven’t had the guts to try some underwater shots.

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks, Steve. The underwater shot is from a GoPro Hero4 Black, which, IMHO, is only average underwater. The others were taken with an Olympus TG-4. Hope that helps.

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