Back in the state-stocked stomping ground

The scene of innumerable frustrations over the years.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Back in the state-stocked stomping ground

SOMEWHERE IN NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT — As I type Thursday morning, April 18 it is raining again. Thank God for that. I was worried about the crops.

Q: What crops?

A: Any crops. I just like saying “crops.”

In what seems to be an increasing rarity, we had two days without hardly any rain, on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16-17. (It did start raining Wednesday evening.)

I ventured into a brook in the lower reaches, where the descendants of state-stocked browns have taken firm hold.

The state stopped stocking the stream about 20 years ago, so these fish are — what, the fifth or sixth generation?

There are more of them in this small stream than you might think from a casual glance. And they are incredibly difficult to catch.

On Wednesday I used a little eight-foot Japanese Tenkara rod I forgot about. Not the greatest rod but it got the job done. I also carried the Dragontail Talon, which at a foot long when collapsed fits in the hand warmer pocket of my waders. It’s 10 feet and change in action. And it’s just a better rod.

(So have I gone all Zen weirdness? No, I use my regular rods all the time. I operate on 100% whim.)

In these new spots, I plucked not one but two wild browns from deeper plunge pools, and both were well over 10 inches. This doesn’t sound like much perhaps, but the typical fish in here is four to six inches and could easily fit in a little rectangular can labeled “sardines.”

Fish were coming up for big dries, Stimulators (size 10) and Parachute Adams (size 10), but the big winner was Joe’s Weenie. Unlike the ho-hum standard Green Weenie, Joe’s Weenie is a darker green, tied on a jig hook and has a very heavy head. It sinks like a stone.

Joe's Weenie is the superior Green Weenie.Patrick L. Sullivan

With regard to the photo of the large pool with the tree across it: This pool, which looks incredibly inviting, is the scene of innumerable frustrations over the years.

The problem has always been the approach. The tailout is shallow, and the spooky fish could see me coming a mile away.

And while visible booted feet are bad enough, many is the time I have watched dark shapes scurrying away after being alerted to my looming presence by a) the looming and b) the waving of the rod.

But this tree fell just right. It minimizes the looming aspect and seems to help with the waving rod bit as well. I can stand a few feet behind it and cast over it without mishap.

Upstream a 20-year old logjam finally blew out and completely changed the configuration of about 40 yards of stream.

This reminds me that rivers are not static systems. When one door closes, another one opens.

And he who laughs last gathers no moss.

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