Blackberry trout, trials and triumphs

Itinerant angler/mountain biker/raconteur David Asselin doesn’t let anything slow him down.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Blackberry trout, trials and triumphs

Ahh, spring. The balmy breeze. The brilliant sunshine. The plants poking up through the dead leaves.

And the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s trout trucks are rolling.

Only the last item is true.

We’re having a typical Northwest Corner spring, which means fits and starts, two steps forward and one step back.

And the first annual Tangled Lines Cliche Contest.

The Blackberry River is my preferred early season location, because it’s close and what it lacks in wild trout it makes up for in the difficulty of the terrain.

On the one really springy day recently, when it was warm enough to break a sweat, I spent an enjoyable couple of hours playing with rookie trout and finding out if I remembered my knots.

Of course the weather turned on a dime and the next couple of days were miserable.

The trout sulked and the wind made my teeth chatter.

I did meet itinerant angler/mountain biker/raconteur David Asselin. His nifty RV was parked at Beckley Furnace when I hove to. I noticed fly fishing gear by the cabin door and ambled over to say howdy-doo.

With this guy, a simple greeting opened the floodgates.

I learned quickly and in no particular order that he’s a Connecticut original, that he’s been all over the world including Antarctica, that he’s new to fly-fishing, that he teaches mountain biking in Montana from May through September, and that he’s a double amputee.

I had already deduced that. Being a trained observer, I noted the sticker on the RV that says “I’m a double amputee. I’m not useless!”

Turns out he froze his feet off. In Colorado, not Antarctica.

He cheerfully informed me he’s got no toes or heels, just three inches and change of remaining foot on both sides.

He does not wear prosthetic devices. He does get around, carefully.

I pushed off and worked the stream for a couple hours, with minimal results. Then I caught up with him and we sat on the bank and yakked some.

This evolved into an impromptu dry-dropper lesson.

This resulted in David catching a stocked brookie, on a size 16 Bread and Butter nymph tied on about two feet of 4X fluorocarbon tippet, in turn attached to the bend of the hook of a size 10 Parachute Adams dry fly. He caught a couple more, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke.

The stars were aligned, for once. (I make that four cliches, if you’re counting.)

Alas, duty called and I had to depart. We exchanged information and a few days later I got an email detailing his plans for the next couple of weeks.

With a little luck, we can connect again and continue the lessons.

Scolding department: Yes, the stocking trucks are rolling. No, you can’t keep them. Not yet.

Connecticut did away with a closed trout season a couple years back. But the regulations clearly state that it is catch and release until the old opening day, the second Saturday in April, at 6 a.m.

So you’re good to go at the crack of dawn on April 13.

I mention this because I saw people killing trout. I don’t know if it’s ignorance or indifference, but it is illegal.

Besides, after a life spent in a tank the fish are going to taste like fish food. Give them a chance to acclimate, and they might actually taste like something else. Trout, perhaps.

We’ll close here, after wishing you tight lines, which is cliche number five. Not bad for a 600 word piece.

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