Fishing Trout Brook

Several have said all the feeder streams in this area have native Brook Trout. We chose Trout Brook. We didn’t know where to fish it or what the regulations were, so we just parked at a pull-off, geared up and started fishing. It’s a beautiful little creek. With plenty of logs and vegetation, we had the usual problem of getting the fly caught in them. We leapfrogged all day. Sometimes we will split up on a small stream, keeping in contact with radios or phones. Since we didn’t know the stream or what might work, we decided to stay together. If nothing was biting, or a fisherman was ahead of us, we might quit and go to another stream. We could also try two different flies and see what worked. If someone gets caught in a tree or changes a fly, the other goes ahead, so the fishing stays steady.

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We didn’t do much at first, but then we began catching some, or at least there was enough action to keep it interesting. I hooked three, but they all came off the barbless hook. Kelly caught three nice ones, lost two big ones and lost a few others. Our best luck was at the top. We didn’t know until we got out that we were on posted, private property.

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We ate a granola bar, drank some water and went back to the bottom. Just as we were about to get out, another fisherman drove up. Kelly got out to talk to him. He said he didn’t need much room, so we went up to the next pull-over. The gentleman said planned to fish a BWO (Blue Wing Olive) upstream, then walk back while fishing a nymph (an underwater fly).

It was a nice day, and we got our exercise. We were tired, but needed to do laundry. It’s nice to have a laundry in the campground, but with sheets, towels and a week’s worth of fishing clothes, it took a while. Waiting for the dryer to finish, we noticed a gentleman sitting outside his 30′ Airstream, so we walked toward him. Before I got there, he pulled out a folding chair and put it beside him. It was 84 degrees and hot, but he was in the shade of some trees and had his awning out. I told him I liked his Airstream and introduced myself. He had met Kelly yesterday. His name is Dennis. The Airstream is a 2002 Classic. I told him about our 2005 30′ Classic we used to have. I think it is the prettiest and most energy-efficient model.

Dennis lives in it full time. This is his home, along with his cute, little dog. He fishes, moving around with the seasons. He stays here for four or five months, then moves south, fishing the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. He loves to fish salt water with a fly rod, showing pictures of some big sea trout. He is a retired gun dealer with a lifetime of knowledge fishing this area. Reluctantly, I excused myself to finish the laundry and take a shower.

At about 6:30 people gather for the “Liar’s Meeting”. Butternut Grove is mostly a fishing campground, right on the Beaverkill River, so the like to meet on top of a bank in the middle of the campground to exchange stories of the day. As we walked up, we struck up an easy conversation with Jeff, a retired policeman from NYC. He too has a camper he is keeping here for a month. He had fished the West Branch. That translates to West Branch of the Delaware where he caught 8 fish, “no big ones” he said, but all nice.

I was dying to sit down in one of the eight Adirondack chairs overlooking the river, but these two veterans were talking fish, what to do and where to go. I was all ears and questions. Jeff said most visitors pound the water with dry flies, but “you have to go underneath”. He uses a 11’6″ Spey rod, a two-handed rod that throws the fly a long way. He was using a Leadwing  Coachman, a Caddis female imitation. I asked how they know what to fish and when. ” We just know what usually hatches this time of year, so that narrows it down to five flies”, said Dennis “Then you change those until you see what works. We’re not quite into nymphs yet”. I asked how they know it’s nymph time, and they said to look under rocks in the water. Once they have come out, they will leave their shells along the banks.

They talked about guides using strike indicators that bob when a fish strikes under water, but they didn’t like that. It inhibits the way the fly swims. “OK” I said, “How do you tell when a fish strikes?” “Tightlining”, Dennis said. Keeping the line taught, without drag. “You MUST have at least a 14′ leader. These fish are line-shy”, Dennis said. Then there was a 20-minute discussion of leaders, poo-pooing Euro-nymphing, which I had recently read up on. I was wishing I had recorded the conversation. They used to use Maxima line to make their own leaders, which I had just done, but now they use something else they love. Of course I promptly forgot as they moved on to another topic. My head was swimming with new ideas.

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