Tuesday, July 2, 2019
We are so sorry to leave this area. The more we saw, the more we learned, the more there is to fish. There are 485 miles of streams to fish here. As Jeff said, “Come back in June and stay a month”.
We employed the same strategy – I would pack up while Kelly fished the Beaverkill right in front of us. After watching the river last night, we knew there were plenty of fish in this river and he was as anxious as a Labrador retriever going hunting. I gave him my phone with instructions that we MUST have pictures if he caught fish.
I took a shower, straightened inside the trailer, loaded up and emptied the trash. I put DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) in the truck as it was getting low. Then I heard Kelly yelling, “GREG!” I knew he had a fish, so I ran to the river and up the rocky edge as I saw him with a fish on. He was walking it downstream toward me, saying he didn’t know the password for the phone. Oh yeah, that would help. I took the phone and took some quick pictures. Releasing the tired Brown Trout, Kelly revived it, holding it upstream, moving it back and forth so water would run through his gills. It’s odd to watch my old friend, sometimes a curmudgeon, talking softly to this noble fish, so gently holding it in his powerful hands. He released it once, but it drifted backwards, so there was more moving it back and forth in the cool waters. It was tired and breathing hard, but soon it wiggled away back into the current. In 8 inches of clear water, its amazing how you can’t see the fish. It is so well camouflaged. Excited like a kid at the amusement park, with a big grin, he went back to work.
I wanted to say goodbye to Dennis, so I walked up to the beautiful 30’ Airstream Classic and knocked on the door. As the door opened, I was greeted by McHail with a wagging tail and smiling face, jumping up on my leg to get a pet. Dennis came out and we talked for a while. I thanked this nice gentleman with so much fishing knowledge. Since his wife passed away, he and McHail have been traveling.
Once more, he helped me understand how he fishes these rivers. He was going over to the West Branch today. “Why there?” I asked. “Because they are wild trout”, he said. “Not stocked”. I told him I’d like to come back for the month of June. He said, “Oh yeah, that would be good. I am here for five months”. Then he rattled off all the streams to be fished, many of which I hadn’t heard. We talked about his fishing technique, and he showed me his rod and how he had it set up with the leader he liked these days. He likes fishing emergers this time of year, telling me how he did it.
Dennis is a mechanical engineer. He and his wife ran a shooting store. He was into reenactments, and he is highly knowledgeable in black powder rifles. This is a soft-spoken, humble guy I could listen to for hours. I gave him my card hoping we would meet again. “Come back next year”, he said. “I hope I can do that”, I replied.
“GREG” I heard Kelly yelling as I walked back to the trailer. I ran down to the river as he had another one on. We were a little more efficient with this one, and the fish swam strongly away.
It was a 4-hour drive east to Tolland State Park in Massachusetts. Not sleeping well last night, I needed coffee when we stopped to make a quick sandwich for lunch. We set up at a nice campsite and headed over to scout the Westfield River. It’s an hour east. We are only 120 miles or so west of Boston.
Again in unfamiliar territory, we took the computer, our two phones and the truck GPS. We were using an excellent blog site for reference. It told us where to go and what flies to use to fish the East Branch of the Westfield River. Driving north on Rt. 112, looking for Chesterfield Gorge, we asked a man walking how to get there. “Just up ahead, take the next right”. Turning right, we found the road to be closed. The bridge was out. Now what? We were low on fuel and desperately need to find a diesel station. We found one 11 miles away. Surely there was a way in the Gorge, a big attraction in the area. With more searching and reading and driving and time, we finally found it. It was 6:30, and we were tired.
The blog told us to pass the parking lot and drive down the rutted dirt road that went for miles downstream. This big diesel truck has a stiff suspension that allows it to do its job of pulling the trailer very well, but it isn’t great on roads like this. Slowly, we drove down the bumpy road. The river is beautiful, with clear water. It’s low, but fishable. Our spirits lifted as we looked at this beautiful stream. Tomorrow was going to be a good day. We have two days here, so maybe the next two days we could fish this.