Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘July 9th, 2019’

Fishing The Battenkill River and Roaring Branch

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

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Camping on the Battenkill campground

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Battenkill behind our campsite

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It was 57 degrees when we woke up, which makes for great sleeping. Sooner suggested driving 9 miles south to the New York side of the Battenkill River where they stock trout  so we might have a better chance of catching fish. We stopped at a bridge and fished above and below for about an hour. A man, who looked like he knew what he was doing, entered from the other side. None of us did anything. 

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We looked at several other areas before settling on another bridge on a secondary road. We are in the land of covered bridges. It was a beautiful spot with several good runs and nice holes. I switched to a small nymph and caught a small Brown Trout on the first cast and immediately walked down to Kelly to tell him the news. Maybe we were onto something but only one more strike was it. Maybe it was just the end of feeding time, or maybe they were keying in on something else. There was nothing rising and no hatch however it’s never a bad thing wading a cool, beautiful trout stream in the summer.

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We drove upstream to another bridge where a professional entered the stream above us, teaching a couple how to fly fish. Changing flies and techniques, we didn’t move a fish. There was a hatch of teeny flies, and one sulphur almost hit me in the face, but I could see no fish sipping, rolling or rising. 

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Tired and hungry, we went back to camp, fixed lunch and rested a bit. Then we rode back through the little town of Arlington and drove up Sand Road to Roaring Branch. It didn’t look like much as we drove along and it didn’t appear to be much water in it, but what water there was, was crystal clear. Cabins and houses were all along the stream. Roaring Branch seems to be appropriately named. It’s a huge boulder field with what looked like a trickle of a stream running through it. We could see that when the spring rains came, all hell could break loose, moving these huge boulders around and washing trees downstream. 

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Not having any idea where to fish, we just stopped in a shady area where at least the fish would have something to keep them cool. Traffic was heavy on this dusty, gravel road and, while I don’t know where this road goes, thankfully, all these cars were not carrying fishermen. We were in Green Mountain National Forest, which only means the government has timber and mineral rights. 

Kelly went directly to the stream and I worked my way downstream, fishing a couple of small pools. I wasn’t optimistic since a road ran along the stream providing easy access and there was little to get in the way of casting, I suspected there would be few, if any, fish. I looked up as I was moving and saw a man watching me; he looked like a game warden, but didn’t say anything. We had gotten a $10, one day, non-resident New York license and a $21 Vermont license. For $2 more, you could get a 3-day license which was a smart enticement to get additional state revenue but we did not fall for it since we really only needed the one day and we are cheap. We have a little printer in the Airstream that is great for printing licenses – I might start a little collection from this trip.

I asked the man if he had caught any fish and that he said he was new to the area and was unsure of what to do. He had fished up higher with a caddis fly and caught a couple of small trout. I told him we were new to the area too and didn’t know much either. 

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The stream is deceiving. It splits, comes back together, makes runs and falls into some very deep pools, some of which aren’t 4’ across but we found fish in them. Kelly caught a couple early on and I got a couple of strikes. OK, game on. I love this kind of fishing. Just about everyone says Brook Trout will readily take a fly, and they will but if you miss, it’s all over in that pool and you will not get a second chance. Brook Trout can see you so you best stay low, get behind a rock and don’t let this fast-moving water drag your line. It’s target fishing and you have to be accurate. 

The longer we fished this little stream, the more impressed I was. It’s not easy going in this boulder field. You have to navigate carefully, and you are climbing up a mountain, so it’s great exercise. At our age, we may not be able to do this much longer, which made this afternoon so much sweeter. We caught 8 nice, little Brookies and probably missed 15 more. They fight so hard! By 5:00 we were whupped and called it a day, but what a good one it was.

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7″ Brook Trout

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Behind this little dam is a deceivingly deep pool that was over my knees.

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Back at camp, Kelly surprised me as he went back to the Battenkill to fish. A young couple had settled in beside us, cooking hash over an open fire for dinner. Kelly went over to discuss how they made it. They started by frying bacon, add potatoes, then anything else you might have. In their case it was peppers and something else. Sounded good. He told them Stouffer’s made our dinner.

Moving to Camping on The Battenkill

Sunday, July 6, 2019

While we were breaking camp, John Donovan came up to say goodbye. His group across the road had fished last night in the rain, but had little luck. They have a very nice group that rents a cabin here every year. John said he envied us – being able to travel and fish on a trip like this. We said you have to be old like us, but we do feel very fortunate.

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It was a pretty, 3-hour drive north, past Tolland State Forrest, up I90 and Rt.7. Arriving at the campground early, we dropped the trailer at a nearby park and ran errands. We drove 12 miles south to the Bennington Walmart. It is a well-organized store, so we were pretty efficient getting what we needed. We filled up with gas, got a milkshake and went to the liquor store. By the time we had lunch and hooked up the trailer, it was time to check in. 

We found our site, set up and drove north to check out the Orvis store and Outlet. This is the Orvis home, where it all got started. They have the corporate offices, their biggest store, a fly fishing school, complete with stocked ponds, and an outlet for older items. These are all beautiful buildings in the also beautiful town of Manchester, VT. Mostly they come for the cool summer air and the Battenkill River.

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We entered the store with our mouths agape. It’s huge with hunting and fishing gear on the ground floor and home and pets on the second floor. We love Orvis stuff, all of it! There is a department for shotguns – beautiful shotguns. 

Despite the distractions, we headed for the fishing department and met Sooner. No, he is not from Oklahoma. He gave us some great tips on fishing the Battenkill. He showed us places to go on Google Maps on his computer. Then he showed us what he likes to use and how he fishes them. Apparently, the average fisherman catches two trout a day on the Battenkill. The fish see a lot of fishermen. It is not stocked in Vermont, so they are wild and they are finicky. Of course we bought more flies, and I bought a braided leader. As we were heading out, Sarah also gave us some tips and a printed map. She suggested fishing Roaring Branch where native Brookies live. Maybe we would fish the Battenkill this evening in camp. Tomorrow we would fish it on the New York side, since they stock it. In the afternoon, we might try Roaring Branch. One day is not enough time!

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We headed over to check out the outlet store. There were two floors of marked down items – rods, flies, clothes, home and pets. Tempting, very tempting, especially pants for $29 and half-priced fly rods. I could spend a half day here……and a lot of money.

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Late in the afternoon, we went behind the trailer to the beautiful stream and fished for an hour. It was the end of 4th of July week. Between canoes, inner tubes and fishermen, these fish are laying low. 

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