Local Water, Bamboo and the Upper Connecticut

I have a bunch of vacation time earned that needs to be used and June is a fine time to be fly fishing in the Northeast. A recently acquired bamboo rod got a bit of a work out, first on the lawn and then on the stream. This one is an 8′ Orvis ‘Battenkill’ that I’ve come to understand is a 7 weight though it isn’t so stamped. Not owning a 7 wt. line, I figured to rig the rod up with my Tibor ‘Tailwater’ lined with 6 wt. This combination performs very well for me allowing an easy 60′ cast and with a little work and practice, a bit more. This softer action stuff is catching and I’m beginning to understand its allure. At the risk of being over simple and raising the ire of those aficionado’s who would add so much more…the bamboo action lays down a nice gentle dry and makes mending line a task that even this very poor fly fisherman can take some joy in. There–I’ve written something about bamboo rods that sounds half way like I know what I’m talking about while knowing full well that I don’t. I’m certain at least that I can tell the difference between a Sage XP and bamboo and how the differences translate eloquently in demonstrating who or what is doing the work. Thanks Reed. My friend Reed and I spent a very pleasant afternoon out on his lawn among apple trees forming loops with bamboo rods and various line and reel combinations. Reed has accumulated a great deal of knowledge on the subject of fly fishing and his keen mind and ability to articulate such encourages even my granite-like brain to absorb a bit. Physics, engineering and material characteristics may not matter much to trout, but when explained by someone who knows what he is talking about it is satisfying to the curious mind. I’ve already forgotten most of what Reed explained, but I am left with the wonder and coolness of it all. Thanks again, Reed.

Conclusion: bamboo rods are very cool. If you haven’t yet tried one out, you should.

My sometimes fishing partner Jersey Jimmy and I spent some time on the Souhegan last week and this was the occasion for my fishing the bamboo for the first time. As is usually the case, Jimmy’s efforts yielded more fish than mine. I did manage to fool a few trout though and the first caught on the bamboo rod was memorable. I was a bit concerned when hooking up a feisty rainbow in fast water, but was surprised in the end at how well the old gal did. She has more back bone than I thought possible. The following is one of the first caught on that old Orvis ‘Beaverkill’.

Jimmy and I decided to return to a favorite hole of mine that was created by a storm and a fallen tree and if there is a spot where trout can hold over on this river, this is it. I discovered the hole a couple of seasons ago and was pleased to catch a number of good fish there–I believe I wrote an account of it in the early days of this wee blog. I call it “Scoop Hole”. It was formed by an interesting combination of a storm formed gravel bar that constricted the river and a tree that fell over the constriction just so–the water being forced under the tree and at the same time narrowed considerably ‘scooped’ out a hole made perfect for trout looking for refuge and a food conveyor belt. A nice run and riffles both up and down stream add to its allure and so we have a section of river that trout like. I hadn’t fished it last season at all and this was the first trip there this year. I was pleased to find trout still living there. I encouraged Jimmy to have the first go at it, but he declined generously. I believe that I could see on his face that he wished he hadn’t declined, as I went on to hook up a few nice fish. I lost the biggest one just before netting him– to Jimmy’s chagrin. I admit to being a bit tentative with that bamboo while feeling the rod to the cork. The fish was intent on getting me hung up on submerged branches and nearly did so. The second hook-up had Jimmy pleading that I not let that happen again as that fish tried to repeat the maneuver. I managed with his encouragement.

I returned to ‘Scoop Hole’ the next day and was able to bring a few more fish to net. Sorry about the picture quality. I had only the iPhone and I do very poorly taking pictures of fish that I plan to release. I really do need to put more effort into this.

After spending a day working around the house, I drove up to Pittsburg to fish the upper Connecticut. I planned my windshield time such that I was in the river for the late afternoon and evening. The fishing was fabulous as is to be expected for June on the upper Connecticut. I fished the trophy stretch around ‘Bridge Pool’ and managed several rainbows and lost at least as many before the net, but the excitement of the tug and battle of those only adds to the entire experience. I saw but one fish rising. They were interested in soft hackles and nymphs. I had luck with a micro-soft hackle bugger to get down deep in fast water, pheasant tails, jail birds and copper johns. Things began to slow down around 7:15 and I hadn’t yet located a room, so I headed off to ‘Spruce Cone Cabins‘ and Gary had a cabin for me at his usual great pricing. I stashed my stuff and headed over to the ‘Rainbow Grill and Tavern‘ for a meal, a cold one and some Red Sox, before hitting the sack. I slept well dreaming of the coming morning. My internal clock woke me within two ticks of 5 am and a coffee and fig square from down the road was fuel enough. I had a great morning around the ‘Bridge Pool’ again until things slowed down with the heat. It was fast approaching 90 degrees by 11 am and I had promised myself a shot at the Magalloway section upstream. The water was just gorgeous, but I caught nothing but wee salmon.

It was uncomfortably hot so I cranked up the AC in the truck and did some scouting for bird cover in areas that I had not been before. Satisfied that I’d found some promising cover, I headed out for some lunch and to settle up with Gary over at ‘Spruce Cone’. After some enjoyable conversation I decided to head back home rather than fish in that heat. There will be more trips to Pittsburg for both fishing and birds.

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~ by John McGranaghan on June 25, 2012.

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