Tuesday, April 18, 2017

An Extraordinary Place, Two Extraordinary Fish

I'm teaching my Mom how to fly fish. Hopefully my obsession is not too genetically linked, the last thing we need is her becoming as much of a fish bum as I am. We had some time to work with today so I drove us out to a stream I have been very interested in for a long time but never visited. Some research was done in the morning, gear was packed and rods were rigged and soon we were on the road. After some trial and error finding the right road to park one we hopped out and hiked through a few meadows to the stream. First impressions were good!

Second impressions were even better. The place was brimming with life! Tan caddis, hendricksons, midges, and spring stoneflies were hatching. There were juvenile trout, dace, sculpins, and suckers all over the shallow slow water.

The third impression I got? This place has some great wild fish. Third pool I fished the royal stimulater was slurped down. I set the hook and the 3wt bent double under the weight of a heavy brown trout that made it obvious he was not pleased with three jumps one after the other. When the first wild brown you catch out of a given CT small stream in 11 inches, you have two options: give up and go home, or stay and hope the stream has more of that variety. As it turned out this one most certainly does. But before I got to far into it I paused to give Mom some instruction. Learning fly fishing while standing in the stream during a fairly good mayfly hatch is not easy and though she did not catch any fish she made a lot of progress.

Constant instruction is not always the way to go, so when I saw risers in the pool you see above I crawled into position. After missing a couple small fish with a hendrickson dry I changed to a CDC caddis. A splashy rise in the foam line showed me where the bigger fish was. I got the fly in the right spot and WHAM! When the fish got close enough for me to see I could hardly believe my eyes. This was indeed the most unique brook trout I have ever caught.

A hunchback brookie. Some of the best colors on a spring brook trout too, incredibly distinct vermiculation, crisp bright spots... what a fish! I've caught hunchback stocked trout before, but with a wild small stream fish that condition is far less common and really an unusual thing to come across. I've caught hundreds of thousands of wild trout and never seen on hunchback. I wish that was what I ended the day on, but instead I went and botched a shot at a brown about 15 inches long, rising steadily for caddis. I stung him and he was onto my game. At least there's more incentive for me to return, not that it was needed.


  1. Rowan I've caught those "humpback" brook trout in Maine several times. Here in CT only twice. They are truly special. Remember where he was taken and pay him a visit come fall.

    I don't know if they are still active but....."The Humpback Trout Workshops" PO Box 26 Waterboro ME 04061

    1. It would certainly be an easy fish to recognize! Hopefully the flows will be good this year and I can return and find him.

  2. Rowan
    Super fun for sure on the 3 wt.-----that would be my go to rod to land those awesome wild trout. Glad you are getting your mom interested in the sport. Thanks for sharing

    1. My 3wt is my go to but I would love something even lighter and shorter. preferably fiberglass.