Saturday, September 14, 2019

Searching for Big Spring Creek Brook Trout

Spring creeks are rare, well, most parts of the world, but there certainly aren't many in the Northeast. I found one though, about five years ago, and it turned out to be the most remarkable brook trout stream I'd ever fished in southern New England. Shrouded in heavy undergrowth, difficult to access, and appearing like nothing more special than a warm, weedy, muddy ditch, my spring creek hides itself well and even for those curious enough to attempt to fish it, the abundant thorn bushes and ticks and extraordinarily skittish brook trout are enough to send them packing. 

I'm not easily deterred though, and after seeing some of the largest wild brook trout I'd ever seen in the state, I was bound to be a regular visitor to this place.

In the years I've fished it though, I've still yet to catch a Brook trout quite like I've been seeking. Make no mistake, brook trout they may be, but a spring creek trout is a spring creek trout. They are not easy.

Every trip I make I catch some, but I also spook others that I'd taken as much as 10 minutes approaching to even a difficult casting distance. Easy doesn't exist here. On my most recent trip I had made out with a good number of fish but spooked more 14 to 18 inch brook trout than most dedicated CT small stream anglers will get a chance at in 10 years. I've accepted the fact that my catching one of the biggest fish here will be as much up to luck as it will be skill.

A substantial and handsome beetle eater.

Part of this is up to the population density of the stream. There are so many brook trout that they can't help but school, and there's only so many fish you can pull out of a school before they stop feeding. There's no magical way to pull the biggest out of a school, and there's often a 16 inch fish with ten 8-11 inch fish and thirty 3-6 inch fish. Getting the 16 to eat first isn't a skill, it isn't down to fly selection, it isn't down to anything but chance.

With fall very much here, however, I know an opportunity will arise to target the largest fish. It's something I've only hit right on one occasion and didn't capitalize on. Hopefully this year the deck will be stacked in my favor.

The colors of the Edson Tiger don't differ that much from the colors of the fish that ate it. 
Until next time.
Fish for the love of fish.
Fish for the love of places fish live.
Fish for you.

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  1. The second to last picture reminds me of photos of English streams with all the weed.

    1. Abundance of weeds is close, the type is very differently. This sort of stream is very distinct, not quite like a chalk stream, not like a limestoner, not like a Driftless spring creek or a Rockies spring creek... a uniquely New England thing.

  2. Congrats on finding a spring creek around these parts. Does it bubble up out of the ground from a visible source like one sees in Pennsylvania or does it start out as a swamp of sorts? These kinds of streams interest me a great deal. Incredible brook trout in there.

  3. I just reread this post. That first picture seems to be the source of the spring creek. Amazing for around these parts. Props to you for knowing where it is. Amazing it is still undisturbed with all the development that is constantly taking place.

    1. There is no real source to the spring creek section. The stream starts as a high gradient seasonal freestone, then begins collecting springs at the top of a wide floodplain. There are really dozens of sources.

  4. Inspiring to know that one of these mythical fisheries is indeed here in our back yard. Great read and beautiful fish! Thanks for sharing!