Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Salter Brook Trout: What Is, What Was, And What Still Could Be. Pt. 4

 VICTORY… for now.

Many of you have probably already heard that Wareham’s voters shot down the NOTOS rezoning proposal by a wide margin. This is certainty a tremendous victory, and a very visible example of what good advocacy can accomplish. As a treat, I’d like to share a little bit of what has potentially been saved by this vote. 

One late winter evening, after exploring some water in southeastern Massachusetts that I wasn’t familiar with, I gave up and went where I knew I’d have a shot at a salter. Red Brook’s sinuous path through the salt marsh glowed like goldenrod in the evening sun. I had decided not to fish above the tide line at all. I was sure I could catch fish upriver but I wanted to know that, if I did catch a fish, it would be a bona-fide salter: a brook trout caught in brackish, tidal water. With a classic brook trout streamer on the end of my tippet, I gently made my way through the marsh. Salt marshes are delicate wherever they exist, and this one was even more special than the average southern New England marsh. I cast my Edson Tiger in each bend, cut, and eddy, waiting for a grab I suspected may never come. Then, all so suddenly, it did. A brook trout peeled away from the sod bank and went airborne on the take. 

After a spirited battle I had at hand a work of art. Painted with the same colors as the sun that was gracing the evening sky, but with a noticeable chrome cast when viewed at the right angle. This was exactly the fish I was looking for, which is a rare occurrence. More often than not I don’t quite find what I’m after. 

Red Brook was not done with me though. I was running out of river, very literally, when a fish of even more impressive stature made an appearance. I was almost in Buttermilk Bay, the furthest down the brook I’d ever encountered a brook trout. He ate on two consecutive casts and looked every bit of 14 inches. Both takes were miniature versions of what it looks like when a white shark blows up on a seal cut-out being towed behind a boat. I did not connect, but was left in complete shock just as I’d been when a fish of similar stature performed just such a routine the first time I ever fished this stream. 

I left feeling rejuvenated, with a sense of hope I didn’t have when I’d stepped out of the car. But even though it looks like Red Brook will be safe, for at least a while, it and the Quashnet are stars in a very dark sky. Salters in the Northeast still face more challenges than they can rightfully be expected to survive. This saga is not over yet- far from it. 

Until next time, 

Fish for the love of fish.
Fish for the love of places fish live.
Fish for you.
And stay safe and healthy.

Thank you to my Patrons; Erin, David, John, Elizabeth, Brandon, Christopher, Shawn, Mike, Sara, Leo, C, Franky, Geof, Luke, and Noah for making Connecticut Fly Angler possible. If you want to support this blog, look for the Patreon link at the top of the right side-bar in web version. 

Edited by Cheyenne Terrien


  1. A wonderful read. Props to the Wareham citizens for what they saved.

  2. Good for now, but your words are important. Make your voice heard.
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