Not long ago, she who must be obeyed (swmbo) pointed out our annual spring road trip had not been taken for several years.
When I responded that I was tired of driving, two airplane tickets to New England (N.E.) appeared. I was reminded I hadn’t caught fish on my fly rod in six of the N.E. states, and early fall was a good time to do that.
In addition to fishing that part of the country, I was told we could spend some time seeing N.E. So, I found myself seeing and fly fishing: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire.
I hadn’t spent much time in N.E. So, once there, I did notice differences and similarities between us and them. N.E. has lots of people squished into a really small land mass. They have humidity and narrow roads that wander around in seemingly endless circles. So much so that our GPS finally asked us if we had any idea where we were. N.E. is also the headquarters for Dunkin Donuts, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and the mothership of fly fishing, Orvis.
Durango has big pickup trucks with big dogs in the back of them. We also have thinner air and lots of wide open spaces. If I drove for two hours north or east from Durango, I would still be in Colorado. If I drove two hours north and west from Rhode Island I’d cross the boundary’s of five other states. Which means I could have based myself in one of the six states and fished everything in two days. Luckily, swmbo and I had ten days.
I started the outing in Rhode Island. Similar to many of the N.E. states, I had the opportunity fish either salt or fresh water. I chose salt water and managed to catch blue fish. For those of you not familiar with blue fish, they are mean, very aggressive, and have big teeth. Don’t put your fingers around their mouth; you might lose them. Massachusetts was knocked off the list on the way to Connecticut, total drive of about three hours. Everything is so close together. Anyway, we stopped at a park and I fished its lake, all on my own. I was told in the parking lot that the fishing wasn’t very good. I think it was someone not wanting a foreigner fishing his waters. I didn’t take his word for the fishing and proceeded to catch some nice sized pan fish.
Connecticut found us in a fishing lodge on the Farmington River (it’s not part of New Mexico). Here was my first lesson in skittish trout. So skittish that I learned to wait for several minutes before recasting to a missed fish. Of course, if I hadn’t missed it in the first place I wouldn’t have had to let it rest. I also received a lesson in the European method of nymphing. It did produce several trout.
On to Vermont and New York. Even taking all the back and scenic roads, it only took a couple hours of driving. Vermont and New York yielded trout, bass, and panfish. The weather was hot, and the streams in both states very low, so I fly fished only in the mornings. The streams flowed through farm land and passed old industrial buildings that are being recycled into modern businesses. In fact, the largest trout I caught was next to an old plant that is now a micro brewery.
The road trip ended in New Hampshire. The first part of the morning had me floating on a pond, think On Golden Pond, in a canoe. I love fly fishing from canoes. Except for the trout, and the loons chasing them, my guide and I were the only occupants on the pond. The brook trout rose to, and took, my dry flies. The afternoon had me on a really small stream, high sticking a small caddis for more brook trout.
New England and Colorado are certainly different. However, what they do share is the common language of fly fishing. Head there next fall and see if you don’t agree.
Reach Don Oliver at email@example.com.