Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fly Fishing Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the long break between posts. That will be coming to an end. For those of you that have checked back with frequency hoping for something new, I am sincerely sorry. Now, on to the trout!

My wife and I vacationed in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom for our honeymoon. The region had everything we wanted: beautiful scenery, quiet towns, and, of course, Cabot Cheese. So we rented a house along the Black River (her idea, not mine), and spent the next week exploring rural Vermont. While my focus was ostensibly on my new bride, I somehow ended up catching over 40 trout. I'm not really sure how that happened....I suppose since she had been a devoted companion on numerous fly fishing excursions, spending her honeymoon along the banks of various rivers was somewhat apropos.

In all honesty, however, I did a majority of the fishing when my wife was still asleep, or wrapped up with a book. Having the house along the river made this type of fishing quite easy. I remember one night getting drunk on champagne, then heading out into the twilight to fish the Black while Jackie read. It was raining slightly, and the temperature was a cool 50. I thought to myself that this was as good as it was going to get, casting in the rain on a beautiful stream with my wife able to see me from the warmth of indoors. She always worries about me, even though the rivers I fish are, on average, less than three feet deep. But up there in Vermont, she could easily call me when she wanted to start dinner, or join me on the grassy bank as I attempted to land the river's beautiful rainbow trout.

I fished more rivers than the Black, though. Our rented house was a short drive from Newport, a town located on the immense Lake Memphremagog. The big lake shares territory with both the United States and Canada, and is the area's dominant watershed. I fished the three main US tributaries: the Black River, the Barton River, and the Clyde River. Interestingly, Vermont's fish and game folks have stocked the Clyde with land-locked Atlantic salmon. Having never caught one, these salmon were my primary target. Because of the time of the year, however, I was only able to catch small smolt that had not yet ventured into the deep Memphremagogian waters. But they were still salmon, and I was able to add another type of salmonoid to my personal list.

We also took a ride into the northern Green Mountains, stopping at Jay Peak. Jay is regarded by many (including myself) as one of the East's best ski locales. Leading the east in snowfall, Jay's melt ends up in a tributary stream entitled Jay Creek/Jay Branch. After taking the infamous tram to the summit (over 4,000 feet) and having a drink at the newly-renovated lodge, Jackie and I stopped at a pull-off along the smallish stream. I was able to catch 22 wild brook trout on small streamer flies in about 90 minutes. It was as if they had never seen anything like those small wooly buggers. And it's possible they haven't: we did not see another fly fisherman during our entire stay.

One of the last mini-trips we took was across the Canadian-US border into Quebec. I had seen a river on the map labeled the Riviere Tomifobia, and I was determined to catch an international trout. Despite not being able to read the posted signs (I believe they were just delineating regulations, my French isn't what it used to be), I parked along the river and began fishing. Not soon after, I landed a wild brook trout. It was the first trout I caught in a country other than the United States, and I was thrilled. But not knowing the precise rules of where I was fishing, Jackie and I hightailed it back to the US immediately following the catch.

It was a wonderful honeymoon: my first salmon, my first international trout, my first Vermont trout, and my first few days with the newly-minted wife.

Image #1 - Clyde River
Image #2 - The first Atlantic salmon, check out that tail!
Image #3 - Wild brook caught on a streamer at Jay Creek
Image #4 - Riviere Tomifobia


troutrageous1 said...

First, congrats on getting hitched.

Second, looks like one heck of a way to mix some fishing into a honeymoon. That's some beautiful country, and some beautiful fish.

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