11 April, 2011

That's why they call it fishin'...

This weekend was my birthday, so I shelved the guilt over submitting the next manuscript or preparing the weeks genetics lecture and went fishing. I am new to New England (~3 years) and since I have only fished 2 streams prior to this weekend, anywhere I decided to go would be an adventure. Based on some research, and the indication that there were wild brook and brown trout to be found, I decided to head to the Quinapoxet River.

One of the great birthday presents from my wife and daughter

After about an hours drive west of my home, I arrived stream-side and casually walked down the nearest path to view the stream. I was pleasantly surprised to find what appeared to be a very nice looking, wild trout stream.

The Lower Quinapoxet, just above Wachuset Reservoir

I rigged up, donned my waders, and set forth with the greatest of enthusiasm. I chose a section to start the days fishing not far from the car. It was a beautiful run with good depth and numerous large cobble and small boulder to provided small pockets that, I was sure, would hold some really hungry (its been a long winter) brook trout. I began with the usual dark-bodied, non-specific nymph and added some split shot to help get the fly down close to the bottom. The stream looked to be bank-full and was flowing well and it was very clear. 

Fantastic trout habitat on the Quinapoxet
A few hundred drifts later through that run, and the next few heading upstream, plying every available nook and cranny produced no takes. No big deal really, I noticed a few folks parked back at the gate and figure somebody had already fished through and given these fish lock-jaw. So I moved on, hiking a mile or so away from the parking lot.

Another great run on the Quinapoxet
Lets just say that I probably walked and fished ~85% of the stream over the day and never even saw a fish other than a few blacknose dace in backwaters. I did however witness a fairly impressive hatch of little black stoneflies (probably Taeniopterx) and I did see female stoneflies laying eggs in runs and the tail-outs of pools. There appeared to be enough flies on the water that I thought I might just see a few fish rising, but it never happened.

Little black stoneflies (probably Taeniopterx) were hatching all day

I am not easily deterred, so I kept at it and continued to hike higher and higher into the watershed.  I did notice along the way a few small feeder streams that I am sure keep this stream very cool during the warmer months.  I explored a few and dapped a fly or two into some of the deeper pools, still no luck there either.
A small, tannin-stained feeder stream

And there was lots of beaver activity in and around the stream. I actually saw the remains of one beaver pond that looked like it had been recently destroyed, perhaps by high water after all of the snow melted this year.

There are some fierce beavers up here in New England
Overall it was a good day. It has been a long time since I last fished all day and my right arm and wrist were pretty tired by the end of the day. Even though I didn't see any trout all day, it was nice to get to know a new stream. I didn't bring my thermometer and I suspect that the water was still a bit cool, there was still a good bit of snow pack left in the woods. I'll have to come back once things really get going later in the spring and during early summer. Apparently, a few other New England anglers had the same luck. But hey, that is why the call it fishing and not catching!

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