If trout fishing in moving water is your passion, then you’re in luck this month. Water levels typically stabilize this month, making it possible to get your boots wet and reach productive honey holes. Water temperatures are also perfect for insect activity, and other foods are also readily available. The trout are hungry and willing to cooperate.
Simply put, it doesn’t get any better than this!
A HIDDEN GEM IN RHODE ISLAND
In the Fairbanks Corner area of Coventry the Moosup River passes beneath Route 14 and offers good fishing opportunities for the next 3 1/2-miles downstream to the Connecticut border.
About halfway down, the Moosup turns west and except for a short stretch at the elbow, both banks are within the Nicholas WMA. At no point can the Mossup River be considered large, but its intimacy, ample supply of protected and shaded pools, seepages and other holding areas are a major part of its charm.
The Moosup River is managed as a Designated Trout Water, which means it is stocked at various times through the season, generally with a mixed bag including brook, brown and rainbow trout. Anglers should have no trouble catching fish. Most trout will run 10 inches or under but larger examples, including some holdovers, are quite possible in the deeper pools and runs.
Fly fishermen should try dry patterns such as the Adams, Light and Dark Cahills and Hendricksons, to name but a few. The Moosup also has a good supply of forage fish so fishing below the surface with small Black-Nosed Dace, muddlers, Woolly Buggers and the like, as well as small Mepps-like spinners and worms should do well.
On the west side of the Route 14 bridge a road heads south and leads to an abandoned railroad bed paralleling the north bank of the stream to the state line. Access is also possible on the east side using the Lewis Farm Road off Route 117south of Fairbanks Corner. At Nicholas Road, head west to a dirt road heading north. This route requires a hike to the river but it can be well worth the effort.
Fore more information on trout fishing in Rhode Island visit www.dem.ri.gov.
CONNECTICUT’S PREMIER TROUT MANAGEMENT AREAS
Trout are the most sought-after gamefish species in Connecticut. To keep up with the angling demand, the Department of Environmental Protection stocks 700,000 to 800,000 trout prior to the spring opener and during the season. A fair percentage goes into the state’s Trout Management Areas (TMAs).
Two of the finest of these fisheries are situated on West Branch of the Farmington River and Farmington River within a couple hours drive of downtown Hartford.
The West Branch TMA was established in 1988 and has been governed under strict catch-and-release rules ever since. All forms of angling are permitted but barbless hooks must be used. The section gets its share of stocked browns and rainbows and with high survival rates of the stocked fish (up to 35 percent) anglers should find plenty of trout and some of them will approach 20 inches in length.
The West Branch TMA starts about 1 mile upstream of the Route 318 bridge in Pleasant Valley and runs downstream 4 miles to the Route 219 bridge in New Hartford.
The second, or lower, TMA starts in Collinsville and runs 3 miles downstream to the Route 4 bridge. The stretch is characterized by large boulders and deeper pools, making it a challenge to wade but also water that is capable of holding big fish. All methods of angling are allowed and there is a daily limit of two fish with a minimum length of 12 inches.
Both TMAs see some prolific hatches. Dry fly offerings this month should include the Hendrickson and Red Quill, March Brown, the Green and Golden Drakes and Light Cahill, in sizes from 18 to 10. A host of nymphs and wet flies also do quite well.
For anglers who pursue trout with spinning rods, the Original Rooster Tail from Worden’s, sizes 1/8 and 1/4-ounce, in chartreuse, flame and rainbow colors are excellent choices. The plain or dressed Deep Runners, Aglia Streamer and Marabou spinners from Mepps also do extremely well.
For a more comprehensive list of productive offerings, and what’s working at the time of their visit, anglers should check in with one of the local fly and tackle shops. While there, pick up a copy of “A Guide to Fishing the Farmington River” put out by the Farmington River Angler’s Association. The guide gives a description of the various pools, access points with maps, provides a list of recommended flies, lures and baits and other information that will prove most helpful.
For more information visit www.ct.gov.dep.
TWO GET-AWAY SPOTS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Massachusetts anglers looking to get away from the crowds and those who prefer intimate water should take a look at some of the state’s small trout runs. A good place to start is the Green River in the rolling hills north of Greenfield in Franklin County.
To find the river take Exit 26 off I-91 and head west on Route 2, the Mohawk Trail. The first right will be Colrain Road leading to Green River Road. After a short drive the Green River Road bears left and turns to dirt; this is the one you want. From that point the road travels to West Leydon through Stewartville and into Vermont, paralleling the river much of the way, a distance of over 8 miles.
Above West Leydon the river is small and typically freestone in nature, but holds pan-sized wild brook trout in its deeper pools. While never a large river, below that point the Green grows and is a mixture of pocket water, rapids, riffles and deep pools holding stocked rainbows, brookies and a few browns, some in the 10- to 12-inch range.
The Green is managed as a major river, which means the daily bag limit is three trout. The fish are willing takers of bright wet flies and small streamers as well as small spinners and worms in the deeper runs and pools.
Just to the west and running in the same north-to-south direction, the North River and its West and East branches in Shelburne and Colrain are also worth a visit. Like the Green River, these runs are not large, and they become increasingly smaller as you travel upstream, but each offers a pleasant mixture of free-flowing riffles, short rapids, pocket water and pools of various depths.
From Route 2 in Shelburne Falls take Route 112 north towards Shattuckville. About one mile before you get there, the North River Road heads west and crosses the North River. Take some time to fish downstream, especially where the North River meets the Deerfield River, with a 1/4-ounce Rooster Tail or Aglia spinner. There is some interesting water here that holds some large brown and rainbow trout.
Route 112 parallels the North River for another 4 miles to Griswoldville and there is good fishing and access all the way. The West and East Branches diverge at this point and Route 112 continues another 8 miles along the East Branch through Colrain and Elm Grove to the Vermont border, while the West Branch parallels Adamsville Road for at least 8 miles to its source in Heath. Both branches hold brook and rainbow trout and are stocked annually.
All types of angling are allowed and the fish do not appear overly selective so have some fun! There is no minimum length limit but the daily bag limit on the North and West Branch is three fish.
It should also be noted starting this year lead sinkers less than 1-ounce are prohibited in all freshwaters of the state.
For more information on trout fishing in Massachusetts visit www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw.
GO WILD IN THE GREEN MOUNTAINS
The Green Mountain National Forest takes in a large chunk of southern and central Vermont and is blessed with dozens of small headwater streams, too many to individually name here, but all contain wild brook trout. Most of the fish caught will be small, under 10 inches, but they are always hungry and willing takers, scrappy on the end of the line and purely native.
To fully enjoy and appreciate these bastions anglers should be get away from roads and do some bushwhacking. A short distance upstream or down will put anglers in areas that rarely see a fishing line. Go prepared however. Carry a lunch, drinking water, a map and always let someone know where you’re headed and what time to plan to return.
For the less adventurous many of these headwaters parallel or cross beneath highways, county roads and especially forest access roads maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. The Delorme Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer is a good way to find interesting runs but a partial list will be found on the Green Mountain National Forest web site at www.fs.usda.gov/greemountain.
Detailed maps showing the forest’s road system, hiking trails and waterways with information on camping can also be ordered or downloaded at that web site.
Keep in mind, a Vermont fishing license is required to fish within the national forest and while all forms of angling are allowed on most streams, be sure to check the current Guide to Hunting, Fishing & Trapping for regulations governing specific waters, especially those dumping into major rivers under special regulation.
For more information visit http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/.
WHITE MOUNTAIN TROUT
At Glen on Route 302 north of North Conway the Ellis River enters the Saco River. From there the Ellis travels some 14 miles along Route 16 to the base of Mount Washington. The Ellis offers good access and angling for both wild and stocked brook trout and rainbows in a myriad of free-flowing, gin-clear rapids, riffles, pocket water and pools. Don’t expect anything large. Most specimens run under 10 inches, but they are generally cooperative and will keep most anglers using bright attractor flies or worms attached to silver or gold spinners more than happy.
At Jackson, near the covered bridge, the Ellis is joined by the Wildcat River, and downstream to Route 302 is fly fishing only. Try dry fly offerings like the Red Quill, Henryville Special, Grey Wulff or something matching whatever is emerging. For subsurface fishing, the Hornberg, Muddler, Dark Cahill, Blue Dun do well, as do various mayfly and caddis nymphs. Don’t overlook the water below Goodrich Falls downstream to the Saco River, where some brown trout are possible.
If moving water is not your cup of tea their are several dozen trout ponds in the forest. Some are accessible by vehicle but the best angling will be found after a short hike. Some even have shelters for overnight stays. Try Sawyer Pond in Livermore, Falls Pond off the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) near Rocky Gorge and Mountain Pond or Province Pond, both in Chatham. Be sure to check the fishing regulations since they do vary, but all these ponds contain brook trout receptive to a host of flies and lures.
For more on fishing the White Mountain National Forest visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain.
For more information on regulations and trout fishing in general visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us.
A GOOD SPOT ON THE KENNEBEC
In the Town of Bingham the Kennebec River flows from the bottom of Wyman Dam, creating perhaps the best tailwater fishery in Maine. The self-sustaining rainbow trout population is the primary target of anglers here, because some of the fish are best measured in pounds rather than inches. Although rainbows get the most focus from anglers, brook trout and landlocked salmon are also a possibility.
Good fishing starts near the dam. Wading options are limited but as you move downstream towards Bingham wading is less problematic. For those who like to get their feet wet the best water starts at the mouth of Austin Stream behind the old mills and continues downstream to the braided islands behind the Gadabout Gaddis airport. Pay special attention to the deeper water, riffles and eddies around and below the islands.
Keep in mind that Austin Stream itself up to the Route 16 bridge is managed as a “Kid’s Only” fishing area, and this stretch of river from Wyman Dam to the impoundment in Solon is restricted to flies and artificial lures only.
For flies, streamers like the Gray and Black Ghosts, Nine-Three and Maynard’s Marvel are good when the water is running high. Humpies, Wulffs, Blue-Winged Olives, Quill Gordons, March Browns, Hendricksons, Light and Dark Cahills in dry, wet and nymph variations are popular. For lures, try a small 1/12-ounce or 1/8-ounce Kastmaster, 1-inch silver or copper Williams Wabler or a plain or dressed Mepps Aglia in hot orange, hot pink, copper or gold.
To find this stretch of the Kennebec, take Route 201 north from Skowhegan to Bingham. Route 16 crosses the river just below town and turns south and the Ridge Road turns north towards the dam. Both offer access. In addition, access is also possible from Route 201 near the airport using the Kennebec Valley Multi-Use Trail which travels 7 miles downstream to more productive water.
For more information visit www.mefishwildlife.com.