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Tangled Lines

In which our seasoned angler shares some secrets

Saturday, April 13 is the opening of the 2019 trout season in Connecticut.
That’s a little misleading, actually. Trout Management Areas like the Housatonic and Farmington rivers are open year-round. Whether or not they are fishable is another question.

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A fisherman’s plea: Bite me

Are you ready for some fishing?
I am.
Connecticut’s general regulations say that trout season opens on Saturday, April 13, but Trout Management Areas are open all year. New York state opens Monday, April 1. Massachusetts is mostly year-round, except where it isn’t. (Check the respective state websites for details, lest you run into a fish cop.)
So the real question is this: Where is it feasible to fish right now?

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What the well-dressed angler will wear in the 2019 season

It may be jumping the gun a bit … but here is the Tackle Fondling edition of Tangled Lines for 2019.
If you fish small streams a lot, you might look into a pair of wading pants. These are the same as bootfoot chest waders except they stop at the waist. No straps to fiddle with, and subsequently a lot easier to get in and out of.
Obviously you can’t go in as deep as with full chest waders. But if you are creeping around little brook trout streams, that is not a problem.

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Leave this to the foolhardy and to the veteran expert

SOMEWHERE IN NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT — It was almost 50 degrees when I leapt from the bed at the crack of 8:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. 
The hand computer informed me that, while it had rained the night before, there was no more rain in the immediate future. 
And a quick check of the USGS gauge on the Salmon Kill told me that while it had risen a bit, the additional flow was minor. 
So clearly it was a day to check out a little blue line.

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Casting about online for holiday gifts

For one reason or another, you may not get to your local fly shop when shopping for the fly-fisherman on your Christmas list. 
I therefore offer these online suggestions.
Inexpensive reels
There are two schools of thought on fly reels. One is you need the very best, because you never know when that 12-inch brown trout is going to take you into the backing.
The other school notes that the primary purpose of the reel is to hold the line, so get the least expensive model that does what you want it to do.

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Casting about on a rainy day with a legendary Wulff

Since the endless rain has turned the fall 2018 fly-fishing season into a soggy mess, I thought the best way to wrap things up would be to go to the Phoenicia, N.Y., library to hear Joan Wulff speak.
Wulff, widow of the innovative angler Lee Wulff, is a legendary figure in the sport. Clocking in at about 5 feet flat, she can outcast most men. 
She set a distance record in 1951, casting a fly 161 feet. Most modern fly lines are 90 to 100 feet long, incidentally.

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A vacation that wasn’t what it was s’posed to be but, hey, that’s OK

Every year I take a week’s vacation at the family homestead in Phoenicia, N.Y. I try to time it for the end of September or beginning of October, the better to take advantage of early fall fishing on the Esopus Creek and tributaries.
It’s a happy time, especially since there is no internet at the house, no cable TV, and I have to drive 5 miles to get a cell phone signal.
That means, for instance, that I will not know what Kanye tweeted that week. 
This is a good thing.

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Watch out for them little blue lines

Sometimes you’ll hear fishermen speak cryptically about “little blue lines.”
They are referring to the little brook trout streams that show up on maps as, you guessed it, little blue lines.
That’s if they show up at all.
I fish three little blue line streams in northwest Connecticut on a regular basis. One of them is listed in the Connecticut state angler’s guide. One of them is on private property and you need to ask permission. And one is so secret that I hesitate to even mention it.

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Watch out for them little blue lines

Sometimes you’ll hear fishermen speak cryptically about “little blue lines.”
They are referring to the little brook trout streams that show up on maps as, you guessed it, little blue lines.
That’s if they show up at all.
I fish three little blue line streams in northwest Connecticut on a regular basis. One of them is listed in the Connecticut state angler’s guide. One of them is on private property and you need to ask permission. And one is so secret that I hesitate to even mention it.

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The event of the season: White Fly Hatch

By the time you read this a mystical event of epic proportions should be underway on the Housatonic River.
I refer to the White Fly Hatch.
This burrowing bug, which goes by the moniker of Epheron leukon, is unusual among mayflies in that it emerges, mates, lays eggs on the water and dies, all in the same night (according to the Wisconsin Fly Fisher website).
That’s a depressing prospect for an ambitious mayfly, but for the Housatonic fly-rodder it is cause for joy and merriment.

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