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Patrick L. Sullivan caught a bass at a private lake that helped him understand why they’re called “largemouth.” Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

In which the wily trout continue to surprise our fly-fishing expert…

Tangled Lines

It’s baseball’s All-Star midseason break so let us take a similar look at the fly-fishing season thus far.

Much of the early going was spent on what us professional fly-fishing scribes refer to as “little blue lines” — those thin blue squiggles on the map that may or may not have a name and may or may not hold wild trout.

I spent a fair bit of time on the only one in the immediate area that is listed in the state angler’s guide: the Wachocastinook, aka Riga Brook.

Plenty of nice healthy brookies came to hand, but the truly exciting part was that I remembered to bring a stream thermometer along. 

The goal here is to map out the stream in a systematic way, taking particular note of the springs that feed it and the temperature of the water in those springs.

Let’s face it; every summer the brook gets low and warm, and every year I think this is it, those fish will never survive.

And every year they survive.

So far I have found two, which were hard to miss, since they run right into the stream. One even has its own waterfall.

Back in mid-May number one was 52 degrees and number two was 56 degrees. Brook trout like cold, clear water, so this is good. 

Water temps above and below these two springs were significantly different — nearing 70 above, and in the low 60s below.

Meanwhile, while fishing for largemouth bass in a private lake, I caught an absolutely enormous specimen on a size 1/0 Bass Vampire, which is a heavy purple streamer with yellow eyes. 

When I brought the fish in, I discovered that a) my net was wholly inadequate for this fish and b) I could have stuck my fist in its mouth and twiddled it around without touching tissue.

The crummy photo, above, gives the reader the idea. That little purple thing in the corner of its mouth is about 2 inches long from soup to nuts.

Even more amazing was that I caught Mongo with a fixed-line rod — no reel involved. And I was sorely aware of that when Mongo very sportingly jumped.

To continue the baseball analogy, this is my version of the Home Run Derby.

Last week I ventured into the Housatonic River, where water temperatures have, as always, warmed to the point where it is best to target the abundant smallmouth bass and leave the trout alone.

At least that was the plan. I chose a favorite spot outside of the famous Trout Management Area and started drifting and stripping things like the Vampire as well as more traditional streamers in likely spots — only to have them grabbed by substantial rainbow trout.

It made no sense, with the water temperature at 74 degrees, but Housatonic anglers learn to expect the strange and weird. 

A guide boat came slowly by. I got out to let them pass and told the guide what was happening.

“They’re looking for oxygen,” he said. “I had one hit my client’s rubber worm yesterday.”

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