Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Trout Fishing; Westfield River

     I suppose sooner or later we all pick our poison. No doubt about it, mine is grouse hunting and gun dogs. Regular readers of ASO know I'm a spaniel guy, and frequently campaign my FBESS (field bred English Springer Spaniel), Ginger. Unfortunately, the prime hunt test, and field trial season overlaps with some of the best times to be on the trout water, so my trout fishing escapades are relegated to the tail end of the spring, and the early fall. Fortunately, ASO prostaffer GW is a trout bum, and is frequently available to give me adequate tips and instruction when I have the time and notion to make a trip to the river. Recently, I've been on the water with both GW and BK.

     Massachusetts is an interesting state, and the right type of sportsman could do good here. I know many who enjoy regular success during the deer or waterfowl season, wild turkey are abundant, and both cold water and warm water fisheries are available. Unfortunately, ruffed grouse habitat has diminishing to the point where I don't even bother to spend any time hunting them, here. It's not become worth the effort for me to make a 2+ hour drive. And then there's the traffic. There are few things in life that I truly hate, but traffic is one of them. It really needs to be worth  my while to get me to drive in traffic. Trout fishing in Massachusetts, is in my opinion good enough to stomach some traffic.

     There are options, and plenty of them for the angler in search of trout in Mass. The Deerfield river is considered by many the states best cold water fishery. Other popular trout streams are the Swift, the Still water, the Quinapoxet, the Housatonic, and the Westfield. All of these rivers have their bonuses, and their draw backs. Making a decision can be difficult. But not for me. The Deerfield sufferes from unpredictable water flow, the Swift is too popular and crowded, and the Quinnie too boney this time of the year. So it was to be the east branch of the Westfield. I'm very familiar with the area, and the Westfield holds a certain allure to me. There is more to the story, however. You see, I haven't fished on the Westfield in several years. After many trips to the river, and countless hours trying, I'd never caught a trout on the Westfield. So I gave up. For some reason I thought I'd try again, and I'm glad I did. Not only did I catch a couple of rainbows, but I caught a decent Brownie, too.

     Before I go on, too much, I should explain a little about my fishing philosophy. I'm not in any way, shape, or form a purist. I seldom fish dry flies, and when I do they're usually terrestrials. I like nymphing, and recently have been playing with some traditional wet flys. Strike indicators don't bother me, and I've even been known to Hi-stick a few riffles. I measure success differently, too. Like my bird hunting where success isn't measured by birds in the hand, but by total flush count, my trout fishing goal is to have my rod bent. If a fish makes it to the net, great. On the occasion when the trout spits my barbless hook after a short fight, I'm fine with that too. Hey, I fooled 'em. My recent trips to the river was marked with both nettings, and "remote releases." Enough of both to, not only restore my belief in the Westfield, but to make it exciting, too. My day on the water with GW was not only a day that saw good action, but afterwards GW and I realized that we'd caught fish in every pool and riffle we'd fished. Yet another measure of success. And today saw both BK and I hooking up and netting Rainbows within minutes of getting on the water.

     Today was probably my last day on the river until the fall. It's really the tail end of the prime trout season, and the water level today was noticeably lower than last week. More exposed rocks means the water heats up quicker, and the trout go deeper or die. Unfortunately, I also had a lot of trouble with my GoPro camera, most of it operator error, and have neither photo, nor video of any of our fishing. Fortunately, both of the ASO prostaffers I fished with are more tech savvy than me, and photo evidence should surface shortly.


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