Instead of visiting my usual haunts, I decided to mix things up this past weekend and try new water. After some last minute planning, I decided to fish the Black River in Vermont, due to a recommendation of a good friend. Owing to its reputation as a trophy trout fishery, I fully expected to share water.
So, I awoke on Saturday morning on four hours of sleep with a plan in mind: arrive early, cover ground, and fish hard. Unfortunately, many people had the same idea. All pull-outs had cars and droves of anglers setting up. I picked the parking lot with the fewest cars. The fishermen I talked to were very nice and allowed me to work around them. Some of them were leaving as I set up, reporting little to no action.
My day started off much the same. I fished a number of prime runs and pockets without anything to show. I rotated flies, added weight, and switched between indicator and tightline techniques. Eventually, I surmised that pressured fish often hide in “B” water and stay near the far bank. My first cast to the front of a giant boulder yielded a vicious strike, some head-shakes, and a peeling run. After applying copious side pressure and testing the limits of my tippet, I landed a gorgeous brown. My first Vermont fish on a fly.
I landed two more trout before calling it early to fish with a close friend back in New Hampshire. Overall, there was no magic fly; I caught each fish on a different pattern. On this day, time, persistence, and a smidge of risky wading won. But, as fly-fishers, we all pay our dues one way or another. I will be back.