Winter Freestone Outing

This winter has been unusual to say the least. Over the last week or so, it has felt more like spring than mid-winter. Although I could always count on the rare warm winter day every year, it seems to be more commonplace nowadays. The fact that Connecticut already started stocking fish seems to confirm something is out of the ordinary.

My most recent outing was entirely unplanned. I was sick as a dog for much of last week and confined to the house on Saturday. Luckily, my cold somewhat subsided by Sunday and decided I needed some air. Never one to let an opportunity pass, I visited a local spot I fished last fall.

There was barely any shelf ice remaining from early winter and the water was low and clear. I started at the tail-out of a productive run that I know to hold fish. To my surprise, I actually spotted a pod of browns and ‘bows feeding semi-actively.

Carefully, I crept into casting position and made some drifts over them. Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I was tight on a fish. I went three-of-four before the the action stopped. I half-heartedly fished a few more spots without much success before calling it a day.

Overall, It was a bit of a bittersweet moment. As much as I enjoy opportunities to fish during the winter, I found asking: at what cost? The increasingly unpredictable weather and frequent warm spells can’t be good for the fish. Trout are cold water fish after all. Without a snow pack, it seems like it may be another tough summer for them. Let’s hope that things turn around soon.



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14 thoughts on “Winter Freestone Outing

  1. Stunning. I agree, the Algae Blooms on the lower portions of the Swift and other Rivers and Creeks. Are of great concern, strange Winter to say the very least. However, I don’t mind catching and releasing Giant Browns. Every few Seasons, or so. When you respect the Environment, it pays you dividends in Spades. Hope you have, more outings like that one. Due to commitments, I’ll be back out this Spring or Summer. So “Vicarious” will have to suffice, for now. Happy Fly Fishing?


    William D. Flack

    PS do you ever, ponder that these Giant Browns? Migrate and are, more catchable when the Brookies are in a “Boom Cycle” based upon population density?

    1. He is probably talking about the big browns in the swift, and the years that seems like there are tons of the little 2” Brooke’s. I’m assuming .

      1. Sure, no problem. If you check, my Instagram. Two weeks ago, I caught and released. An 30 Inch. Brown Trout, on the Swift River. High Stick Nymphing, with a homemade Crystal Scud. I’m scientifically curious, about the correlations. Between the Rise and Fall, of the Wild Brook Trout Population. If the Growth, as well as the survival rates. Of these Goliaths, is directly or indirectly tied to Brook Trout successes?


        William D. Flack

        PS hope this helps???

    2. See my Instagram, I released a 30 Inch. Brown Trout. Two weeks ago, High Stick Nymphing with a Homemade Crystal Scud. Fish of my lifetime, just trying to learn more. About these special Giants, just how they grow so big, and their correlation to the Wild Brook Trout Population. Hope this helps, all good?

      William D. Flack

  2. No problem, indeed yes. Stay safe tomorrow, everybody going to work. In Winter Storm Mabel.


    William D. Flack

  3. So the theory being that large year classes of Brook trout are contrbuting biomass to the food chain resulting in accelerated growth of brown trout? While I think it’s common for fish to eat anything they can fit in their mouths, that would have to be a huge number of Brook trout yoy. Interesting. Maybe it’s a boom macroinvertebrate population supporting all samonids resulting in large browns and increased fercundity in Brook trout. Ecology is hard.

    1. It really is a mystery, as you say. A number of the Swift regulars told me they didn’t see as many brook trout in 2019 at the C&R areas. I recall there was a big surge in 2018. Maybe the population is oscillating? Maybe the population congregates at different parts of the river, given water flows?

  4. Could be? Just know, Browns like that. Aren’t exactly commonplace, all over the Swift. I stay excited, for the next one. Going into Trips, without expectations also makes it enjoyable. So much mystery, in every Riffle. Paradise???


    William D. Flack

  5. Nice job, Ashu. Beautiful browns you connected with in the freestone you fished. I have a nice freestone, the Scantic River, not five minutes from my house that carries over trout. I really have to spend more time there instead of the over loved Swift.

    Best, Sam

    1. Thank you Sam! I personally prefer to fish freestones whenever possible. That said, tailwaters are a blast during peak summer and winter, when freestones are mostly marginal.

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