Conversations on Hwy 2

At 4 am Saturday morning, I drove up the ramp onto Hwy 2.  It will be two hours before I exit Hwy 2 at the Deerfield River.

What to do for two hours while driving in the dark?

Highway to Heaven

Well, there’s a lot.  There are a lot of access points on the Deerfield, and there are a lot of different approaches to fly fishing at this time of year.  I’ve got to figure out where I want to fish and how I want to fish on the Deerfield. But besides that, a long, dark ride in a car is a good time to bring some stuff out in the open.  It’s time for me to have a good long conversation with myself.

So where do I want to start this conversation?


I think something is wrong with me.  All week long I’ve been waking up between 3 to 4 am and lying wide awake in the bed for several hours before going into a deep sleep right before the alarm goes off.  How utterly frustrating. That’s why I decided to get up at 3:45 am today so I could take advantage of my insomnia. So how come I was having the best night’s sleep of the year at 3:45 am when the alarm went off.  I’m a mess.  I can’t sleep when I want to sleep, and I can’t be awake when I want to be awake.  But, maybe I’m okay.  It seems to happen to a lot of folks my age.

Tempting the State Patrol

Treacherous zone between I-95 and Concord where the speed limit is only 45 mph

So, how fast am I going to drive on the way to the Deerfield?  Usually, I just try to go with the traffic flow, but there’s no other traffic this time of day. Zero cars passed me between my house and I-95. There probably aren’t that many State Patrol cars out at this time of day either.  It seems they usually start showing up at 6am. But if there’s just one patrolman lying in wait, and I’m the only vehicle on the road and I’m speeding, I’m dead meat.  Cruise control set at 65 mph.

Best way to stay awake

Should I put on a podcast?  Nah, podcasts tend to put me to sleep.  I don’t need that.  But singing is a great way to stay awake, especially when no one else is in the car.  And there’s only One who can tolerate my singing.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

While God is on my mind, I pray for my wife, kids, grandkids, fishing buddies, and other friends.

Where to fish?

Last roundabout in Concord and ready to set sail for the Deerfield

Where should I start on the Deerfield?  The logical thing to do is start at Fife Dam and work my way to spots downstream from there to make the most of the time until the hydroflush dam release begins at 1 1am.  And even though there are beaucoup trout hanging out below the dam, I just don’t find that area very pretty or very fun to fish.  Plus, if there’s any place that I’m liable to be squeezed in by other fishermen, even at 6 am, it’d be around Fife dam.

I love the pocket water below the Zoar Picnic Area.  I’ve only fished it once since they put up all the barriers and “No Parking” signs.  While I’m still fresh, as soon as I get to the river, I think I’ll park at the Zoar picnic area and make the trek down the road to get to a few of my favorite pockets to fish.

There’s also another area downstream of a big bend in the river that I haven’t fished in years. It was always good for a few large trout, but then it sorta went dry for a while.  I wonder if it’s made a renaissance?  This would be a good day to find out.

But I don’t want to wait too long to try my honeyhole.  It fishes much better at 130cfs than 800cfs.

How to fish?

Should I take the nymph rod or the dry fly rod?  It’s been over a month since I’ve fished the Deerfield and I forgot to take a peek at the fishing reports before I left home.  I have no clue what the fish are keying in on.  That area below Zoar Picnic area could be sweet with either a dry dropper or a tightline set up.

I hate carrying two rods to the river.  But I saw a Devin Olsen video where he recommended stuffing one rod down the front of your waders while you were using your other rod.  I might give that a try.

How many fish does it take?

So, how many trout to the net will I need to consider it a worthwhile day on the river.  Well, we all know that the correct answer is “0;” you can’t put a value on being out on a beautiful river and enjoying God’s creation.  But still there’s a cost involved in everything.  The gas is going to set me back $45, and there are other responsibilities and relationships that I’ll be missing because I’m fishing.  I just can’t honestly say that if I don’t catch any trout that it was worth it. Your mileage may vary.

Any day with over 10 trout is a great day.  But if several of them are over 16,” five to six fish will leave me feeling good. But on this day, I’m feeling really rusty, the drought has to be affecting the bite, and there are no easy trout out there this time of year. So there would be no shame in one to three fish day.

But, Lord, please don’t let me get skunked.

What do you talk to yourself about on your way to the river?

(Stay tuned for the report on A Half Day on the Deerfield)









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13 thoughts on “Conversations on Hwy 2

  1. Once heading to Deerfield river pre-sunrise driving north on I-91 in one of my Toyota Celicas, on the empty hwy, I slowed to 80 mph when I saw headlights in the rear view mirror. A car coming much faster than I was. Soon enough, it passed me I estimate at 95 mph. A state trooper, who actually tipped his hat as he went by. I took this as a good luck sign. Sure enough, starting at Fife Brook Dam and keeping ahead of water release moving to Karbur’s Bend, Zoar, North River Pool, and ending at Mohawk Camp Ground, I netted about two dozen trout. On way home, I kept my speed under 75 mph. Yes, a good day, a lucky day.

    1. That’s a great story, Gary. It’s for sure a good omen when a state patrolman passes you going 80mph and doesn’t light you up.
      When I was in college, I was driving back to school at night after a weekend at home, a four hour trek that was gonna be much longer because of the slow cars in front of me. I knew there was a straight stretch ahead on the narrow two lane road that would allow me to pass all the slow cars if I timed it just right. At the right moment, I juiced my 67 Cutlass and we went flying by the slow moving cars. Unbeknownst to me, the car in the front was a patrol car. I didn’t recognize the situation until I was side-by-side with the Georgia State Trooper. He must have seen the terror on my face because he let me pass unmolested. When I got back to my dorm room, I immediately changed my pants.

  2. The water up there was too warm when I was there four weeks ago, I’ve been told it’s way worse now. IMO we should be giving fife c/r a break until the water cools. – Respectfully

  3. You know, maybe I should have been more careful about the temperature, but, gee, I thought I was. Since the Deerfield is a tailwater, isn’t the water coming out under the dam in the mid-50 degree territory? By fishing the upper end of the Deerfield from 6am til noon, I thought I was being trout-friendly. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken out my thermometer a few times to get some readings, just to make sure I was in temps that wouldn’t distress the fish.

    I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments and non-pejorative way they were expressed.

  4. I once had the chance to drive on the Autobhan while in Germany. Cruised at about 130 mph and the cars were going past me like I was standing still. It was just a normal rental car but the cars there are built for this unlike most here. Held the road like it was a walk in the park. No police anywhere.Don’t try this at home!

      1. Ha, Ha. I just assumed you were going fishing.

        Seems like I have a primal need to drive faster on the way to the river, and correspondingly, other drivers sense this and drive slower in front of me.

  5. Yes, I was going to the Deerfield, driving up I-91 N from my home in Easthampton, MA. Had a farm truck slow when I caught up to it this morning heading to the Swift. How do these guys know we are rushing to a river?! Is there some cosmic plot against fly fishers? Isn’t the trout’s wary-ness with us enough? But some days the drive can be sweet, especially with a rug-hugging sport or sporty car and a 5 or 6 speed standard. I have a poem in my recent fly fishing poetry book about just that: “Getting There Is Half the Fun.”

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