Wild Fish and the Deerfield

It might be a throwback idea, but I am a huge fan of wild, native fish. It is also fun to target stocked fish, particularly if they’re part of a thoughtful stocking program that is meant to generate naturally regenerating trout such as what has happened at the Farmington.

But I don’t think there is anything prettier than a pre-spawn male brookie that is colored up. Jamie Carr and I met up to fish. Our schedules miraculously aligned, and we set out for a full day on the water. Personally, I don’t target actively spawning fish as I prefer to let them do their thing. We did find quite a few fish that were staging along some sandy and/or gravely bottom, and the lack of fresh redds suggested to us that we were in the clear to fish for them.


The best fish of the day for me was a buck brookie about 12 inches long (video here). The photos don’t capture its splendor or how the sharp teeth along its hook jaw kept getting tangled in the net. It looked both beautiful and ferocious.

I write all this to give a shout out to the Deerfield Watershed Trout Unlimited chapter. It recently was announced that they have successfully reached an agreement with the power company regarding flows. There will be enough minimal flows in the winter to keep submerged some of the wild brown trout redds. Victory! You can read more about the chapter’s work and accomplishments here in Trout magazine.

In full disclosure, I am not a neutral party as I know Mike Vito, one of the key TU figures in this long effort. He is thoughtful, kind, and generous with fishing advice.

Honestly, I personally hope that our blog promotes good vibes and collegiality. Meeting a veteran angler like Mike, who is unselfish, really spurns me on. Jamie and I reflected on all this when we fished. As we now have become veterans ourselves due to the passage of time, we feel it is important that we greet newer anglers with friendliness. Be kind, as the old adage goes.

Best wishes for a wonderful autumn season to all!


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9 thoughts on “Wild Fish and the Deerfield

  1. I would really like to hit the Deerfield in one of the next few weekends but want to avoid spawners and redds. I was planning on hitting the C&R stretch below Fife Brook dam. Can you tell me what types of water I should avoid?

  2. The Deerfield is my favorite fall destination for trout. I’ll share this, why not…the best spot I’ve found is actually downstream from the Shelburne Falls split pull-off (there’s a small building with a few busses and/or vans right there and a railway bridge on the opposite bank). About 1-200 yards downstream of the parking lot is a world class nymphing run (that I seldom nymph, ironically). Please, PLEASE be careful wading this section…the water is quick, the rocks are treacherous and the water level is different every time I’m there. Plan your route carefully and take it slow. A wading staff is a must and a partner is even better. This run is lousy with rainbows every time I visit and they’ll take anything from muddlers, buggers and nymphs up to whatever’s hatching on the surface. I don’t think many fisherman make it over there. It’s on a section of the river that’s technically known for boat fishing and the bank fishermen who show up seem to stick to the parking lot area aside from a few savvy, adventurous fly fishermen.

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