Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stepping up the photography game

Independence Hall
When Laurie and I slept in the shelter this past October we were not alone. It was dark out roughly 6:30 pm. Laurie and I had the place to ourselves. We went down to the water and looked up at the stars for an hour. Considering there wasn't much to do in a shelter a mile from the road, we were in bed by 8:30.

Roughly 9:45 I was woken to some noise coming up the trail and a headlamp. It turned out to be a New Hampshire native looking to spend the night in the woods. Shelters are communal as long as their is room, no one gets turned away. It is not first come first serve. You can't claim it for yourself. As I made room for the hiker, I found out his name was Jeremy. He is a ski lift mechanic who lived a couple hours away.

Jeremy loves hiking in New Hampshire as much as myself. We talked until almost midnight about hikes we had been on. He only has one more mountain to climb to become a member of the 4000 foot club. While we were talking, he showed me some of his pictures. They are absolutely amazing. He had amazing views from mountain summits to close ups of butterflies. He told Laurie and I his Instagram name, somehow neither of us forgot it. I started following him. I was blown away at his photos.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I used to go to Caratunk Wildlife Refuge in Seekonk a lot for nature walks. I became pretty good friends with the manager there, Mike Tucker. Mike is an expert birder and naturalist
. I have asked him hundreds of questions over the years. He knows I'm a dedicated fisherman, so over the years he asked me questions about fishing (single digits). Mike left Caratunk a few years ago to start a business. Since then, I would randomly see him comment on Facebook posts of a couple bird groups we are in.

Mike started following me on Instagram a couple weeks ago. I rarely post on Instagram. When I do, it is not "instant" it is usually months later of a close up of an animal or scenery. I probably only have 25 pics total. None the less, Mike started following me, so I started following him. I clicked on some of his pictures, and frankly they blew me a way. So many close ups of birds and also artsy photos.

As for myself, I had camera troubles for much of the year. I ruined an SLR lens and a pocket camera in Philly when I took pictures of the eclipse ( not looking for sympathy or judgement. It was cloudy and I took a calculated risk). I hadn't realized my lens' were ruined until my second trip to NH. Therefore, I wasted great photo ops on half my Philly trip and two New Hampshire trips.

Truthfully, before Philly, I was none too impressed with many photos I'd taken this year. There really weren't many "wallhangers". Of course, some things were out of my control. I got rained out multiple times during the spring when I theoretically could have gotten some good shots of birds and Plum Island. Also, as much as I enjoyed being in Philly, I can tell you it is much easier to get a perfect photo of Mt. Rushmore and all the wild animals than it is to get one on Independence Hall and Liberty Bell. They are just not as photogenic objects.

However, other things I could control. I could have had my camera ready when it was in my backpack multiple times. Sometimes when Laurie and I would be on a walk, I'd snap a few shots just to "remind myself I was there" instead of taking the time to really see things through the lens. I think sometimes, I just got lazy. Other times, I made a commitment "to enjoy the moment" and purposely put the camera down (tough to fault myself for that)

So one of my biggest goals this year is to take more quality photos. Taking a lot of nice pictures is not for bragging purposes. I still won't put many on Instagram. Hopefully my photos will go better with my blog posts. Again, not for bragging purposes, but for pride's sake. Hopefully, the majority of my photo's the world will never see, but will make a nice 2018 photo album.  Laurie and I already have our vacations planned next year so there should be hundreds of great photo opportunities those two weeks. That still leaves 50 more weeks. Hopefully during those mundane weeks that we call life, I can do a better job on day trips, fishing trips, and hiking.

Thank you Mike and Jeremy for the motivation to step up my game

Friday, December 8, 2017

Public Service Announcement about Gem Plumbing and How to Save Hundreds of Dollars

Normally, I don't share real life stuff on the blog. For me, the blog is a way to share my fun experiences with you. Hopefully, some of the things I've done or my fishing reports will entice others to go fishing, hiking, or a concert. However, I had a major plumbing problem the last couple of weeks. I called the Gem Boys from Gem Plumbing and DID NOT have a good experience. I did end up saving hundreds of dollars in the long run. My blog is the easiest way to explain the situation. This story is much too long for Facebook. My hope is that others will learn from my experience.

Last week, my plumbing backed up. I borrowed the hand snake from work, opened the end cap, and tried to get rid of the clog. No luck. We had a problem many years ago with a clog. We needed a thing called a hydro jet to clean it. The jet is so powerful, it can cut through tree roots that can get in your sewer line. I didn't call a regular plumber and went with the "franchise" because I knew I'd probably need the hydro jet.

I sent a request to Gem on their website and set up an appointment. In the request I made sure to ask for the hydro jet. An hour later Gem confirmed the appointment for Thursday December 7. When I talked to the very nice lady, I again made sure to explain that a hydro jet might be needed.

Mike from Gem called and said he would be over in 15 minutes. When he got there we had to crawl through the hole into the crawl space (which is tall enough to stand in. Most plumbers and heating guys do not enjoy climbing through the hole. However, this guy complained the whole time he put on his knee pads. Then he told me "they never should have built these houses". My house is an old converted summer cottage. So it is old and small. Still it is mine so who the hell was he to insult it.

He DID NOT have the hydro jet. Instead he did have an electric snake. He had no desire to bring it down the crawl space so he suggested we go in through the toilet. While climbing my steps he said they looked like a bomb went off (there are some cracks in the cement). Then when we go to my bathroom which was small, he said "this is like living in a trailer park. Since my bathroom was small, he said he'd have to go through the crawl space with the snake..

He got into his van to get a price.The cost was going to be about $800 to snake it. There is a fee of around $200 that Gem charges just because it is a crawl space. It is not like there is more labor. Sure it might be more difficult to access, but what are we talking here, five minutes?

In  a huge irony, my brother had a sewer back up on Sunday that flooded his basement. Roto Rooter came out on a Sunday for an emergency call with three guys and charged $900. This guy and Gem were coming out for a weekday appointment alone and was going to charge $800. I told him I'd try  to figure something else out. I went inside to write the $59 check for coming out.

When I went back outside he asked me if I was willing to get the work done for $600. I told him yes as long as we could guarantee the clog would be removed. I was not paying $600 with the possibility that I would still need the HYDRO-JET.  He said the only guarantee was that we would all die someday. He couldn't or wouldn't guarantee the work. I told him thanks anyway.

At this point when he realized he did not have to go back into my cellar his entire personality changed. He became a nice guy. He mentioned that Home Depot rents power snakes for $90/day and that I could try that. He even explained to me while looking at his how to use it and gave me tips. Then he took off.

I went to Home Depot borrowing the spare Honey Dew truck. The rental power snake costs $72 for four hours it weighs one hundred and sixty pounds, but it is on wheels. I had a tough time getting into the crawl space. Most of the weight is in the iron coil so I had to unwrap it to get it down. Then I had to rewrap it before I could even start (this took almost 90 minutes)

Once I was in position I fed the snake into my main sewer pipe. The thing spins out of an apparatus that looks like a fan. It took an hour to get it through. I probably used over ninety feet of the 100 it comes with. After I snaked it through, I put it in reverse to rewrap it. Once back, I put a cutting tool on the end and snaked it again. This went a lot quicker because I had broken the clog on the first run.

Mike had told me not to start with the cutting tool because if it came across a big root it would get stuck and I'd never get it out (kind of like getting an ax stuck into a log your splitting, sometimes it gets deep and is a bitch to pull out). Once done, I had to carry the coil out of the crawl space because the machine would have been too heavy to carry if I rewrapped it. Once out, I wrapped the coil back up. I brought it too Home Depot with 3 minutes to spare (they would have just charged me for another hour)

When I got home, I took a much needed shower. Then I washed a couple of loads of clothes. I flushed the toilet about 15 times. It seems like I got the clog. I do not have any backup and the toilet pressure seems powerful.

So because Gem was going to overcharge me, I have $500 in my bank account right now that I would not have had if they weren't so overpriced. My experience with Gem was not good. The fact that he insulted my house multiple times was very unprofessional. As I also said, he complained about the crawl space multiple times also. It also bothered me that the service was not guaranteed. Once I told him  I wasn't going to have him do the work, Mike did help me out with the Home Depot idea.

The point of this story is, if you have a clog it might be worth your time and effort to try to fix it yourself. If you can rent a power snake, it could save you hundreds of dollars. For the cost of $72 it is well worth taking the chance that you can fix it. Worse case scenario, your out $72. It was a dirty job (although the water in the pipe was relatively clean, since I only washed dished and showered in the week before my appointment. I did not use the toilet in that week). So I got a little dirty but saved what became almost two hundred dollars an hour!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Finding your Christmas

As I have said multiple times, if I go to a one night event such as a concert or a play, it is absolutely useless to you the reader. the only way it is of any use to you is if you are interested AND that musician or play comes around the following year. For that reason, I try not to write about concerts too often. Last year I went to the Wizard of Oz on opening night at the Stadium Theater. When I got home I wrote about it. If the reader was intrigued by my post, this gave them two solid weekends to buy tickets.

I'm pretty sure this scene from tonight is self explainitory
Tonight I went to the Stadium Theater Christmas Show. It was unbelievably fun. For the most part it was a collection of Christmas songs mixed in with a story to piece them together. The level of talent was off the charts. The singing was unbelievable. My advice to you is to go see it next year. I think it would be impossible to be disappointed. Tickets were $26 and $21. We got our tickets over the summer, so we got third row seats ( first row were also open when we bought the tickets, but we like being a little higher.

Even though, you would have to wait until next year to see tonight's show do not fear, there is still plenty to see. Laurie and I have many other holiday festivities to go to over the next three weeks. It is no secret that the early darkness in December kind of depresses me. Having an event to look forward to keeps me positive. Besides keeping me sane, they also allow me to enjoy the holidays for the entire season and not just Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning.

With some research it is not difficult to find plenty to do during the holidays. Some of the stuff can be expensive while others are really pretty cheap. The thing I went to tonight, was well worth the twenty six dollars. On the other hand, Boston Pops and the Old Sturbridge Village CHristmas by Candlelight can be pretty expensive, but both are so worth it.

I'm not going to tell anyone what they should do during the Holidays. My advice is always to make it as fun as possible. Do things that make you happy. It amazes me when people tell me they "can't wait for the holidays to be over" You know what comes after the holidays? Answer- January, a big pile of suck!!!

There are plenty of things you could find on your own. But here are a few ideas. Some free, some fairly inexpensive, other you might have to save for. what I can tell you is everything I do during my Friday's and Saturday's out still adds up to less than the PS4 that all the kids want.

Some ideas-

Stadium Theater is having free movie nights on Dec 20, and 21 for Home Alone and Polar Express
La salette Shrine Christmas lights.
Walking around town commons and driving around to see houses
Movies- Bad Mom's Christmas and The Man that Invenented Christmas
Tree lightings

A Christmas Carol- the Christmas Carol has to be the most done play in America. Almost everyone does it. You could go to Trinity Rep to see it for a lot of money or your local Community Theater to see it on the cheap. We are seeing it at Stadium Theater for a second time because it was so great last year Tickets, 21, and 26 http://www.stadiumtheatre.com/events/a-christmas-carol/114

The Motifri Magazine (which is a hipster, stoner magazine, but quite useful when looking for something to do) has a theater listing each month. You can easily find A Christmas Carol along with other holiday themed plays http://motifri.com/

Jordan's Furniture in Avon has a 4-D movie ride, a Christmas Laser light show, an indoor ice rink, and an Enchanted Village.

Old Sturbridge Village Christmas by Candlelight (you can read about it here)http://southernnewenglandoutdoors.blogspot.com/2015/12/old-sturbridge-village-christmas-by.html

Boston Pops Holiday Pops. Seeing the Pops with Keith Lockhart was a bucket list goal for me. We went last year. Absolutely awesome. My  review-http://southernnewenglandoutdoors.blogspot.com/2016/12/boston-pops-holiday-concert-review.html

Although the Boston Pops are the end all when it comes to orchastra, getting to Boston does suck. There are many other places that have holiday pops orchestras. Finding them with a little research wouldn't be difficult.

These are just some ideas. We are always looking for new things to do. Like I said, find your Christmas. However, if you just can't wait for it to be over because you are stressed, you are doing it all wrong.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Opt Outside

Have a safe journey home little buddy
The last few years REI has been closed  on Black Friday. Instead of crazy deals to lure in customers, they do not open up. Best of all, they pay the employees anyway. They do this as their Opt Outside initiative. The plan is to get the employees (who are mostly adventurers anyway) to go do something outdoors. I think this is a pretty cool thing for a big company to do. Especially considering Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The original plan was to get a million people to follow suit. Instead of shopping, the hope was they would also go outside.

Since I have Fridays off from work anyway, I usually plan to be outside on Black Friday. I won't pretend I didn't make a quick run to Bass Pro Shops to buy a reel and a fleece. But that was well after the early bird shoppers were back in bed. After going to BPS, I went fishing.

On Thanksgiving, I went for a hike at Parker Woodlands in Coventry, RI. I planned on doing all seven miles of trail. However, Laurie wanted to come over after eating dinner with her family. I cut my hike down to four miles so I could be home when Laurie came over. I was rewarded with hot chocolate, a turkey plate (turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing) and a piece of apple pie. Didn't I say she was a great friend!

Hickory Shad

So today, I went fishing. I think this will be my last hurrah for migrating stripers. I wanted one more chance to catch them before they all head down south. I went to one of the South County beaches. There were about seven other guys fishing when I got there. I fished for two hours and landed six schoolies and one shad. I saw quite a few others caught. Two guys that I know got a combined twenty. These were all smaller fish. The biggest I caught was twenty inches. Still it beat sitting home.

The temp was in the high forties and the sun was bright. The light breeze was coming over my right shoulder so it was fairly comfortable out. After dark I tried a tidal river for a few minutes. Although I didn't get any in my twenty minutes, I did see a couple caught.

All in all going fishing sure as hell beat fighting traffic, crowds, and long lines.
Opt Outside! 
I couldn't tell if this logjam was man made, an act of god
or the work of a beaver at Parker Woodlands. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Things I am Thankful For 2017


Right about now, this turkey is thankful it lives in a Providence
Cemetery where hunting is not allowed
Every year I write a blogpost about outdoor things I am thankful for (I also write an opening paragraph eerily similar to this one...every year). These posts allow me to look back on what are usually some great memories. I know how lucky I am to see and do so many fun things throughout the year.  It only seems I give thanks for the people and the memories I was privileged to have experienced this year

1. I say it every year, but I am thankful for stripers. They may not be the reason I get out of bed each morning, but they are certainly the reason I don't go straight home after work during the warmer months.

2. I am thankful that Laurie and I are so compatible as vacation buddies.  I know very few woman that enjoy history and museums. I know even fewer that would spend the night backpacking in the White Mountains. I doubt there are many woman at all that enjoy history AND are willing to spend a night in the woods. Even after a week of being together 24/7 in Philly, I never get sick of being with her. She is a great friend.

3. I am thankful that I (mostly with Laurie) experienced many different things this year I had never done. Among them were Newport Polo, going to a Drive In Movie, Rhode Island Philharmonic Summer Concert, Dropkick Murphys,  Waterfire, and many more.

4. I am thankful for my friendship with Dave. I enjoy the nights we don't catch many fish almost as much as the good nights because I still ask him a lot of questions. We cover the spectrum of conversation from sports, politics, our kids and of course fishing.

5. Although foot pain derailed my plan to finish the New Hampshire 4000 footers, I am grateful that it subsided enough in the fall that I could get two hikes out of the way. This leaves me with only two more to go. Both Carrigan and the Widcats have exceptional views and the days I went the weather was great.

6.  I love New Hampshire. I am glad that it is within distance to do overnight weekends. I probably daydream about hiking in New Hampshire more than everything else I daydream about combined. I love the mountains, lakes, waterfalls, brookies, and smallmouth and the blueberries.  If I ever lost my job in late spring or early summer, I know I'd be in New Hampshire for the summer before my last check was mailed to me!.

7. I am thankful I got to see the Beach Boys at Bold Point, East Providence and Brian Wilson at Foxwoods a month later. There are not a lot of true living legends, but these guys are.

8. I am thankful for a new friend. He made me feel comfortable right away at my fishing club. He went out of his way to tell me about a new fishing spot this spring. This fall we have gone hiking a couple times. His generosity is much appreciated.

9.  I am thankful we were successful when I took Eric fishing for golden trout. It was nice to repay him for taking me on his boat for sea bass every year.

10. I'm thankful I got to go to Philadelphia. Seeing Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Rodin statues, Valley Forge, and Monet's were all awe inspiring.  To think that I walked right where Washington, Adams, Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson stood is truly humbling

11. Some of my favorite memories this spring were seeing Right Whales at Race Point, a King Eider at the Cape Cod Canal, catching lake trout and salmon at the Chu. I'm just glad I got to see these animals.

12. I am thankful I saw Peter Noone and the Hermin's Hermits at the Topsfield Fair. That guy is a true showman and as funny as any stand up comic on the planet.

13. My last thankful thought every year is appreciation for living in the greatest country on earth. Looking back at all the bad things that happened to this country this year  it is hard to feel grateful. It is tough to write about the places I've visited when Washington wants to raise the entrance fee at National Parks from $30 to seventy dollars.  So let me tell you what I am grateful for-

Flag in front of Betsy Ross house,
Philadelphia, PA
August 2017
I am thankful for the Forth of July, fireworks, and the Declaration of Independence. Waiting for fireworks, everyone is happy, brings me back to an innocent time. When you go to an event celebrating July 4th whether it be fireworks, parades, or a reading of the Declaration of Independence everyone is celebrating America. No one is talking politics. Dems aren't sitting on one side and Repubs on the other. Everyone is there celebrating patriotism. There is no thought of mass shootings, crooked politicians, or biased news stations. It is people wearing flag clothes, spinning pin wheels and eating cotton candy. For that short weekend you can feel THAT AMERICA. If for only a brief moment, you feel the gushing of pride from America herself. Not a white man, not my political party, not disliking a celebrity because of their political views. Just a flag waving son of a World War veteran that used to proudly watch his father march in the parade. The 4th of July weekend and that nostalgic feeling is why I'm thankful to be an American. I get the same feeling when I visited Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Mt Rushmore.  Which of course, is why I wanted to go those places in the first place.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Proving Outdoor Myths Wrong

If you read about your favorite hobbies you will pick up useful pieces of information. whether that hobby is fishing, antique cars, or cooking there is a lot of good info out there. Of course, not all of the stuff you read will be of use to you. However, sometimes you read something that you may totally disagree with. Other times you will read something and try it, but it doesn't work for you.  Here are some examples for me-

Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon line is a clear line that is supposed to be invisible underwater. So, in theory since the fish can't see it, they will not be spooked by it.
When fluorocarbon line first came out everybody said it improved their catch rates. Guides, charter boat captains, and outdoor writers were insisting they were catching more fish. So, I bought a roll to use as leader material. Fluoro is twice as much more expensive than mono leader material. The price has recently came down and a roll would run me $25 or more for 30-40 pound fluoro. 

You know what I noticed? Nothing. I seemed to get the same amount of hits slinging eels as I did with mono. I used fluoro for a couple years but when my second roll ran out, I switched back to monofilament.  My catch rates didn't go down. 

HOWEVER-  I also tried using 6 pound fluorocarbon as my leader for casting bubble and fly combo. Without question it catches way more fish than if I make a leader out of my 6 pound line on my reel. This makes absolutely no sense to me since I am fishing for hatchery raised trout. These aren't wiley wild browns in some famous western river. They are fish dumped into a lake. To make things even more intersting, my catch rate drops DRAMATICALLY if my leader gets below five and a half feet. If I have a six foot leader and I change flies a couple of times my leader gets shorter, I'm positive I catch way less fish with a shorter leader. I can't explain why, but I know it does happen.


Short People and Long Rods

I used to be heavy into largemouth bass. I bought all the magazines from B.A.S.S. to Outdoor life and Field and Stream.  I watched all the Saturday morning fishing shows and I took notes. I would write down where they were fishing and what lures were catching fish. I was very into the colors, size, and shape. Consequently I spent a lot of money on gear. Remember this- MOST LURES ARE MEANT TO HOOK FISHERMAN INTO BUYING THEM NOT TO CATCH FISH. 

One thing I read was that part of matching the rod length  to a new reel was taking into consideration an anglers height. Shorter guys have a harder time being accurate with longer rods. It is more difficult for them to cast. 

Huh?

When the Bass Pro Shops in Foxboro opened I was there four or five days a week for a month . For a while there were Bass pros walking around willing to answer questions. It was cool having them in there. I decided a needed a new rod. I wanted a seven foot or a six,/six rod for my baitcasting reel. I saw the pro there who was only my height and I started asking him questions about the different rods, quality of the guides and the best value for the price. He was a really nice guy and was very helpful. 

A minute in he said to me " you and I aren't the tallest guys..." I stopped him there and said I can sling a seven foot rod with no problem. Which he was cool with and showed me the rods. 

The point is, where did this myth start and why? I would love to be taller (I'm 5'6" at best). But never once did I wish I was taller because I'd cast better ( stand further out in the surf, yes, being taller would be great for that!).  I use rods from six foot to my ten foot surf rod.  I really don't like using those shorter rods like a five foot ultralight because you lose so much casting distance. But at the tall end of the spectrum, I have never had a problem casting a long rod because I'm short. 

The rods I use the most (not including carp fishing-which are eight footers) are

6 foot trout rod
8 foot Mojo Surf rod
7 foot light saltwater
7 foot medium freshwater

The seven foot medium freshwater rod is my most versitale rod. I use it for largemouth, smallmouth and schoolie stripers. Everytime I use it in the bay for schoolies, I seem to hook a monster bluefish. The rod is not designed to fight twelve pound blues but it always holds up. The point is, I have absolutely no trouble casting a seven or eight foot rod. So don't believe everything you read.

Cotton-

If you read any article about hiking gear, you will read that cotton is bad. Cotton will kill you. The reason- when cotton gets wet (like from sweat) it loses its insulating ability and you will chill.  If you hike, you will see almost everyone wearing synthetic shirts (usually polyester). No one wears cotton.

The truth is cotton will lose its insulating ability if wet. I won't argue that. However, if you hike in the summer and it is eighty degrees does it matter? I own plenty of hiking shirts but I no longer worry what I'm wearing in warm weather.  Usually I take a spare shirt anyway and change it at the top whether cotton or synthetic, it is nice to have a dry back on the downhill.

Another difference between cotton an d the synthetics is the synthetics are supposedly quick drying. I challenge you to experiment with this. Hike a mountain and when you get to the top take off your polyester shirt and hang it on a tree branch in the sun. You know what it will feel like a half hour later? Wet. It will still be wet from sweat. I know this from multiple times doing this. I do not believe that they dry any faster than cotton.  So like I said, during warm weather, I just wear what I want. If another hiker sees me wearing a cotton tee shirt and thinks I'm a greenhorn than so be it.

What about cold weather?

A few years ago I did a couple snowshoe hikes in New Hampshire. The weather was brutally cold. The temp was between 5-10 degrees and the wind was whipping. I dressed very appropriately. I wore layers and everything was synthetic. I hiked to Bridal Veil Falls. A distance of 2.5 miles. There is a hut there where I had lunch. You know what happened when I stopped moving? I got cold. Despite bringing another layer to wear when I stopped, despite wearing layers and trying not to sweat, I got cold. You know why? Because it was five degrees!!! So I ate a quick lunch and started moving again. 

Maybe the difference of life and death is synthetics on a muti-day backpacking trip in January. I don't know. However I know this, if I put on a cotton sweatshirt on over a cotton tee shirt on a November hike, I'm going to be just fine. 

Conclusion-

Don't take my word for it.  It is important to experiment on your own. Some guys may actually catch more fish using fluoro than they did using mono. On the other hand, I have questioned how many were paid to say that?   Maybe other shorter people do have a problem casting seven foot rods from a boat. I don't know. 

Just because something works for me  does not mean it will work for you. It might not even mean I am right, but I have my system. Some things I do because I find them productive or useful. You may come to your own conclusions. I only brought up three topics out of the hundreds in the outdoor world. Take advice, read what you can, but in the end it is up to you to prove whether something works for you or not. 


 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Farmington River

For the last six months I planned on trying for Kokanee Salmon (landlocked Sockeye salmon) the first weekend of November in Connecticut. From all the little bit of info I could gather, they seem to spawn (and come close to shore) that week. I had Nov 3 and 4 off from work but I assumed the fish would be late because of the extremely warm October. Since the lake is two hours and twenty minutes away from my house, I placed my bet that the fish would instead be spawning today. I was wrong. After over two hours of driving I knew almost instantly that the fish weren't spawning. I fished anyway. The best I could do was get a couple of trout to follow my lures and flies.

Needless to say, I didn't take a two and a half hour gamble on a fish I'd never caught before without a backup plan. After fishing the lake for a couple hours I went to explore the Farmington River. The Farmington is probably the most famous trout river in New England (you could probably make a case for the Upper Connecticut and Batten Kill but they are far from major population centers) I've never fished it before, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The Farmington is a dam controlled river. The cold water comes from the bottom of the dam. Because of this, the trout have a fairly consistent year round temperature.  The river, which is actually the West Branch of the Farmington is heavily stocked but also supports wild browns. I don't have any real experience fishing fast moving rivers. I know this might sound like blasphemy to true trout guys, but I'd rather catch trout in a high mountain lake. However, I had to drive right by the Farmington so I tried for half the day to learn its secrets.

I fished the Peoples State Park area of the river. This is a TMA (trout management area). Fishing is allowed year round. There are other rules such as, only barbless hooks can be used. It is catch and release only for part of the year.

I only caught one trout. It was a brown that was about 11-12 inches. I got it within twenty minutes and thought this river fishing was easy. Then...crickets. Nothing. I still enjoyed my time on the Farmington. It is a really pretty river. It was nice to fish such a famous river loaded with trout. Just because they did not want to hit did not take away from my experience. To the contrary, fishing the river really opened my eyes. I'm going to research it some more and find spots that aren't as heavily fished as a state park. I don't know when I will go back again, I just know that I will.