A group of like-minded fishermen & women with the mission of promoting the sport of fly-fishing, sharing experiences, and improving our ecosystems for all.
Our Mission Statement:
To improve the fishery of the New Haven River and nearby watersheds in central Vermont including but not limited to Otter Creek, Middlebury River, Neshobe River and Lewis Creek.
To promote and practice responsible fishing and conservation that protects and preserves those rivers and adjoining watersheds' trout populations.
To promote the sport of angling and introduce others to the sport and the obligations associated with being a responsible angler.
To advocate for clean and pollution free watersheds through responsible recreational and conservation practices, public education, practicing sound scientifically based programs and cooperation with local, state and federal environmental authorities.
Fish Pointing Dog and The Ausable
Okay now that I got a rise from you fly fishers, this is a true story though it appears to be a bit oxy moronic. Yes a story for dog lovers, especially pointing breeds with twists and turns regarding our fly fishing world. Both of my Gordon Setter companions, Brandy(in the hall of fame) and currently Roxy, have always had an affinity to “point” or chase anything with wings including the big golden stoneflies.. This story revolves around my Roxy dog, whose stellar lineage is from several master hunter lines and our pursuit of some “big boys” on the West Branch of the Ausable River in the Adirondacks in June 2014 and beyond.
The plan is, Wally goes upstream and I fish downstream, “meet back here in a couple hours”. It is mid afternoon and the hatches are on, including the egg laying Females Stones. Wally and myself are very excited to have timed things so nicely and hope great results will follow as we top water fish. At 66 and failing vision, it takes a much longer time for me to “lock and load” my fly line and tippet. Most times my Roxy dog is very patient with me waiting by my side to complete the process. For some reason this day was different. A whistle and a call to my Roxy, no response, I meander down to wade in when I see my dog literally jumping up and down with intensity(almost panic mode). I had not seen this kind of behavior on the stream before. Immediately I look at the water in her direction, I realized what this pandemonium was all about. Yes a 3lb.+ brown trout was aggressively on the feed and porpoising completely out of the water. Immediately I saw a spent female stone on the water, swoosh, it was gone.
Ah as I spoke to myself, I got this one! My first cast was a #12 Haystack, refusal and many more the same. I thought smaller size perhaps #14 Haystack, a few more casts, nothing. Well this fish is put down. Roxy dog I move upstream a couple hundred feet to fish more quiet water. I continue to mix it up with my selection of fly patterns but to my chagrin, nothing. With my frustration setting in(30 minutes), I realized Roxy is not by my side? Yep I turn to my left downstream and immediately realize Roxy is again jumping up and down and even coming close to a staunch point! The axiom in the bird hunting world is “always trust your dog on point”. I make a quick haste to “ground zero”, of course there is that big brown on the feed again. I fumble to put on another fly, this fly is even smaller, #16 tan caddis. My dog is patient as I cast and place some good floats along this feeding lane. No go again, this is why they call it fishing. This fish is “put down” and I hastily move upstream to fish “untested waters” and look for Wally as well. I am starting to realize the hatches are diminishing and so are the rises.
It has been a little over an hour and a half with no hook ups and I am feeling a bit like a neophyte fly fisher. Again I look downstream, fish pointing dog is having the time of her life! It seems like the only action happening was at ground zero. This time I think have the magic to nail this brown, #18 Usual secured by with 6x tippet. What, I couldn't believe it, no splash or refusal, NOTHING. I look down at my Roxy and her telegraphic deep set brown eyes perhaps echo my sentiment. As time was approaching the two hour mark, I just sat there in disbelief with my fish pointing dog. Wally was fast approaching and I sure didn't want to tell him what a letdown I was to myself and especially my dog. As we met, we discussed our itinerary for the trip down to Jay and the ferry. Suddenly a big splash and an animated dog piqued Wally's interest but I sensed the urgency to make the ferry was paramount for Wally too. “One more cast” I cried to Wally, “okay hurry up” he said. Quickly I cut to a 4x tippet and tie on #10 tan Haystack. I placed one cast and bang, completely out the water is this Brownie, fish on! Wally and myself commented how nice a fish this was as our adrenalin ramped up a bit but it could not even compare to my dog's exuberance. Fish pointing dog is already settling in at the toe of the bank for a “good retrieve” as I carefully battled this fish. I feel confident this fish is going to be beached(at that time I did not fish with a net) as I quickly maneuvered it towards the bank. Then I realized this fish may not be mine. I guess my Roxy dog thought since she spotted this rising fish it was hers to take and retrieve. Fortunately Roxy grabbed this fish softly and luckily I was able to “steal” it from her. Well this fish 3+lb. stocked brown went home with us needless to say, along with my proud fish pointing dog.
In May 2015, Wally, Roxy and myself have made it to the West Branch again but fish several miles downstream for top water fishing. As I get closer to the river, Roxy is getting “birdy” animated and I immediately look closely at the river and notice three big browns are feeding aggressively and porpoising out of the water. There are no visible emergers, duns or “spinners” on the water and they also appear not to be feeding in any rhythm. It can be a bit unsettling to see three rising fish that all appear to be three pounds plus. Roxy's determination and intensity to see these browns retrieved improves my outlook as well. This time my exuberance is comparable to my Roxy dog. I start with a #12 Haystack and progressively move downward to a # 18 Usual. Many fantastic floats happen with in this thirty minute time frame. Unbelievably again “no go” with these big boys! Terribly frustrated again, I thought let's go to 6x and try. “Hey Wally, come down and fish this “run” while I tie on a 6x tippet”. I sat down on a nearby log to tie the 6x tippet as my Roxy dog joined me as my confident. I complete the blood knot and suddenly I hear a splash and look up to see, Wally cries “fish on”. What appears to be at supersonic speed, Roxy makes it to the rivers edge to “assist” Wally. I watched in glee as Wally battles not only this brown but my Gordon as well. Roxy continues to edge closer and closer as the four pound Brownie starts to make it closer to the shore. Of course this makes Wally a bit nervous. He makes sure his net is ready for a quick retrieve to offset any potential retrieve from Roxy! What did you get it on? “#10 Haystack and a 4x tippet”. I just realized I made the same mistake I did the year before. Going down in sizes instead of up?? The battle ensues for several minutes. Finally, Wally and fpd successfully land this 4+ brown, perhaps a holdover with a damaged pectoral fin from the hatchery.
Addison County provides some phenomenal fishing opportunities, all within a few minutes of Middlebury. Whether you prefer vibrant trout, toothy pike, or acrobatic bass, your options are endless.
The New Haven Angling Association holds many events throughout the year, ranging from introductory fly fishing, to youth-day, to casting demos, fly-tying nights as well as the tremendously fun and rewarding river restoration projects. See what's going on and join us!
Like fish? Or more broadly, do you like nature? The NHRAA does a lot of amazing work in this community and beyond, and relies on the support of individuals to help achieve our mission of improving the fisheries, environment, and community of fishing in Addison County.