Monday, October 22, 2012

The J.R.

 No, not Jesse Robbins. (Although he is the original J.R.) I speak of the Swift River in Belchertown MA. So how is it that the Swift River came to be called "The J.R."? Well the Swift River is technically the "S.R." But we all know that there can only be one "S.R.", and the mighty Salmon River will forever be known as the S.R., so that dog won't hunt for the Swift. But the Swift River could be the S.R. Jr., and for a while it was, that is until it became "The Junior", and then "The J.R". And that's what it is now.

Let me first say that the J.R. has trout. Many many trout. Sometimes The J.R has almost too many trout, and their shear presence is a frustration to the angler. When is too many trout a problem? It's a problem when none of them eat. When you've spent a long day casting at trout and none of them want anything to do with your flies then you'd just assume rather not look at them because they suck. Sometimes I hate The J.R for this reason. Sometimes every angler does.

A typical pod of rainbow trout hold under a fallen log in the JR. The trout in The JR like to hold near fallen timber so that the angler snags his flies on the timber and breaks his leaders
 But there are times when The J.R. is the only game in town and a man has to play every once in a while. I played the J.R. on Sunday. As always the river made me work for them. My first solid hookup was a beautiful brook trout that rose off the bottom to inspect my fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar looking fly three times before deciding to commit. I lost that fish while fumbling to pull the net out of my fishing bag. 0 for 1 is a bad way to start on the J.R. Often you only get one bite. Sometimes none at all. That native brookie sure was pretty too, in all his spawning colors.

I then spent a good hour casting over a nice pile of trout. Finally came a handsome rainbow on the same fuzzy wuzzy fly.  A good looking fish. He put up a spirited battle for a small beast. But men don't really go to The J.R. to battle. They go to there to fool educated fish, thus proving that they are educated anglers.

The author fooled this trout by repeatedly casting at a school of trout hundreds and hundreds of times until a dumb one finally bit.

The fish then seemed to turn on. I hooked another fish on my fuzzy wuzzy fly and pulled the hook. Missed a couple surface strikes as well. I'm actually pretty sure I pulled the fly out of the trout's mouth a couple times. Sight fishing the J.R. will cause a man to miss a bite every now and then, I think because he has so much time to watch them coming. But sometimes the trout would just strike short; slowly ascending from the bottom to nuzzle my fuzzy wuzzy and then slinking back down to the 18 inch depths. Another trout would come to net about an hour later. This one took a copper john fished underneath my fuzzy wuzzy fly. Two fish and three hookups within an hour! I had the hot hand on The J.R. on this fine fall day. Another angler from up river keyed in on my hot action and asked what I was using. I told him most of my action was on a fuzzy looking caterpillar type dry fly. He said that he didn't think he had any. I told him I would give him one but I only had one left. (I lied to him. I actually had three left. But I wanted to keep all three for myself.)

This trout took a copper john that was 3 sizes too big for trout in this river. This shows that trout are unpredictable.

I then spent a good amount of time fishing over one particularly handsome looking rainbow. He ignored all of my offering as I diligently switch up flies. An old man was fishing about 40 yards above me and was dislodging some algae and other debris that were starting to muddy my trout's waters. I watched the big old rainbow inhale a 2 inch wad of green algae and the spit it out a second later. After ignoring my best presentations for the better part of a half hour the fish litterally took J.R. bottom scum. That was a little depressing. The J.R. will do that to you sometimes.

The old man angler then wandered down the river from the far bank. He asked me if I wanted him to walk behind me or if it was ok to proceed downstream in front of me. The old man looked to be relatively feeble so rather than ask him to cross the J.R. and walk behind, I told him to go whichever way he pleased. The old man then walked through my school of trout and scattered them. Oh well, there are plenty more fish in the J.R and at least one of those trout was a vegetarian anyways.

I got up on the bank and scouted the J.R. for more trout. I spotted this healthy school of mixed rainbows and brookies. Unfortunately there was another angler already attempting to angle them.

J.R. trout. Note the smaller brookies mixed in with the rainbows.

 I spotted several nice pods of trout holding near fallen timber. Some nice rainbows were in the mix. I elected to play photographer for a little while as I scouted around for a good pod of trout to fish. Some trout hold in spots that aren't worth casting at.

More trout holding in the J.R. Trout in The J.R. don't usually like artificial flies.

  I finally came upon a nice school of trout in a castable location. These trout were very picky as well. I hooked one on my fuzzy wuzzy fly but he came unbottoned. A big trout he was, pushing 18 inches. In the end I had to settle for his much smaller friend, who took a size 24 red midge larva dropper.

The trout looks at the author and smiles for the camera

I let that trout go and said goodbye to the J.R. Now that I've played with the stream bound rainbows, it's time for the ones that live most of their lives in the lake.


Andrew Wilkie said...

A fuzzy wuzzy fly is often the best bet in many a river; I'd wager many anglers on this day stung no fish. Then again those anglers were not the famous Captain Keith Lane. Well done buddy, a fine outing and a fine post!

Jasper Walsh said...

Thank you Keith, I really liked this post and your style. I would like to fish that creek with you someday.

Jesse Lance Robbins said...

a fine read indeed! i enjoyed that thoroughly. good perseverence captain dr.

have you attemped snagging techniques?

Jesse Lance Robbins said...

when you're done playing around with rainbows that live in lakes, come play with the ones that live in the ocean.