“So much for that 70 degree sunny day,” I mused as sheets of raindrops pelted my windshield. Nevertheless, I had a mission for the day: a morning of sea run brook trout fishing with guide Geoff Klane of Brackish flies. But most importantly, it was an opportunity to learn the importance and history of the waters these fish inhabit.
I met Geoff in the parking lot of the Lyman Reserve. Geoff’s deep passion for fishing and conservation immediately became apparent as we strapped on our waders, assembled the fly rods, and sipped the last of our morning coffee. He began our excursion with a brief history of the Lyman reserve and the need for continued conservation efforts and data collection within this fishery.
As we walked through the trailhead, Geoff scanned our surroundings, taking time to point out various plant species and to pick up the occasional piece of trash left abandoned on the sides of the path. We soon came through a clearing in the woods that opened up to the running tidal waters. I found myself overwhelmed with the excitement every angler feels before we start a day of fishing; watching the water, wondering what secrets it holds beneath its rippled surface, listening to its sounds hoping that somehow these secrets may be revealed.
“This is a really special place,” Geoff said as he stood next to me watching the water with the same look of excitement. I explained to Geoff that although I have experience fly fishing for stripers in open water, my expertise fishing in small streams for wild trout was, well, nonexistent. I told him I wasn’t here just to catch fish. I wanted to learn how to become a better trout angler, to understand the techniques and strategies of how to read the waters of a stream and how to present flies to these elusive fish.
The first several casts had me feeling like it was my first time holding a fly rod. It was incredibly humbling. Long distance casts and double hauls–none of that was necessary for what we were after. Rather, it was controlled, delicately precise roll casts and occasional bow and arrow casts that made the difference. Short rods and short leaders are also of vital importance, as low hanging branches and submerged logs are commonplace on Red Brook.
Geoff seemed to have a sixth sense about spots where fish would be lurking, and he was usually right. Despite popping off the first brookie I had on the line, I quickly learned the tactics required to successfully hook and land these fish as we made our way downstream.
Make no mistake, what brookies may lack in size they certainly make up for in how aggressively they hit a fly. It’s all close quarter combat as they breach the water, at any second threatening to throw the hook or break you off on a rock or tree branch. Landing one of these beautiful fish is a tremendously rewarding experience. Each one is uniquely speckled with a constellation of red, yellow, and blue spots, accented by brilliant white lined pectoral and pelvic fins. The gill plates acquire a silvery, chrome shine for those brookies who spend more time in the salt water.
Between the adrenaline pumping fights and the high-fives of victory, Geoff emphasized the importance of responsibly and ethically handling the fish during the capture and release process. The rest of the morning and into the early afternoon, we enjoyed catching, admiring, and releasing several more of our sea-run friends. “This is a really special place,” I said to Geoff as we got back to our cars and put away our gear. And for the first time that day the sunlight broke through the clouds.
For more information on the conservation efforts for Sea Run Brook trout and the protected land and waterways in MA as well as ways to support these efforts, please visit:
If you are interested in scheduling a guided trip with Geoff, visithttps://www.brackishflies.com/