Written by: Phoebe Bean
Last Friday marked the end of the fishing season here in Vermont, and the beginning of the wintery season in my mind. Having grown up in the West–fishing waters in Idaho and Montana, where the rivers, streams and creeks are rarely closed to anglers– I’m having a hard time accepting that I can no longer drop a fly in the Battenkill or Roaring Branch at lunch. Since my move from Sun Valley, Idaho, and arrival at the Orvis HQ in mid-September, I’ve grown to love casting to the ambitious little brookies that I am so unaccustomed to.
Learning the quirks and tricks of fly fishing unfamiliar rivers over the past month and a half has been an awesome experience, and I’m sad it’s over. The challenge I’m left with is deciding what to do during my lunch breaks now that I can’t race to the river, stubbornly refuse to drop a nymph off of my dry, and come back to the office refreshed and excited about the new tactics I can put into play the following day.
Though bittersweet, the last day of the season was the most rewarding for me; I had heard from a couple of Orvis folks that they had been catching browns on the Roaring Branch farther downstream than where I usually fished, and I was determined to find them. Jess McGlothlin and I headed out after a hectic morning at work and hit the river, hard, knowing that it was our last day out. It was in the low 40’s, which didn’t help us because the fish weren’t hungry and knot-tying with numb fingers became much more challenging. My first few casts yielded nothing, so I switched my fly from a stimulator to a BWO. I cast just above a small boulder and watched as a 13-inch brown slowly emerged from under the rock and sipped my fly from the surface. My strike felt good, and the first three seconds were exhilarating as I watched my 5-weight actually bend for the first time on the small stream. Then, after a few fleeting seconds more, I lost him. Although I didn’t land that fish, I now have an excuse to come back next year and try again. But, who really needs an excuse to rig up a rod and hit the river?
Phoebe Bean is an Internern for Orvis Adventures.