Sunday, June 12, 2011

Six Degrees of Julianas

H: June 10, 2011: We left NYC early Friday afternoon in some of the worst traffic I've experienced in a while, barring an accident. Seemed like everyone in the city with the will and the means was trying to escape the oppressive heat of the past few days. It took 3.5 hours to reach the Farmington river, where normally it takes under 2.5. We were meeting Antoine there and we were definitely going to be late.

Path to the river
We arrived at Greenwoods stressed and exhausted--actually it was only me that was stressed out. Josée was her usual cheery self. But the previous night's heavy storms, which had downed trees and power lines, had also purified the air. In sharp contrast to the stench of rotting garbage as we crawled through the Bronx on our way up, everything smelled fresh and verdant. I could feel the stress melting away.

The water was quite high and stained, as expected, but we hoped for the best. Antoine suggested we fish till dusk, grab a quick dinner, then come back and fish mice patterns--an ambitious fishing plan. Having never fished a mouse pattern before, I was excited at the prospect of a giant carnivorous brown attacking and devouring my fly. But that will have to wait for another night and another post (hopefully).

20 minutes on the water and the stress of the afternoon drive was a distant memory. Fly fishing really is a panacea for the ills of modern society. We fished till dark but things were slow. On the menu that evening were Sulphurs, Cahills and an assortment of Caddis. Antoine caught a few fish and Josée had one on. We decided to call it a night and headed to Portobellos where they serve obscene amounts of pasta. Richard, an angler from Boston, generously bought us a round of drinks. We watched the Canucks score against the Bruins to Josée's delight and Richard's dismay, then headed to the Hillside to check-in. We slept well that night--8 hours--the most I've had in weeks.

June 11, 2011: It was a cold and damp morning with scattered rain showers. Josée and I headed upriver to a spot where the water levels would be suitable for wading and nymphing. We fished for a couple of hours before heading back to town to warm up our hands, feet, and stomachs with some hot coffee and donuts. Antoine joined us again later that afternoon after teaching at the local Orvis store. We headed off to fish Halford's Run. Josée and I had fished there once before but Antoine was showing us a different route to get there.

As we were suiting up, Antoine and Josée spotted a black bear up the road. Josee was as excited as a school girl--this being her first bear sighting. I on the other hand was not so enthusiastic. A black bear, so close to town and the river can only spell disaster for the poor bear. Plus he was heading in exactly the direction were were planning on going. He crossed River Road and the small connector stream and headed to the island that leads to Halford's Run. Just great!

We crossed the stream and arrived at the island, looking about for signs of the bear. Wanting to make our presense known, Josée began to sing Elvis's Suspicious Minds while I jangled the tools on my lanyard in loud percussion. Antoine seemed amused and completely unperturbed--cool as a cucumber--probably planning his attack on the poor unsuspecting trout at Halfords Run.

Halford's is a gorgeous spot and we spread out below the run to nymph. Antoine had his 10 ft. 5 wt. "nymphing machine", as he called it, with him. And it wasn't long before he was bringing them in. It took a while longer for Josée and I to get a fish on. 12-16 inch rainbows seemed to have made Halford's Run their temporary residence. We fished till we could no longer feel our fingertips and toes. Time for some après fishing with a glass of wine at Greenwoods to wrap up the day.

Josée was done fishing for the day and while Antoine and I scoped out the river, she struck up a conversation with a couple of other anglers there--one of them being Bert Darrow. He asked if we were Julianas. The day before, another gentleman, David Kramer, had asked us the same thing. They both mentioned being friends with Sara Low and Karen Kaplan (Emeritus Juliana's Anglers) through Theodore Gordon Flyfishers. Earlier that morning at breakfast, we sat next next to a man who fished with Paul Rossman, a well-known local fly tier whom we had met through Kat (another Juliana) the year before. Perhaps this post should be 3 degrees of Julianas since the fly fishing world seems to be so very small.

Shortly after Antoine and I entered the water to fish, it started to downpour. Well, at least the wine was good ... and the company.

Josée's frozen feet


  1. Woooo hoooo! Where are you Marcy??

  2. A beautifully written weekend of fishing --- I almost feel I was there! But instead, I'm insanely jealous .....