Fly fishing on FLT's recently conserved property
Alan’s first West Branch brook trout, taken on a dry fly and released un-injured after a fierce battle.
This spring, the Franklin Land Trust completed its first fisheries conservation project, protecting over a mile of wild brook trout water on the West Branch North River in Heath on its new Crowningshield property. In the course of the project, FLT’s land protection and stewardship staff have come to appreciate the relevance of wild trout streams to the organization’s conservation mission from a professional perspective… but to really appreciate the Crowningshield project, it is best to be waist-high in the West Branch with a fly rod in hand. Recognizing that not all of our members are anglers, and that not every angler is up to the steep half-mile hike needed to access the remote West Branch, FLT land steward Josh Morse reached out to small stream fishing guru and author Alan Petrucci. In early May, the two visited Crowningshield to fish the West Branch, and Alan documented the experience with his characteristic beautiful photography and sparing prose.
Alan fishes the West Branch North River on FLT's Crowningshield property.
In the course of several hours on the property, the two anglers talked about the perils facing small wild trout streams and the importance of protecting them, swapped fishing tips (this exchange was, of course, mostly one-way, and Josh learned a ton!), coaxed brook trout to rise to a dry fly… and brought a few of these wild beauties to hand. For Josh, who has been itching to land a West Branch brook trout all winter, the experience was a highlight of the project. “Hooking a wild brookie in a healthy wild stream, feeling it fight with the strength that comes from living in a remote and rugged environment, and releasing it un-injured for another angler to enjoy speaks to the most basic values behind this project,” says Josh, “and getting to share the experience with a real master of small stream fishing like Alan was an honor”. Needless to say, both anglers are looking forward to their next chance to wet a line in the West Branch.
To see the West Branch North River through Alan Pettruci’s eyes, follow the link below to his blog, Small Stream Reflections: http://smallstreamreflections.blogspot.com/
Photos by Joshua Morse