Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have you ever forgotten your waders? Part II

Though my fishing trip (fortunately it was only going to be a half-day trip) ended as soon as I found out that I had forgotten my waders, I quickly developed a "Plan B".  I always have a small waterproof camera in my vest, but I realized that I also had one of my "pretty decent" cameras in the glove box. It's not a dSLR, but a high-performance compact camera I would happy to be my sole camera on vacation.

So, not wanting to go home right away, I decided I would enjoy a couple of hours along the river taking photos.  If I couldn't capture any fish, perhaps I could catch a "keeper" of a photo!

A beautiful building in Millers Falls.  It was completely vacant.

I found myself spending more time looking at the old mills and bridges than ever before. At this point today's post might be a bit OT (off topic) as mill town architecture and fly fishing don't exactly fit together.  But both deal with the life of the river.

Before the mills and dams, the Millers was filled with Atlantic salmon during their spawning runs.  The salmon would swim upstream from the Atlantic Ocean into the Connecticut River, which travels north through Connecticut, bisecting Massachusetts and then becoming the border between Vermont and New Hampshire.  Its flow starts in northern New Hampshire, in what are called the Connecticut Lakes.  The Millers River and the Deerfield River are the two biggest tributaries in Massachusetts.

The history here along the Millers is old and the towns were once filled with the economy of the paper mills and tanneries.  The water was polluted then, of course, just as it was in other areas of the country where raw waste was dumped into the river.  The water is "clean" now, but PCBs still exist in the bottom sediment.  Though the fish seem healthy, it is not wise to eat them as PCBs work their way up the food chain.

The three photos below were taken in Orange, MA.

I have caught every species of warm water fish imaginable below the dam to the left.  The trout fishery is quite a bit downstream (and also far upstream) from here.

Viewing upstream toward the dam.  (For those into photography, I took three identical photos at different exposures and combined them in photoshop to get this image, as I wanted a reasonable exposure of the dark buildings without overexposing the beautiful blue sky and puffy clouds.)

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