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Some old, but not so familiar, fishing streams

Notes from the North Woods

Last week, I spent a day traveling around some old familiar grounds up and down the Pleasant Valley of the Boquet River.

Initially, I had intended to spend most of my time fishing on the Boquet’s smaller tributaries such as Barton’s Brook, The Branch, Black River, Spruce Mill Brook, Roaring Brook and the North Branch.

Unfortunately, by the time I made it over the hill to Elizabethtown, the Boquet was already at flood stage, and even the smaller streams were swollen and fast.

I took a few casts, just for old times sake, but the canoe remained strapped to the top of my vehicle all day.

I did manage to find a few deep holes, where some brookies were active and my line wasn’t swept downstream immediately. Fortunately, the heavy rains had not disturbed a series of small beaver dams that I decided to visit, and I was rewarded with a couple of hours worth of productive fishing.

However, by the time I finally left, I was far wetter than the fish I was catching. My hands looked like a pair of pale prunes, and I was soaked through to the bone.

Over the course of the day’s outing, I was astounded to discover the extent of the spread of invasive species, most notably the Japanese Knotweed.

Although I knew the problem existed along the Boquet River, especially from the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club downstream to Willsboro, I was shocked to discover large swaths of knotweed upstream of Elizabethtown, especially on The Branch which has always been one of my favorite streams.

The Branch always runs cold, even during the heat of the summer. From its headwaters high on the shoulders of Hurricane Mountain, the tumbling, babbling little brook has long provided outstanding angling opportunities, even when the trout become slow and sluggish in the wider rivers below.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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