Leaving home base at 5:30 AM, sure did not feel like the first day of spring. Temperatures were below freezing and there was frost all over the truck windows. It was still dark out and in the opposite lane of the highway were, what appeared to be endless headlights heading towards the busy city, as we started our commute, in the opposite lane, to Hager's Market, Shelburne for our first trip of the 2019 season. This trip was planned well in advanced and scheduled around the full moon cycle, with the hopes everything would align and the fish gods would grace us with net's full of fish. Sure enough, the early morning light was provided by full bright moon still illuminating the roadway as we got deeper into Western Mass.
After an 1:40 min drive, we arrived at Hager's Market. We knew from past trips, it was time to grab a homemade sugared donut, some coffee and wait for our veterans to arrive but these weren't just any veterans, this group was filled with bad a** female veterans. Soon enough, everyone arrived one car at a time and Hager's was bustling with conversation and laughs. We knew for sure, this was a good group and we were about to have an awesome day. From Hager's we drove a few miles down to the river to what the local guides call the "lower " Deerfield. Dan, one of our guides and co-owner of the Harrison Anglers told us he hasn't fished the lower all year but the flow and water levels seemed just right which should make for some good fishing. We were excited, but now Dan had an expectation to live up to ... fortunately for us, Dan was right.
The sun was out by the time we launched the rafts and you could feel the air warming up as we drifted down the river. Every so often a gust of wind would come through and put a chill in the air, as if winter was not quite ready to go away. As we got further into our trip, a sense of seclusion came over us as the mountain sides ran high on either side and there wasn't a house, person or structure in sight. The sounds of laughing and excitement came from every raft, as angler's were hooking up to fish, taking a picture and releasing them back in the river. This was pretty awesome, considering, the group were first time fly fisher women! By lunch the wind died and the sun was out in full force. All of us could be seen leaning back in our chairs, head up towards the sun and soaking in all the rays we could. It absolutely felt like the first day of spring.
By the end of the day it was almost t-shirt weather. As we pulled out the rafts, our veterans were smiling and telling fish stories along the river bank. Exchanging numbers, high-fives and photos to cap off a near perfect day on the water. If this is any sign of our season to come... it's gonna be lit!