By Kristopher Radder, Vermont Country Magazine.

Anglers are always searching for the perfect fishing spot that connects them with wilderness.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., is an avid hiker and in the last two years, she has taken to fly fishing.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., casts her line out while fly fishing on the Walloomsac River in North Bennington. Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country.

According to Rod and Tackle Unlimited, the difference between rod fishing and fly fishing is that coarse fish tend to be caught by bait, using bait fishing techniques. Fly fishing is a technique that uses an artificial fly to catch a freshwater game fish.

“I learned from a close friend who guides, and I loved it right away. Being in beautiful places, surrounded by nature, that’s the most grounded I feel in life. I love never knowing whether you’ll have any luck — it’s called fishing, not catching, as they say … It forces me to have patience, to not quantify success by the number of fish I catch. My first winter season, I went weeks without landing a fish, and instead I really dove into casting and learning about the water column, and tying knots. And I’ve grown to dearly love the fish themselves. They’re so beautiful, each with a unique pattern and colors. I admire them so much, and most anglers feel passionately about protecting the species and their habitats.”

Erin Scaggs

When talking about fishing in Southern Vermont, Scaggs said some of the best fishing takes place in Bennington County. She named the Battenkill River, Walloumsac River, the Deerfield River that goes into Massachusetts and parts of the Hoosic River that runs through Vermont.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., casts her line out while fly fishes on the Walloumsac River in North Bennington.

“Southern Vermont is absolutely a destination for anglers. We have really well-known fisheries with devoted anglers who fish them year after year,” said Scaggs. “Vermont has some beautiful and accessible rivers and streams even in town. I have definitely fished the Whetstone Brook right behind the Brattleboro Co-op. I am not at all above some urban-ish fishing.”

Scaggs said that when she was getting into the sport, people were very supportive in helping her get the knowledge to be successful while fishing: from the type of casting needed to what flies to use.

“There are so many anglers out there. It’s always a treat to meet folks from varying walks of life who are anglers. Most of the time, they are incredibly interesting and universally, we all can’t stop talking about the sport,” said Scaggs. “Meeting other women anglers is super special to me. We are for sure in the minority and so there’s an immediate bond because of that. We recognize that we are swimming against the stream in a way and so feel an instant connection.”

Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., joins in with Scaggs while they fish the Walloomsac River.

Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., fly fishes at the Walloomsac River in North Bennington. Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country.

“Where we are, the community is very welcoming to female anglers, and we have a growing community of female anglers, which is really nice,” said Banks. “Everybody has been very kind, very helpful, wanting to give you advice and tips.”

Banks said there is no wrong time to start to learn how to fly fish.

“Don’t hesitate. Get out and do it. I would start with a guide,” said Banks. “Just to get the basics under your belt before you go out by yourself because it is a dangerous sport.

She also recommends for people new to the sport to try it at the Deerfield River for its accessibility.

A trout in the Deerfield River in Mass. Photos by Erin Scaggs.

Scaggs added that some people tie their own flies, and others purchase them. She mentioned that she goes to the Deerfield Fly Shop, because of the selection of flies and materials and equipment.

“Fishing, in general, it’s just about getting outside. Catching a fish makes it an adrenaline sport almost when you have a fish on the line,” said Banks. “It’s also a very relaxing sport. You feel very connected to and grateful for where you live and for the nature around you. It’s really just getting out there and reading the water, checking out the bugs, being observant and taking the time to not think about all the crazy things in life and just focus on what’s in front of you.”

Kristopher Radder is a photographer for the Brattleboro Reformer. Often compared to Ed Sheeran in looks, or Prince Harry pending on his hair, he can be often found with a camera in hand ready to capture life in Southern Vermont.

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

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