Severely damaged by Hurricane Irene just a short time ago, by all reports the river not only survived - it is thriving. Originating in the wilds of the Green Mountain National Forest, a vast area of preserved trees, abundant animal life and recreational trails, this short tributary of the Hoosic River, (only 17 miles long) is widely recognized for its great fly fishing.
In the past, the river was diverted to power knitting mills and shoe factories and could at times, nearly run dry. Today it runs freely and forcefully with rapids ranging from Class I to Class III, which probably accounts for its nickname, The Roaring Branch River.
Known for its headwater’s brook trout as well as rainbows and browns that can be found throughout, in 2014 the state added 1000 2 year old, 14 inch long trophy trout to the river. Raised in the Bennington Fish Hatchery the mix consists of 750 rainbow and 250 browns. There are also proposals to reset limits on the number and size of fish that can be taken from the river and to lengthen the fly fishing season for portions of the river. The best sections to fish are from the Paper Bridge to the New York Border.
A mere 15 miles from Manchester, the river is also not far from the town of Bennington and scores of other tourist attractions. If you have family or other members of your party that don’t feel like fishing, there are museums, shopping and historical sites to visit, not to mention other outdoor recreational opportunities.
Before setting out to fish this river, be sure to:
- Check to see if the April –October seasonal dates have been extended
- Check the rules regarding catch and release since they may have recently changed