Matt Dickerson

Recently I had to leave the bubble of Addison County in order to help a family member. My trip took me across some areas of rural New England. Since I was driving alone, I had plenty of time to appreciate the landscape. For me that often means admiring the various waters I pass by, especially the streams and rivers — and most especially the streams and rivers that looked like they might support a good trout population or offer decent fishing. Having lived in New England all but four years of my life — mostly in small, rural towns — this was not a new experience. I’ve spent many hours admiring...
I’ll admit to distrusting my memory these days. (What day of the week is it?) Last week seems like months ago, and May seems like a year ago. The middle of March might as well be several years ago. And 2019? Could be a different lifetime.  So when I say it was only a year ago that Otter Creek was running exceedingly high all through June and most of the summer — and that I barely got out to fish it because of those inhospitable water levels — I say that without the greatest confidence in my memory.  But I’m saying it anyway.  Because this year has been a whole different world.  Not that the...

I walked out on the dock, set down my fly rod and my blue canvas boat bag with my boxes of flies and fly-fishing gear, and went back inside for a canoe paddle and seat cushion. When I returned to the dock, I found sitting on my bag a beautiful two-tailed mayfly. Though its wings were tan with just a hint of honey coloring, its head, legs, and underside sported patches of brighter yellow that stood out against my blue bag. It was at least the third species of mayfly I’d seen in the past day, rising off the water, fluttering past our porch, or landing on our outside windows and walls. Most of...

Ephemeroptera. That is the scientific name of the family of insects known more commonly as mayflies. The word is made up of two roots that come to us from Greek, through Latin. The first root is related to the modern word ephemeral. Though ephemeral has come to mean something more general, like “fleeting” or “short-lived,” in its origins it literally meant “lasting one day.”  The other root is ptera, which comes from the word for wings. This root appears in words like helicopter (a flying machine with helix wings) and pterodactyl (having winged fingers). When we put them together we get...
My alarm went off at 4 a.m. I bolted upright, fumbled for my iPhone on the nightstand, and shut it off as quickly as I could, hoping to avoid waking my wife. Before I could even stand up, I heard a high wind whipping through the trees outside. The turkeys were not going to be out and about much this morning, I thought. They certainly won’t be very vocal in these conditions. They will cautious, not likely to respond to any call I made. I almost abandoned my plans and put my head back down. I’d be asleep again moments after I pulled the covers back up. But I knew it might be the only morning of...

THE NATIVE TROUT that our columnists caught were rarely longer than his hand but their coloring made each a tiny piece of art. Photo courtesy of Matthew Dickerson
I admit that I don’t usually do much trout fishing in April. Sure, after spending more than five long months (starting Nov. 1) with few opportunities to get out on a stream or river and cast flies, I always look forward to opening day of Vermont’s trout season (second Saturday of April.) But it’s mostly symbolic. I dust off my rod and reel and pull my vest and waders out of the closet. I dig through my collections of flies, tapered leaders, tippets and weights, see what I need for the new year. I pretend to organize. If the weather is not horrible, I might get out for a couple hours on...

MATTHEW DICKERSON GOT away from the rigors of working at home and the strain of staring at screens all day by spending three-quarters of an hour fly fishing on Otter Creek below the falls in Middlebury. Photo by McKenna Poppenga
Five p.m. was rolling up on me and I needed to get outside. I’d been sitting at my computer all day, working remotely — preparing remote lectures for my classes, and holding remote office hours. I’ve learned more about Zoom teleconferencing than I ever wanted to know, including warnings about the new practice of “Zoombombing” (which is like photobombing except done into somebody else’s teleconference). Lured by the sunny blues skies and fresh air that I’d been separated from all day by my office window, feeling my productivity and concentration starting to lag, and knowing I had yet another...
So what does a sports column look like in an age of COVID-19? In one sense, outdoor writing is quite different from more tradition sports media, because the outdoor sports themselves (fishing, canoeing, hunting, etc.) fall in a different category than competitive activities most folks associate with the word “sports.” Sure, there are competitive bass fishing tournaments, but only a small percentage of people who fish do so as part of an organized competition. The same could be said of hiking, canoeing and hunting. On the other hand, take away the competitive aspect of baseball, football or...
Anglers like to tell stories. I’ll admit that’s not always a good thing. Some anglers may tend to ramble a little bit. Some of their fish stories may even involve an exaggeration or two. I’ve even been accused myself of sometimes rambling, and perhaps stretching the facts a little. Because, after all, a 22-and-a-half-inch trout is basically a 23-inch fish. And it really matters how I started the morning with coffee, which thermos I put the coffee in, why I decided to go with my felt-soled wading shoes rather than cleats, and how I carefully and with great anguish of mind selected that one...
Several days ago my wife, Deborah, and I went snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on a thick blanket of lovely fresh snow. We weren’t alone. Joining us on the outing was our friend Felicia. Felicia had never been snowshoeing or skiing before. Felicia is in her third and final year living in Vermont thanks to a temporary job in town. Two and a half years in, and she still isn’t a big fan of the cold of Vermont winters. For that, she can be excused. Felicia grew up in Jamaica. The average January temperature in Montego Bay (near the cold northwest corner of the Caribbean island nation) is 74...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100