Home » Brackish Flies: Fishing Canals to the Cape

Brackish Flies: Fishing Canals to the Cape

If you had to pick a place to live with fishing opportunities as a major deciding factor, what would you choose? A blue ribbon trout stream? A lake filled with giant largemouth? Estuaries that see run after run of saltwater fish? Every one of those fisheries has its merit, but there is another angling scenario that is easily attainable: diversity.

The eastern third of Massachusetts isn’t necessarily known for much more than it’s striped bass and bluefish, but Geoff Klane wants the region’s fly fishers to experience the fullness of what greater Boston has to offer. Established early in 2017, Brackish Flies is Klane’s guiding and fly tying operation that focuses on the diverse and exciting fishing that he himself has developed a real passion for.

I met Klane in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts for a morning of chasing warm water fish – carp, in particular. Lowell is an old textile town on the banks of the Merrimack River, and the city is still laced with the canals that were used to power the many mills. Klane enjoys the urban angling, the history, and the exposure that his trips provide for fly fishing in his community.

As we walked he shared his love for the downtown scene and his optimism for ecological and civic renewal. These deep conversations would be punctuated by quick interjections of “there’s one!” or “cast under that bridge real quick!” We landed feisty smallmouth, large-by-anyone’s-standard panfish, and even temped a few aggressive hornpout (that’s yankee for brown bullhead). But it was the big, skittish, and mysterious common carp that we were truly after.

Klane recalled some carp-centric adventures that he has enjoyed along bustling city streets. The eclectic onlookers, the participation, and the chance to share another side of Lowell.

As much fun as it is in the canals, they are certainly not brackish. That honor goes to the stripers that he leads clients to from the north shore down to the cape. A striped bass of any size on fly gear is quite the ride, and getting the knack for tides and locations often requires the assistance that a guide’s knowledge provides.

Beyond the canal smorgasbord and the estuarine activity, Klane’s heart, and the heart of Brackish Flies, lies in a unique fishery on the Massachusetts coast. Few fly anglers are aware of the sea run brook trout populations that inhabit certain stream systems of the northeast. The fish aren’t large, the fishing is technical, and access takes some real planning. Fishers that have a historical and ecological perspective know special it is to have the chance to fish for these rare char.

Geoff Klane knows this as well as anyone. And he knows where they are.

This is the preeminent trip with Brackish Flies. It means more travel and more finesse, but the reward is immense. Partnering with the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition, Klane sees these guided trips as more than fishing. They are a way to communicate the importance of these ecosystems and the distinctly New England trout that call them home.

We had some big carp appear from the shadows and show interest in our flies, but ultimately none were brought to (very long) net. What I walked away from the day with, aside from a number of other fish on the fly, was a greater appreciation for the diversity of my region when it comes to fly fishing. The canals, the stripers, and the sea run trout are all within a few hours’ drive. They each require different gear and different mindsets, but what a blessing it is to have those – and more – options at one’s disposal. Brackish Flies is being positioned at the center of this scene, and hopefully inspires many anglers to get out and explore their backyards.


Geoff Klane of Brackish Flies can be reached through his website. Additionally, he is very active on social media. His rates are very competitive, and he is happy to take anglers of all levels of fly fishing proficiency. Let him know you heard about Brackish Flies via Casting Across!

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