Featured Guide: Berkshire Rivers Fly Fishing
By James Hamilton | Monday, April 27
GuideHire on the river in the Berkshires with Harry Desmond.
When searching for a fly fishing guide, or fly fishing instructor in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts our friend Harry Desmond should always be on the short list. Harry is based in Lee, MA and primarily takes clients out on the Housatonic River - targeting Trout, Pike, Carp, and Smallmouth Bass. Not only does Harry’s operation, Berkshire Rivers Fly Fishing, specialize in guided fly fishing trips, but they also provide world class fly fishing instruction for beginners. Harry has carved out a great niche in Western MA - providing top tier service to everyone from clients who are making their first cast to the experienced angler.
The GuideHire Team had the pleasure of doing some early spring fishing with Harry. We targeted Browns on a beautiful March day that hit highs of 45 degrees (balmy after the winter we had in Boston). After an awesome day on the raft we sat down with Harry for a few Whale’s Tail IPAs and a brief Q&A.
GH: How did you get into fly fishing?
HD: I moved to Yellowstone National Park when I was 18. I first picked up a fly rod as an activity to occupy my time while hanging out in the park. At first I had a strange relationship with the sport. I didn’t necessarily like fly fishing, but I loved where it brought me, standing in the middle of a river in areas untouched by man.
GH: When did you start BRFF?
HD: I started Berkshire Rivers in 2010 after I finished guide school in Montana. I wasn’t sure if there would be a market for it in Western Mass but I soon found out that there definitely was.
GH: What's your favorite off season activity/other passion?
HA!! There is no off season for fishing!! But besides fishing I love hiking, gardening and going to see live music.
GH: Having lived amongst some of the most dramatic mountain ranges in the world, why did you choose to settle down in the Berkshires?
HD: I decided to move back to the Berkshires after a decade. Once home I still had the itch to travel. I made the decision to go to Guide School for fly fishing, in hopes of traveling to new and exciting places with the certification. I was still living in the Berkshires when I completed the schooling. I soon realized that I didn’t see the Berkshires in the same way that I had when I was younger. I now saw a place with amazing culture, food, huge outdoorsy potential and most importantly a rich community with interesting and friendly people.
GH: Funniest/oddest thing that's happened to you on the river?
HD: Dropping a 35 pound anchor square on my buddies foot. Wasn't funny at the time but I can still hear the sound it made hitting his foot years later. Poor guy.
GH: Favorite beer?
HD: Dales pale ale or Gknight is on the top of my list for beer, also a big fan of this IPA you guys brought out, and I love red wine!!
So, now you know a few things about Harry. You know the story of how he got into fly fishing, you know that we have personally been fishing with him and had a great time, you know he is fishing year round in Western Massachusetts, and you know to bring some Oskar Blues craft beer with you if you really want to get on his good side. Book a trip with Harry through GuideHire this season for guaranteed good times & tight lines.
Special thanks to Postfly Box for supplying the flies, Smith Optics for helping us spot fish, Trew Gear and Patagonia of Boston for keeping us warm, and Cisco Brewers of Nantucket MA for the refreshments.