Farmington River Report 12/6/19: Dedicated to the (futile) streamer cause

I fished the permanent TMA today from noon to 2:15pm. Air temp was 37, water about the same, clouds and snow showers. The water was flowing at 340cfs. As the title says, I went all in on streamers, but never drew the protein payoff card. I hit three marks, and enjoyed the water (and my cigar, a San Lotano Pyramid) all to myself. There were bugs about (tiny BWOs, midges) and I even saw a few sporadic rises, but that dull thud on the swing and strip was sadly absent. Not much angler activity — one guy 250 yards below me at the second mark, a few hardy souls here and there, but today you pretty much had your pick of water. Fished a Coffey Sparkle Minnow, Hi-Liter, and Deep Threat, all on the full sink tip integrated line. We’ll get ’em next time.

Shooting the streamer line. I had forgotten how a few hours in the cold saps me. I’m wiped out, but looking forward to pizza night.

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Torrey Collins’ Magical Mystical Secret Dubbing Sauce

Ooh. Aah. Ohh. It’s spikey. It’s buggy. It’s sparkly. It’s Torrey Collins’ (manager of UpCountry Sportfishing in New Hartford) proprietary hare’s mask dubbing blend. I was able to score a wee bag of the goods from Torrey — that sounds so scandalous — and I’m looking forward to making some deliciously horrible bugs with it.

What’s in it? I’ll let Torrey tell you: “I shave a hare’s mask mask, then add in gray squirrel (SLF Squirrel Spikey Dubbing) to darken it and make it spikier; Antron Sparkle Dubbing to make it easier to dub; and assorted color pinches of UV Ice Dub & Prism Dub for some subtle flash and UV. Lethal combination.”

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Salmon River Report 11/25-26: None. One. Are we still having fun?

For a guy who never plays at casinos, I manage to do an awful lot of gambling. Like planning my Salmon River, Pulaski, steelhead trips months in advance. As with Vegas, the odds always favor the house. Sometimes you win. More often, you lose — and lose big. My trip earlier in November brought me the double whammy of a sub-par steelhead run and an Arctic cold front. I felt lucky to escape with my dignity and fingertips intact, and the two steelhead I landed were a trip-saving bonus.

Two weeks later, here I was again. (See “Go, Weather or Not” in my Great Lakes Steelhead piece for Field & Stream.) Make that we, as this was the annual father-son November steelhead trip — facing moderate flows (350cfs, 500cfs at Pineville) but the same paucity of fish. (2019 was, according to my records, tied for the second worst year in the last ten in numbers of fish landed.)

There’s not much to tell you about Monday. We floated the middle river, as always with steelhead guide extraordinaire Row Jimmy, aka James Kirtland, but the vast majority of steelhead that had been there the previous few days had skedaddled. Not a single touch for me in over eight hours of carpet bombing the river bottom. Cam managed one brown, and Jimmy rolled a steelhead that was quickly off. Here, Cam reflects upon the errors or our ways while considering the merit of Stefano’s garlic knots. 

CamMenu

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The command decision was made to float the upper river on Tuesday. We enjoyed a gentlemen’s start at the civilized hour of 7:15am. Here’s Cam wrangling the Pavati at the Altmar boat launch. The anglers we spoke to at the bottom of the LFZ reported a slow beginning to the day.

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So, let’s change that up. Since we needed to let some boats ahead of us fish through, we parked the boat and Jim (did I mention he’s a guide extraordinaire?) pointed to some likely holding water. A bit of a treacherous wade, but manageable, and it wasn’t too long before I was rewarded with a dipping indicator and a thrumming sensation at the end of my line. The fishing quote of the year goes to Cam, who said, “Well, Dad, now you won’t be grouchy for the rest of the day!”

DaySaver

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I’d like to tell you that my fish was the start of something big, but ’twas not to be. We endured hours of the same non-existent action. So when Cam scored this handsome steelhead around noon, we decided that on this day (50 degrees and partly sunny to boot!) we’d beaten the house.

CamSteel2019

 

 

It’s Show Time! Steve Culton’s Fly Fishing Show Marlborough Schedule

Greetings, fellow currentseamsers. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday — and for those of you in the northeast, I hope you’ve successfully navigated this wretched early winter storm. On to the fun stuff!

Once again, I will be giving multiple talks at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA, January 17, 18 &19, 2020:

Friday, January 17: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 12pm. Destination Theater, Room A. The best trout anglers enjoy a tactical advantage by constantly making adjustments, trying different approaches, following tried-and-true best practices, and fine-tuning their presentations. Here are 15 specific, proven tactics that will give you a decisive edge on your next trout expedition. This is a new presentation, and you can be there for its debut performance.

Friday, January 17, Seminar: Wet Flies 101, 3pm, Release Room. For those of you who have been asking, “When are you going to be presenting ‘Wet Flies 101’ again?,” here’s your answer! This presentation was recently updated, and provides a basic introduction to this ancient and traditional — and did I mention, “highly effective”? — subsurface method.

Saturday, January 18: Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers, 10am. Destination Theater, Room C. Have you ever wondered which rod Lee Wulff would use in this situation? What does Ken Abrames do before every cast? Where does Joe Humphries think the most productive spot is on any river? These questions and many more will be answered in LSOLA. Culled from literature and personal interviews, this presentation covers 15 proven tactics and strategies used by master anglers, past and present, to catch more fish.

Sunday, January 19: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 10am. Destination Theater, Room B.

Naturally, I expect (and appreciate) a big turnout from you, the loyal currentseams reader. Please come say hello before or after the presentation. And stay tuned for my Edison, NJ appearance schedule.

Show time again. Speaking and teaching and meeting and greeting is one of my favorite parts of this job.

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Congressional listening tour on stripers, Magnuson-Stevens, and ASMFC

Amidst the recent doom and gloom surrounding the fall 2019 ASMFC session, a ray of hope: Congressman Huffman, Chairman of Water, Oceans and Wildlife, is hosting a national listening tour regarding the concerns of anglers, scientists, and policy makers. Here are two short reports from people who spoke at the Baltimore meeting that you should read:

The first is from Charles Witek’s blog, One Angler’s Voyage.

The second is from Tony Friedrich, Policy Director of the ASGA.

The quote of the month comes from Tony, who wrote: “Here’s one more thing to ponder. The American Saltwater Guides Association isn’t even a year old and we had a seat at the table for an event sponsored by the Chairman of Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Let that sink in folks. Profound change doesn’t happen overnight. You have a work and grind at it every day. That’s what we have done from the start at ASGA. We have already won and lost a few. This goes into the “W” column.”

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Nutmeg TU awarded the Order of Pizza with American Lager Clusters

Many thanks to the Nutmeg Chapter of TU for hosting me last night. For understanding that a fed presenter is a happy presenter, and that nothing washes down a piping hot slice like a cold one, Nutmeg TU receives the aforementioned citation and all the privileges contained therein. What an enthusiastic group, and I can’t remember a presentation where I had three waves of Q&A. Great job, everyone! You made my night. Looking forward to presenting to you again.

Remember that video in the flat pool l showed you? This is the fly I used, my own creation, and it’s called the Squirrel and Ginger. A very, very high confidence wet fly for me, especially when caddis are about. You can find the tying video here.

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