Updated October 2019: The West Branch Farmington River Presentation

I spent most of today updating one of my oldest presentations. The West Branch Farmington River sports new video, photos, content, and is current with new regs as of fall 2019. If your club is looking for a comprehensive overview of southern New England’s blue ribbon trout stream, this is the presentation you’ve been looking for. You can find out more about this and my other presentations here.

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In case you missed it, I have an article about the Farmington River in the most recent issue (Sept/Oct 2019) of Eastern Fly Fishing. You can get a copy direct from them here.

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Many thanks to Hammonasset TU and a question about color

A big round of applause for the Hammonasset chapter of TU for hosting me last night. A small but intimate and involved group made it a fun evening and a smooth presentation. As usual, I forgot many of the names, but I recognized the faces, and I appreciate everyone who came out to talk trout fishing for striped bass. Can’t forget to say thanks for the pizza, and also thanks to the gentleman who gifted me the articulated flies — those will see action next summer for smallies!

The presentation machine keeps rolling with three gigs next week at Thames Valley TU, Capitol District (Albany, NY), and Farmington Valley TU. I’ll post a reminder Monday. Hope to see you there!

I was asked about color in striper flies last night. Without writing an essay: I like a little yellow in any fly that imitates fatty, oily bait like menhaden or herring or anchovies. I like certain colors for certain conditions: some white at the change of light, black in stained water, grey and fluorescent yellow on an easterly blow. I love blending colors using buckail and saddles, and sometimes I choose flies by feeling — as in, that’s the fly that feels right tonight. Sometimes color is irrelevant — it’s profile and presentation. I choose and blend colors that please me. Confidence catches fish!

Crazy CU

 

Tip of the Week: The wrong fly presented correctly is better than the right fly presented incorrectly

I know, it’s a bit of a mouthful. But it’s so true. And it’s played out multiple times in my last two trout outings. “The Wrong Fly Presented Correctly…” strategy is part of my new presentation, The Little Things 3.0, and I wanted to share it with you so you can catch more fish on your next trip.

Situation A: I’m fishing a snotty dump-in at the head of long pool with several feet of depth. I see small (size 16) caddis and tiny BWOs and what looks like a smaller (size 16) sulphur in the air, and a few swirls of rising trout. Problem: I’ve only got my streamer pack with me; the only wet flies I have are big size 10 white fly soft hackles from a summer smallie trip — not even close to what’s hatching. Nonetheless, I rigged up a makeshift wet fly team of two on 8-lb fluoro. Not ideal on a number of fronts — the fly is way too big, it’s the wrong color, the leader system is clunky at best. And yet, I was making it easy for the buyer to buy — and sometimes that’s all you need to do to make a sale.

This handsome brown proves that it’s rarely a bad idea to feed the fish something that looks alive and good to eat (even if it’s the wrong size and color and species) — as long as you feed it to them the same way they’re taking their food. 

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Situation B: Long, languid water, hardly classic wet fly structure or speed. You’d think dry fly all the way on this mark. The trout are smutting on tiny BWOs, producing gentle rise rings, the kind you see with midges or Tricos or — tiny BWOs. I’ve been fishing streamers, so I’ve got an 8-weight WF line — a really bad choice for this kind of water. I do have some smaller BWO wet fly patterns this time, and so two of them go on the team of three. But I like to give the fish a choice, just in case. So I tied on a size 12 Squirrel and Ginger top dropper. This fly is 10 sizes larger than what the trout are feeding on. But I’m fishing in the film, using a mended swing and dead drift to bring the team of flies to hungry mouths, just like the naturals. You can see where this is going…

Bingo! Wrong fly, right presentation, big brown. Go forth and do likewise. Oh, yes — the same rule holds true for stripers.

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Tomorrow night, Thursday Oct. 10: “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass” at Hammonasset TU

Hope to see you tomorrow night for “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass — How to catch the stripers that everyone can’t.”  Hammonasset TU meeting, everyone welcome, 7pm at the QRWA building at 540 Oregon Road in Meriden, CT. For more information, please visit the Hammonasset TU website.

We’re going to talk about some of the tactics and strategies for catching those difficult bass. (If you fish for trout, you’re already ahead in the game.)

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Housy Report 10/8/19: BWOs and Truttasaurus

I fished the four marks within the Housatonic River TMA today, late morning to early afternoon, and while the action was spotty I was able to score my biggest brown of the season on a Squirrel and Ginger.

I began the day dedicated to the streamer cause, but after 45 minutes I’d only had one bump. Since there were tiny BWOs (size 18-22) and caddis (size 16) in the air, I switched over to a three-fly wet fly team. That produced one stocker rainbow. The third mark was a blank, so I returned to where I’d seen some fish rising earlier. Not really classic wet fly water but the trout were clearly on small stuff (as evidenced by the sipping rise rings) and emergers of some sort (the tell of splashy rises). I missed two before connecting with a 20″ holdover brown.

The take was gentle but unmistakable, as was the fish’s size once it realized it was hooked. Love the comfort factor of fishing with Maxima 4-pound — ain’t no trout in this river going to break that.

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It’s hard to take a beauty shot mid stream when you’re flying solo, so this is the best I could do. Still, you get some sense of this truttasaurus‘ length, and check out the ginormous tail. The mouth of my net is 17″ — this one did not slide in easy. We like that problem! Wet flies fished in the film, delivered to active feeders, continue to be a highly productive big fish method. 

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River conditions: 450cfs and rising, light stain, some leaves and pine needles, 58 degrees. And crowded for a Tuesday in October! Thanks to everyone who greeted me by name today, and as always, if you’re on the river and you see me please say hello.

 

Stuff I use: Under Armour Cold Gear Base Extreme Leggings

If there’s anything worse in fishing than being cold and miserable (OK, throw in not catching, too) I’ve yet to experience it. That’s why Under Armour’s Cold Gear Base Extreme Leggings are hands down the best lower body bottom layer I’ve ever owned. I bought mine in 2018; this year’s model is called the ColdGear Base 4.0 Legging.

Ya done good, UnderArmour!

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There’s a lot to love, starting with the fact that these things actually work. I’m the kind of guy who runs cold 24/7, so already I’m at a disadvantage before I step into the water. I wore these last year in all kinds of miserable conditions with a fleece pants overlay and stayed mighty comfortable in my 3mm neoprene waders.

Features you may be interested in: UA Scent Control Technology (and let’s be frank: that’s something we all could use in our nether regions); soft, brushed grid interior (very comfortable); fast-drying wicking material; working fly (yup, nature is going to call at some point). Be advised that the “Find Your True Fit Size” app on the UA site is fallible; it told me I was an XL and they hung on me like a cheap suit. I swapped ’em out for an L and we were warm and happy.

Price: $80

Rating: *****

Water’s cold, steelhead bite’s hot, legs are just right with the Under Armour ColdGear Base 4.0 Legging (hiding somewhere beneath it all). If you fish in cold water/cold weather conditions, you need these leggings.

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CT DEEP Trout and Salmon Forums this October

“DEEP Wants Your Opinions on Trout and Salmon Fishing in Connecticut.
Public Discussions Scheduled Statewide in October
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Fisheries Division is pleased to invite all interested people to attend one of the public discussions focused on the State’s recreational trout and salmon fisheries. The purpose of the meeting is to obtain ideas and concerns specific to recreational fishing for trout and salmon via face-to-face conversation.
“Informed conversations between our passionate and loyal anglers and the Fisheries Division are essential to ensuring we are managing these fisheries in the most relevant and meaningful manner, consistent with the preferences and desires of the people we serve,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Fisheries Division.
Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation about the Fisheries Division’s management of trout and salmon to date and then expand to discussion on four key focal points related to trout and salmon fishing:
• What makes a good fishing trip?
• What is the Fisheries Division doing well?
• Where can the Fisheries Division improve?
• What actions could be taken to increase the number people fishing?
All people are encouraged to provide their perspectives. At the conclusion of all of the meetings, comments will be compiled and considered to help inform the Fisheries Division’s development of a statewide trout and salmon action plan.
To help determine the level of attendance and ensure sufficient accommodations for all, we are asking likely attendees to RSVP in advance by selecting the “tickets” button for the appropriate date and location.
RSVP can also be made by calling the Fisheries Division at 860-424-3474 or by email to mike.beauchene@ct.gov
Doors will open 30 minute prior to the start of each meeting.”
You can find the dates and locations here.