Farmington River Report 9/29/13: Blue ribbons all around

First Place Winner: James. James is an experienced fly angler who wanted to learn the ancient and traditional ways of the wet fly. He aced Wet Flies 101, got into double digits of fish, and even had a double on a February Red and a Squirrel and Ginger. Good job wading, good job mending, good job presenting. If he keeps at it, James is going to be a dangerous machine. Trout, you’ve been warned.

Almost a grownup. The signature ink of youth has just about faded away from his flanks. A spirited fish, this one. I’m amazed he held still long enough for a photo.


First Place Winner: The weather. Cool air. Warm sun. Blazing, brilliant sunshine. All day long. Water temp 59. Whoever ordered this day, I’d like to buy you a drink. And a cigar.

First Place Winner: The bite. Thank you, trout, for making my job easy. Your recklessness creates the illusion of genius in the form of a fishing guide. I really appreciate it.

First Place Winner: The hatches. See “The bite.” Caddis (smaller creamy size 16 and big tan size 12s), midges, BWOs, and especially a bumper crop of Isonychia. All our trout came on the Squirrel and Ginger (caddis) size 14, size 12 February Red, and size 12 Hackled March Brown.

James’ brown. The hardest working trout in the Farmington River? Or simply one of the many fish James brought to net?


3 comments on “Farmington River Report 9/29/13: Blue ribbons all around

  1. James Smith says:

    Steve, I found your reference to the February Red very interesting. Some years ago I read an article by a man named Jere Haas (from Pennsylvania I think) about the February Red. He tells the story of tying the fly with “ancient silk floss that he tried, without success, to have duplicated.” The floss is a dusty rose color when dry and turns to the color of “raw liver when wet.” According to him he cannot locate any more of this floss. So, in tying your February Red I assume you must have improvised. What did you come up with?

    Jim Smith

    • Steve Culton says:


      To start, understand that the February Red is a pattern that is as old as the hills. Over the years, it has been tied a multitude of ways by a multitude of tiers. So Jere Haas no doubt simply had someone’s specific take on the fly.

      I first learned of the February Red in Dave Hughes’ “Wet Flies.” He lists the body as “crimson red Pearsall’s Gossamer silk,” or “red marabou silk floss.”

      Jump over to Sylvester Nemes’ “Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies,” and you can find a February Red that calls for “red tying silk with orange dubbing.” So you see there is no one way to tie it.

      I’ve always tied the February Red with Pearsall’s Gossamer silk. The choices in red are Cardinal, Claret, Dark Claret, and Scarlet. I’ve always been a Cardinal or a Claret kind of guy. The trout seem to like it.

      But, quite frankly, they’d probably like any kind of red you could find in a common sewing kit.

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