Farmington River Report 9/4/14: Delusions of Chrome

I don’t care how good an angler you are: sooner or later, you are going to make a mistake on the water. Sometimes you pay. Others, you still inherit the forune. On this morning, I got a little lucky.

It was another session dedicated to the nymphing cause. I hadn’t been doing any serious nymphing since there was ice along the river’s edge, and it felt good to be returning to my fly fishing roots. The first spot I visited was a blank. I fished it hard for 45 minutes, then decided to head upriver.

Another ten minutes without a take. Then down went the indicator. And this is where I messed up. I had been repeatedly reminding myself, “set downstream.” So what’d I do? I set upstream, as Eric M so eloquently expressed it, “instinctively doing the wrong thing.” Almost immediately, I corrected with a hard downstream set. Thus begineth the battle. I could see I had something good after his first impressive clear-the-water-by-a-few-body-lengths aerial, followed by one desperately ugly surface somersault. All worthy of fresh chrome. Eyeballing aside, I can always tell I have a good fish when I have an “I think I may be snagged on the bottom” moment. Then I feel that dampened head shake sensation as the fish yields to the pressure. This cantankerous creature did not want to come to net. After several runs and a short walk downstream, he was in.

Another fish that clearly has been in the river for some time: wide pink banding, perfectly formed paddle tail, and just look at those fins. Fat, healthy, and powerful — he’s been eating well. A measurement placed it just a bit shy of the 20″ mark. No complaints here.

Big Rainbow 9-14

A few minutes later, I landed his younger brother. Then a wild brown. Spot C, another classic nymphing hole, delivered a few more wild browns. As the sun edged past its noon zenith, I fished Spot D, a collection of current seams (oh, that phrase), pockets, plunges and runs. Another brown, and then what I believe to be a brown/Atlantic salmon hybrid*. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this guy made head high aerials. (That is correct. Plural.) I figured rainbow, because of its color and acrobatics, but when I got it to hand it looked — well, different. Damn me, I didn’t think to get a picture. 

Here’s what was most fascinating to me today: I fished a two fly nymph rig with a size 12 bead head Squirrel and Ginger on point and a size 14 soft-hackle Pheasant Tail top dropper. The fish took both flies — but with one exception, all the wild browns took the soft-hackle. Again, some very subtle takes on the soft-hackle — almost like the indicator stalls for a microsecond. Set, and I was on.

The rainbows found the size 12 bead head Squirrel and Ginger to their liking.

BHS&G Nymph

*In conversations with DEEP Fisheries biologists, they’ve revealed that they think some of the more precocious Atlantics canoodle with browns. I believe this is the second such offspring I’ve caught.




7 comments on “Farmington River Report 9/4/14: Delusions of Chrome

  1. larry marino says:

    Evening what type of indicators do you use thanks

    • Steve Culton says:

      ‘Evening, Larry. I’ve been fishing my home brew yarn indicators for years. They are constructed of acrylic macrame yarn and a small rubber o-ring. I make them significantly denser than any store-bought indicator I’ve seen. When greased, they float like a cork, and give me an excellent read on what’s going on below. They are also very easy to adjust.

      Clearly, I need to do a tutorial. So thanks for asking!


  2. John says:

    Mistakes! Made one on Friday. Showed up prepared and expecting a mix of midges and tricos to find super warm water and scarcely a rise to be found anywhere we fished even to the supposedly coldest areas . Did not bring the nymph selection as I should have. To add insult to injury at location Z ( the place we met you in Jan and where you took Mike and I, there were a ton on stonefly shucks on the rocks at the head of the run.

  3. james ressler says:

    Can you give me the recipe (or link to) for tying your BHSHPT nymph. Thanks,

  4. Henry Hollis says:

    Hi, I was looking at your Ginger and Squirrel and what is the tail material?
    Hank Hollis

  5. Steve Culton says:


    I don’t use tailing material on any of my Squirrel and Ginger patterns. What you’re likely seeing is the buggy, long Angora goat fibers on the body sweeping back past the hook bend. Sexy, yes?

    Of course, you could add a tail if you liked. 🙂


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