From my perch twenty-five feet above the river bank, I could tell I was going to be up against it. Hundreds and hundreds of orange and yellow swimmers. And that was just one run. Still, I was all in for swinging wets on this overcast, humid, decidedly August-in-October morning.
At first it seemed like I’d made a poor decision. Nearly every cast produced a hook-to-foliage connection. Finally, a bump that was readily distinguishable from the benign pressure of ex-flora. A recently stocked rainbow on the soft-hackled BHPT. Moving on, I was having a rather uncoordinated wading day. Even though the river was down, it seemed like it was my destiny to stumble. After recovering from one near swim, I discovered my rig was hung up on a submerged rock. I gave the line a roll cast to try and free it, but no. With a temper just short of rage, I gave the rod an upward set. The rock thrummed with energy. Now, surprised glee. Another rainbow, this one broad of shoulder and cantankerous, on the Hackled March Brown. One more trout a hundred feet down, then back to the truck to rig for depth charge.
They sure look pretty on the trees. But oh, what a pain-in-the-ass once they’re in the river.
There was another angler in the run I wanted to nymph, so I watched him throw his streamer for a few minutes. As he moved a polite distance downstream, I entered the run where a disorganized series of riffles formed the head of the pool. First cast, the indicator stalled, I set, and an acrobatic rainbow cleared the water like a proper steelhead. Sadly, his leap was sans hook. I gave him a few minutes to rest, then went at him again. This time, hook set. Off he went, peeling line. I didn’t think he was fish-on-the-reel big. Turns out he wasn’t. Foul hooked just below a pectoral.
I was going to visit another spot in the TMA that I hadn’t fished all year, but you can’t lie to yourself. I wanted to go to that other place. So I hurried to a favorite deep, mysterious hole where, as the poet said, stone is dark under froth. Only a juvenile Salmon seemed willing to eat. Three more casts, I said. And on the second, the indicator dipped. A wild Farmington River brown, some-teen inches long, on the size 16 soft-hackled Pheasant Tail dropper.
I valued that fish above all others today. But the rainbows reminded me that Pulaski and November are coming soon.
A credible summary of today’s conditions.