Farmington River Report 2/23/16: Laughter in the rain

For once this winter I guessed right that a lousy weather report would keep most anglers home. I find it generally unbearable when the temperature is in the mid-thirties and it’s raining, but when you’re catching, elements-induced misery somehow slides to the rear.

Winter nymphing on the Farmington this season has been as predictable as Donald Trump’s hair. The fish are in the usual pools, then concentrated within certain sub-areas of those pools. Get your fly into those sub-areas, and you’re an instant expert. Miss them by a few feet, and you’re Baron Von Blankenstein. Today I had a prime spot; the angler across from me did not. We fished the same general area, but I out-caught him 6:1. (This has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with real estate.)

I started with a size 12 BHSHPT on the bottom and a size 18 midge-type on top dropper. They loved the PT. After I lost my rig, I re-tied with a size 14 Hare and Copper and took two more on that. It rained on and off; five minutes into one of the heavier spells the fish put on the feed bag; sadly, it only lasted for about ten minutes. The permanent TMA was running 340cfs, clear, and cold, although I expect the levels and clarity are changing dramatically as I write this.

On the menu today: creamy micro-midges and W/S caddis.



6 comments on “Farmington River Report 2/23/16: Laughter in the rain

  1. henry butler says:

    Hello Steve, its Henry from Salem. I have always loved Kens flies, and have been totally inspired by your fishing philosophy. I spent all last weekend tying up soft hackle flawing hybrids and can’t wait to fish them on a greases line swing. I bought American Angler just for your article and you did an amazing job, thank you. I have a badly injured, dislocated thumb from a skiing accident which can’t be surgically fixed, I cannot cast a single hand heavy rod for long, thats why I am so inspired by your philosophy. I KNOW that a good 5 weight can work for most striper applications. And since I release them all anyway, its OK by me if I lose them, as its no loss really, the take is EVERYTHING ! Please may I ask you what kind of two handed rod you use as this is the direction I need to explore this season. Its either fuse my thumb to the hand bone permanently or live with the pain, so Ive chose to live with it, but must make adjustments as this is my casting hand. Thank you very much. …. Henry from Salem

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Henry. You are very kind.

      I’m using Ken’s Salmo Saxitillis #3 for two-handed use. It is obviously a switch rod. All I do is replace the butt (single-hand mode) with a handle to put it in TH mode. Of course, I use a heavier line when it is in TH mode. I think your instincts are good as far as wanting to explore the TH route. Good luck and let us know what you end up with.

  2. Jon murphy says:

    30 ish and rain… But hittin em. Nice report.
    I was breifly thinkin today would be a nice warm day to get out but oh yeah the river was over 3k cfs this early am! I went and watched it flow for a while from the banks… Looks like chocolate milk :/)
    Then went said hi to upcountry got few things

    Now relaxin and tyin instead. Ill fight the crowds sunday as i know there will be! Supposed to be nice out and river will he a nice level i think.

  3. Michael Postol says:

    Steve, What is a w/s caddis that you mentioned in the Farmington River Report on Feb 24, 2016?

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