A follow-up to the 6/21 Farmy report

On the way home from the river, I stopped by my friend Sal’s place (Legends, a gorgeous B&B/lodge on the banks of the river — see the icon/link in the right hand column). Sal was fishing Greenwoods (right outside his back door) that evening and reported finding ants in the water. When he tied on an ant pattern, his hookup rate shot skyward.

Don Butler wrote, “ants is good food.” Sal’s experience is a reminder that it’s that time of year. Once we near fall, look for wet/humid days to produce swarms of flying ants, too.

One of my favorite summer wets is the Drowned Ant.

Drowned Ant head-on

Farmington River Report 6/21/16: Cane and able

Gadzooks! Can it be June 21st and I have not yet fished the Farmington with my beloved cane pole during my beloved Sulphur hatch? Begone, oh evil scheming time-space continuum! Here are some notes:

Fished the upper TMA. Water was 313cfs, clear, and cold. So cold, that I was shivering. Got to remember the fleece next time.

Hatches: Excellent! Sulphurs (16-18), caddis (18), a few small BWOs (18-20) and the ubiquitous midge. When I arrived at 5:00pm, there were sulphur duns on the water and the trout were enjoying them immensely. I find emerger patterns like the Usual and the Magic Fly to be less effective when the trout are eating duns, and that was the case last night. A classic Catskills-style dry worked nicely. By 7pm, the duns were off the water and the trout were on a second sulphur emergence (splashy rises) and spinners or something smaller (gentle porpoising). Small comparaduns and the Magic Fly size 20 worked for me.

A summer evening, a bent rod, and a My Father Le Bijou 1922 box-pressed torpedo. For one shining hour, all is right with the world.



My tastes in dry fly water vary, but I think what I enjoy the most is technical water that requires tricky mends. You know the kind — nasty cross-currents and variable speeds, and if you get one good, natural drift out of ten casts, you’re doing well. My first dry fly session of the year usually exposes the rust — from presentation to hook set — and last night was no exception. I stuck six fish that I lost moments after the strike. I had another dozen quality rises to my fly that came up empty. Still, I landed enough browns and rainbows to keep me chuckling.

I still don’t understand why people leave the river at 8pm. As I point out in the current issue of American Angler, the last hour of twilight in the summer is when the fish go nuts — and get reckless. The rise activity was steady and solid from 5pm-8:15pm, but in the next hour it went off the charts. And I had 75 yards of prime water all to myself. I like a size 10-12 Light Cahill Catskills dry during this time.

Once I can no longer see the fly, I use the bucket method (look it up) of strike detection. That is, unless my line suddenly comes tight because a mid-teens wild brown slaughtered the fly and is now swimming upstream with fierce conviction. Note the kype, haloed spots, white edges and full adipose.






Currentseams Four Hundred Followers Winners

First Winner: Bill Donnelly


Second Winner: Amyandkris


Third Winner: Gary Bogli


Congratulations! One of the possible prizes is an already tied batch of striper flies that includes bucktails, soft-hackles, and flatwings.  Bill gets first dibs on them. If he doesn’t want them, Amyandkris gets next dibs, etc. If no one wants them, I will fish them myself. So there. Winners, please email me (swculton at yahoo) and let me know what you’d like. Your other options are a selection of trout streamers, trout wets, or steelhead flies. I also need your mailing addresses. Please don’t post those here.

I would like to thank everyone who entered. Your readership and support is truly appreciated. Now, on to 500.

A toast to everyone. Beer for breakfast isn’t exactly championship fare, but it sure does taste good after a top ten night of striper fishing.

Block Island All-Nighter Beer





Two pieces in the July/August 2016 American Angler

Submitted for your reading pleasure: “The Little Things V2.0” and “I’m Not Dead Yet — The last hurrah for wild Connecticut River strain Atlantic Salmon” in the current issue of American Angler.

“The Little things V2.0” serves as a springboard for a new presentation coming this fall (I will kick it off in Coventry, RI at the TU225 meeting in late September.

Many thanks to the Connecticut DEEP for sharing their time and knowledge for the salmon article, and a shout out to currentseams.com follower RM Lytle for the same (and a very spiffy photo of his prized catch).

The little things is like compounding interest. It all adds up. Then one day you’re rich.



Look for it at your favorite fly shop or newsstand.


400 followers! It must be contest time.

And so it is.  Thank you, loyal reader, for being part of the Fabulous Four Hundred. To celebrate, we’re doing a Currentseams flies-tied-by-Steve giveaway. Here are the contest rules:

1) No purchase necessary.

2) You must be a follower of currentseams to enter. (If you’re not one already, you become a follower by clicking on the “Stay current with currentseams” button on the home page.)

3) To enter, leave a comment on this thread saying you wish to enter AND share with us the name of a favorite fly pattern. One entry per person. Deadline for entering is 11:59pm June 14, 2016. Three winners will be chosen at random. The winners will be notified in the comments section of this thread or by email, and will be responsible for sending me their address so I can ship the flies out.

4) All decisions by me are final.

Thanks again for reading and following currentseams.

Want to catch stripers on flies like these? One of the prizes will be some of what you see here. The other two will be a selection of trout or steelhead flies. As they say in my kids’ school: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”



NYCTU awarded the Order of the Black Shack Burger with IPA Clusters

Yesterday evening found me in the Big Apple presenting Wet Flies 101 to the NYCTU Chapter. Many thanks to the group for having me, and for recognizing that a fed presenter is a happy presenter. The Black Shack Holy Mole burger was delicious, as was the Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA. Thanks also to the midtown Orvis store for providing the venue. A great group and an outstanding post-presentation Q&A session.

That closes out the 2015-16 appearance schedule. We’ll kick off 2016-17 in September at TU225 in Rhode Island. Details later this summer.

Apparently, there’s a shortage of Guinness.

Beer Sign

Observations from yesterday’s Farmington River outing

I nymphed in and out of the permanent TMA for several hours and found trout in every spot. Water was around 320 cfs, 56 degrees, and clear. Not much in the way of hatch activity, although there were some caddis and midges. Four things stood out to me.

— My fish were evenly divided between the top dropper (sz 14 March Brown wingless wet) and bottom fly (sz 12 BHSHPT). So it’s good to give the fish a choice.

— One of the fish was a juvenile salmon. When I was stripping him in, a big brown gave chase and bailed just as I was lifting the salmon out of the water. I think it’s time to tie up a JV salmon flatwing.

— The last fish, a substantial wild brown in the high teens, took the fly on my first cast after I witnessed a smaller fish clear the water and another boil at the surface. Clearly, there was a caddis emergence in that brief window, and I was not surprised that he took the top dropper (which looks very caddis-y — see point number one.)

— In one spot, there were several anglers fishing in the run above me. All of them blanked. It could have been that it was just a slow day, or it could have been that they were all standing in the same place, fishing the same water for 45 minutes. If you’re not catching, move and find the fish.


Back on the striper night shift

Last night’s striper adventure returned me to some favored waters along the Sound. There were grass shrimp and mummies, and as the tide began to pull back toward the sea, the estuary suddenly came alive with the random staccato of carnivores on the prowl. The assembled diners were only in the 12″-18″ range, but what they lacked in sized they more than made up for in gusto — and in eagerness to jump on the fly.

I fished a three fly team last night, and caught stripers on all three patterns (top dropper = sz 10 Deer Hair Shrimp, middle dropper = sz 6 pink Crazy Charlie, point fly = 2″ Orange Ruthless clam worm). The bass favored the top dropper and point fly. I caught them on the strip, the swing, and the dangle.

We went low budget (but thoroughly enjoyable) on the cigar, a JR Cuban Alternate Cohiba Esplendido.

Now begins the internal debate: do I get a good night’s sleep tonight? Or do I venture out into the very wee small hours again?

Droppers are the fastest way to find out what the fish want.



How to tie a dropper rig for stripers. (Just in case you missed it the first time.)