Farmington River Report: Low, slow, hot, cold, small.

And there it is, in a nutshell.

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of low water. But that’s what we have, and it’s up to Ma Nature to remedy that. (It may get worse before it gets better. More on that later.)

So. I’ve been out four times this week, evenings into dark. Here’s what I can tell you. The evening rise has been active and at times productive, but where I’ve been it’s been a small, smaller, smallest game. For example, last night I went through a couple flies sizes 18-20 before I gave in and tied on a tiny (22? 24?) rusty spinner. First cast, fish on. Managing dry fly drifts has been critical — that is, find a fish in a lane, and feed him that fly dead-balls-on-target with a dragless drift. My trusty Catskills Light Cahills have also been working as darkness falls — starting around 8:30pm. Size 16 is the smallest I can go and still have an eyeball on the fly. For all you micro-tippet fans, I’ve been fishing with 6x. (A plea here to use the heaviest tippet possible under these potentially stressful conditions. Get those fish in fast!) In fact, I broke off a pig of a brown last night on my 6x. Better that than a stressed fish.

The bite last night shut down at 9pm, even though the water surface was littered with spinners for the next hour.

Finally, to the conditions. Don’t be misled by last night’s rain — it didn’t even make a dent in the flows or the deficit. The closer you are to the dam, the cooler the water (I got just under 60 degrees last night near Riverton) . I wouldn’t fish below the permanent TMA. You may want to consider not fishing during the day — or not fishing at all. This is a tough time for the trout, so get your hooked fish in FAST. And it may get worse, says Neal Hagstrom of the DEEP: “Hang on, the flows are going to drop again shortly. We will be looking at 50-60cfs soon if there is no significant rain. Thankfully there is still some cold water behind the dam.”

Chillin’ on the bottom. I almost stepped on this big brown on my way out of the pool. It’s either stressed or on Xanax to let me get this close. Check out that old bird wound.

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As I walked out of the pool at dark, I threw a size 6 olive Zoo Cougar, letting it swing and then giving it some micro strips. A fat wild hen in the mid-teens found that presentation to her liking. When taking photos during this stressful time, please consider keeping your catch in the water as much as possible.

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Discover “Sunken Treasures” in the current issue of Field & Stream

“Sunken Treasures” is my first piece for Field & Stream, and you can read it in the August 2016 issue. The article is a wet fly primer that is based on my “Wet Flies 101” class and presentation. For those interested in learning the ways of the wet fly, this is a good starting point. And it goes without saying that I’m grateful for your readership, both in print and here on the site. Here’s a link to the online version of the article.

If you haven’t yet, please visit the currentseams Facebook page and give us a like. You can get there by clicking here.

The cover.

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And the title page. I tied many of the flies pictured.

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Ooh. Ahh. Ohh. (400 Followers Contest Swag.)

Fear not, contest winners, your goodies are on the way! Thank you for your bountiful patience, and of course for your loyal readership.

If you’re new to the site, I have been celebrating each successive century mark of email followers with a giveaway. To win, you have to be signed up as an email subscriber — so there’s your incentive. And we’re now under 75 away from 500…woo-hoo!

Here’s a little something to whet the winner’s appetites.

Gary gets the striper flies. Clockwise from top: Orange Ruthless, Big Eelie, Soft-Hackled Flatwing, September Night, Rhody Flatwing, Herr Blue, Ray’s Fly.

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Kris and Bill went for trout flies. Here are a dozen classic wets and fuzzy nymphs, clockwise from upper right: Soft-hackled bead head Pheasant Tail, Pale Watery wingless, Ginger caddis larva, Brown Hackle, Black Gnat, Hackled March Brown, Drowned Ant, Squirrel and Ginger, Hare’s Ear, Dark Hendrickson, Grizzly and Gray, Partridge and Light Cahill.

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Farmington River Report 7/23/16: More mid-day magic

Today I had the pleasure of teaching the ways of the wet fly to a group from the NYC Chapter of TU. Thanks to everyone who participated; you all did a great job under some truly difficult (again) conditions. I saw improvement in all of you across the board — keep on keeping on, and the trout will surely smile upon you.

Speaking of smiles, we had a little of that mid-day magic again. Look what Jon found at the end of his three-fly team! This wild brown taped out at a full 21″. Taken in the fast water at the head of a pool around 11:30 this morning.

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Last fish of the day for Jon. Not as big, but just as wild. Look at the white tips on those fins.  One of very few actively feeding fish we saw today.

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Note: they’ve lowered the flow from the dam. 165cfs and 64 degrees in the TMA. Unfortunately, it looks like a scorcher this week. Let’s all do a rain dance — or at least tweak for cooler weather.

Farmington River Report 7/21/16: The best time to fish in summer is…noon?

Conventional wisdom holds that in summer, Farmington River trout will be most active early in the morning and late afternoons into dark. You won’t get any serious arguments from me. After all, I was plumbing the depths with my drop-shot nymph rig before 8am. Then again, I’ve always been fond of the old saw, “The best time to go fishing is when you can.” I stayed through 1pm, and my best fish of the day came at high noon under blazing, brilliant sunshine.

A Survivor Strain brown in the high teens, taken at noon of one of the warmest days of the summer in about two feet of water. Top dropper was the winning fly, a size 18 soft-hackled  Pheasant Tail.

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The action continues to be slow; I managed six fish in five hours. Of the dozen or so anglers I fished near yesterday, I saw only one hook up. I believe one of the keys to success this time of year is to aggressively cover water. I visited seven spots yesterday, blanking in two of them (the method was nymphing) and taking two on four casts in another. I also did some playing around fishing without my beloved indicator, using a section of 12-lb. yellow Stren as a sighter. (I still like the indicator better. So there.)

Farmington River 7/19/16: Persistence pays off

I first met Mike when I presented to his TU chapter a couple years ago. He expressed an interest then in learning the black arts of the wet fly, and today we finally got around to making it happen. Conditions were far nicer than yesterday, with lower temperatures, lower humidity, and a good breeze out of the north. However, the fishing was still slow, and we again had to work hard for every fish. Hatch activity was virtually nonexistent, and we saw precious few risers. Mike did a great job persevering and never lost faith in the method, even when it wasn’t producing. Well done, Mike! One of my favorite parts of today’s outing was taking Mike to some deep, dark, mysterious holes that I believe are rarely fished. It is truly rewarding to hook a trout on a wet fly in spots like that.

Mike’s first trout on a wet fly came about two hours into our session. Almost every fish we connected with today came in the transition zone between the main current and the softer edges by the riverbank.

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Portrait of a soon-to-be-dangerous wet fly machine hard at work.

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