Small stream report: foliage vs. Fontinalis fin

Time to go for a long walk in the woods with a stick and a string. The thin blue line was running medium high and cold. And the air temperature, which started out in the 30s, hadn’t climbed much higher by noon. I fished upstream with a bushy dry (size 14 Improved Sofa Pillow, up from a 16 to discourage hooking the younguns) and, in some of the deeper pools, dry/dropper (size 18 2x short SHBHPT). I pricked dozens, landed an honest 12 or so, and had my usual festive chuckles at their kamikaze antics.

At the turnaround point, I switched to subsurface, with the intent of running tungsten bead head micro buggers through the deeper recesses of select pools. White first. I felt a nip, then on the next cast saw what was for this brook a behemoth char follow the fly. I couldn’t get him to eat, so I switched over to black. (I like to fish black or white streamers when there are leaves in the water.) Another tug, but no commitment. Just when I had resolved to try something smaller, the fish hit for keeps. It was my best wild brookie of 2018, a handsome old buck that was no doubt the tribe elder in this sacred water.

After lunch, dessert: a JR Cuban Alternate Montecristo #2. Delicious.


My prize refused to sit still for a formal portrait, so I had to settle for a shot in his temporary home.  Of course, it’s only my opinion, but these fins beat the pants of any peak foliage. I thought about how long this char has been alive — at nearly a foot long, a giant in this tiny brook — how many redds he’s fertilized, and how many of his progeny I’ve touched before. Then, back he went.


10 comments on “Small stream report: foliage vs. Fontinalis fin

  1. vermont4me says:


    SHBHPT= soft hackle bead head pheasant tail nymph?


    ¸.·´¯`·.´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸. >

    James Taylor Thetford, Vermont

    > ~• ¸.·´¯`·.´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸


  2. Devin Herd says:

    Bravo, Steve. A beautiful and well-earned catch.

  3. Greg says:

    After fishing the Farmington the last few years, a few times a year, I connected with two brookies about 12 inches this summer in the fast water. I was thrilled at the beauty of these fish. I believe they are not stocked? is that true?

    • Steve Culton says:

      I don’t have a DEEP stocking breakdown, so I cannot say if they are stream-born. I can tell you that the Farmington has fragmented yet thriving small populations of wild brook trout — and I caught more of them this year than ever before. But none in the foot-long class. UPDATE: I was wrong. turns out I did get into a couple of larger Farmy brookies this year. The ones I landed were certainly wild. A few of the ways I determine wild or not: state of the fins. Are the fins intact (no chewing on the tail from other fish in a pen, no shredded edges)? Are the pectoral fins large (no need to grow big pecs in a tank)? Are the fish’s colors vibrant or muted? Any way, catching a brook trout is usually a treat.

  4. Alton Blodgett says:


  5. Vicky says:

    Love ur post!…. but shouldn’t be plugging cigar company and smoking…..just saying

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