A little Leisenring, a little Culton, a little North Country Spider

Soft hackles and wingless wets ready to swim. Clockwise from upper left: Pale Watery Dun, Grey Watchet, Old Blue Dun (and a random Partridge and Rusty Brown), Squirrel and Ginger, Pale Watery Wingless AKA Magic Fly.

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Fun at the “Striper Moon” film premier

All we needed last night was a red carpet to welcome all the fly fishing dignitaries at the Avon Cinema. Nah, it wasn’t anything like that: low key, relaxed, everyone welcome — just like Tuesday Nights with Ken. I enjoyed seeing some old and new friends, and reconnecting with people from fishing days past.

It’s the world premier of Striper Moon — A Legacy.

AvonMarquee.jpeg

The film? Nice job, Lorri Shankar. It’s not all about fishing — it’s about Ken the artist, the sculptor, the writer, the fly and rod designer, the angler, the man. Roughly an hour long, just the right length where it leaves you wanting a little more. The story is told through Ken’s self-narrative, and via interviews with an eclectic mix of characters from family members to old fishing buddies.

I do not know of any future distribution or DVD plans. If you have inquiries, please reach out to Lorri Shankar, director. You can find her on Facebook.

We talk just about every week, but I hadn’t seen Ken in a few years. He has a look and a style that simply commands your attention. Thanks, old friend, for teaching me about sparse flies and flatwings and floating lines and greased line swings and sticky sharp hooks and setting the hook and fighting fish and…

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Housy Mini Report 8/19/19: Low, slow, and small

A quick zip in/zip out (there have been a lot of those this summer) last night from 7:00pm-8:30. I hit three marks in the FFO section and it was tough going. First spot blank, second spot one pipsqueak, third spot nothing until the 8pm to dark slot. A couple on streamers, a half dozen then on White Wulffs (although the white fly hatch is kaput). No real size — biggest was 10″.

The mysteries of smallies on the Hous continue, as I have fished these marks in past years at the same height (200cfs) at the same time of year and same time frame and done gangbusters. This was by far the worst outing of the year in terms of size and numbers.

Where’d you go, bubba?

July18HousySmallie

 

Farmington River article in the Sept/Oct issue of Eastern Fly Fishing

Hot off the presses! “West Branch Farmington River — Southern New England’s Blue Ribbon Trout Stream” by yours truly is in the current (September/October) issue of Eastern Fly Fishing. Many thanks to UpCountry Sportfishing’s Torrey Collins and CT DEEP Fisheries Biologists Neal Hagstrom and Brian Eltz for lending their comments. If you don’t subscribe, you can get a copy on newsstands or you can check here.

It’s a privilege to able to write about the places that I love to fish. How fortunate we are to have the Farmington River so close to home.

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August guide trips and other stuff

I’ve been playing catch up this week, so thanks for bearing with me. If you have flies coming, the production line has resumed. I will be in email contact with all parties involved.

I’m starting on the Old Blue Dun next.

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If you are interested in a guide trip, pickings are slim for the remainder of August: Possible morning to early afternoon half-day: Thurs 8/22; Monday 8/26 looks fairly open; Tuesday 8/27 is open for a half day. We need rain! Hopefully September will bring higher flows and a more open schedule.

I have a bunch of presentations scheduled for fall and I’ll post those soon. Also looks like I will be appearing again this winter at The Fly Fishing Show.

And I still have to post my Block Island report.

Thanks you for your patience, and most of all for reading and following currentseams.

 

So, what happened at the ASMFC meeting last week?

I was out of the country, so I missed the live stream of the ASMFC meeting. I did hear some secondhand comments from others who watched. Lowlights included a few commissioners congratulating themselves for being longstanding ASMFC honchos (great resume point: “In charge of saving striped bass when the stock was decimated.”); business as usual (read: foxes guarding the henhouse) from certain NJ and MD commissioners; and a commissioner from MA whose biggest concern about fishing restrictions was loss of revenue from striped bass tournaments. (Really? Gonna start a sea robin tournament when the striper stock collapses?)

Sidebar: there was a proposal in MA (not ASMFC related) to increase the quota days for commercial striper fleets since they fell far short of their quota this year. You can’t make this stuff up. It reminds me of an old Peanuts strip where Lucy says to Linus, “Your stupidity is appalling.” Linus responds, “Most stupidity is.”

So, enough editorial. The best summary I’ve read is from the American Saltwater Guides Association blog. You can read it here.

Let’s stay vigilant on this issue. I’ll do my best to relay good information as I receive it.

Many ASMFC commissioners noted a high volume of passionate public comments. Thanks to everyone who opened their big mouth!

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Is it OK to fish the Farmington in low summer flows?

I received a great question today: “How about a straight answer about fishing the river at the level it is at right now. I was told I’m crazy for staying away – my thought is it’s not good for the fish or the fisherman. Be honest please.” I’m assuming the question is about the Farmington.

Those of you who know me know I have nothing to sell you but the truth. So here we go.

The simple answer is: most of the time, yes. The Farmington is, after all, a tailwater. If you’re unsure what that means, its flow is generated by a bottom dam release, in this case Hogback Reservoir. In an average year, the reservoir will have a good amount of water in it, such that the bottom strata will be much cooler than the surface. I can tell you from experience that I’ve shivered for hours in the river on a 90 degree day in July. That water is plenty cold.

Fog is what happens when frosty water meets warm, humid air. This shot is from mid-summer.

Morning Fog

What happens in a drought year? In the most extreme years, it can get ugly. Go back to our most recent severe drought year, 2016. The water release was in the paltry double digits, and because there was so little water in the reservoir, what was coming out of the chute was in the mid 60s — not good. Take that water, bake it over several miles, and we had fish kills. The DEEP even declared thermal refuges, unprecedented for the Farmington River. I advised people to not fish.

So what about right now? The release is 118cfs, not great, but it’s coming out cold (the Still is adding 12cfs for a total of 130) as we had plenty of water this spring. Where you fish matters. The run from Hogback to Riverton right is plenty healthy for fish. Naturally, it will warm as it travels downstream. The water may be stressful to trout by the time it gets to Unionville. But every day is different — today it’s cloudy and in the upper 70s, not exactly a river-under-a-heat lamp. If it were sunny and blast-furnace hot, you’d have a different dynamic.

When you fish matters, too. From dawn through when the sun tops the trees is the coolest the river will be on any given summer day.

In conclusion: Use the stoutest tippet you can to get those fish in fast. Don’t take them out of the water. Fish when and where the water is coolest. Use common sense, and you’ll fish with a clear conscience.