Farmington River Report 4/6/20: And then, the bottom fought back…

Yesterday’s expedition was dedicated to nymphing the lower River. The action was spotty to say the least: six marks visited, three of them total blanks. But…we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, be advised that Monday is the new Saturday on the Farmington. I’ve never seen the river this crowded on a Monday this early in the season. There were anglers in four of the six pools I hit, sometimes three or more. If you value solitude, gird your loins.

The method was drop shot nymphing, about 25% tight line and 75% indicator. I fished a size 18 soft-hackled pheasant tail on top dropper, and a Frenchie variant on point. I took trout on both flies.

It’s semi-sweet to say that you may have already landed your biggest trout of the season, but it is what is. I was nymphing a deeper run when the indicator dipped and I set the hook. The emotional and logical thought protocols immediately kicked into gear: “Is that the bottom? No, it is not, I can feel a head shake. Let me re-set the hook. OK, that’s a decent fish. Wow, that’s a strong fish. Shoot, he’s sulking on the bottom. Gotta keep him away from that submerged boulder. Gotta move him. I’ll do that steelhead side-to-side rod arc thing. Gotta get him out of the current so he can’t breathe. That frog water looks like a good LZ.”

And then, as you get your first visual, you wish for a bigger net. But you’ve whipped the fish fast (remembering the sage advice of Stu Apte: “To play him long is to play him wrong.”) and now the moment of glory is at hand. Swing and a miss. Again…yessir. Wow!

Hunk-a hunk-a burning Survivor Strain love. Wotta tummy! Wotta tail! And shoulders that simply aren’t done justice by this photo. Easily over 20″, but this is a fish that should be measured in pounds. 


A trout like that called for a celebration. So I fired up a Rocky Patel The Edge torpedo and did just that.



19 comments on “Farmington River Report 4/6/20: And then, the bottom fought back…

  1. Frank Zima says:

    Beautiful! You deserve a good pint as well!



  2. says:

    I’m still in N Florida waiting for things to really turn on (it’s been windy), but I gotta tell you, Monday is the new Saturday here too. 20 boats at a ramp where I’d have been surprised to see 3 last year. Oh, nice fish, btw! DD


  3. Steve says:

    A real beauty! Congratulations.
    With a lot of folks off work, I think that this Spring will be crazy on the Farmington especially during the height of the Hendrickson Hatch! Hope I don’t need to be on the river at 5am to reserve casting space! LOL

  4. Mike says:

    Bravo, Enjoy the victory cigar!

  5. Pierre Sauvé says:

    Wow, one for the books. And I’m jealous, of course of your trout but more so of the simple fact that you are fishing. Up here it’s just been ice-out a few days ago on the lakes around Montreal and as confinement measures are quite stringent (which is all right) and it’s even prohibited to travel to certain regions, including up in the Laurentians, unless on essential business (and no, fishing is not deemed essential during the pandemic!), it will take a while before we can get into it

  6. Alton Blodgett says:

    Way to go! That’s a beauty for sure! And an appropriate cigar for the celebration.

  7. Steve Graefe says:

    Nice Steve! Beautiful fish! You know that you set the bar early in the season for yourself! I miss fishing the Farmy. I liked your comments on using some steelhead technique. I don’t think my annual spring trip to Altmar is going to happen this April. Sad… Up here in northern NH (Orford) some ponds and lakes have iced out and the streams and rivers are running a bit high but coming down in time for stocking and opening days next week. Fishing is open in NH and VT, so good to go!
    Tightlines and stay healthy!

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks, Steve. I’ll miss April steelhead for sure, but perhaps you saw that Gordo and I went in March (wrong timing as usual). I use that steelhead tactic (I learned it from watching others fight steelhead) for all kinds of larger fish.

  8. Jim Berry says:

    I was there on the 6th also, did very well in the lower river, but that fish is a monster, well done.

  9. Tim Farrell says:

    Nice catch Steve: I just finished tying a bunch of nymphs (Frenchie & variants). I look forward to giving them a try! Thanks, Tim

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. […] browns that can be measured in pounds rather than inches, I have two bits of advice. First, fish subsurface. Second, fish in low/no light conditions. And then, hang […]

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