Farmington River Report 3/21 & 3/23: “Two skunks walk into a bar…”

I can’t remember the last time I had two consecutive blanks on the river. But there we are. To be fair, I only fished a couple hours on Tuesday, but yesterday I put in a full half day in five locations for not…a…touch. This was my first time to the Farmington since January. Tuesday was sunny and breezy and chilly. I’d planned on hitting the lower river, but settled for a few miles below the PTMA. Still, the water was about 800cfs. BWOs #20 flitting about. Headed up to hobnob with my friends at UpCountry, then with Sal at Legend’s, and then I re-hit the water. Observed airborne: tiny olives, small tan caddis, and early black stones #14. At my third mark, I stuck a fish, but it quickly became unbuttoned — we’re talking about two seconds of head shakes — which was too bad because it didn’t feel small. And that was it.

I should mention that over the two days, I was dedicated to the nymphing cause. I thought Thursday would be better with the warmer air and damp conditions — the olives loved it — but the Still River bumped up and we had over 600cfs in the PTMA. I nymphed the snot out of three marks, then hit two above the PTMA. Zero. Zip. Zelch. It wasn’t just me. Over the course of the two days, I saw one trout hooked among about a dozen anglers over six hours. In hindsight, I probably should have thrown streamers.

Fellow lefty Paul being bold and daring swinging wets in March. He was so kind and willing to share water, and I thank him for his giving spirit and positive energy. He even let me nymph the deep slot in front of him. Neither of us could believe that I blanked.

But what I really wanted to talk about are the new things I tried. I started with a different butt section for my indicator nymph rig. It’s 6′ long, and I flip-flopped the yellow sighter section with the clear section, making the sighter the bottom of two halves. I didn’t like it, so I’ll go back to my original configuration. (On a side note, everyone sees differently, and the yellow really pops to my eyes. Make sure you can see your sighter!)

The next thing I tried was a three-fly team for nymphing. I’d only done it once before, way out west on the South Platte, but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. I kept the bottom two patterns fairly close — about 16″ apart. The top dropper was a soft hackle. Obviously, this setup needs far more field testing with some willing subjects. It goes without saying that good casting form and minimal false casting is paramount to prevent tangles (which you will get).

And finally, I played around with some new flies — that early black stone I posted on Instagram, and a slightly larger version of Pat Torrey’s Little BWO. Once again, more field testing required.

Better fishing days are coming.

7 comments on “Farmington River Report 3/21 & 3/23: “Two skunks walk into a bar…”

  1. Ray Hamilton says:

    THANKS for telling it like it really is. Nice pic of you “doing your best”.

  2. William Giokas says:

    Up here on Cape Cod Ponds we have had good results with a Black Wooly Bugger
    Fly. Give it a try. Bill

    • Steve Culton says:

      The Woolly Bugger is certainly a great fly, Bill. Like I said, Thursday may have been best served by streamer fishing. I don’t know that I would have tied on a Woolly Bugger, but I certainly wouldn’t have fared worse! Confidence flies catch fish. 🙂

  3. Ronald McDonald says:

    There is a lot a fish in the Farmington but because of fishing pressure and all year c&r the upper river is bussssy. Try fishing Canton and Unionville and you might enjoy the peace and quiet that part.of the river offers.

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