Fly fishing guide trips on hold — resuming when?

As you’re probably aware, all fly fishing guide trips or lessons are on hold. I know that many of you reached out to me this winter to book a trip/lesson, and I asked you to touch base in early April. And here we are. It’s’ a bad situation for everyone.

First, it goes without saying that I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. If you’re managing to get out and go fishing, that’s even better. So, when can we resume normal relations?

I’ll be following the best practice guidelines put forth by those who know far more about pandemics than me. When they give us the green light, I’ll make a post here on currentseams. A reminder that my schedule will likely not change: weekends will out, so week days it shall have to be.

Thanks to all of you who continue to read and follow currentseams. Keeping with the guiding theme, here are a few memorable guide trips from the archives:

Greg hit it just right. We fished wet flies in mid-June from 3pm-7pm. With some strong caddis and sulphur hatches to goose the trout along, Greg had a banner day. It’s hard to beat wet flies pre- and during the hatch.

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July. Slow action. One of those warm, humid days that starts the Farmington River fog machine. The air over the water was cool and damp, and Mark and I were shivering in our shirtsleeves. I volunteered to fetch our jackets, and said to Mark as I left, “When I come back, I want to see your rod bent over.” This is the sight I was greeted by as I came back through the woods. All of my stories are true, and some of them actually happened. Like this one. 

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I love teaching, but I can’t control what Mother Nature is going to throw at us on any given day. So I was delighted to have her cooperate for this early May wet fly class. The trout were most agreeable, too. Ihor’s here with a gorgeous wild brown.

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“Little Things 3.0” March 31 at Russell Library postponed

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, my seminar, “The Little Things 3.0,”  originally scheduled for March 31 at the Russell Library in Middletown, CT, has been postponed. The earliest possible rescheduling would be mid-April, but there is no target date. My apologies for any inconvenience.

If you’re attending my Wet Flies & Soft Hackles class this Saturday, please come healthy, and it’s BYOHS (Bring Your Own Hand Sanitizer).

You cannot get coronavirus from kissing a fish.

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Wet flies, weather, and other random Sunday musings

Just a simple Sunday “Dear Readers — how’s it going? Here’s what’s happening here” post. No pressure for me to make it perfect (although I’ve now rewritten the opening three times, dammit). So. I’m fed, caffeinated, and off we go.

I’m pleased to announce that my Saturday, March 14 Wet Flies & Soft Hackles tying and teaching event at Legends on the Farmington is sold out! Many thanks if you’re one of those who are attending. See ya there.

Snipe and Purple. Because you can never have too many soft hackles…

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Speaking of wet flies, I hope you enjoyed my recent series on W.C. Stewart’s spiders, and are currently enjoying my series on Leisenring’s favorite soft-hackled nymphs. There are four more to go.

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This infernal disaster cold I’ve had for the last month — that’s not a misprint — seems to be on its way out. I have not fished since early January and I have not had a cigar since Christmas. We’ll try to remedy one of those this week. Warm weather approaches, so I expect the rivers to be crowded.

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There has been some discussion about an early spring striper run. Every year is different, and the contributing factors are many. Some years I’ve bailed fish in late March. Other years I’ve blanked until mid-to late April. I’m sure when it happens, social media will light up. But you probably won’t hear it from me. Also, stay tuned for a new conservation-minded catch-and-release striper policy that I plan on putting into practice this spring.

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800 followers is so close, yet so far. Usually I add a hundred followers a year, but that has slowed. So if you want the chance to get your hands on some Steve Culton flies, get a friend to subscribe to currentseams. When we reach 800, the games begin.

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Last but not least, I have not been writing for magazines for the past 10 months. That is changing as I have one confirmed assignment for Eastern Fly Fishing and a few more irons in the fire. Till next time, good reader — and if you see me out on the river, please come say hello.

When the stripers are eating small stuff…(raffle swag for tomorrow night’s presentation)

Tomorrow, February 19, I’ll be presenting “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass — How to catch the stripers that everyone can’t” to the South Shore Fly Casters. SSFC is a newly formed group, and they’ve done a terrific job of getting their club up and running in a short amount of time. The gig is from 6pm-9pm at Barrel House Z, Weymouth, MA. Come on down…or up…or across…and you might win this spiffy little collection in their raffle. As always, please come say hello!

When the stripers are keyed on small stuff, it’s hard to go wrong with a well presented team of three. Four options here, clockwise from top: Deer Hair Grass Shrimp, Micro Shrimp Gurgler, Orange Ruthless Clamworm, Eelie. Good luck!

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Steve Culton Winter/Spring Speaking & Class Dates…so far

Someone called today “the most Saturday Thursday” of the year, and I’d be inclined to agree if I didn’t have so much to do. So let’s check one box and get this speaking/appearance/class party post started!

Fly Fishing Show Marlborough Jan 17-18-19. I’ll be there all three days. Three Destination Theater presentations and one Seminar: Friday, January 17: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 12pm. Destination Theater, Room A — Friday, January 17, Seminar: Wet Flies 101, 3pm, Release Room — Saturday, January 18: Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers, 10am. Destination Theater, Room C — Sunday, January 19: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 10am. Destination Theater, Room B. You can read more about those talks here. I’m also doing a class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies, Saturday January 18, 2pm-4:30pm. Find out how to sign up here.

Maybe we’ll tie the Magic Fly, aka Pale Water Wingless variant. You’ll certainly hear me talk about it!

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Fly Fishing Show Edison, Friday January 24. Looks like I’m only going to be there one day for Wet Flies 101, in the Catch Room at 4:30pm Friday January 24.

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February 1, the CFFA Expo, Maneely’s, South Windsor, CT, 9am-3pm. The return of the best little fly fishing show in New England! A hockey commitment prevents me from being on Tyer’s Row, but I will be presenting “Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers” at 1pm. Last year’s presentation was SRO, so be sure to save a seat early!

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Wednesday, February 19th, 6pm-9pm South Shore Fly Casters, at Barrel House Z in Weymouth, MA. The subject will be one that is near and dear to me, Trout Fishing for Striped Bass. We’ll talk about old school New England patterns and traditional trout and salmon presentations for stripers — and how you can catch the stripers that everyone else can’t. This is a new club and I’m looking forward to presenting.

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NEW DATE TBD!!!  THE FEB 21-23 DATES ARE NO LONGER VALID. NEW DATE, PROBABLY MARCH, COMING SOON! Wet Flies and Soft Hackles weekend at Legends BNB on the Farmington. I’ll be there to lead a day-long tying class and wet fly seminar. You get to stay at an amazing lodge on the banks of the Farmington and, weather permitting, get out and do a little fishing. Last year’s event was a blast, and space is very limited, so reserve your spot at the tying table now. Please note, you cannot book through me — you need to contact Legends directly.

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Tuesday, March 31, 6:30pm, Russell Library, Middletown, CT, The Little Things 3.0. We had a wonderful gathering of passionate fly anglers last year, and we’re doing it again in 2020. Everyone welcome, attendance is free.

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That’s it for now. If you’re looking to fill a spot in your club’s event schedule this spring, you know where to find me. And it’s not too early to start thinking about fall. Hope to see you at an event or on the water, and as always, please come say hello.

Steve Culton is now (finally) on Instagram

My goodness, sometimes I move at a glacial pace. (Remember glaciers? We used to have them everywhere it was cold…) But never mind. You can now find me on Instagram at stevecultonflyfishing. This location will be more quick hit copy and visual reference than the detailed articles you find on currentseams. And on the flip side, more situational shots from fishing trips or events in near real time.

While I’m hoping to cultivate new audiences, I encourage all my loyal readers to follow me on Instagram. There will certainly be material there that doesn’t make it to currentseams. Thanks, and I’ll see you on the river or at an event soon.

Yeah. That’s me.

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Thank you Capital District Fly Fishers and the question of the night

Many thanks to the Capital District Fly Fishers for hosting me last night for Wet Flies 101. I treated myself to a pre-game meal at the Farmer Boy Diner — if you’re looking for a good quick bite in Albany, I’d recommend it. To kick off the festivities I tied a couple soft hackles, the Partridge and Light Cahill and the Squirrel and Ginger. Then the presentation (followed by a great Q&A session!) and off through the wind and rain and bluster back to CT.

Here’s the question of the night: do I like to use a soft hackle dropper off of a dry fly, or as the top dropper in a nymph rig? The answer is sometimes, and yes! I don’t do a lot wet-dropper-off-dry fishing — the exception would be on small streams where this setup is usually my default rig. Sometimes on the Farmington, I’ll fish a hopper dry or moist in the film as the top dropper on my team of three. And sometimes I’ll fish a wet-dry team for Housy smallmouth during the White Fly hatch. I almost always fish a soft hackle as the top dropper (tied on a 4″-6″tag) on my nymph rig — it’s a natural place in the water column for an emerger. Some days the fish choose that dropper to the exclusion of the nymph beneath it.

You never know what the small stream residents are going to want. Some days, they’re bashful, and won’t show on top. Others, they’re all in on the dry. Here’s a simple dry/wet rig. I’m unconcerned about the possibility of not hooking fish on the dry due to the leader material on the bend — the bigger fish will hook themselves handily, and the smaller ones I’d rather not touch, so they can bounce off the hook to their little heart’s content. Match your dropper leader to conditions and depth.

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See you tonight in New Britain! 7pm, the world premier of The Little Things 3.0!  Farmington Valley TU, Whinstone Tavern, Stanley Golf Course, New Britain, CT.