Farmington River Report 11/3/17: more anglers than fish

Holy crowds, Batman! But what else could you expect on a 70 degree mostly sunny November Friday? Water was 300cfs in the permanent TMA and probably high 40s/low50s. Leaves were a minor issue today. Hatch activity was virtually nil and I didn’t see any risers. I visited two spots in the PTMA and found fish in both, although the action was slow. I carpet bombed Spot A with nymphs for two hours and produced only two hookups. Indicator nymphing was the method, and both takes were very subtle twitches rather than total submergence. Spot B was a quick in-and-out, one fish in about 20 minutes. Thanks to every who shared water and took the time to say hello. (A reminder that if you see me on the water, you’re not bothering me with questions or hellos. I rather enjoy it!)

What the heck? This used to be a Snipe and Purple. I guess the bozo who tied it didn’t fully secure the silk. Out came the nippers and on went a Zebra Midge soft hackle.

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The ZMSH was a good choice. At least this lovely wild brown thought so.

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A batch o’ nymphs and wets for a client. I used a couple of these patterns today.

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Farmington River Report 6/1/17: Heavy water experiments

The rains that came through last night boosted the flows in the permanent TMA to over 500cfs. But I wasn’t going to pass up my first good opportunity in weeks to fish the Farmington.

I was dismayed to see four cars in the lot, then delighted when I walked through the woods and there was no one in the main pool. So I waded in and had at it. Nymphing was the method, 54 was the water temp, caddis was the hero hatch, and the weather was New England crazy. I fished in brilliant sunshine, mixed clouds, dead calm, gusty wind, and a couple of steady downpours — all from 11:15am to 2:30pm. While I had to work for them, I got into a double-digit number of trout. Here are some particulars.

Things started slowly. My fish came in bunches, leading me to believe that their feeding activity was matching the hatch cycle. Some dry fly guys told me later that they had the same experience.

I found all my fish in the hot water, mostly at the heads of pools. If it was raging and boiling, it was good. No luck along the softer edges, which surprised me in this many cfs. Shows you what I know.

Intriguing markings and dramatic dots on this one.

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The rigging was drop shot with two BB shot, two fly system. Fished three patterns: a size 14 Squirrel and Ginger nymph on point, and a size 18 Starling and Herl or a size 14 Hare and Copper on the dropper.  All caught fish.

I did some indicator nymphing (and caught fish), but the rest of the time I went with the short line/tight line approach. I felt the indicator was moving along too quickly in the heavier flows, and the wind was affecting its drift as well. That being said, the indicator did me proud when I had to reach some far-off currents I couldn’t wade close to.

Almost all my tight line hooksets today were tactile; that is, I felt the strike before I saw the sighter lag behind vertical. Still trying to dial in to the straight line presentation and strike detection thing. More experiments necessary. (Dang.)

Fish don’t lie. They’ll always tell you when you get it right.

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Fly Tying Video: Frenchie Nymph Variant

Totally different but the same. Howzat? Curved shank instead of straight. Copper instead of gold. Brass instead of tungsten. Pheasant tail tail and no red thread collar. I like this bug as the bottom fly on my drop-shot nymph rig. What do you know? The trout like it there, too.

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Hook: TMC2499SP-BL size 10-18
Bead: Copper (brass)
Thread: UNI 6/0 red
Tail/Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Small copper wire
Thorax: Orange Ice Dub
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Frenchie Variant Rogues’ Gallery:

Farmington River wild brown, 12/28/16:

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Farmington River wild brown 3/20/17:

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Farmington River Report 3/7/17: What’s all this, then?

Let’s start with some good news, where a picture is worth 200cfs:

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Add to that 100+cfs from the Still, and we finally have a proper level in the permanent TMA, running clear and 34 degrees. Of course, we need to keep those rain dances at the ready. A little more snow in the Berkshires wouldn’t hurt, either.

To the fishing. Spot A was a blank, and friends, I want to tell you that I nymphed the snot out of that run for the better part of 90 minutes without a touch. Spots B and C were dedicated to the streamer cause but with the same result. At this point I paused to reflect upon the manifest iniquity of fishing — and to consider newly received intel that there had been a recent significant melting of ice shelves where I had been fishing .

La Aroma De Cuba Reserva Bellicoso in hand (well, mouth, too) I headed north.

And that’s where I found a whole bunch of trout that were most eager to eat my nymphs. They were fairly split between the size 16 Weisner’s midge dropper and the size 14 Frenchie variant. I used two BB shot to keep my drifts nice and slow. The takes were on the subtle side, but nonetheless my indicator received a good soaking. By 3pm the action had tailed off, and I called it a day.

Several of my fish were well-fed browns in the mid teens. No wonder this hen gave me a battle. Look at the size of her pectoral fin.

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Another fine specimen from the chilly waters of the permanent TMA.

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Tie Food

‘Tis the season to be busy at the vise. I’ve also been sequestered in my lonely writer’s garret, churning out new material for your favorite publications, and buffing up some old presentations — not to mention outlining some new ones for 2017.

So, no fishing for me for two weeks now. (I know. That’s just plain wrong.)

A couple reminders:

I will be tying at the CFFA Fly Fishing Expo & Banquet, Saturday, February 4, Maneely’s, South Windsor, CT. Come see why the Expo is the best little fly fishing show going. I’ll be there from the morning thru early afternoon. If you’re there, be sure to say hello. For more information, click here.

There’s still space in my “Farmington River Favorites” Tying Class, Sunday, February 5, 9am-1pm at UpCountry Sportfishing.  There will be a little bit of everything: wets, dries, nymphs, and streamers, from traditional classics to new designs. These are all high-confidence, proven patterns, and I’ll also discuss how and when I like to fish them. If you’ve taken my wets and fuzzy nymphs class before, most of these patterns will be new. Sign up through UpCountry Sportfishing.

We’re getting close to the magic number of 500 followers. Of course, we’ll have a giveaway to celebrate.

Last week’s worth. Some of these are for customers, some for future guide trips, and some for me. 

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