Farmington River Report 6/26/18: Subsurface Success

Chris wanted to work on his subsurface game, so we spent the morning nymphing and swinging wets. Success! We fished three spots below the permanent TMA and found players in two of them.

We started off indicator nymphing (using my homebrew indicators) with a drop shot rig, and I continued my catching-a-fish-while-doing-a-demo streak. (If you want to look cool, pretend you meant to do it.) Chris took over and made a bunch of quality drifts with no love. All of a sudden, it happened. An unseen hatch was underway, the trout were feeding, and we hooked a bunch if fish in 15 minutes.

Wets were next. Run A was a blank, and Run B did not produce in the areas it usually does. No worries — Chris kept a positive attitude (confidence catches fish), and it rapid succession he stuck a bunch of trout tight to the bank. Great job, Chris! The trout should be worried.

We won the weather lottery: Bluebird skies, warm sun, cool air. Of course, a tight line makes any day sunnier.

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We spotted a distressed rainbow in the shallows. It had been hooked, lost, and had the terminal tackle and a short length of mono still attached. Unfortunately, we failed in out attempts to net it.

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Chris kept pounding the banks in a shade line, mended swing presentation, and was rewarded with several slashing strikes. This gorgeous wild brown took the top dropper on his team of three wets, a Squirrel and Ginger.

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After our session, I spent two very entertaining hours swinging wets. I fished a Squirrel & Ginger (caddis) on top, a Drowned Ant middle dropper, and a Light Cahill on point. I saw all three insects out and about, as well as tiny BWOs, midges, inch worms, and sedges. Among the players today were three wild brookies. Funny thing! They all took the Drowned Ant. I don’t think it was a coincidence. This stunner is clearly from the Farmington River hatchery.

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Another hat trick today, thankfully without a broken rod. This low-teens wild brown was feeding just along a shade line in about a foot of water. First cast, bang! Squirrel and Ginger. Catch-and-release works in the wild, too — note the long-ago healed bird wound just above the gill plate. I bounced around to three spots, found hungry fish in all of them, and lost track of both time and fish landed.

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Farmington River Report 5/21/18: Working hard on a glorious day

Adam won the weather lottery when he picked yesterday for his wet fly lesson. It was easily one of the ten best days of the year. The river was 415cfs and 58 degrees in the permanent TMA. The trout were a bit less cooperative, but we stuck with it and ended up with several to net.

The plan was to walk a couple long stretches, actively fishing and picking pockets, swinging through runs, and dangling over likely holding areas. This was one of those days where Mother Nature tells you, “Nice try, boys, but today the trout are going to be stuck to the bottom.” High pressure sometimes does that. So after 90 minutes all we had to show for our efforts was a bump and a missed hookset.

We were standing in a run that I knew held fish. We added a shot to the middle dropper for  a short-line deep presentation, and what do you know? We hooked up on our demo cast. Adam went to work and had a customer in short order.

Bug activity was about a four on the 1-10 scale: small (size 18) caddis, midges, BWOs, and a couple larger un-IDed mayflies. We did see some smutting trout in a classic dry fly pool. Our persistence paid off in the second run we walked through, with the trout nodding their approval to Adam’s soft hackles. Well done, young man!

What we like to see and hear: a bent rod and a singing drag.

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A rambunctious rainbow moments before capture. With the warm of the air and the refreshing splash of cold water on your hands, all is right with the world.

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Farmington River Report 5/5/18: A wonderful day for wets

Every once in a while, the planets align and the fishing and weather and dam release gods smile upon you. Such was the case for yesterday’s “Fishing Wet Flies and Soft Hackles” class. We had beautiful weather, a perfect 375cfs in the permanent TMA, respectable hatch activity, and cooperative trout. What more could you ask for? How about having the two runs we fished all to ourselves (on a sunny Saturday in early May)? What?!? The answer was yes.

Great job by Andrew, Adam, Ihor, John, and Lou, who are all now officially certified wet fly and soft hackle threats. Guys, it was a pleasure being your instructor.

Every class participant got into trout, and Andrew really lit it up. Here he is doing battle with a spirited rainbow. We had a lot of interest from the fish today on bead head soft hackles fished in the point position.

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Ihor’s first of the day, taken on the swing in some classic wet fly water. We had a tough time later on trying to get a couple of his (the trout’s, not Ihor’s) cousins to eat, despite some tactical positioning and flawless dead drift presentations. I’ve seen it play out so many times on this river: if your wet fly choice and presentation are good, and the fish doesn’t take within the first three drifts, he’s not having it. Let the fish rest and try again later.

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The smallest trout of the day might have been the loveliest. This wild gem courtesy of John and Mother Nature.

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We experienced a moderate Hendrickson hatch in the afternoon, and the trout were clearly on the emergers. Not surprisingly, the action was best while it was feeding time. A wet fly that matches the hatch and is properly presented to an actively feeding fish remains one of my favorite ways to catch trout. Here’s Adam brandishing a pugilistic rainbow. (Note the water runoff. If the fish isn’t dripping wet, it’s time to get it back in the water.)

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Finally, I need to offer a sincere apology to Lou for not getting any shots of his fish. Lou did a great job, and I especially liked how he positioned himself to target a pod of trout during the afternoon rise. We’ll get you a photo op next time!

“Fishing Wet Flies & Soft Hackles” class this Saturday, May 5

Pat Torrey was going to lead this class last Saturday, but it had to be postponed — and Pat can’t do it this Saturday, May 5 — so I’m going to step in as guest instructor. As of right now there are three openings. Please do not contact me to sign up — you have to do it through UpCountry Sportfishing. Here is the information from their website:

We had to reschedule the “Fishing Wet Flies & Soft-Hackles” class from 4/28 to Saturday 5/5- Steve Culton will be teaching this one. As of this morning, there are 3 spots still available- call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up.  “Fishing Wet Flies & Soft-Hackle”

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Fun near the Raritan River

In the movie 1776, George Washington sends a dispatch to Congress in which he bemoans the sorry state of the Continental Army. Washington describes the soldiers as drunk, disorderly, and cites them for engaging in such scandalous behavior as “naked bathing in the Raritan River.”

That all sounds like fun, but in January it’s really too cold to seriously consider. So I passed up the chance for some skinny dipping in favor of attending the Edison Fly Fishing Show.

My seminar was the show’s first at 9:45am. With the new venue and labyrinthine passageways to the seminar rooms, I had visions of presenting to a crowd of ten. Not to worry — nearly a hundred people showed up, and I’m told it was one of the largest crowds of the day. Thank you if you were part of the audience.

So that was cool. Afterward I walked the floor, did a little networking, shopping, saying hello to friends, and meeting and greeting. Many thanks if you were one of the people who stopped to chat.

I got out cheap with just one purple flatwing saddle. Next up: the CFFA Show on Saturday, February 3rd. I’ll be tying. Details to come.

Pretty fair company. I caught parts of Rosenbauer’s, Daniel’s, Currier’s, Randall’s, and Mayer’s presentations. Just head thataway.

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Happy New Year and “Wet Flies 101” at the Edison Fly Fishing Show

Happy New Year greetings to all! With this devastating arctic cold, I stayed home yesterday and binged on bowl games. Good stuff, along with a plate of pasta and hot Italian sausage and a glass (or two) of a tasty Tuscan red.

We start 2018 with 580 currentseams followers. It goes without saying: thank you for your loyal readership. As always, when we get to the next century mark we’ll do a giveaway. Also, a reminder to Connecticut readers that it’s time to renew your license. Geez, where did 2017 go?

Speaking of reading, the word machine is humming along. Much planned for publishing in the coming year. Of course, I’ll keep you posted

I am confirmed for the Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ. I will be appearing Friday only, January 26, at 9:45am in the Release Room, with “Wet Flies 101”. While the structure is the same, this is an updated, improved presentation with new video and photos and other groovy content. I hope to see you there. The link to a pdf of the Edison show brochure is below:

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And of course, the tightest of lines to all in 2018.

I remember shorts and boat shoes and t-shirts and eating burgers outside. Now I’m wearing layers of fleece and shivering in my lonely writer’s garret. 

LIFlyrodders