It’s fall on the Farmington, and that means it’s time for tiny Blue-Winged Olives. Depending on your point-of-view, this hatch can be a blast or a scourge. The flies are small (20-26), but when conditions are right (frequently overcast, damp days), the trout will line up and sip them for hours.
So, what do you do when you’ve got the hatch matched, the right leader/tippet (12-15 feet is a good length to start), your presentation is spot on a feeding lane, drift is drag-free, and you get…nothing? Or worse, a refusal? It might be that you’ve got the wrong fly. Experience has taught me that sometimes the same size fly in a different style makes all the difference. So carry a bunch of different style dries, and enjoy the tiny BWOs of fall.
My tiny BWO dry fly arsenal includes, from left, comparadun, comparadun with Z-lon shuck, parachute, Pat Torrey’s Tiny BWO soft hackle, and foam wing. The trout sometimes favor one of these over another, and the only way to figure it out is to cycle through patterns. By the way, this concept applies to other tiny hatches, like midges.
Gadzooks! I had not fished the Farmington since mid-July. Today’s remedy was a bounce around, state-of-the-river fact finding mission. I visited five marks from Burlington up to New Hartford, and although the water was low, it was plenty cold. So rest assured: the fish are healthy if not happy. I was dedicated to the nymphing cause today, and despite my best efforts I blanked. (Although one run I visited was on lockdown, and — surprise — the anglers there were getting into fish.) The last run had some active feeders, but I ran out of time and space and couldn’t switch over to wets. Observed: tiny BWOs, small un-IDed creamy mayflies, and some size 16-18 light-colored caddis.
Flood-like conditions in the permanent TMA after Thursday’s rain (he said sarcastically).
It was fairly crowded for a weekday in September in very low flows, and as these conditions require what I call “real estate fishing” — location, location, location — you would be wise to have a backup plan in case your favorite run is occupied. As always, please say hi if you see me — it’s always a pleasure meeting a currentseams follower, and you never know when you might be gifted with some flies.
Today’s instant winner freebie was Pat Torrey’s Tiny BWO soft hackle. Dust it up with some Frog’s Fanny, fish it like a dry, and let the trout do the rest.