Farmington River Report 4/6/20: And then, the bottom fought back…

Yesterday’s expedition was dedicated to nymphing the lower River. The action was spotty to say the least: six marks visited, three of them total blanks. But…we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, be advised that Monday is the new Saturday on the Farmington. I’ve never seen the river this crowded on a Monday this early in the season. There were anglers in four of the six pools I hit, sometimes three or more. If you value solitude, gird your loins.

The method was drop shot nymphing, about 25% tight line and 75% indicator. I fished a size 18 soft-hackled pheasant tail on top dropper, and a Frenchie variant on point. I took trout on both flies.

It’s semi-sweet to say that you may have already landed your biggest trout of the season, but it is what is. I was nymphing a deeper run when the indicator dipped and I set the hook. The emotional and logical thought protocols immediately kicked into gear: “Is that the bottom? No, it is not, I can feel a head shake. Let me re-set the hook. OK, that’s a decent fish. Wow, that’s a strong fish. Shoot, he’s sulking on the bottom. Gotta keep him away from that submerged boulder. Gotta move him. I’ll do that steelhead side-to-side rod arc thing. Gotta get him out of the current so he can’t breathe. That frog water looks like a good LZ.”

And then, as you get your first visual, you wish for a bigger net. But you’ve whipped the fish fast (remembering the sage advice of Stu Apte: “To play him long is to play him wrong.”) and now the moment of glory is at hand. Swing and a miss. Again…yessir. Wow!

Hunk-a hunk-a burning Survivor Strain love. Wotta tummy! Wotta tail! And shoulders that simply aren’t done justice by this photo. Easily over 20″, but this is a fish that should be measured in pounds. 

DCIM100GOPROG0013613.

A trout like that called for a celebration. So I fired up a Rocky Patel The Edge torpedo and did just that.

 

 

Why I love the Survivor Strain program

Not every big fish in the Farmington is wild. Here is a Survivor Strain brown from a recent outing. Large, well-developed fins, clipped adipose, and some distinctive haloing around the lower spots. I wonder what else is in that belly? The fish’s attack was textbook big brown: hit, hit, then the take. You read so many reports of people catching 18″ trout on the Farmington that I suspect a good percentage of those fish are actually short of 18, what with it being such a nice, round default number. But I can tell you with certainty that this fish was at least 18″, measured against my landing net, which I’m pleased to report had some difficulty accommodating the catch.

Farmington Survivor Strain brown