Farmington River Report 4/9/21: Nature (quickly) finds a way

Just a quick two-hour session on the lower River last Friday. The sun was shining, the air was warm, the water was low and crystal clear, and there was a strong caddis (size 16-18) hatch. I fished three marks and found acton in only one. I purposely stayed away from areas that I knew had been stocked as I wanted to try to find the Salmo that had made it through the winter. I tried several techniques, each to match the conditions and marks I was fishing: tight/long line micro jig streamer, tight line drop shot nymphing, and then indicator nymphing.

Funny thing! I had just landed my first fish, a tiger of a wild brown, when lo and behold, Ye Olde Stocking Truck showed up. What I found fascinating — and I’ve witnessed this before — was that within minutes, the fresh fish were porpoising and snapping at caddis emergers in a back eddy. It doesn’t take long for them to discover where their next meal is coming from. It’s genetic programming at its finest.

Love these holdover/wild fish. They just refuse to come to net without a furious argument. This guy fought way above his weight class.

The Black Caddis Spider

Last week on the Farmington I noted a substantial number of black caddis, about a size 16, hatching in the afternoon. I’d never seen them in that number before. While I had some patterns in my box (Stewart’s Black Spider, Starling and Herl) that matched the hatch, I wanted to tie up something that I could pretend was my own. This borrows from Leisenring’s Black Gnat and the S&H. On a stouter hook –and with a bead head — it would make a fine steelhead fly as well.

Black Caddis Spider


Hook: Size 14-16 wet fly
Thread: Black
Body: Black pheasant tail
Rib: Extra fine copper
Hackle: Starling
Tying notes: A very simple tie. I used three pheasant tail fibers for the body. Counter-wrap the rib to reinforce the body, and play around with different color wires. I went for a longer-fibered starling hackle with this fly.