Many thanks to my old friends at the Narragansett TU Chapter for hosting me last night. It’s so wonderful to see everyone again, and I thank TU225 for their continued support. The topic was fishing the Farmington River’s West Branch (the official title is: The West Branch — Southern New England’s Blue Ribbon Trout Stream). It’s an overview of the river that covers everything from popular pools to hatches to gear to when and how. If you’re looking to fill a presentation slot for your club this spring, I still have open dates. Here’s a link to my current presentation menu.
Speaking of the Farmington River, here’s an info sheet — one page, one side — that gives you some good, basic information on the Goodwin (AKA Hogback Dam) and Colebrook Dams. It doesn’t explain the dispute between the MDC and the ACE — or why the MDC is holding the river hostage — but at least you can understand why the water releases have been the way they have been. (What a shock! It’s all about money.) Many thanks to Farmington River Watershed Association for sharing!
In case you don’t know, here’s a micro-brief recap: since last summer, the MDC has, for whatever reason, been releasing only the minimum amount of cfs required by law from the Hogback dam. This has resulted in, at times, unnecessary ultra-low flows, transforming the Farmington River from a lush aquatic playground into a pathetic rock garden, and certainly damaging fish and wildlife populations. To my knowledge, no one knows what the MDC’s end game is.
Right now, a group of state senators is crafting legislation that seeks greater transparency from the MDC, albeit in the form of such things as an ethics code and approval on water rates. This doesn’t really help anglers; however, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut are also involved. I plan to reach out to those groups and to the biartisan state senator group to voice my concerns. I’ll let you know what, if anything, I find out.
I do know there is going to be a specific forum in the future for concerned parties to express their concerns about the unconscionable way the MDC is treating the river. When I get data’s on that public comment event, you can be sure I’ll post more about it here.
It’s the modern paradigm in the northeast: water flows are seemingly either off-the-charts high or bone-dry low. Normally, at this time of year I’d be writing to you about the tremendous wet fly bite on the Hendrickson hatch. The Hendricksons may indeed by hatching on the lower Farmington River, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any near-surface action in these flows. 800cfs is about the tipping point for surface action on the lower river — it’s been over 1K for the entire time you’d expect to start seeing Hendrickson action, and yesterday’s deluge will keep us out of wet fly range into May.
George Harrison was right.
It’s not much better in the Permanent TMA, which is flowing at almost 2K this morning. Sure, the Still will fall, but it’s been a challenging spring for anglers. And you can forget the Hous for now. That river has been a high water nightmare since last summer.
Don’t get me wrong: I prefer too high over too low, and you can catch fish in higher flows if you know where and how. All I’m asking of Mother Nature is a little moderation. Please?