It’s an FAQ I get from my clients: “Can you recommend a place to stay?” The answer is yes. Legends on the Farmington. Located in Barkhamsted, CT, Legends is a gorgeous lodge-style B&B on the banks of the Farmington River. You’ve literally got great water right out the back door (Greenwoods pool). I’ve never stayed, but I’ve held classes there and it’s a fantastic space. It’s run by my friend Sal and his wife, and they’re swell hosts. Tell them Steve sent ya.
Sal, the owner of Legends on the Farmington, has authorized me to make the following special offer to currentseams readers: you can now attend my Wet Flies & Soft Hackles class for one day only, Saturday, March 14, dinner included, for just $99!
If you want to catch more fish, you should be tying and fishing wet flies like the Squirrel and Ginger.
What: “Wet Flies and Soft Hackles” is a tying and how-to fishing class. We’ll do plenty of tying (bring your vise, tools, and threads and I’ll supply the rest of the soft-hackled magic) and we’ll have a little classroom presentation/discussion here and there.
When: Saturday, March 14. Starts around 9am. Goes all day, then we enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Sal.
Where: Legends on the Farmington, a gorgeous lodge on the banks of the river.
How: You cannot sign up/resgister through me or my website. Please contact Sal at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site at legendsbnb.com.
This class will sell out, so make haste. See you there!
Someone called today “the most Saturday Thursday” of the year, and I’d be inclined to agree if I didn’t have so much to do. So let’s check one box and get this speaking/appearance/class party post started!
Fly Fishing Show Marlborough Jan 17-18-19. I’ll be there all three days. Three Destination Theater presentations and one Seminar: Friday, January 17: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 12pm. Destination Theater, Room A — Friday, January 17, Seminar: Wet Flies 101, 3pm, Release Room — Saturday, January 18: Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers, 10am. Destination Theater, Room C — Sunday, January 19: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 10am. Destination Theater, Room B. You can read more about those talks here. I’m also doing a class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies, Saturday January 18, 2pm-4:30pm. Find out how to sign up here.
Maybe we’ll tie the Magic Fly, aka Pale Water Wingless variant. You’ll certainly hear me talk about it!
Fly Fishing Show Edison, Friday January 24. Looks like I’m only going to be there one day for Wet Flies 101, in the Catch Room at 4:30pm Friday January 24.
February 1, the CFFA Expo, Maneely’s, South Windsor, CT, 9am-3pm. The return of the best little fly fishing show in New England! A hockey commitment prevents me from being on Tyer’s Row, but I will be presenting “Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers” at 1pm. Last year’s presentation was SRO, so be sure to save a seat early!
Wednesday, February 19th, 6pm-9pm South Shore Fly Casters, at Barrel House Z in Weymouth, MA. The subject will be one that is near and dear to me, Trout Fishing for Striped Bass. We’ll talk about old school New England patterns and traditional trout and salmon presentations for stripers — and how you can catch the stripers that everyone else can’t. This is a new club and I’m looking forward to presenting.
NEW DATE TBD!!! THE FEB 21-23 DATES ARE NO LONGER VALID. NEW DATE, PROBABLY MARCH, COMING SOON! Wet Flies and Soft Hackles weekend at Legends BNB on the Farmington. I’ll be there to lead a day-long tying class and wet fly seminar. You get to stay at an amazing lodge on the banks of the Farmington and, weather permitting, get out and do a little fishing. Last year’s event was a blast, and space is very limited, so reserve your spot at the tying table now. Please note, you cannot book through me — you need to contact Legends directly.
Tuesday, March 31, 6:30pm, Russell Library, Middletown, CT, The Little Things 3.0. We had a wonderful gathering of passionate fly anglers last year, and we’re doing it again in 2020. Everyone welcome, attendance is free.
That’s it for now. If you’re looking to fill a spot in your club’s event schedule this spring, you know where to find me. And it’s not too early to start thinking about fall. Hope to see you at an event or on the water, and as always, please come say hello.
Mothers can’t help but worry, and so it was with mine when I told her I was going steelheading during the first real cold snap of the season. Turns out she was only partially right.
Nothing kills the steelhead bite with more indifferent cruelty than a cold front. The fishing had been pretty good the few days and hours before we arrived — lots of steelhead, particularly in the upper end of the river, and fair enough weather and flows. By the time we waded in, things were already going south. (The irony will not be lost on those who recognize the cold front as a wanderer originating from the north.)
This was my first non-solo steelhead trip (other than with my sons) in years, as I had the company of the illustrious Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge in Newport, RI. If Jenks looks cold, he probably is. I know I was. The thing about a boat in winter is that there’s a pernicious, unexpected kind of cold — you’re not able to walk around, and if it’s windy you’re exposed to the gusts as they whip off the water.
We hit the river with positive resolve at 2:30pm Monday, and although we gave it a good effort, no steelhead made it to the hoop. In fact, I didn’t have a single touch. Jenks had, at least, the excitement of a few takes. Timing is everything, though, and we clearly missed it (Sal from Legends on the Farmington was fishing across from us and reported many earlier fish to net from his group.)
Tuesday was float day with my friend James Kirtland of Row Jimmy Guide Service. There’s a technical description for the conditions we experienced — I think “shitty” is the term. We had snow and wind and cold, and let’s throw in a disaster bite for good measure. Jenks had a few touches, but no love on the hookups. My single take of the day produced a newly-minted coin of a skipper, and given the conditions, I took my 1-for-1 and ran with it.
So much depends upon a propane heater, glazed with snowflakes beside the white pizza box. (I love how often that poem lends itself to fishing situations.) Speaking of food, here’s a hot dining tip for those heading up to Pulaski: 11 North Bar & Grill. We visited on Taco Tuesday, and enjoyed three stuffed beefy tacos each for the grand total of $9. That’s not a misprint. Yummy wings, plus a good beer on tap list.
We performed seemingly never-ending eyelet triage as the mercury never made it out of the 20s for the entire trip. Stuff like Loon Outdoors Stanley’s Ice-Off Paste works…for part of an hour, then it’s back to ice patrol.
And then, there was Wednesday. On the river early: 17 degrees. Off the water at 3pm: 19 degrees. Hookups up and down the line were few and far between, with landings even scarcer. And it was just plain suck-the-warmth-out-of-you cold. So when my indicator dipped, I was happy that I got a good, hard, downstream hookset. That’s breath coming out of my mouth, not cigar smoke. Please also appreciate the lake effect snow shower, and Jenks’ fine photography.
I fouled one more, lost another to a tippet failure (had to have been nicked), and had a couple of bumps that never resulted in a tight line. But any day you can land a steelhead is a good day. And from the look on the angler’s face, regardless of the weather, that is the way to have fun, son.
What a swell time yesterday tying and teaching at Legends. Many thanks to Sal for hosting, and the same shout out to the group for making my job easy. This was an all day event, featuring wet fly theory/tactics/strategies in a classroom setting, and most of all, lots of tying. We managed to bang out a half dozen soft hackles, wingless wets, and winged wets. Always nice to have a full class — not to mention a full glass at the end of the day.
The late afternoon view from the great room at Legends. You can’t tell from the photo, but it was a perfect day for staying inside (windy and cold) and tying wet flies. I was digging the fireplace.
Sal at Legends on the Farmington is not only a good guy, but also a small engine whisperer. Yesterday my snow blower wouldn’t start, and I happened to be on the phone with Sal as I was driving to get a new spark plug. Sal opined that stale gas was the culprit. Bingo! Some fresh petrol in the chamber and she started right up.
Speaking of Sal, he tells me that Legends on the Farmington has a few openings left for their Fly Tying Weekends with Steve Culton (that’s me) March 22&23 (1 opening and room for a guest) and Bruce Marino February 22&23 (2 openings and room for a guest) These are all inclusive $295.00 two night stays, breakfast Saturday and Sunday, Saturday Fly Tying and how to fish the Farmington, dinner Saturday night, BYOB. Bring a participating guest to share your room for $159.00 or a nonparticipating guest for $89. Meals included for all guests. Contact Legends directly at 203-650-8767 or email email@example.com.
We’ll be tying buggy soft-hackled goodness like this.
All weekends include tying class, lodging Friday and Saturday night, continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday and a delicious family style dinner Saturday evening all for just $295.00 single occupancy.
Here are a few more details: On my weekend, I will be there Saturday only. Sal says, “Steve will be teaching his Wet Flies for the Farmington. Steve’s class will be a combination of tying instruction and suggestions on how to improve your fly fishing experience using wet flies. If time permits he will also share a few go-to patterns for stripers.”
My plan is to present parts of my Wet Flies 101 and 2.0 courses, reinforced with tying and classroom fishing instruction. It should be a lot of fun.
Now: you cannot book this event through me. You have to do it through Legends. Reservations can be made by calling 203-650-8767 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming to a vise near you.
On the way home from the river, I stopped by my friend Sal’s place (Legends, a gorgeous B&B/lodge on the banks of the river — see the icon/link in the right hand column). Sal was fishing Greenwoods (right outside his back door) that evening and reported finding ants in the water. When he tied on an ant pattern, his hookup rate shot skyward.
Don Butler wrote, “ants is good food.” Sal’s experience is a reminder that it’s that time of year. Once we near fall, look for wet/humid days to produce swarms of flying ants, too.
One of my favorite summer wets is the Drowned Ant.