Mother Nature has spoken: Light Cahills on the lower Farmington

I have not been to the lower Farmington to bear witness, but I know the Light Cahills are coming off because the first rose in my garden bloomed today. On top, a classic Catskills dry or a creamy Usual; subsurface, a legacy Light Cahill winged wet or a Partridge and Light Cahill soft hackle. All will serve you well.

Every year is different, but nature is always on time. This rose is called “Grenada.”

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Farmington River Report 7/11/18: The heat of the moment

Friends, I’m here to tell you that the Farmington River is cold. Readings of 58 and 54 degrees confirm that, as will Mark, my client — and he’ll also testify that the fishing is incendiary!

So. Mark came to me with the request — like so many of my clients do — to tell him “what I’m doing wrong.” In most of these cases, it’s not so much one grand point of error as it is a bunch of little things that could be improved upon. We started out below the permanent TMA for a little indicator nymphing. Mark took to it nicely, and we stuck a pile of fish on both a size 14 Rainbow Warrior (point) and a size 14 March Brown wingless (dropper).

Off we went upstream for the evening rise, which was that and then some. From 5:00 to 8:30 it seemed like there was always a target to cast to, and often multiple options within a couple rod lengths. We stuck fish on the Magic Fly, the Usual, Catskills Light Cahill, and Sulphur comparadun. The bug activity was mostly tiny BWOs, a few sulphurs, but mostly Dorotheas and perhaps some summer Stenos. The trout were on the emergers as well as duns on the surface. It was an easy night to be a guide. Well done, Mark! You were doing a lot of things right, as your fish count confirms.

Mark landed this nice wild brown on a March Brown wingless. The fish were taking the nymphs in the faster water at the head of the pool.

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The sweet sight of success: bent rod, splashy combatant. (Wide smile on client’s face not visible.) Speaking of visibility, we had varying degrees of fog for most of the evening. It didn’t seem to bother the fish.

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Farmington River Report 6/21/16: Cane and able

Gadzooks! Can it be June 21st and I have not yet fished the Farmington with my beloved cane pole during my beloved Sulphur hatch? Begone, oh evil scheming time-space continuum! Here are some notes:

Fished the upper TMA. Water was 313cfs, clear, and cold. So cold, that I was shivering. Got to remember the fleece next time.

Hatches: Excellent! Sulphurs (16-18), caddis (18), a few small BWOs (18-20) and the ubiquitous midge. When I arrived at 5:00pm, there were sulphur duns on the water and the trout were enjoying them immensely. I find emerger patterns like the Usual and the Magic Fly to be less effective when the trout are eating duns, and that was the case last night. A classic Catskills-style dry worked nicely. By 7pm, the duns were off the water and the trout were on a second sulphur emergence (splashy rises) and spinners or something smaller (gentle porpoising). Small comparaduns and the Magic Fly size 20 worked for me.

A summer evening, a bent rod, and a My Father Le Bijou 1922 box-pressed torpedo. For one shining hour, all is right with the world.

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My tastes in dry fly water vary, but I think what I enjoy the most is technical water that requires tricky mends. You know the kind — nasty cross-currents and variable speeds, and if you get one good, natural drift out of ten casts, you’re doing well. My first dry fly session of the year usually exposes the rust — from presentation to hook set — and last night was no exception. I stuck six fish that I lost moments after the strike. I had another dozen quality rises to my fly that came up empty. Still, I landed enough browns and rainbows to keep me chuckling.

I still don’t understand why people leave the river at 8pm. As I point out in the current issue of American Angler, the last hour of twilight in the summer is when the fish go nuts — and get reckless. The rise activity was steady and solid from 5pm-8:15pm, but in the next hour it went off the charts. And I had 75 yards of prime water all to myself. I like a size 10-12 Light Cahill Catskills dry during this time.

Once I can no longer see the fly, I use the bucket method (look it up) of strike detection. That is, unless my line suddenly comes tight because a mid-teens wild brown slaughtered the fly and is now swimming upstream with fierce conviction. Note the kype, haloed spots, white edges and full adipose.

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Farmington River Mini Report 6/7/15: Let the dry games begin

A quick 90-minute session on the river last night from 7:30-9:00. Walked a riffle-pocketed run swinging wets. A couple bumps, but no firm hook sets. I was a little disappointed by the lack of surface feeding activity — there were plenty of bugs (caddis, midges, light Cahills), but nothing on them. That changed once I moved down to some smoother dry fly-type water. Three anglers were just leaving, so I moved in. I witnessed three different rise forms: the showy slash/splash, the subsurface boil, and the spinner sip. Unfortunately, it was one of those evenings where very few of the fish were showing any consistent feeding pattern. Still, I managed to stick a half-dozen browns ranging from nine to about fifteen inches. They liked the Pale Watery wingless (Magic Fly) size 18 and a size 20 Catskills Light Cahill. There was one good fish feeding (spinner sip) in about a foot of frog water on the edge of a impossible-to-mend-across current seam. I had at him repeatedly over the course of an hour. He did not come to net, but getting him to take was the highlight of the evening.

Time to warm up the cane pole for sulphurs.