Farmington River Report 5/1/17: No bugs? No rises? No problem.

I guided Mina yesterday — a cool, dreary day for most of it. We headed to the permanent TMA and for the first hour we had the place all to ourselves. Mina wanted to delve into the black arts of wet fly fishing. Water was a little higher than I like for wets (440cfs — they’ve since (of course) dropped the flow — and it was cold! 45 degrees made for some chilly legs and feet. Bug activity was also low — some micro midges and a couple caddis, and no H-bombs, at least not while we were there. We covered lots of water before we found some customers. A couple bumps, a couple dropped fish, and a couple to net, but that was more action than I saw elsewhere. Ya done good, Mina, under some tough conditions.

Mina is a thoughtful angler who came armed with loads of questions and a strong desire to learn. Here she is, acing a pop quiz. I have to give props to my last two clients. Both Mina and Vicky were confident waders who weren’t afraid to venture into some more challenging water to get their flies in front of fish. Sometimes the angler that covers more water is the angler who catches more fish.

DCIM100GOPROG0033987.

~

We used a bead head soft hackle of Mina’s creation on point to help get the flies down in the higher flows. This guy (who’s beginning to sport a kype) took that fly on the dead drift. Note the cool cirrus cloud effect on the surface.

DCIM100GOPROG0034182.

500 Followers Contest Winners

Drew landed as first seed. He passed on the North Country Spiders and will get a selection of early season Farmington River bugs.

Old pro Pete Simoni took the second slot and snapped up those NoCo Spiders like hot cakes. Smart man.

Greg Tarris, where are you? I sent an email to the address I have on file but have not heard back from you. You are the third lucky winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Thanks for your readership. And thanks for your loyalty. It’s much appreciated. And now, on to 600.

Second place swag. Picture any of them seated perfectly in the corner of a trout’s mouth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Farmington River Report 3/21/17: Trout on the move

The fish didn’t feel that big, so I was surprised when I saw that it was a mid-teens brown. Almost immediately, its lackluster fight, dull colors, and ragged, undersized fins registered: this was a recently stocked fish that had already travelled several miles up or downriver. You see, I was standing in the middle of the permanent TMA, an area that hasn’t yet been visited by the DEEP tanker truck.

I fished two spots. I shared the first with another angler (thank you, kind sir!); he was Euro nymphing, and I went with a mix of tight line and indicator presentations with my trusty drop-shot rig. Despite the sexy water and a decent midge hatch, we both blanked. Off to spot two, where I hooked Mr. Recent Ward Of The State followed by two long-time residents. All fish came on the bottom dropper, a size 14 Frenchie variant.

The takes of the two wild fish were odd. The indicator made a little nudge, immediately followed by a dip. It was as if the nudge was the actual take, and the dip the trout retreating with the prize. I’m constantly trying to refine my technique: playing around with indicator positioning, drift speed, trying to figure what’s bottom and what’s not, ditching the indicator and seeing which takes I can feel and which I can merely see. Every day is different; once I knew what to look for with the indicator, I was ready for that little nudge, and on that second trout I was in the process of setting the hook after the nudge when the yarn went under.

The TMA was packed for a Tuesday in March. Most of the anglers I spoke to said the action was fair to slow. Water was 233cfs and 37 degrees. Runoff may have impacted the bite. Many road entrances and dirt pulloffs (like Greenwoods and Woodshop) were still inaccessible.

That’s more like it. An equinox wild brown with an impressive power train. Note the deep gold coloring from the underside of the mouth to the gill plate.

DCIM100GOPROG0013788.

Positive waves amidst a seemingly endless winter

Snow. Cold. More snow. More cold. Ditto, ditto, et cetera, et cetera. Stand sure, folks. Spring’s coming. You can see it on the trees — just look at all those buds. If you have forsythia, the stalks are green and the buds are very well-formed, even in this ponderous sub-Arctic snow-making nonsense.

By the numbers, we are just over one week away from March. Eight weeks away from Opening Day (in case you still use that as a marker). Hendricksons will be hot on its heels. And stripers will be on the move well before that.

Hopefully you’re keeping busy doing some reading or tying flies. I’ve just been busy. But I am working on some new material for the site that I hope to have out soon. As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for following currentseams.

Wearin’ of the green. From May last year. IMG_1342

The state of the Farmington River and other shocking news

In case you didn’t know (and if you’ll pardon the inflamatory headline) the Farmington River has lots of trout. Lots of big trout. And lots of wild trout. All good news if you like to fish the Farmington.

We know this because every September, the MDC draws down the flow of the dam and electroshocks the river. The electroshocking has two purposes: trout census, and gathering broodstock for future generations, aka Farmington River Survivor Strain. (For more on Survivor Strain, see my article in the Spring 2014 issue of The Drake.)

I didn’t attend, but the DEEP delivered their state of the river address to the FRAA a few weeks ago. Here’s their story in numbers:

Small Stream Mini Report 10/24/14

A fairly gloomy type of day with drizzle, heavy mist, and fog-covered mountaintops — also known as breathtakingly beautiful. The drive was long, the woods and water chilly, and the creek was up and slightly stained from the recent rains.

The brookies were hunkered down today. I could tell right away that the dry would be unproductive, but I gave the Improved Sofa Pillow and the Bomber a fair shake. After pricking several and landing a couple, I switched to subsurface. That made all the difference. Weighted micro buggers and bead head soft-hackles in both dark and light colors met with approval.

Mountaintop shrouded in mystery. What secrets would her brooks reveal?

IMG_2471

I wouldn’t say it was a banner day, but one thing’s for sure: three hours on a remote mountain stream beats the tar out of sitting at one’s desk. Especially if there’s a Rocky Patel The Edge Corona Gorda in the mix.

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” vividly rendered on Salvelinus fontinalis flank.

Van Gogh 2

Fall colors

The woods were ablaze this late morning/early afternoon. A substantial leaf hatch, though, is a lot easier to deal with on a small stream. The char certainly had no problem picking out my size 16 Improved Sofa Pillow and size 16 Elk Hair Caddis.

Spooky fish today — most of them gave the fly a single whack, and that was it — no return business. Not surprising given the recent low water levels. A good number of them were hanging out in tailouts, making an upstream dry presentation challenging. Many more were locked into the whitewater plunges and deeper runs. I induced a few larger members of the tribe to strike, but most of what I raised was smaller, which I always like to see, recruitment being critical to the next few years’ outings.

Went subsurface on the way downstream, and as usual, stuck some brookies where none were forthcoming on the dry. Even after yesterday’s rains, the water was medium-low, cool, and clear. Creamy midges and size 18-20 tan caddis out today.

I am fortunate to be able to say, “I feel like going fishing today.” And then actually doing it. What a nifty little dark horse. He took the caddis in a seam just off a pocket plunge.

IMG_2458