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.

Farmington River Report 1/5/17: Ice cold (the weather, too)

In my experience, sudden changes in temperature — especially a drop — are usually bad for business. So it went today. I fished three spots within the permanent TMA, nymphs and streamers, and blanked. Okay, I did have a firm tug on a streamer (solid enough to make me wonder why hook point never found mouth) but that was it. Hatches were virtually nonexistent, and ice was a problem all day. It’s not supposed to get much warmer for a while, and today was my day to get out, so I can live with the skunk.

Note: as I drove past the entrance to Greenwoods/Boneyard, I noticed the dirt road is not plowed and is covered with ice. I wouldn’t plan on trying to navigate it unless you’ve got really good tires and a reliable 4WD. Good luck if you head out, and remember: the fish don’t know that it’s cold.

Shaving cream — be nice and clean — shave every day and you’ll always look keen. Actually, this stuff was frozen solid. It also reminded me of baked Alaska.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Winter 2017 Appearances and Presentations

There’s still fishing, but winter is prime presentation season. Hope to see you on the river, at a club meeting, fly shop, or a show. There may be more additions to this list, so stay tuned. (Like right now. I’m adding a date on January 17th.)

“The Little Things,” Wednesday, January 11, 7pm, at Candlewood Valley TU, Bethel, CT. This is the original Little Things (there are currently two with a third on the way) presentation. From the CVTU website: Our meetings are free and open to members, guests and the general public. They are held at Stony Hill Fire Department, 59 Stony Hill Road, Bethel and start at 7:30 p.m. but doors open at 7 p.m. for pizza, soda and some good conversation with fellow anglers. For more information, visit cvtu.org.

“The Little Things,” Tuesday, January 17, 7pm, at Thames Valley TU, Bozrah, CT. Like above, this is the original Little Things. From the TVTU website: Fly tying starts at 6:00 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. Meetings are open to the public and there is no charge so come and join us. For directions and stuff, visit thamesvalleytu.org.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Friday, January 20, 1pm, Catch Room. We’re in the big room for this one, so come out and support your friendly local fly fishing writer guy! I may be tying after the presentation. I’ll let you know if that’s so. For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Saturday, January 21, 10am, Destination Theater, Room A. Smaller room, same energy and information. Ditto maybe tying after the presentation. For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

Tying at the CFFA Fly Fishing Expo & Banquet, Saturday, February 4, Maneely’s, South Windsor, CT. Come see why the Expo is the best little fly fishing show going. I’ll be there from the morning thru early afternoon. For more information, click here.

“The West Branch of the Farmington River,” Wednesday, February 8, at East Jersey TU, Rochelle Park, NJ. Have Farmington River enthusiasm, will travel. For more information, visit the EJTU website.

“Farmington River Favorites” Tying Demo, Saturday, February 11, 10am-2pm at The Compleat Angler, Darien, CT.  At this demo, I’ll be tying some of my favorite patterns for the Farmington River. There will be a little bit of everything: wets, dries, nymphs, and streamers, from traditional classics to new designs. These are all high-confidence, proven patterns, and I’ll also discuss how and when I like to fish them. For directions and stuff, visit the CA website.

“The Little Things 2.0,” Thursday, March 16, 6:30pm, at Farmington Valley TU, New Britain, CT. This is the followup to the original Little Things, and it’s currently one of my most popular presentations. For more information, visit the fvtu website.

Whew! That should keep me busy. I’m still trying to finalize some tying classes/demos as scheduling permits. Thanks for your support, and as always, if you come out to see me, please be sure to say hi.

Moving up to the big room in Marlborough, Friday, January 20, at 1pm.

Wet Flies 101

The Partridge Family

Surely any aficionado of the soft-hackled fly knows the value of the partridge. Although James Leisenring committed the act of understatement when he said, “The English or Hungarian partridge provides the flytier with some valuable gray and brown speckled feathers.” Some? There are enough glorious feathers on a full partridge skin to keep you in soft hackles for decades. I know, because I just bought my second skin. I still have the first one, purchased a decade ago, and it still has many seasons of flies left in it.

Forget the packaged bags of partridge feathers. Then listen to Dave Hughes, who said, “I cannot urge you strongly enough to purchase an entire skin, wings and all.” This one came from UpCountry Sportfishing. I like to buy hackle in person so I can eyeball the skin. And of course, it’s a good idea to support your local fly shop.

partridgeskin1

~

I use feathers from all over the skin — for saltwater flies, too — but the hackles I value most are the silver-grey and brownish feathers that line the neck, shoulders, and back. These are the feathers that are used in the North-Country spiders and dozens of other traditional patterns. The closer you go to the neck of the bird, the smaller the feathers. Look for a skin that is densely packed with these smaller feathers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

~

A hook, a partridge feather, and some thread. Simple, buggy spiders like these have been fooling fish for centuries.

Partridge and Light Cahills

A low-water drop shot nymph rig with sighter

I recently mentioned that in these low, clear water conditions I had temporarily ditched my beloved indicator nymphing for a straight line drop-shot approach. I had many questions about the method, but also about the rig, which is presented below. The template is the same as the one I use in higher water; I’ve simply swapped out some materials to create a leader system that makes strike detection easier and uses thinner diameter nylon.

So, what’s changed?

— The top of the butt section is now Hi-Vis Gold Stren. You can of course use whatever color you like, or even a different material (like Dacron). The yellow jumps out to my eyes, though, and we can all agree that it’s important to be able to see your sighter.

— The bottom of the butt section is P-Line Floroclear (it’s fluorocarbon coated material). I’ve been using P-Line for years in my steelhead leaders. It’s strong as hell and has a thin diameter. Good stuff. I use it on my indicator drop-shot rigs, too.

— I sometimes use 5x instead of 4 lb.  Maxima Ultragreen for the top dropper. It’s strictly a diameter choice I leave up to the angler.

— The drop shot tag goes down a size to 6x. This is to a) insure the weakest link breaks on a shot snag, and b) I typically use smaller patterns for the point fly in the winter, and the 6x is easier to squeeze through the eye of a 16 or 18 hook.

— I’m using round BB shot, no wings. Hopefully that means less bottom hangups.

For your leader constructing pleasure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s a pdf: lowwaterdropshotnymphrig

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