Steve Culton on HAN Radio’s Yankee Fisherman

I must have a great face for radio. Why else would John Kovach be gracious enough to invite me back on his Yankee Fisherman show on HAN Radio? We covered lots of topics: this summer on the Farmington, the effects flows have on fishing, fishing wets as dries, long leaders, setting the hook, and just what the Dog Days really means.

Thanks again to John and his team for having me. Here’s the link to the show:

A grey, mysterious summer morning on the Farmington. Who knows what possibilities the day will bring?
Morning Fog

Farmington River Report 6/18/14: Thank goodness for 7pm

Kevin and Aidan took my Wet Flies 101 class yesterday evening. The upper TMA was a perfect height, 375cfs, running crystal clear and 55 degrees. A little stream side classroom, then on the water at 5pm. The sulphurs made a showing along with some caddis, but there was nothing rising. We gave the spot 90 minutes, then decided to move. Right call. We found some river that was a good transition point between classic wet fly and classic dry fly water. It had bugs coming off and fish rising. Best of all, it was unoccupied(!?!). The hatch was strongest from 7pm to around 8:15. Plenty of size 16 sulphurs with the trout keyed on the emergers — I didn’t see a single dun taken off the surface. I rigged Kevin up with a Magic Fly for some wet-fished-as-dry action (we started off with an 18 but downsized to a 20) while Aidan stayed subsurface with the swung wet. Both guys did a great job targeting active feeders, and both connected with trout. Around 8pm I rigged Aidan for wet-fished-as-dry and he stuck several fish. Great job, gents. We won the hatch and weather lottery.

Kevin battling a wild brown who fell for a Pale Watery wingless wet.



A good number of trout were enjoying the sulphur hatch as much as we were.


Attentive anglers catch more fish. Aidan focusing on his drift, ready to strike.


After the gig, I took a break and waited for the dark of night. It was not a good night for me to forget my headlamp — it’s an adventure stumbling across a boulder-strewn riffle or trying to stay on the path through the woods in total darkness. Not quite on the darkness, really. The fireflies put on a spectacular light show. I’ve never seen so many, so active.

I fished from 9:45 to midnight, throwing big streamers in hopes of connecting with a big ol’ brown. Not tonight. I did get three bumps, but no hook sets. Oh. And a beaver stalked me in one of the pools I fished. That’s always fun. I was glad I didn’t hook him. Though if I did, it would serve him right.

Farmington River Report 6/16/14: Business (almost) as usual

Since I didn’t get to go fishing on Father’s Day, Monday was my night. I was sure with the warmer weather the bugs would be thick. I was wrong. I arrived a popular dry fly pool on the upper TMA at 5pm. (Thanks to Ed and his friend, whose name I didn’t catch, for sharing the water.) Very little action for the first hour. Even when the hatch picked up (I’d rate the sulphur hatch a four on a scale of ten points) there were few fish rising, and most of them only sporadically. Every trout I hooked over the course of the evening was an active feeder. I fished the first hour with a size 18 cream Usual and landed three browns. Then I switched over to the Magic Fly, size 18. The fly was refused three times, but after I moved down to a 20, no more refusals (the naturals were probably a 16). Once darkness enveloped me, it was the classic Catskill Light Cahill, size 12. Two more on that. On the last one, I completely missed the take. I was picking up the line to recast, and I noticed the leader moving upstream. So, while the hatch wasn’t epic, I managed about a dozen fish. Which is a darn good way to spend the day after Father’s Day.

And still: what’s with everyone leaving once the game gets going? I had the whole pool to myself from 8:15-9:00pm.

Today’s lesson: that tiny rise ring that could only have been formed by a juvey Atlantic salmon that you cast to anyway because there were no other targets? It’s really a well-fed, 14″ wild brown. Happened to me twice.

River stats: 400cfs, 53 degrees, sulphurs, lots of midges (grey and cream), a few small size 18 tan caddis and a few size 16 black caddis.

You find irises like these everywhere on the Farmington River. They’re really quite lovely.