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.
The Governor’s obtuse, short-sighted recommendation that funding for Connecticut’s hatcheries be eliminated met with a stalemate. A special session of the legislature has been called for Tuesday, December 8. If you have not done so already, please contact the Governor’s office and your representative to voice your opinion. A link with more information from the CT River Salmon Association and ways to contact the Governor and legislators can be found here.
Also, here is a pdf from the Fisheries Advisory Council with supporting information: CostofCuttingHatcheries1.
Make your voice heard!
No hatcheries, no Farmington River Survivor Strain.
Once again, the Governor of the jolly old yo-ho-ho State of Connecticut has decided that a good way to save money would be to close our hatcheries. Never mind all that stuff about Connecticut and the Farmington River being a destination for anglers all over the northeast, or those bothersome guides and small businesses that would go under without a viable fishery, and never mind all the pesky retail sales and business entity taxes — who has time to count all that up, anyway?.
(The author of this post now gives out a long sigh, and searches for a word that best describes Governor Malloy’s thinking. Ah. “Obtuse.” Yes, that’s it.)
So, here’s how you can help. Sign this petition.
Fred here is in favor of keeping our hatcheries. But Fred can’t sign the petition. Help a brother out, will you?
I guided John and his son Mike on the Farmington River for a full day of wet fly fishing. If you live in Connecticut, I don’t need to tell you that it was a dank, rather gloomy day. We had lots of fog and about two hours of a cold rain. Water in the upper end of the river was running at 360cfs and was 51 degrees. There was just a hint of stain to the water.
John materializes out of the mists. No, really. If you look closely you can see him in the center of the river.
To the fishing: well, it was one of those days where you had to work hard for every trout. We drew a blank at the first spot. The second was a little kinder; we rigged for a deep, short line wet presentation and both father and son hooked up. Downstream a ways, Mike lost a nice fish that hit on the swing. Spot C was unresponsive to our offerings. By now it was early afternoon, and we started to see a few size 16 BWOs (for the most of the morning it was a caddis and midges, though not in any great numbers). Off to the last spot of the day, and that’s when things got interesting. John and Mike had been fighting the good fight for hours with little to show. A little help from Mother Nature, please? Yes. A few more caddis, a building olive hatch, and then some creamy mayflies, about a size 12-14. For the first time all day, we had consistent risers.
John netted this stunning brown on a size 16 Partridge and Olive. Well done, sir.
Just when the going got good, I had to get going. So much for my brilliant plan to stay after the gig and fish. Not to worry, Father and son carried on quite nicely for a few more hours. Great job today, guys, in some very tough conditions.
Mike presenting up and across to a couple fish that were taking emergers along a seam. Sadly, they weren’t taking Mike’s flies. No worries. He knows where they live.
Since yesterday’s outing was cut short by cloudburstus interruptus, I returned to the river today to finish the job. A quick in-and-out session before I had to go pick up the kids. Oh. And I had the hat this time. Much better. Life is beautiful. All is as it should be. Spot A was a 100-yard snotty pocketed run that proved to be a treacherous wade (the river came up slightly from last night’s rain, but was running clear). I managed two rainbows and two browns as I swung wets along its length. The size 16 black caddis were massed again, but there were no risers that I could see. Plenty of midges in the air, and a few stray small tan caddis. If you’ve ever taken my classes, or heard my “Wet Flies 101” presentation, you know I preach that absent any hatch activity or actively feeding fish, move, cover water, and present your flies in the most likely holding water. If you want to catch more trout on wets, I cannot emphasize this enough. All four fish came in different sections; all came because I was willing to wade and cover water. Another commonality was that all four took the point fly, a tungsten bead head soft-hackle Pheasant Tail, on the mended swing.
I made one more stop. It’s 50-yard section of river that I haven’t fished in at least five years. Once I remembered where the cafeteria line is, I came tight to a rainbow who thought he was a steelhead. One sky-high aerial, a bit of deep sulking, then another aerial before he spit the hook.
Not a bad way to spend 90 minutes in the mid-day June sun.
Where were you yesterday when I needed you?