How to become an instant expert, or: Fun with truck trout

The Salmon River in Colchester holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my dad taught me to fish for trout. It’s the first place I ever fly fished. And, it’s just about the prettiest little big river around. I used to fish it all the time; the general plan was to hit the Salmon early season, then switch to the Farmington by late spring. Gradually, the pull of the Farmington and its bigger, wild trout took over, to the point where before yesterday, I couldn’t remember the last time I fished the Salmon for trout.

The day I chose to make my triumphant return was chilly, breezy, with a mix of sun and clouds. The water was crystal clear, and running about 300cfs, which I consider to be the perfect height for that river. There was a decent caddis hatch, about a size 14-16, and some 14-16 BWOs. And, to my delight, there were piles of fish to be caught. I fished from 12:15pm-3:30pm, all within the Fly Fishing Only section. While catching trout after freshly stocked trout holds a limited interest to me, I decided I’d just go with the flow and enjoy the moments. And so I did.

I had originally planned to nymph, but then decided to try the tight line long leader micro streamer thing. I wasn’t connecting, but I figured there were trout near the bottom of the run, so I tried a little cast-and-strip, et voila! Casting that long leader with a heavy fly is a bear, but it can be done once you figure out how to wrangle the setup. I ended up catching many fish at another mark on the tight-line hop-and-drop presentation, as well as the strip. Rats! I forgot I only had 5x tippet on the rig, and a broodstock beastie surgically removed the fly. Here’s a chunky low-teens brown that gave me a fine battle for a truck fish.
Some pretty nice haloing for a non-wild char. I’d say my action was 50% browns, 30% rainbows, and the rest brookies. (The high percentage of brook trout surprised me.) I supposed a hat trick is worthy of mention, but you know, I was only a dace or a sucker or even a smallmouth away from the salami. Once I got tired of bailing fish on streamers, I decided to rig for wet fly. Unfortunately, surface activity was sporadic and limited, so no tugs were forthcoming. However, Hendrickson time is coming. Thanks to everyone who took the time to say hello. It’s great to be able to put faces and voices to screen names.

Farmington River Report 10/15/21: Slow. Slower. Slowest.

Doug and Paul chose a spectacular fall day for a session with yours truly. Unfortunately, the bite didn’t match up to the conditions. We fished two sizable marks from 10am-2pm, and all we could manage was one bump and one hookup. That actually isn’t as bad as it sounds; angler traffic was fairly heavy for a fall weekday, and I didn’t see anyone else hook up the entire time. So well done, Doug and Paul! The river was running medium high (530cfs) and the water is beginning to cool nicely. Observed: caddis and a few tiny BWOs. Leaves are a bit of an issue, and we had all our action on white streamers. (I should have mentioned that we were dedicated to the streamer cause, both traditional presentations and long-leader jigged micro streamers.) Both anglers fished hard and well, and on another day might have connected with dozens.

Doug having at it. Perseverance helps on slow days, and Doug was rewarded not too long after I took this shot.
Paul makes the point that there are worse ways to spend a few minutes on a sunny fall afternoon than sitting on a log with your feet in a river. I loved how Paul asked so many questions. Thinking anglers are better anglers. A most enjoyable day, gents!

The shortest distance between two anglers is a hello

This has been happening more and more: I’m fishing near people, and later in the parking lot they come up to me and introduce themselves. That’s great, because I love meeting currentseams readers. But invariably they tell me that they didn’t say hello on the water because they didn’t want to “bother” me (the air quotes are mine). Folks, you’re not bothering me. Please introduce yourself.

Sure, if I’m guiding a client, I probably can’t have an extended conversation with you; that would be unfair to my client, who deserves my full attention. But it’s no secret that places like the Farmington River are more crowded than ever. Space in prime fishing marks is often scarce. So instead of me looking at you as a potential hostile invader — and vice versa — wouldn’t it be better if we could share the water without angst? Come say hello. If you’re looking for a place to fish, ask if there’s room. (Maybe if I get there after you, I’ll ask you!) If there is, we’ll make it work. If there isn’t, there’s always next time. And at the very least we now have faces and names connected. That’s a win for everyone.

Speaking of sharing water, I want to thank everyone I’ve encountered this season who has been so darned friendly and accommodating about doing so. I typically expect the worst from people, so it is a delight to be proven wrong about human nature. Kindness from strangers is a blessing. May the river gods bestow the tightest of lines upon all of you!

These gentlemen came all the way from Spain (really) to say hello.

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Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom 3/16, 8pm: “Almost Anything Goes: Fly Fishing Q&A”

We’re back! This Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom is all about you — specifically, your questions. Trout, small streams, smallmouth, steelhead, stripers — flies, rigging, gear, tactics, presentation, how-to — ask away and I’ll do my best to answer. If you haven’t been getting the Zoom links — I send them out Tuesday late afternoon — please check your spam box. If you’re sending a request to get on the list, please don’t wait until 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night…I won’t be checking my email that late. Thanks!

Tuesday Night Zoom 1/26 8pm: “Good Reads”

We’re keeping the Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom ball rolling. I’ll be talking about some of the fly fishing books, old and new, that had a major impact on me, from how I fish to my general fly fishing philosophy. Autodidacts like me just can’t get enough of a good read, and I hope to turn you on to some books you might find invaluable. See you Tuesday Night!

The Return of the Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom! “Lessons of 2020” Jan 5, 8pm.

I’m excited to announce the first Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom of 2021: tomorrow, January 5, 8pm. This is a free event. I want to talk about some of the lessons I learned and re-learned last year, and how you can use that information to catch more fish. I’ve got some cool video to share, so you don’t want to miss this one. Feel free to share with your friends or on social media. See you Tuesday night!

If you’re already on my Zoom email list from last year, you know the drill. I’ll send out the Zoom link tomorrow. If you’re new to currentseams and want to get on the Zoom email list, please send me a request at swculton@yahoo.com.

Tuesday Night Zoom! “Pro Tips and Q&A” May 12, 8pm

It’s another Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom. My “Pro Tips” part will be brief (and, I hope, highly informative) but the real focus will be you: I’ll be answering your questions on all things fly fishing. So get those topics ready. Note that if you’re already on the Zoom list, you don’t need to re-up. See you Tuesday!

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Landon Mayer at FRAA this Wednesday, Jan 22, 7pm.

I’ll be giving you the story on the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show soon, but right now let’s talk about Landon Mayer, author of The Hunt for Giant Trout (book review here.)

From the UpCountry website: “Landon Mayer, maybe the top sight fishing trophy trout guide in the country, is doing a FREE¬†presentation on catching trophy trout. It’s open to the public and will take place at the upcoming FRAA 7pm meeting this month on Wednesday, Jan 22nd at the Farmington Senior Center in Unionville (321 New Britain Ave, Unionville, CT 06085). His latest/4th book is “The Hunt for Giant Trout”, and there will be copies of it for sale at the meeting and you can get them autographed. All are welcome to attend, and what you will learn is 100% relevant to the Farmington River as Landon spends most of his time fishing pressured tailwater fisheries in Colorado targetting above average trout. He has also ventured out East to fish Great Lakes tributaries for giant fall Lake Run Browns & Steelhead, and he has fished central PA for trout too.¬† There will be plenty of opportunity for Q&A with Landon at this event.”

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Nutmeg TU awarded the Order of Pizza with American Lager Clusters

Many thanks to the Nutmeg Chapter of TU for hosting me last night. For understanding that a fed presenter is a happy presenter, and that nothing washes down a piping hot slice like a cold one, Nutmeg TU receives the aforementioned citation and all the privileges contained therein. What an enthusiastic group, and I can’t remember a presentation where I had three waves of Q&A. Great job, everyone! You made my night. Looking forward to presenting to you again.

Remember that video in the flat pool l showed you? This is the fly I used, my own creation, and it’s called the Squirrel and Ginger. A very, very high confidence wet fly for me, especially when caddis are about. You can find the tying video here.

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Standing Room Only for “Wet Flies 101”

I want to give a big shout out to everyone who packed the room yesterday for my “Wet Flies 101” presentation at the CFFA Expo. How wonderful to see every seat filled, and SRO in the back. Excellent Q&A session afterwards, great job everyone! I saw plenty of old friends, and made some new ones. (Thanks to Henry, who’s all of 10 years old, for trading soft-hackles with me. Gonna get a big one on that fly.) I’m grateful to the CFFA for inviting me, and for that delicious lunch. If your fly fishing club is looking to book a speaker, my late winter thru spring is fairly open, as is the fall. You know where to find me.

A little break from Tyers’ Row. Gone wet fly fishin’ talkin’.

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