Grady just bought someone’s collection of tying materials, and I’m happy to tell you that it includes Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk. Pearsall’s is no longer made, and nearly impossible to find, so this is a treat for those looking to tie classic North Country spiders with traditional materials. These spools are bargain priced, and as of Friday there were still plenty in stock. Naturally, I helped my self to a bunch, but I played nice and kept my silk gluttony down to a dull roar. Get ’em before they’re gone.
You might also want to rummage through the bins — they’re in the room next to the parking lot — from this collection. Again, I can’t vouch for current inventory, but there were all kinds of game bird skins and other soft hackle delights at bargain prices. As always, please support your local fly shop!
Thursday night was the world premier of director Matthew Vinick’s film, Summer on the Farmington. The venue was Brewery Legitimus in New Hartford. Good choice! They had a large private room reserved for the event, with a dedicated bar, plenty of seating, room to socialize, and a food truck outside for people like me who get cranky if they don’t eat. (I had two delicious chicken tacos for 12 bucks.) The beer was likewise yummy; I thoroughly enjoyed my Dr. Strangehaze NE Style IPA.
We (I was accompanied by my beautiful wife) arrived early so we could socialize. How wonderful to see so many old friends, and to be able to enjoy being out for an evening of entertainment. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to say hello — I often forget names, but I recognize the faces and it’s a pleasure to get reacquainted.
To the film. There’s a certain challenge to being unbiased when you’re judging a creative product that you were a part of. But, viewing a work of art is an inherently emotional experience, so I suppose I’m allowed to think and feel what I think and feel. And I thought and felt that Matthew’s film met — and exceeded — my expectations.
The film remains true to its title as it follows several Farmington River guides and anglers from the first day of summer through the last as they fish the river with dry flies. The footage is outstanding, from sweeping aerials to mayflies dancing on the surface to subsurface shots of trout feeding (worth the price of admission alone — props to Director of Photography John Kozmaczewski). But it’s not all just dry fly fishing. You get segments on the genesis of the tailwater, the creation of Trout Management Areas, the Survivor Strain Program, and more. Vinick has clearly done this homework, drawing on a rich assortment of knowledgeable sources, from DEEP staff to fly fishing store owners/managers. I heard more than one appreciative comment on the crisp pace and excellence of the editing.
While the juiciest bits of the film are the action sequences, Vinick does an exceptional job of showing the fishing experience in its entirety, warts-and-all. You see the refusals. You see the swings and misses. You see the LDRs. Best of all, you get to see the tragicomic reactions when things don’t go according to plan, which tends to happen a lot in fishing. (Overhead, whispered by a nearby audience member during the film: “See, those are professional guides, and they miss fish too!”) Yup. We all put our waders on one leg at a time. And of course, you get to see the triumphs. There are some beautiful fish in the Farmington. Thanks to them for playing.
Many of you will be wondering about future plans for Summer on the Farmington. Here’s what I can tell you. It will probably have another showing , time and place TBD. It may go to DVD or be streamed, but I have no further details. I wish I had better information to share, but when I find out more I’ll let you know.
Like the title says, you can find my latest piece in the March 2021 issue of The Fisherman magazine. Early Season Tactics: Hunting Transition Trout is about the rough patch of fishing we face in the next month or so. It’s loaded with useful strategies and tactics to help you catch more fish, and includes a guest appearance from UpCountry Sportfishing‘s Torrey Collins. You can read the article here.
Quality content like this usually isn’t free; The Fisherman is kind enough to allow public access to the article. Why not support them with a subscription? You can do that here. Many thanks to my editor, Toby Lapinski, for giving me the opportunity to write about fly fishing subjects that matter.
There are lots of places you can buy fly fishing stuff. Here’s a plug for the local shop that’s always been there when you need them — in the case of Farmington River anglers, UpCountry Sportfishing. If you’re not a Farmington River regular, you probably have a place like it near your favorite water: tons of gear, knowledgable staff, always ready to help or just kibbitz about current hatches.
Now more than ever, it’s tempting to pass up the brick-and-mortar retailer for the convenience of the e-tailer. Why not give the local business your business first? Many shops still offer phone orders and shipping or curbside pickup. (The latter’s what I did Friday. I walked away with hooks, tying supplies, and even a new Cortland 444 line.) Easy-squeezy!
UpCountry Sportfishing manager Torrey Collins gives the good-to-go sign as I head for the river after picking up my order. You can see store hours and buying options here. Or call them at 860-379-1952. Tell ’em Steve sent ya.
Ooh. Aah. Ohh. It’s spikey. It’s buggy. It’s sparkly. It’s Torrey Collins’ (manager of UpCountry Sportfishing in New Hartford) proprietary hare’s mask dubbing blend. I was able to score a wee bag of the goods from Torrey — that sounds so scandalous — and I’m looking forward to making some deliciously horrible bugs with it.
What’s in it? I’ll let Torrey tell you: “I shave a hare’s mask mask, then add in gray squirrel (SLF Squirrel Spikey Dubbing) to darken it and make it spikier; Antron Sparkle Dubbing to make it easier to dub; and assorted color pinches of UV Ice Dub & Prism Dub for some subtle flash and UV.￼ Lethal combination.”
Hot off the presses! “West Branch Farmington River — Southern New England’s Blue Ribbon Trout Stream” by yours truly is in the current (September/October) issue of Eastern Fly Fishing. Many thanks to UpCountry Sportfishing’s Torrey Collins and CT DEEP Fisheries Biologists Neal Hagstrom and Brian Eltz for lending their comments. If you don’t subscribe, you can get a copy on newsstands or you can check here.
It’s a privilege to able to write about the places that I love to fish. How fortunate we are to have the Farmington River so close to home.
‘Tis the season to be busy at the vise. I’ve also been sequestered in my lonely writer’s garret, churning out new material for your favorite publications, and buffing up some old presentations — not to mention outlining some new ones for 2017.
So, no fishing for me for two weeks now. (I know. That’s just plain wrong.)
A couple reminders:
I will be 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. If you’re there, be sure to say hello. For more information, click here.
There’s still space in my “Farmington River Favorites” Tying Class, Sunday, February 5, 9am-1pm at UpCountry Sportfishing. 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. If you’ve taken my wets and fuzzy nymphs class before, most of these patterns will be new. Sign up through UpCountry Sportfishing.
We’re getting close to the magic number of 500 followers. Of course, we’ll have a giveaway to celebrate.
Last week’s worth. Some of these are for customers, some for future guide trips, and some for me.
I’ll be leading a fly tying class at UpCountry Sportfishing in New Hartford on Sunday, February 5. Here’s the class description from the UpCountry site:
Join outdoor writer and Farmington River guide Steve Culton as he explores some of his 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 Steve will also discuss how and when he likes to fish them. Participants will need a vise, thread and tools. All other materials will be provided, including a pattern recipe list. The class starts at 9am and will run about four hours, giving you plenty of time to get home for the big game. Space is limited to six people. Tuition is $75, paid in advance and non-refundable.
Please do not contact me to register. You must sign up through the shop, and you can find them here.
From a class a few years ago, very serious-like. But we like to have fun, too.
Many thanks to the six soon-to-be-dangerous-wet-fly-machines who took yesterday’s Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River tying class — and thanks to UpCountry Sportfishing for hosting.
Leading a tying class is fun because your pupils are usually eager and engaged. Leading a wet fly tying class even more so because if the fly comes out a little messed up — and the first attempt at a pattern often does — the trout are probably still going to love it.
We covered eight patterns and a bunch of new techniques yesterday. The eight flies is the most I’ve ever covered in a four-hour class. The credit goes to the tiers, who did a tremendous job at their vises. Well done, all!
UpCountry called today and said they still have some slots open for next Saturday’s (January 30) tying class, “Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington.” Call the store to register at 860-379-1952.
Had a tremendous turnout at Marlborough today for “Wet Flies 101” — thanks to everyone who attended. More on the show later.
Space still available. Jump on it like this hefty Farmington rainbow did with a Squirrel and Ginger nymph.