I guided Don yesterday for four hours mid-though-late afternoon. His goal was to work on wet fly fishing, and we had some great stretches of water to ourselves in and out of the Permanent TMA. Water was 225cfs, an excellent wet fly height, with a hint of stain, no doubt from storms upstream. Spot A produced two fish, a swing and a miss, and some finks that wouldn’t take. Spot B was a disappointing blank. Spot C held some players, and we had fun fooling them with the Hackled March Brown. While it was a very fishy feeling day, the hatches were terrible. I’m being generous by giving them a 1 on the 1-10 scale. Still, Don done good under some truly tough conditions. He’s going to be a dangerous wet fly machine.
Skunk’s off with this lovely rainbow. Check out that pink band! This fish was in great condition.
Gotcha. I love these smaller wild Farmy browns. See you in a couple years, OK?
Today’s my day in the limelight. Filmmaker Matthew Vinick is making a short feature on fly fishing the Farmington River, and I’ve been asked to participate. I met Matt in the Permanent TMA during the Hendrickson hatch, and he was sufficiently impressed by my wet fly prowess to want to include me. While the focus is on Farmington hatches and dry fly fishing, my part will be largely wet fly fishing. So…everybody send positive hatch waves, please.
Smile! The camera’s on you, miss soft-hackle eating beastie.
Many of you have reached out to me regarding guide trips on the Farmington, in particular learning how to fish wet flies. My advice remains the same: we should wait out this water volume. Yes, the Farmington is fishable at this level (850cfs and change in the Permanent TMA as I write this) and yes, I know of people who have been catching trout on dries. But if it were me, I’d be focusing on nymphs and streamers at this water level. So: if you really need to get out on the river, sure, let’s do it. There are a ton of fish to be had. But if you really want to focus on wet flies, let’s wait until the water gets to 500cfs or below. (Don’t even get me started on the lower Farmington — 1380cfs right now — or the Hous, a disgustingly high 2710cfs.) And of course, there are always small streams. You know where to find me.
Last year at this time it was sunny and the Farmington was — dare I say it? Wadeable.
Jefferson took my Wet Flies 101 class today, and he chose a helluva fine day to be out fishing. Sunny, warm, good flows (264cfs, 52 degrees)…and anglers. Lots and lots of anglers. Everywhere. (I didn’t know you could fit that many cars into the Woodshop dirt lot. Whoa! Is that Church Pool or the Wire Hole in Pulaski?) Still, we managed to find some water to call our own not once, but three times around the upper TMA.
Jefferson did a splendid job with his team of three wets. Here he’s making that critical first mend after his cast. And yes, the weather and the river were indeed as clear and lovely as they look.
To the fishing. I have been hearing a lot of reports of strong hatch activity with no fish rising to the bugs. That was our experience today. Spot A was heavy with midges, moderate with caddis, but very little surface activity. What risers we saw never got into any feeding rhythm; it was all rather haphazard. Jefferson still managed to stick four trout, which was four more than I saw anyone else hook. Spot B was largely devoid of hatch activity, except when the sun hid behind the clouds and we had a micro hatch of size 14-16 BWOs. Two fish on at Spot B. Spot C was the scene of a strong Hendrickson hatch (2:00pm-2:30pm) with one lonely trout making a few furtive slashes. He proved most uncooperative. But, we know where he lives. Thanks again to Jefferson for a fun day.
Mr. H stops by to say hello.