Farmington River Report 7/12/17: Jungle Boogie

It was positively tropical on the river today. The only relief from the heat and humidity was provided by the random cooling waves of fog that swept across my face and arms. The method was wet flies — and the trout weren’t having it. I fished three “gotta have a fish” spots and I blanked in all of them. (Well, kind of. We’ll get to that in a minute.)

Spot A was a run in the upper reaches of the permanent TMA. It’s a long stretch that features shade, structure, boulders, depth, and riffles. Today it offered a couple courtesy taps from a JV salmon. Ugh. Off to Spot B, a ways downriver but still in the PTMA. This is a dump-in to a larger pool. It’s loaded with trout. Not a touch. Ugh squared. Off to Spot C, the snotty riffles, swift current and treacherous footing above B. There’s always a fish behind that rock, or in that black hole tight to the bank. Blanks, both of them. Do I hear a third ugh?

So I got stubborn and walked down to B, attached a BB shot above the middle fly of my team of three (S&G, Drowned Ant, Hackled March Brown) and bounced the flies along the bottom. Second cast, fish on the Drowned Ant. Then one on the March Brown. Suddenly, things were looking up.

All because I decided to get down, get down.

 

Farmington River Report 7/9/17: Swell fishing. Catching? Ummmm….

My Wet Flies 101 class won the weather lottery yesterday. Sadly, the price of the ticket was one of the worst bites I’ve seen all season on the Farmy. (I’m going with the cold front coming through the night before theory.) There was enough hatch activity (Isos and caddis) to keep our hopes up, and a few splashy risers here and there, but folks, it was tough sledding. The guys did a most excellent job of staying positive and refining their newly learned craft. Keep at it, gents, and you’ll have enough days that will make you chuckle when you think of yesterday. (Really.)

As an instructor, I find sessions where everyone blanks as frustrating as the students. So I fished the lower river on the way home. The run I targeted was located in a section that got annihilated by last summer’s drought. Yet, I took two beautiful wild browns in 30 minutes. The water was swift and snotty (not well-suited for a class) so maybe that was the difference.

Nature finds a way. This is the first fish. He clobbered the Squirrel and Ginger on the dead drift in a deep pocket. Love the way the wild ones hit and battle, and you just don’t get coloration like this at the factory.

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Wet Fly 101 class, articles, and guiding trips

Busy as usual, but I think there’s some fishing light at the end of the tunnel! Sulphurs, grass shrimp, Block Island sand eels, evening spinner falls, walking some snotty water swinging wets….these are all on my mind right now. And tying. I don’t know about you, but my fly boxes need some serious attention. But first…

Sunday, July 9, 9am-2pm, Wet Flies 101 class through Upcountry Sportfishing. This is both a stream side and an on-the-water class. It’s intended as a basic intro to wet fly fishing. Given our early season water levels, I think this will be a dynamite summer for wets on the Farmington. If you want to catch more fish, the art of the wet fly is a skill set you should have. Please note: you cannot sign up for this class here. You have to do it through UpCountry. For more information, click this link.

Taken on a soft-hackled March Brown on a hot August afternoon. The lengthwise opening of the net is 17″. As your GPS would say, “recalculating…”

20" brown on a soft-hackle

~

I recently saw the galley proof for my summer smallmouth article. It’s titled, “Hot Bronze,” and you can read it in the August 2017 issue of Field & StreamMultiple articles coming up in American Angler, too. And if you’re in charge of booking speakers for your club, some new presentations as well.

Finally, if you’re planning on doing a guide trip with me, its a good idea to get out the calendar and pick some date options. Summer is as time-space continuum-challenging for me as the school year, with multiple sports camps/tournaments for the boys and me mostly doing pickup/dropoff. For more information on my philosophy, rates, and contact info, click here.

And as always, thanks for reading currentseams.

 

 

Thanks TVTU and on to Marlborough

The threat of freezing rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the members of the Thames Valley Chapter of TU. We had a great crowd for “The Little Things,” and some intriguing post-presentation discussions. This is a group that is passionate about fly fishing. A thousand apologies for forgetting your name, but I’ll balance that with a thousand thank yous to the gentleman who gave me the Nat Sherman Metropolitan Selection Explorer. I’ll be enjoying that on a future Farmington River outing.

On to Marlborough! Hard to believe that The Fly Fishing Show is already here.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Friday, January 20, 1pm, Catch Room. We’re in the big room for this one, so come out and support your friendly local fly fishing writer guy! For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Saturday, January 21, 10am, Destination Theater, Room A. Smaller room, same energy and information. I may be tying after the presentation and will let you know if that’s the case. For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

Wet Flies 101

Arts of the Angler redux

It was a bit of a random Saturday at the AOA show, but we managed to get through it in fine shape. Let me explain. Due to hockey coaching conflict, I couldn’t get to Danbury until 1:30pm. While I had every intention of tying, by the time I arrived, Tyer’s Row was a crowded house. Rather than squeeze in for a few minutes (I was going to be presenting at 3pm and had to set up), I made the command decision to head to Conference Room 1. John Shaner was wrapping up his excellent Soft Hackles presentation, and I caught the last few minutes of that. So if you were wondering, “Where’s Steve?” now you know. I set up, and had some good conversations with the early arrivers for “Wet Flies 101.”

So: thanks to everyone who came to see me. Thanks to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum for allowing me to present, and for accommodating my crazy schedule. And thanks to everyone who hung around and asked so many terrific questions.

No more presentations until 2017. In the meantime, I really need to go fishing.

There’s that guy again…

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“Wet Flies 101” at the 2016 Arts of the Angler show

The Arts of the Angler is a terrific regional show hosted by my friends at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. It’s a weekend affair, and it happens this year on November 5th & 6th at the Ethan Allan Inn in Danbury, CT.

This year, I’ll be tying and presenting “Wet Flies 101” on Saturday afternoon, November 5th at 3pm in Room 1. I have a hectic morning, so I’ll be tying as soon as I am able, but it won’t be until 1pm or later. My Sunday is still up in the air — I may be tying on Sunday, too. I’ll update you with that information if it happens. Come out and support the museum, and of course please stop by and say hello.

Here’s the current presentation schedule (I am not responsible for changes):

Saturday, 11/5

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Farmington River Report 5/4/16: Another double-digit day

The river continues to be kind to those who are inclined to swing wet flies. I had Paul out for a full day yesterday to learn the ancient and traditional subsurface method. We fished three spots and found fish willing to jump on in all of them. They took the top dropper (old reliable Squirrel and Ginger), the middle dropper (Dark Hendrickson, even though we saw no such hatch), and the point fly (BHSHPT…what else?).

How gratifying to see so much action in some truly tough conditions: river up a hundred cfs or so (350cfs in the permanent TMA), slightly stained, cold at 47 degrees. The weather was downright chilly, overcast, and it rained or misted or drizzled on us for much of the day. Very little in the way of observed hatch activity: a few stray BWOs (16-18) and some micro midges. We did see swallows feasting on some unIDed flies a hundred feet overhead in the morning. Late afternoon found a mystery hatch below the permanent TMA that had a dozen trout slashing heartily at the flies.

Well done, Paul! You’re on your way.

It’s tricky trying to figure out the hook set of a tight-line presentation, especially when you’re fairly new to the game. Paul did a great job of locating that precious equilibrium — are you still there? — as this chunky brown can confirm.

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