Farmington River Report 2/23/16: Laughter in the rain

For once this winter I guessed right that a lousy weather report would keep most anglers home. I find it generally unbearable when the temperature is in the mid-thirties and it’s raining, but when you’re catching, elements-induced misery somehow slides to the rear.

Winter nymphing on the Farmington this season has been as predictable as Donald Trump’s hair. The fish are in the usual pools, then concentrated within certain sub-areas of those pools. Get your fly into those sub-areas, and you’re an instant expert. Miss them by a few feet, and you’re Baron Von Blankenstein. Today I had a prime spot; the angler across from me did not. We fished the same general area, but I out-caught him 6:1. (This has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with real estate.)

I started with a size 12 BHSHPT on the bottom and a size 18 midge-type on top dropper. They loved the PT. After I lost my rig, I re-tied with a size 14 Hare and Copper and took two more on that. It rained on and off; five minutes into one of the heavier spells the fish put on the feed bag; sadly, it only lasted for about ten minutes. The permanent TMA was running 340cfs, clear, and cold, although I expect the levels and clarity are changing dramatically as I write this.

On the menu today: creamy micro-midges and W/S caddis.

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Farmington River Report 12/17 and 12/18/14: Is it winter yet?

Meteorologically, not quite. And with no snow on the ground and air temps above freezing, it didn’t feel like it. Still, a misplaced hand in the water during a stumble told me right quick that this wasn’t September. Water temp was mid-thirties, flows around 540cfs, very slight stain.

Wednesday, 12/17/14: Ninety minutes of nymphing in the upper TMA. I missed it. By the time I got situated — around 12:30pm — what was apparently late morning gangbusters was now a fading memory. Managed one nice brown, and saw one other trout caught, but the anglers I spoke to said the action was nothing like it was earlier in the day. Of course. So I made plans to return on…

Thursday, 12/18/14: A mini cold front and a NW wind at 10-20 does wonders for keeping anglers off the river. Yesterday I was one of nearly a dozen. Today, all by myself. In place shortly before 11am for…nothing. Not a touch. Changed weight. Changed flies. Changed the side of the river I was fishing on. Finally, a small brown on the upward swing of the nymph. Then another momentary hookup as I was stripping my line in to re-cast. Hmmm. Maybe I should be presenting flies with some motion? A lost nymph rig was the impetus for abandoning the small stuff in favor of streamers. And that, as they say, made all the difference. Kept at it till 3pm. Left tired, cold, and happy.

There you are. First fish on the streamer today. Love the sparkles behind the eye. Looks like some kind of nebula or interstellar dust transposed from deep space to gill plate.

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Dang. Lost him. That was a nice fish. I wonder what happened? Oh. That’s what… 

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One of several that didn’t get away. In fact, I found a whole pod of twelve-to-thirteen-inchers that were rather eager to chase. Fun while it lasted.

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Today’s streamer setup: Teeny integrated full sink tip (4.0 ips) with floating running line. 3-foot leader (18 inches of 15#, 18 inches of 8#). Tungsten cone head in faster, deeper water, brass in slower water. Fished single hook and articulated. Did better with the single.

2/4/14 Farmington River Report: Sunny with a chance of trout

Today was going to be the warmest day of the week. I had to go to UpCountry to pick up my new vise. Chance of a couple hours of fishing, 100%.

Of course, I wasn’t the only person who thought it would be a fine afternoon to fish the Upper TMA. Spots A and B were on lockdown, so I settled for C. And C it was on the old grade point scale, with the guy in spot A bailing trout, the guy in spot B catching a few less, and me coming in with a rock-solid average. Still, hard to complain about fishing on a weekday when the sun is out and there’s only a little ice in your guides. Especially after I lengthened my leader and added another BB shot to adjust for the depth of the water. I indicator nymphed with a size 18 (2x short) soft-hackle BHPT on point and a size 16 (2x short) BH Squirrel and Ginger as top dropper. They liked the S&G. Best fish of the day was a some-teen inch Survivor Strain brown with riveting black spots and fins the size of a barn door.

Didn’t see any bugs. Water temp was 35 degrees. Air temp just under freezing. Flows about 350-400.

A failed attempt at an art shot. But I like the effect of the water, the sunlight, and the spotting in the upper left. This was the Survivor Strain brown. I couldn’t distinguish an elastomer, but the adipose fin was clearly clipped.

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After getting locked out of my first two chosen spots, I headed to a third. Crapass. This guy was fishing right where I would have been swinging streamers. So I figured I might as well get a good photo out of it.

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