Farmington River Report 10/1/20: low, slow, and still crowded

I did a series of lightning raids on three spots yesterday within the permanent TMA. (I only had 90 minutes to fish.) The method was nymphing, both indicator and tight line. I found one fish that wanted to jump on. The other two marks were blanks. Even in these low, slow conditions there were anglers everywhere. Usually this time of year, on a weekday, I might see three or four angler cars during my travels. I saw three or four cars in several dirt pulloffs, and multiple solo vehicles. Fishing the Hous the last couple months has clearly spoiled me, as I’ve become accustomed to sharing the water with herons only.

Good news is that the water was nice and cool and there were bugs about. Even with all those other anglers, this was the only trout I saw hooked all day. Lovely halos. She took the Frenchie Nymph variant. Leaves were an issue, and will continue to be with this early foliage drop.

Tip of the week: look for a reason to set the hook on every drift

This is one of my favorite nymphing maxims. It is one of those abstract truths that proves itself worthy of consideration many times over the course of a season — especially if you like to nymph with an indicator. Sure, false positives mean you also end up wearing your line, leader, and nymph rig around your head more than you’d care to. But those comical moments are quickly forgotten whenever hook point finds fishy mouth.

A few days ago, I set the hook for no reason other than my yarn indicator deviated ever so slightly from its course downriver. It didn’t go under. It didn’t stall. It didn’t shudder like it does when the rig is bumping along the rocky bottom. Nope, it just started to move in a way that neither current nor structure could account for. So I set the hook. And there he was, the best trout of the day, a mid-teens wild brown.

The guide I float with on the Salmon River, Jim Kirtland, likes to say, “It doesn’t cost anything to set the hook.” Make an investment in watching your sighter or indicator like a hawk — and watch the dividends roll in.

There was no mistaking the take of this fish, but I’ve had plenty of hookups with steelhead this size and bigger that began without the indicator going under. Once you think you know what you’re looking for — anything that looks like a remotely suspicious move by your indicator — the fun begins. Remember the sage advice of Ken Abrames: “It’s a fish until proven otherwise.”

Steel Cam and Me