Best of 2018 #4: the high water payoff

I literally waited two years for that September day: a heavy rainfall spike in the Farmington flow, a drop to a certain height, water still off-color, and (hopefully) big browns on the hunt. The plan was simple: pound the banks with streamers. She rolled on the fly, a yellow Zoo Cougar, moments after it hit the water, and I knew right away she was something special. A worthy opponent, and my largest Farmington brown of 2018.

We should probably measure this one in pounds rather than inches.



Farmington River Report 9/19/18: Better get out the scale…

I waited two years for yesterday. A day after a heavy rain where the river would be up and off-color but still wadeable; preferably late summer or fall; some cloud cover; with most anglers opting out of fishing. Classic streamer conditions. Huck a bug at the banks, strip away, and wait for that telltale thud from a bruiser brown.

I fished three spots in the permanent TMA, and while all of them produced (including a smallie, the farthest north on the Farmy I’ve ever caught one) the action was slow. Still, I made the command decision to stay away from the recently stocked areas in the hopes of trading numbers for size, and that’s what happened. All trout to net were over 18″, including my biggest of this year.

The method: target banks with a full sink line, a longer (7-8 feet) leader and a deer hair head fly to get some neutral buoyancy going. Black is the classic stained water streamer solution, but they wanted it bright yesterday (nothing on black or olive — they were into white, yellow and chartreuse). Every day is truly different.

The type of trout you measure in pounds instead of inches, this pig was sitting six feet off the bank in a foot-and-a-half of water. Second cast, first strip, and he rolled on it. Right away I could see he was a good fish. Taken on a yellow Zoo Cougar, and a worthy opponent in a 750+cfs flow. Wonder what’s in that tummy?DCIM100GOPROG0013068.



Housy Smallmouth Report 7/31/17: lukewarm bronze

We can endeavor for hot, but sometimes you’ve got to take what nature gives you. I fished the TMA from 5pm-8:45pm last night, dedicated to the smallmouth cause. I started off with a white/chartreuse conehead bugger in a mix of sun and shadows and caught a bazillion smallies from 4-6″. That was fun, but it really wasn’t why I was there. So I headed to another spot that would be completely in the shade.

This second run was a bona fide honey hole for me last summer, with plentiful bass, and some pushing the foot-long mark. On this evening, it was a bittersweet reminder that every year is different. One dink was all I could manage.

In fact, it took a while for things to get going. The best fishing really didn’t happen until full dusk, with the typical it’s-dark-now shutoff. The big one eluded me, but I took several fish that pushed 12″. Most of the smallies were keyed on emergers, and unlike last year there were stretches where they ignored the streamer. (And several instances where they pile-drived the bug the moment it hit the water.)

And you can’t make this up: around 7:30pm, I was swinging a Zoo Cougar through a pocketed run. Bump….BUMP. Fish on. As I was stripping it in, I said out loud, “You think you’ve got an 18″ brown, but it’s really an 8″ smallie.” A few moments later, I realized that it was a trout — a big old rainbow. Once I knew what I had hooked, I hauled it in quick. The fish was in great shape, high teens, fat, intact fins, deep pink band. I was going to take a photo, then thought better of it, and released the fish, which swam off in seemingly great spirits.

Water was 296cfs and 69 degrees. No white flies yet.

Handsome fish. This guy took the bug on the dangle near the surface, and treated me to several frantic aerials. I like the translucency of the pectoral fin.


Farmington River Report: A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Since I couldn’t make up my mind yesterday whether to stay home and work or go fishing, I decided to do both. Fishing first. A man must, after all, set his priorities.

The first hour I did a little exploring on the lower river. This was a section I’d never fished before. It was either impressively deep or painfully shallow. Lots of holes and oxygenated riffles and other things trout like. I’m filing this spot away for future reference.

In the course of my travels, I came across old friend BRK TRT. Alan was casting to some delicate risers in some slow-moving water. We chatted about small streams for a bit (if you haven’t, check out Alan’s site Smallstreamreflections), then I went off to swing some streamers and do a little nymphing. The sun was warm. The air crisp. The river cool.

It most definitely did not suck.

A recent ward of the state that found an olive Zoo Cougar (fished with a floating line and a BB shot at the head of the fly) to his liking. Not bad for a hatchery brown. His spots almost look airbrushed.

Stocked Farmy brown


Alan declares his passion in no uncertain terms.


300 Followers Contest Swag

I’ve already posted the striper flies that Grand Prize winner Ray Hamilton chose. Here are the trout streamers won by our 2nd and 3rd place contestants:

(starting from the left row, bottom to top) Culton’s Hi-Liter, German’s White Nightmare, Culton’s Deep Threat (brown/orange), Culton’s Deep threat (grey/olive) Culton’s Mickey Finn Soft Hackle, Galloup’s Zoo Cougar. One of each for both of you.

300th Trout Streamers

I hope to have these out tomorrow. Tight lines, gents.