Friday, September 15, 2017

Thanks to the Hammonassett TU

A Fly Fisherman's Guide to the Adirondacks
Thanks to the Hammonassett TU and Jim Woodworth for arranging thnigs and hosting me last night. I enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone.  I will presenting next week at Farmington River Angler's Association in case you are in the area and weren't able to make last night's presentation.

Wednesday Sept 20; 7PM
The Farmington River Angler's Association
Farmington Senior Center
321 New Britain Ave
Unionville, CT 06085

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fly Fishermen's Guide to the Adirondacks

I will be presenting a "Fly Fishermen's Guide to the Adirondacks" twice in the coming month.  This presentation describes both the unique geology and history of the Adirondack mountains and how these have affected the brook trout of the region.  Information for accessing this unique fishery is also provided.

Thursday Sept 14; 7PM
Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimitted
Quinnipiac River Watershed Association
540 Oregon Rd
Meriden, CT  06451

Wednesday Sept 20; 7PM
The Farmington River Angler's Association
Farmington Senior Center
321 New Britain Ave
Unionville, CT 06085

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Asters and Goldenrod

This past week it has definitely felt like the season is about to change.  The mornings have been cool enough to see your breath and after a good day of gentle rain I was thinking about fishing a small stream.  I figured the rain would have brought some more water into the small stream and so I decided to get up early and check a favorite out.  It definitely looked like fall as I drove along the meadows filled with ground fog and the grasses covered in dew.  These days the goldenrod and New England asters are everywhere, signalling the end of the summer and the changes that lie ahead.

New England Aster
The air temperature was 57 (F) and a quick check of the water temperature indicated it was about the same temperature.  The little brook was flowing nicely and very clear despite the previous day's steady rain.  I started off with larger flies but slowly worked down to a #16 Elk hair caddis, taking a queue from the tan caddis that I was occasionally observing as the sun began to warm things up.  Today there were many brief encounters as the fish were not that committed to taking anything but a handful of beautiful wild brook trout were brought to hand nevertheless.

After slowly working my way upstream, I turned around and saw another gentlemen quietly fishing behind me.  He didn't notice me, but when I said hello he quickly recognized me.  I was thinking about giving Alan a call to see if he wanted to fish this morning but decided that he must have plans on this Labor day so I didn't.  When I parked the truck I sort of expected to see his car, since I knew that the previous day's rain would have Alan thinking about a small stream also.  We took turns fishing our way upstream and observing all that was around us.  It was chance encounter but definitely made the morning all that much more enjoyable.  Today, most of the larger fish were sitting in the stronger riffles that ran along or under a bank and when a spot fitting that description was located there was usually a brook trout willing to at least take a swipe or two at a fly. 

One of the beautiful wild brook trout this small stream is home to

Friday, August 25, 2017


purple loosestrife are all over
I fish a good bit there’s no denying that fact but I do have other responsiblities and can’t fish whenever I like.  When I do have the time and opportunity, I tend to fish those spots that I know well for obvious reasons. The advantage of this strategy is that you get to know an area really well under a wide variety of conditions but there are also benefits to exploring less familiar areas.  This point was driven home by a blog post from  Domenick Swentosky over on Troutbitten entitled “Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #3 — Fish New Waters” (I highly recommend  you check out his blog regularly).  Domenick writes “ there’s an alternate reason for fishing new waters too, one that’s a little more tangible. When we fish new water, we learn new things…New water forces us to use fresh tactics, to adapt, to think and solve the riddles of a trout stream”.  I thought Domenick made a decent point and I decided would make effort to explore areas I don't know all that well more often.  I had done really well the two previous nights in a spot I have fished many times before so I was content to spend a couple hours exploring some new places.  I would probably not catch a lot of fish but would atleast see some new territory that might pay dividends in the future.

I arrived in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in August and needless to say I was not alone.  People were out enjoying the sun whether swimming, floating down the river in an inner tube or canoeing or kayaking.  But that was all ok because my mission was to look and see the character of a new section of the river.  I traveled light with just my long nymph rod and a small box of nymphs as I was planning on covering a lot of ground.

A wild Farmington River brook trout
I started at a strong rolling riffle that ran up against some big rocks along the opposite shore.  The current looked a bit too strong to hold fish so I nymphed the edges and found a little wild brook trout within the first dozen drifts.  I love seeing wild brook trout in the Farmington, as they signal that the river is in good health.  Usually, if I find one there are others around but I didn’t find any more close by so I decided to move on.  As I waded upriver there were many good looking areas and one really nice pocket water section that was really moving along.  When the flows are lower this would be a nice area to revisit but from the other side of the river next time! Along the way I found a decent brown, and hooked another when my anchor fly snagged a thick branch and the trout snatched the dropper as it was fluttering in the current.  I managed to land the branch (it fought like a tank) but the trout had long since freed itself in the struggle.  I was a but puzzled by this heavy pull with a little throbbing here and there that made we wonder if I had hooked the fish of a lifetime until I saw the log and the fish in the water!

Later in the afternoon I saw a couple fish take something off the surface so I walked back to the truck and rigged by dry fly rod.  I could not see anything on the water that would indicate what they rose to but they weren’t interested in a iso emerger.  As I retraced by my steps back to the truck I saw another fish rise in a shallow steady riffle.  I put on an elk hair caddis but I could get it to come up again.  As I was allow the fly to finish the drift a strong rainbow grabbed it from a shallow riffle and but up a nice fight and with that I called it a day.

The last fish of the day that took the EHC in a shallow riffle

I don’t know if I learned any new tactics but I did see some areas of the river that warrant some further investigation and found a few fish along the way!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rain or shine, the fish don't care

With the rest of my family treaveling, I had plans for fishing a lot this past weekend.  The forecast wasn’t too encouraging with heavy rain predicted for Friday through Saturday morning.  When Friday came I was watching the radar to make a call whether the hour drive to the Farmington was worth it or not.  The storms were following two parallel fronts running NE and from what I could tell, the river was going to be sitting in between so I went.  As they say, "the best time to fish is whenever you can".

A dreamy fog that covered the river
The first couple hours were dry but the fishing was pretty dead.  At about 5:30, I headed to the spot I wanted to fish til last light. Fish were starting to rise.  I drifted a pair of nymphs through where I spotted a rising fish and connected briefly with a rainbow. A quick leap and it was free.  With more rising fish, I decided to switch rods so I headed back to the car to set up to fish dries and grabbed my raincoat.

It wasn't long before the rain started and it continued the rest of the evening alternating between periods of light rain and more intense showers but the fish continued to rise regardless. A #20 olive parachute was all that was needed to take rising fish in the dreamlike fog the shrouded the river, the result of the combination of warm air, rain, and cold water at the water's surface.  As the light finally faded in darkness the river became quite again.

A rainbow that took a small sulfur
Saturday was a bright clear day, in stark contrast to the day before. I headed up about mid afternoon and decided to fish the same area as the night before.  While olives were on the menu in the rain, the clear day brought some small sulfurs out and I did pretty well early in the evening on #20 light comparaduns.  Around sunset the fish continued to rise but the the fish were no longer interested in the small light fly so I switched back to the olive parachute but it failed to attract any attention.  I did manage one on a Griffth’s gnat (#22) and picked up the last fish of the night on the olive parachute but I think the fish had started taking small spinners (22/24) but try to tie on of those one in fading light!  

Two successive nights with different weather brought fish to the surface but each night was a different affair in terms what the fish were taking.  That’s what is so interesting about fly fishing, each new day brings different conditions that you have to figure out.  What worked the night before often doesn’t bring the same success.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The sights and sounds of Sumner

Bergamont blooming in a meadow as the sun sets
The wildflowers are still blooming but those aren't the only sights to see these days. Yesterday afternoon I took a drive up to the Farmington to do some fishing and on the way up and came upon a bear crossing the road in the middle of the afternoon. Before I could grab my camera it was gone.  I was quite surprised to see a black bear in the middle of the afternoon close to the road and homes.  In addition to the usual beaver sightings and herons hanging around the river, I also watched as an osprey plunged into the river.  It was not rewarded for it's effort but it was interesting to watch close up.

I wanted to fish lower on the river to see if I could find some fish taking isos.  I found the bugs but only the cedar waxings and I noticed them.  The fish pretty much ignored them but it is always a pleasure to watch and listen to the wax wings in flight.  The first spot I fished I opted to nyphing the faster moving water with a weighted #12 iso nymph with a smaller dropper.  I hooked 3 trout but wasn't able to bring any to the net including one bruiser that crushed the iso nymph at the end of the drift when I let it swing.  I could tell it was a really nice fish but I didn't get a good look.  The river was a little off-color probably from some overnight rain so decided to head up river toward the dam to find some clearer water and less people floating down the river in inner-tubes.

Every now and then you make a good call, and I was fortunate to find a location devoid of anglers with fish rising steadily into the evening. I fished small sulfur emergers, a #20 parachute Adams, small sulfur wets, and some smaller usuals.  Each accounted for a few fish a peice.  Included in the mix were some decent browns and one that managed to break off the 5X  with a strong deep run.

I don't exactly know what the fish were keying on as darkness enveloped the river but it looked as though there was a spinner fall.  As usual, the usual did a fine job of bringing up some nice browns in the dark.

A pair of night time sippers

Monday, July 31, 2017

When you can't see it, swing it!

Things have been pretty quite here on the blog.  Usually by this time of year I've been up to the Adirondacks a few times but things have been busy at home this summer.  Last night my Ben and a friend of his were going up to the Farmington so we made plans to go together.  Ben wanted to introduce his friend to fishing dry flies for trout.

A wild brookie that took a small
Parachute Adams
I did managed a couple of rainbows early in the afternoon nymphing some pocket water.  Late afternoon we started to see some rising fish.  I still have no idea what they were taking and after changing flies multiple times we ended up taking a few fish on Adams of various sizes.  When in doubt go with a general all round fly like the Adams!  Sonny got his first trout, a little wild brookie on a dry.  I think he's hooked on dry fly fishing for trout but there was more to come!

A brown that took the big usual on the swing

When things started to settle down, I had my doubts about the location were in so I decided to take a walk.  I found another spot where fish were working on what appeared to a light sulfur hatch.  I picked up one brown on a small sulfur wet fly and then switched to a smaller usual since the bugs were very pale almost white.  That's when things started getting interesting.  Fish started rising aggressively in little run on the other side of the river. I could reach them but getting a decent drift was challenging due to the varying speeds of several currents in between but when the drift was right a brown on rainbow usually took the fly.  Ben and his friend joined me and we fished to rising trout into the growing darkness.  I ended up switching to a #12 usual when I could not longer see the smaller one and took a few more browns and rainbows. When I could not longer see the big usual, I was just swinging it and still catching fish.