Saturday, June 28, 2014

Afternoon with some friends

Beautiful late June afternoon on the Farmington
What a great afternoon Pete (aka TROUTI), Alan (aka Brk Trt), and I had on the Farmington yesterday.  I'm smiling now even as I drink some coffee and plan the work ahead for today.

Before we met, I stopped to do some nymphing at a location I had not fished since last fall.  I fished for about 90 minutes and managed a handful of pretty rainbows of all shapes and sizes.  I tied into what looked like a big brown that was sitting underneath some heavy riffles.  As soon as I set the hook, it headed downstream like an out of control roller coaster.   I manged to turn it around and hang on for a couple strong runs before it had had enough of me, came to the surface, flipped its tail as if to say "see you later!", spit the fly, and proceeded to rocket downstream again.

After we met, we fished a couple locations together.  Pete and I ended up moving to another spot that I've done well at the last couple trips but blanked yesterday nymphing.  Pete managed a few on sulfur dries, although he says he missed quite a few being rusty fishing dries.  

I moved again around 6mp since Pete was getting ready to head home and nothing was happening where we were.  From 6pm to 9pm it was a mixed bag of browns and rainbows on blue quill and olive comparaduns, and the usual when the sulfurs made their reappearance.  I hooked a strange looking brown at one point in the evening that had a distinct blueish/green color to it.  I tried to grab a picture but in the low light, I didn't get a good shot off but I think you can sort of see the color on this odd fish.  It was obviously a stocked fish.

A "blue" brown trout?
I stuck with the usual as the fish turned to spinners and still did well as the fading light turned to dark.  Fran Betters certainly designed a great fly for fishing during a sulfur hatch and spinner fall.  I was catching fish fishing it on top as a dry as well as swinging it like a wet fly.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Algonquin Provincial Park

My daughter and I were up in central Ontario over the weekend visiting friends.  On Saturday, we visited Algonquin Provincial Park.  We enjoyed touring the park for a little and doing some hiking and yes we saw a few moose.  Here are some images from this amazingly beautiful and massive wilderness.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Thursday afternoon

Yesterday after work I headed to the Farmington River to fish for the evening.  When I arrived there were a few sulfurs coming off but nothing consistent.  I couldn't see any fish rising in the section of pocket water I had chosen to fish so I opted to nymph.  A half dozen browns and rainbows were brought to hand on the bead head pheasant tail soft hackle (#16), a #12 gray super simple, and a #18 brown super simple.  I hung around until 8 PM but things were pretty quiet.

I thought it would be best to relocate to a spot that I like to fish at sunset when the sulfurs are out.  The new location was pretty vacant with the exception of a familiar face.  I have shared this spot with this gentleman on several occasions.  I don't even known his name but  it's fun to fish  this spot with him because he is very observant and quickly picks up on what is going on which is a big asset in this particular spot.  After saying hello and catching up with each other, he mentioned that he had seen some isonychia around and that the fish were taking them.  He was spot on!  The isonychia comparadun fooled a couple of  browns and a rainbow when it was put in the right location with a decent drift.  He managed a few as well.

As the daylight faded, we said our good byes and he headed home.  I chose to stay and see what would happen at the close of the day.  Fish were rising steady but I couldn't see what they were taking.  My usual go to fly in this spot is the "Usual" but it was going unnoticed.  After struggling for quite a while to get an size18 rusty spinner tied on in the poor light, I finally succeeded and picked up one brown before things settled down for the evening and I headed home having enjoyed another good evening on the Farmington. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Hope all you father's out there had a Happy Father's Day.  Sometimes we father's don't realize the impact we have on our children but days like this remind me to be the dad they need.

Yesterday afternoon my wife, two daughters, and our border collie joined me on a quick walk along a favorite brook on a gorgeous summer day.  A nice breeze kept the bugs down and made for a very pleasant walk.  It was fun to show them the gorgeous fish that call the lovely brook home.  Everyone took a turn with the fly rod and we all enjoyed watching the enthusiastic fish pouncing on the fly.  A couple of brook trout and a lovely brown were brought close to admire and then sent home to their families.

I am so thankful for my wonderful family and the many other blessings that I enjoy from the loving hand of God my Father.  Although I often forget, today I am reminded that I am a very rich man!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

One of those days

Ragged Robin in bloom along the river
We've all had them, those days that you remember for quite a while when fish are active and you are in the right place at the right time and the rest is what memories are made of.

Yesterday afternoon was one of those days for me on the Farmington River.  It was one of those cool, gray June days that we sometimes get in New England that remind me more of Canada then Connecticut.  There was a slight chance of showers but I figured if the rain wasn’t heavy it might turn out to be one of the “olive” days when the blue wings are out in force.

I arrived on the river early afternoon in a location that can sometimes be good when there is an olive hatch.  There were a couple sporadic rises so I got into the water and started fishing an olive dry.  I saw caddis, a few sulfurs, and a couple march browns in the air but the few risers I spotted weren't interested in a dry fly.  After about 30 minutes it started lightly raining but got heavier with time.  I headed to the truck to wait and see if the shower would quickly pass.  It didn't,  so I headed to another location more favorable for nymphing, figuring the rain would not affect fishing feeding below the surface.

I waited in the car for about 30-45 minutes and considered my options.  As the rain let up, I headed into the woods to hike to the spot I had in mind.  The woods were filled with the fragrance of Dame’s Rocket (Sweet Rocket) and multiflora rose.   Nymphing through the riffle/run resulted in bringing a couple of hefty rainbows and a nice brown to the net.  All the fish took the bead head pheasant tail soft hackle dropper suspended above a heavily weighted grey Super Simple anchor.   As the nymphing action slowed, the sulfurs started coming off pretty heavily although I did not spot any rising fish.

A handsome Farmington Brown

Seeing the sulfurs coming off, I quickly moved to a favorite pocket water/pool area that I thought would give me a better shot at finding rising fish.  There wasn't a lot of surface activity at the new location, so I continued fishing with the nymph rig.  A dozen browns and rainbows were all over the BHTPS, especially as the sulfur activity continued to build.  At one point, I noticed one of the browns that took the pheasant tail soft hackle was being closely followed by another brown of similar size.  It took me a split second to realize that the second brown had taken the anchor fly and I was actually fighting two fish.  The first brown was showing signs of tiring and I did not want to exhaust it.  I made a couple attempts to quickly drag both fish into the net but ended up pulling the hooks free from both fish. 

As the sulfur hatch became more intense, I would spot a rising fish and put down the nymphing rod and pickup the dry fly rod and throw a sulfur comparadun over it.  This resulted in putting a couple browns and another hefty rainbow in the net.

The first fish of the afternoon on the dry
Another brown on the sulfur comparadun

Later in the evening a beefy 17 in rainbow took a snowshoe rabbit sulfur emerger from the surface and put on quite a show with a couple strong 30 yd runs and a few spectacular jumps.  I ended the night taking the last rising fish I saw, a small brook trout.  And so ended one of those memorial days on the Farmington!

This beast thought he had steelhead genes, it was too big to get my hand around for a picture

Saturday, June 7, 2014


white and purple Dames's Rocket are  everywhere now
Adaptability is the ability to adjust readily to different conditions.  When I started fly fishing it was strictly dry flies.  It is an exciting way to fish and easy to spot when the fish takes the fly.  It is also a good way learn and practice how to get a natural looking drift since erratic movements are easy to see and correct.  If given the choice, I still prefer to fish dries but there are times when other methods are more productive.  A couple years ago, I started dabbling with Euro nymphing and I have been steadily improving my techinque.  I enjoy it much more than indicator nymphing which I found to be a very frustrating experience.  I have caught more fish this season nymphing than with any other technique.  Last year, I started fishing articulated streamers and have been learning how to fish them this season as well.  Friday afternoon was an opportunity to use all three techniques under the differing conditions that afternoon presented.

I was hoping to find some rising fish as it's been a long while since I took fish on a dry on the Farmington.  I knew the water was a bit high from some heavy rain the day before.  When I go to the Farmington, I usually have a "plan" with several options because you never can tell how many people will be out.   Spot A can sometimes produce rising fish in the mid afternoon since it is well shaded.  There were only a couple of sporadically rising fish so I opted to swing an articulated streamer and it wasn't long before I had my first brown.  After swinging the streamer through the run and tailout I decided to move on.

this brown couldn't resist a big meal
My next spot had two guys in it, so I worked a little further downstream.  By now the afternoon sun was gone and things were looking gray and a little stormy which was somewhat unexpected given the local weather forecast.  With the higher flows, I really could not safely reach the spot I wanted to nymph so decided to move on but before I did, I could see the sulfurs starting to hatch although nothing was taking notice.  I did see a huge brown roll on the surface.  I didn't see what drew him to the surface but I got a decent look at a monster of a fish and now I know where he lives.

Next stop was a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons 1) I rarely see anyone fishing it and 2) I rarely see anyone fishing it!  I love fishing spots like these because they provide a peaceful, easygoing fishing away from the "hot spots" that everyone fishes.  There are some well known pools on the Farmington that I have never ever fished simply because there are always people there even in the dead of winter.  There was no surface activity so I nymphed through the gentle riffle.  I've caught some big browns in this section before and before long, I tied into one on the bead head pheasant tail that really put the long 4wt to the test.  From the markings on my net, it was an 18" brown.  There was a gold elastomer behind the left eye which indicated it was put into the river in 2011 as a large adult.  After releasing it, I picked up another rainbow on the pheasant tail before moving to the next stop.

My hand at the bottom of the picture gives some perspective on the girth of this brown
By now it was about 5pm and I nymphed this spot for about an hour and a half, picking up a brown and a rainbow and losing one that I had on for a while but stayed deep so I never really got a look at it.

I reached my final destination a little before 7pm to see if I could spot any rising fish at sunset.  There was about an hour before sunset so I found a nice big rock in the river to crawl up on and wait.  Being in the cold water most of the afternoon was giving me a bit of a chill and a break from standing in the water was welcome. It was nice to just sit quietly and listen and observe.  It's so easy to get caught up moving from appointment or task to the next without ever giving a thought to anything.  For me the thoughtless life is not a life well lived.  I really enjoy and need these times of reflection, solitude, and prayer when it's time to put the rod down and just sit and listen.

I wouldn't call the Farmington a "wild" river since it is easily accessible throughout it's length but, it is amazing the wildlife you will see along the river.  As I was waiting for the daylight to fade into night, a beaver swam by close, not too concerned that I was sitting right there.  I watched as it crawled up into the brush and cut off a small limb with it's sharp teeth and then swim right past me again on it's way home.  I chuckled to myself, thinking that he was stopping at Home Depot on the way home.  Too bad my camera battery had no life left at that point.

There were lots of tan caddis flying about right before dusk but not much taking any interest in them.  I did see a few sporadic rises close but they were not interested in an elk hair caddis.  I put on a sulfur comparadun for kicks since I didn't really see any sulfurs hatching.  Two pretty browns took the fly in the gloaming, perhaps mistaking it for a spinner.  The little surface activity I did observe lasted about 15 min and then went quite again.  I waded out of the river in the dark and headed home pleased to have been able to spend the afternoon and evening out along the river.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sunday afternoon

Yesterday afternoon, I had the chance to fish the Farmington River in the northeast corner of CT. Yesterday was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon to be outside with crystal clear skies, warm sunshine, and a gentle breeze.

There were a  few caddis on the water but no rising fish, so I started off nymphing a section of pocket water.  A hefty rainbow took the bead head pheasant tail soft hackle at the end of a deep slot. The fish fought hard in the heavy current. I did managed to get in close a few times but when I applied a little too much pressure the hook popped out.  I got a decent look at it and it was easily the best fish of the day in the 16-18" range and very thick.

After catching a couple browns, I got another surprise with a hefty brook trout of about 14" with a bright burnt orange/red belly that larger brook trout sometimes develop.  The Farmington is known for its big browns and there are plenty of rainbows but, I rarely catch a brook trout.  Most of the fish took the pheasant tail soft hackle with one brown preferring a simple weighted hare's ear nymph.

A hefty colorful Farmington brook trout

Late afternoon I headed to my final destination of the afternoon to see if a hatch would materialize.  As the sun set behind the hills, I could see fish taking something small in the film but the rises were sporadic and I could not see what the fish were taking so I opted to fish a team of wet flies through the sporadic rises.  I took another rainbow on a hare's ear soft hackle and a brown on the bead head pheasant tail soft hackle before things settled down and I decided to head for home.

The second rainbow of the afternoon 

The sun beginning to dip below the surrounds hills