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.


  1. Those are some gorgeous browns! My hats off to you.

  2. Keeping big river company lately.
    Well done.

    1. Thanks Alan. I do like to mix it up between small streams and larger rivers but I fish both for the same reasons

  3. Mark
    You had my interest throughout this post, because I could imagine the experience and the thrill of landing those nice brown trout, especially that big brut. Your recent post and this one on Euro Nymphing have motivated me to continue to learn the method. Hopefully I will get the hang of it soon. I am using a 9 ft. 4 weigh; I assume you are using a 9 ft. also? Thanks for sharing

    1. Bill - I actually use a 10ft 4wt. I have a Cabella's CZN that I really like. They sell an 11ft version but I was concerned about the wt of the rod but now I can see the advantages of the longer rod. It wasn't an expensive set up and suits me just fine. The longer rod is a big help in getting the drift right because you've got to keep the line off the water.