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

12 comments:

  1. I hope you left some fish for other people to catch! Sounds like an outstanding visit to the Farmington.

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    1. RKM - no worries, there are plenty of fish!

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  2. I love days like that. Nothing beats an overcast sky and willing trout

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    1. LQN - those overcast grey days have been some my best days fishing, although I have to admit that I really love to feel the warmth of a sun on a bright day

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  3. Hi Mark.

    Do the rainbow trout breed in the river, and how do they get on with the browns. What species dominate?

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    1. Richard - I have heard of some natural reproduction in some areas of the river and I have caught a few small rainbows that could have been wild. If any natural reproduction is going on it is on a very small scale. I more often run across browns that are stream bred. Both species seem to do well together but the browns seem to dominate in terms of number of fish in this river.

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  4. Replies
    1. Richard - which "roach" pattern?

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  5. Quite the outing there Mark.
    The bow in the 4th photo looks great.

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    1. Alan - thanks, they were all strong and put up quite a fight.

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  6. I haven't seen the ragged robin flowers in years! Nice going, with some fine trout as well!

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  7. thanks Walt, first time I've noticed them!

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