My second trip up to the Farmington was on a bright clear warm afternoon. As I surveyed some spots working my way up the river I spotted some hendricksons coming off and an area where there were some rising fish and only a couple of fisherman.
The rises were mostly in the same spots but they occurring in water about 1-2 ft deep and the slower current made it difficult to get into position to cast without sending ripples. The fish seemed to notice when they were being approached as the rises would stop and then start in another area. Every time I would move the rises would move back to where I had just been. I did see a few fish take duns off the surface but when I looked carefully in the water, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There were a dozen or more dark nymphs drifting in every square foot of water as far as I could see. After a couple hours of frustration, the hatch died off and things got quiet again.
|A thick brown that inhaled the Bomber|
I was beginning to question my sanity waiting for spinner fall with the wind blowing as hard as it was. Almost ready to pack it in and count the day a loss, I saw a single solid rise right in front of me. I tried several hendrickson dries (comparadun and spinners) with no response and then I remembered a friend's advice - "when all else fails throw them something different". I looked in my box and the craziest thing I had with me was an Ausable Bomber. Wouldn't you know it, on the first drift a solid brown came up and nailed the Bomber. I couldn't believe it! While I was working on bringing it to the net I wondered if I had foul hooked it but it had inhaled the bomber like it was the last meal it would ever see. After seeing another lone rise further upstream, I cast the bomber, mostly out of curiosity, and sure enough the fish came up but I missed setting the hook.
Who knows what the fish saw in the Bomber but by this time the wind had settled and the spinners were in the air. I started off with a size 12 but then switched to a size 14 rusty spinner and picked up a nice holdover brown. It was one of the survivor strain browns that are removed from the river as a large adult, taken back to the hatchery to breed, and returned to the river. From the red marking behind the left eye this one was released back into the river as an adult in 2017. It's always encouraging to see fish holding over well in the river. As darkness approached the fish were still rising but they were ignoring the #14 spinner. I suspect they were taking something smaller.
|If you look closely behind the eye you can see the red elastomer|
It was a frustrating day to start but redemption came in the last hour.