Monday, June 20, 2011

Phather's Day Phishing Phollowup with Photos

Missing a few legs = Trout Chow
If you've fished long enough you've got a few spots in mind that, if pressed, you could go to immediately and catch fish with some level of certainty. You may even have a spot where you could go and catch a specific species, say a favorite Brook Trout stream. If you're very lucky, you've ferreted out a spot or two where hogs hold. Until yesterday, I hadn't found such a spot.

I've fished the Farmington River twice this year. It's a great river upon which I cut my fly fishing teeth. The fish are finicky enough to be a challenge but not so much that you never catch anything. And once you figure out where they are, they're pretty consistently in those places. They're just not always willing to come out and play.

There are two sections that I fish regularly, I refer to them as the upper section and the lower section. The lower section is down a long dirt road that gets you well away from civilization and onto some of the prettiest water on the river. It suited my mood and I had my eye on a specific piece of water that I've wanted to fish for some time.

I worked the normal runs and pools quickly casting to the likely spots and moving on. I had a fish on early but set the hook late -- as in, "Hey where did my strike indicator go?", pause, "I hate it when a fly gets stuck on something", pause, "Oh, there it is shaking hard against a tight line!" SET THE HOOK, that kinda late -- and he shook off pretty quickly when I finally got my act together.

Like most well fished streams, there's a path that runs along the bank of the river. The further you get from the parking lot the narrower and more overgrown the path becomes. Like most situations, you can find solitude and less shy fish beyond where the path ends. So that's where I was going.

Well past the end of the path there's a sweet little run that I've fished before. I've never seen anyone in that run. That said, there's usually fish there. Rarely on the surface, but to a well drifted nymph of the appropriate size, shape and color one can often tempt a trout.

Below this run is a deep, fast riffle. Deeper hard against the far bank but fairly deep across its expanse. Often I see someone in it. Usually with a guide. At the end of that riffle the river takes a sharp turn and beside that riffle is a large eddy. Again, with someone in it more often than not. Usually with a bent rod.

I fished the run first and got one fat Brown on a Caddis pupa. I had to contend with a pretty good tube and kayak hatch but they generally figured out they should be going where I'm not fishing.

Until these two idiots in a small, grey dinghy showed up.

You could hear the music well before they came into view and they weren't going to do anything but drift along right through the primary lane in the run. I asked that they drift to one side. In the words of the more erudite gentleman, "It's too late in the day to be moving the boat". We exchanged a few words and they drifted into oblivion. I wish them both a life of mediocrity and disappointment.

With the run spoiled for a bit I went off and fished down a shallow side channel that was fun to explore but was utterly fishless. At least to me.

The little guy who started it all.
Which brings me to the hole at the end of the deep, dark riffle. I started with a nymph rig and on the first cast got a six inch Brown. It was a bit confusing as I saw an eighteen inch fish in the water but the rod was bent like I had a six inch fish. This is about the time my brain switched on and I realized the big fish was chasing the little fish. With the little fish back in the river I quickly switched to big fish food and went back to work.

My only picture of the 'bow. He made a rapid exit when
I tried for a better picture. Lovely.
Dead-drifted, Black Wooley Bugger. Four fish on. Big bend in the rod each time. Two to the net. The first the prettiest Rainbow I've ever seen -- spectacular fine spots all along his body -- and the second a meaty twenty-one inch brown.

Now I know why folks come here.

With the light waning, I headed downstream to a popular pool to check the dry fly action. There was a mixed bag hatch of mayflies and caddis coming off and no regular rises. A father and son were prospecting without luck. A spinner fall appeared to be in the offing but no time soon from the look of it. I sat down and finished a cigar and watched the sun set.

Perfect weather. Perfect fishing.

Another look at the Brown. I had to fold him almost
in half to fit in the net. Sweet!