Wednesday, December 1, 2010

HMS Troutfinder - from Aug. 2010

Whew. Another summer is just about come and gone and what a corker it has been. The month of July in 2010 goes on record as the second hottest month since record keeping here in Connecticut. The rainstorms were few and widely scattered. While Bradley Airport recorded almost 3” of rain for the month most of the state was not as lucky.

And now it is the 18th. of August and the drought continues. The Farmington River has taken the brunt of this lack of rainfall. The release from the Goodwin Dam has been dropping slowly but surely since July. Currently there is a 113cfs release from the dam and with a majority of the side channels drying up as well there isn’t much cooler water entering the river to offset this puny flow rate, which is really too bad.

Too bad because until recently I had been doing pretty good at getting back into the swing of things, and yes, every pun is intended! I was heading out to the river on an almost daily basis and relishing every second of it. I figured out what was wrong with my leader, my casting was definitely improving and most importantly I was landing some fish. How sweet it is.

As the temperatures continued to hit the 90F + range (we have had over 20+ days of those) I noticed the river water starting to warm up. Eventually even wearing my waders, which are breathable, got too uncomfortable. So what did I do? I adjusted by purchasing a pair of wading pants for some wet wading. What a great idea that was. I could cool off while practicing my wading and all the while getting into some fish now and then. But as the summer’s heat and lack of rain continued the water level just kept getting lower and lower.

Eventually I wasn’t even cooling off while wet wading because the water temperature was getting warmer and warmer. I was still landing fish but they just didn’t seem to put up the fight like they had been. Were they getting hammered? Probably. Were they getting stressed out with the warming waters and lower flow rates? Probably. So what is a gal supposed to do? I made another adjustment.

Why didn't I think of this before?

I had a Buck's Bag stored in the basement. I even had the fins that you need to kick around the water in. I had purchased this a couple of years ago and never used it. I don't really know why that was, but now it was float tube to the rescue!!

I loaded the HMS (which stands for Her Majesty's Ship, of course, since I am the Queen!!) Trout Finder in my Subaru, packed up my gear and headed up river. I made one stop along the way to air up the tube before arriving at the lake behind the Goodwin Dam.

The world was back to normal as I was back to catching fish and still cooling off at the same time. This is a pretty good lake to kick around in. Kayaks, canoes and electric motor boats are allowed. There is a boat ramp, which makes it very easy to load and unload your gear. Sweet!

There is a sense of freedom with a float tube that adds a new dimension to fly fishing. Not only that but the exercise was an added bonus.

You can head out into the middle of the lake or putter around the shore. The choice is yours. You can still dry fly or use a sinking line and streamers to fish the colder depths of the water. I tend to do more streamer fishing while out on the lake. I had to adjust my casting a bit because with my particular float tube I do sit pretty low in the water. Once I tweaked my casting it was all systems go!

One particular evening last week was extremely peaceful. The few clouds cleared the way for a bright blue sky a small breeze was gently rocking the float tube. The quarter moon was on the horizon and I was the only one on the water. I had been kicking my way along the shore playing with some bass when I realized it wasn't so quiet anymore. All of a sudden a bunch of crows on the other side of the lake were cawing like crazy. They were certainly put off by something, but what? So I took a look up to see what had upset them when I noticed an eagle soaring ever so gracefully across the lake and along the opposite shore toward the crows.

The eagle continued his flight along the treetops before effortlessly changing direction and heading back over to my side of the lake. His flight path took him directly over the HMS Trout Finder. I have to admit that I was mesmerized both by the details of this bird that I could see as well as the sound that his wings made as he continued on his journey, never realizing that you could, if you paid attention, hear the wind moving through the feathers of this bird.

Wow, now that was cool.

Here are some pics of the river at this low flow rate.

Hardly enough water for the geese to swim in.

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