Saturday, July 30, 2011

Technical difficulties

One of my goals for the summer is to fish in some new places on the river. I was hard at work getting this very important work done when I ran into technical difficulties.

Have you ever noticed that when you see fishing rising they are either on the other side of the river or....under some trees? Or....under some trees and on the other side of the river? But nothing in life is easy so you give it a go and do the best ya can.

So I figured out just where I needed to land that wet fly to let it swing on through. Sometimes I get lucky and this time I did. On the first cast the fly went right where I wanted it to be and for a very brief moment I felt pleased with myself. Then the line stopped moving.

I remember the words as if I uttered them only yesterday - which is exactly when it happened!

"Oh, nooo!! You have got to be kidding me. A snag?? There??? Please...."

So I gave the line a tug. Nothing.
Tried another tug. Again, nothing.

Great. I hate snagging logs, sticks, rocks, old fishin' line and beavers. It is never any fun when you end up yanking on your line waiting for that inevitable "snap" when you leader finally gives in and breaks. Those are the technical difficulties that drive me nutso.

So I moved on and tried a spiral pick up to see if I could wrangle that hook out of what ever it was lurking down there.


With a big ol' sigh and the realization that another leader was about to be fried, I tried another spiral pick up and this time with just a bit more oomph.  Instead of the leader snapping I thought I detected a very subtle movement at the end of the line.Not much mind you, but something was definately up because it moved again.

This time it felt "fishy" so I started stripping the line. It didn't take too long before the "somthing" that had caused technical difficulties was fighting and jumping. Soon I landed a nice 14" stocked brown trout. Didn't have to break my leader. Didn't lose a fly, either.

I sure wish all snags ended up this way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Plan for a Farmington River Grand Slam

The three of us met early one Friday morning, way before the crack of dawn and made a plan for a Farmington River Grand Slam. We could tell from the weather conditions that the fishing was going to be just perfect. Bright blue skies were headed our way, the temperature was headed for the mid 80's and the flow rate on the Farmington River was pretty good, not too low and not too high it has been held at a constant 350cfs for almost a week now.

The bugs were plentiful and included such delicacies as caddis, isonychias, march browns, midges, a variety of emergers and the ever tasty ants. Fish just love ants on hot summer days and it is usually the Chernoybal ant that gets the most attention. Despite all these tasty morsels the fishing was going to be tough and to get the Farmington Grand Slam you were going to have to work at.

So after our early morning meet and greet it was decided that we would split up and one of us headed up to the dam pool while the others headed downstream to another favorite fishing hole. We were waiting patiently and the day was looking just great when all of a sudden B. Rookie was hooked. Yup, he fell for one of those #10 partridge and orange wet flies on the swing across the riffles just below the dam on the end of a Scandi line. He put up a valient fight, but at 6" long B. Rookie could not resist for too long before being he was quickly released back into the cold water. In a couple of years Rookie is going to be one heck of a good looking fish; with his white edged fins and coppery orange body he was already a beauty to behold.

The day wore on and the fishing was still tough. There weren't many bent rods to be seen this day. Eventually the sun was heading over the western horizon and bugs a'plenty were popping out of the water. There were times when we would torpedo up to a fly only to decide at the last minute, "Nahhh. It just isn't floating as good as it should be. See that? Too much drag on that one. Oh, what the heck is that suppsed to be, a caddis? What do they think we are, stupid just because we have a brain the size of a pea?"

Eventually Bowie was spotted as he was slowly rising for some Isonychias. He would flip his tail, go to the surface, sip away and then sink back down. Rise, surface, eat and sink, just as we had planned. You had to have good eyes to see him. Meanwhile, I was making a big splash in ankle deep water. Ever the show off, I will perform these beautiful barrel rolls in water that doesn't seem deep enough to hold me. I like to tease anyone trying to get the Grand Slam, an almost in your face defiance of, "Ha ha. I won't fall for that stupid fly."

After numerous flies were presented along Bowie's feeding lane an old and beat up Isonychia #12 was tied on and presented in such a fashion that with a big splash Bowie was hooked up! Man, he went straight up for it too. I tried warning him as he went with mouth wide open and then that big ol' stupid look on his face as he tried to shake the hook out of the corner of his mouth but it would not budge. I watched as he was gently pulled in, adored for his beautiful pink and silver coloring and then released. He did look sheepishly at me and gave me a warning that he had heard the angler say, "Wow! What a beefy rainbow,about 12"-14" long. Thanks buddy, you are beautiful. Wait a second, a brookie, a all I need is a brown trout to get the Farmington River Grand Slam! Now to head back to where I saw that nice brown and...."

I never heard the end of Bowie's story because just at that same instant this big ol' March Brown came floating down and with a WHACK I took a hit at it.

Too late. I fought like hell by shaking my head and trying to hide behind some rocks but to no avail. After 12 hours of fishing our plans for a Farmington River Grand Slam came to an end after I was briefly admired and released to return to my hidey-hole.

The quite content and happy angler then headed on home with our parting gift of her first Grand Slam.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Anchors away!!

Well, it has been a very busy summer and the fishing has been great. Last week a group of us from the Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association (CFFA) met at a lake in Wilington for some float tubing. 

The weather had been very hot and humid so it was time to do some cooling off in a spring fed 20 acre lake with some good friends. The lake was formed as a result of a thread factory that had built up a dam on the river. From what I understood this is the factory where bobbins were first produced for winding thread on. Until that time the thread was wrapped on a piece of heavy cardboard.

As you can see, it is a very pretty spot and with plenty of fish. There are crappies, trout, blue gill and bass so we could pretty much take our pick depending on what we wanted.  With plenty of float tubes to get ready it took us a short time before we actually got into the water.

Once everyone was set and ready the CFFA Flotilla was set into action!

Some of us decuded to use sinking lines and headed for the deeper and colder water in search of the rainbows. They were lots of fun to land from the tube and quickly released to return to the colder lake bottom.

After a while it seemed that the trout didn't want to participate in our fun, perhaps even they sensed that the temperature was just too hot and who could blame them? If I could have hung out at the bottom of a cold lake I would have done the same! So I decided to fish closer to shore and see what I could get.
I was rewarded with some beautiful looking fish.

I thought the colors on this guy were particularly pretty, especially in the sunlight.

So after a BBQ of bratwursts, some cold salad and ice cold water we headed back out. After a couple more hours things really died down and my brains were fried, literally. Even sitting in the lake water just didn't seem to work at keeping me cooled down. So we all called it a day and headed in. We have another trip planned for next week and hopefully we will have another good time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red, White and Blue 4th. of July

Miller's River

What a great weekend we all had. The weather was perfect for some weekend fishing with the family and friends.. On Sunday we decided to head up to Athol, Mass. and fish the Miller's River. With cloudy skies and showers in the forecast it was a great day for blue wing olives and wets. My sister and her husband and grandchild met us up there. While the water flow was just perfect the temperature was starting to get summer warm which meant the bass were very active. I managed to bring to net a couple of brookies that were quickly released, on on the very much used and abused orange and partridge wet fly. Actually, by now the thing is partridge-less because it has taken such a beating from all the fish it has hooked into. I keep using it just to see how much longer it will work, so far so good!

Here is the red (maybe pink). One day that princess rod will turn into a two handed trout rod!!

Farmington River, New Hartford, CT.

Here is the white and blue.

On Monday we headed back up to our favorite river, the Farmington. We met up with Fred and Jerry, two of the coolest Spey Evangelicals you can ever meet! I have been taking lessons with them and their knowledge and patience makes it so much fun to learn this two handed casting. I consider myself very lucky to have met the two of them. Now if only I can download all their information a-la Keanu Reeves in The Matrix!!

The water here was much colder since it is released from a damn. The fish at the first spot we stopped at were extremely active but what were they taking? They were gently breaking the surface as the swallows were dive bombing any of the bugs that managed to escape the fish. It was great fun watching those birds. What was even more entertaining was watching them zero in on our flies as they floated down the riffles. The fish were very selective about what they wanted and we finally figured out it had to be a very small fly, cream colored and it had to have just about as perfect a drift as possible. I managed to land a really nice brown and had a monster rainbow on but he broke me off - I just hate that when that happens. 

Of course, if you have been reading my posts you should recognize Cleo, our fishing companion.

Another shot of the Farmington.

We eneded up taking a break for lunch at a local pizza joint over in Winsted, Ct. Not only is their pizza the best but the air conditioning is super cold. Rob and I will take our lunch break during the hottest and brightest part of the day before heading back out for the late afternoon / evening fishing fivolity. We were very lucky to be able to return to our spot after lunch. We were both rather surprised that no one else was in there. We met up with a couple of friends of ours and ended up fishing until 8:30. Rob landed a really nice brown trout that must have been 12" - 14" long. Beautiful fish! I had a couple of hits but was the only one not to land anything for the evening. The blue wing olves #20 were coming off like mad. There were also some black, tan and green caddis. Since the temperature was now in the 80's I decided to wet wade and was glad I did.

So far this summer has been just perfect. The weather has been very cooperative with enough rain coming just when you need it to keep the rivers and streams happy, not at all like last year when we went on a four month drought with temperatures soaring into the 90's. The fishing has been great as well. I steal away in the evenings with my little Dec Hogan and swing away bringing many a brookie in while at the same time getting some nice browns and bows.

Here's hoping everyone had a great July 4th. and many heart felt thanks to all of you in the military, both currently serving and retired. You all deserve a hearty standing ovation.