The Farmington River’s Holdover and Wild Brown Trout

What a day.

I on Saturday headed to the Farmington, expecting to run into some sad-looking new stockies. You can tell when they’re new: the fins and tails might be beat up from being in tanks and trucks, and scales are usually missing.

I also decided to start at a part of the river that has not been stocked yet, an area I call Grand Central Station. It’s that busy there. It’s in the permanent C&R area and is known for big and wily fish with Survivor Strain DNA.

I expected to be blanked, which is usually what happens to me there. But, it’s my nemesis, and I wanted to give it a go.

The unexpected happened: I quickly landed a huge pile of trout, mostly browns. The fish were pulsing with life and had intact fins/tails, with nary a scale missing. The famous holdover (edit: or, wild?) Grand Central brown trout. Why, pleased to meet you, at long last. Various anglers came and went, but I kept at it, because I had a hot hand. Then, I had a “bright” idea. “If it’s this good here,” I thought, “it’s going to be even better at [Blank], where stockies are dumped in by the hundreds.”

So, I left Grand Central, licking my chops and rubbing my hands together.

And? I caught nothing. Fly fishing is funny in that way

I am grateful for a great day. And, I landed more trout in another stretch. It has taken me many outings to learn just a fraction of this amazing tailwater.

You should put the Farmington on your bucket list. My PB trout is from there, a 21″ holdover brown. It’s the fish that keeps me coming back.

If you do head over, consider hiring Zach St. Amand as your guide. He lives next to the river and is on the water 200 days a year. I’ll be spending a 1/2 day with him in the spring to explore parts of the river I don’t yet know. He has a great reputation.

And, here are some of the fish from yesterday. Edit: all the browns I landed looked pretty pristine. Given the comments below, perhaps, they’re wild?


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14 thoughts on “The Farmington River’s Holdover and Wild Brown Trout

  1. Just curious, what flies were working? I have fished the Greenwoods section several times and really enjoyed it. Did you fish Church pool?


  2. That first brown ain't no holdover! That boy has been in the river it's whole life! There are plenty of wild fish in the Farmington, and some a tad larger than 21 inches.

    1. Even a multi-year holdover still has distorted fins and yes some have clipped adipose fins or tags behind their eyes, and that fish has the color and look of a wild one… believe it or not there are almost as many wild fish as stocked fish in the Farmington according to electrofishing done by the DEEP. The wild ones are just harder to catch!

  3. Congrats on the great day! I would also like to compliment you on your blog, which I recently discovered. Currently I'm not able to get out and fish nearly as much as I would like to, and therefore I thoroughly enjoy reading about your experiences. Thanks and keep up the great work!

  4. Nice! I fished there Saturday and Swift Sunday. What was working for you on the Farmington? I was doing well on small WD-40s, and small size 20-22. I don't know the river well, so I spent way too much time walking around blank water.

    1. No one killer fly.

      The fish were sluggishly pooled up in their winter lies (slower water and seams), I noticed. Too much energy to be holding in the riffles or fast water. Once I located them, I got a bunch in a row at each area.

      Congrats on catching fish. I just tied a few RS2s and hope to try them next time out. I hate splitting the tails and I'm a work-in-progress on that.

  5. Nice outing at the Farmy, it is a gorgeous river but I always struggle there and considering the distance I don't go much. Really great work lately on highlighting other rivers too, your blog is excellent.

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