A Farmington Mother Hen

I took a vacation day and hauled over to the Farmington. It was an outing with some drama.

Spot A was generous, yielding five wild browns. The water was a brisk 41 °F at dawn, and it took some coaxing to get the fish to eat.

Spot B yielded only one fish. But, it was the 18″ female below. A mother hen. The clipped adipose fin suggested that it was a Survivor Strain trout. No elastomer, though.

I knew something was up when I felt a great deal of weight. When the fish surged down river, I followed it for about 50 yards. I’ve learned in the past to try and never left a big fish go below me. Once I was slightly below the fish, I started using side pressure to bring it in quickly. Grateful that worked!

The trout was gorgeous. The pictures don’t do it justice. Nature is a fine artist and designer.

Happy and relieved, I fished some more spots. Was blanked at Spot C. Landed two stockies at Spot D. Went 0-for-4 at Spot E.  One fish fell off a barbless hook. The other fish jumped, and I could see that they were very big. They were in a very deep and violent run, which has yielded holdovers in the past.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t maneuver myself, as I was in some deep and very fast water. And, those Farmington boulders can be very slippery. So, when a fish went down river, my tippet broke. The 6.5x fluorocarbon couldn’t handle both the size of the fish and the current. I will be back with 4x.

By the end of the day, there were some tremendous bug hatches. Hendricksons were popping everywhere. Saw quite a few midges, too. Some robust rises.

A fun day.


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8 thoughts on “A Farmington Mother Hen

  1. Fishing Hendrickson Nymphs? I fished on Thursday with wet flies before the hatch and did nothing (left my euro outfit home). Did get a fatty Brown on top during the hatch. Great river and kudos to Connecticut Fisheries Management.

    1. No. I don't have specific Hendrickson nymphs, as I'm trying to make less complicated my fly tying. During the Hendrickson hatch, I fished a brown size 18 WD-40 to mimic the emergers. But, all sorts of flies worked. There was no magic fly. Instead it was about trying to get the flies to the right level of the water column. As you know, Euro-nymphing is great at that, as are tungsten-beaded nymphs.

      And, figuring out where the actively-feeding fish were holding, which is a function of my putting in the hours to know a river. That has been a labor of love.

  2. "LESS COMPLICATED FLY TYING": a very admirable goal and one I have tried off and on! My selection of fly tying materials shows me that it has been mostly off, even though my empty fly box slots indicate it is my practice on the river!

    1. Well, my fly boxes are jammed, and so, I think "trying" is the key word there for me! I did donate a bunch of flies to Project Healing Waters since I had a bunch just sitting there and never used.

      Further thought on flies. I think for most waters the following work: Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ears, and various size 20 pupae and larvae. I throw in some "variants" about which I wrote before.

      The big exception is the Swift River at the technical areas that feature slow-moving water. The fish see you and you see the fish. It's a stand-off. At those areas, fly patterns really do matter. Just pure presentation isn't enough most days, IMO.

  3. It's amazing to me that all of those fish have very clearly been caught before, probably on barbed hooks. The jaws show the damage, sometimes permanently.

    1. It's a great observation, as I was fishing the permanent C&R stretch. As you know, I often fish the permanent C&R section of the Swift River in MA. The trout there do NOT have damaged jaws.

      IMO, the damage on the Farmington fish comes from barbed hooks, but there could be other factors:

      – They're stocked as juveniles and have soft jaws. The Swift trout are stocked as big adults

      – The Farmington fish hold over better, and so, are caught and released at a higher frequency. On some years, all the Swift trout are gone (otters, mink, birds of prey, bad landing practices, etc.) by February

      – Big hooks create more damage

      – Very rough hook sets by new angler fishing big flies. I like fishing small flies because a gentle hook set is all you need to jam home a thin hook

    2. I don't think people fellow the C&R laws very well, and because it is a faster river with less skiddish fish people often fish big spinners and small jerk baits that do a large amount of damage. The first one is totally missing the hinge so I think that is a fault of tank scrubbing. I fish with big streamers and honestly they almost always do less damage that a barbed nymph or dry, I think it's the way the fish takes the fly that does a lot of the damage. Taking a hook out of the top or bottom lip doesn't do much damage but a nymph in the hinge is going to mess it up.

    3. Great points. Also, on my last outing, I saw a ton of people with spin tackle throwing huge lures. In fact, at one spot, my rig was snagged. I pulled it up and it had on it one of those huge Rapala lures with two treble hooks.

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