The best way to end the year: fly fishing.
Maybe it is because the crowds have thinned or due to my very low expectations, but I really enjoy going out around January 1. There’s limited competition, and I put little pressure on myself.
So, yesterday, I arrived at the Farmington at civil twilight with a new trick up my sleeve: I had overlined my 11′ Euro three-wt. with four-wt. non-Euro line for indicator nymphing.
You see, there are quite a few fishy spots at the Farmington when water is high, but back casts can be tough. It’s a roll-casting game.
So, I rigged up my Sage ESN with the reel from my H2 four-weight, thinking that the extra length and the heavy line would help me reach some bubbly runs.
I mean, my roll-casting isn’t great, but I was able to reach some fishy-looking runs pretty easily. After a few casts, this little guy graced the net.
I kept working that entire area over and over, but, alas, I wasn’t able to dupe any other fish.
So, I moved to a few more spots throughout the morning. Depending on the water, I would bring either my Sage ESN, with the heavier line, for indicator nymphing or my Thomas & Thomas Contact for tightlining.
I was pretty chill about everything. I mean, I worked the waters hard, but I wasn’t stressed out. Based on my fishing journal, I know that early winter is absolutely brutal. My January entries show that a one-fish outing is a successful one, and with one already in the net, the pressure was off. I even threw wet flies at one point, which was fun to do but yielded no fish.
At one spot, I decided to tightline some deep and quiet water. I felt a bump and set the hook. The micro-thin Euronymphing leader is incredibly sensitive. I felt weight and some huge head shakes.
I walked quickly downstream and got below the fish, and after about 30 seconds of side pressure with the butt of the rod, the fish paused to catch its breath, and floated down to my net.
This male brown taped at 18.5″ and the pictures don’t reflect how orange and stunning it looked. I was floored, happy and grateful.
I worked some more spots. At 2 pm, with the sun disappearing behind clouds and my feet cold, I reeled up and headed for the car. I went two-for-two and was grateful to see some fish.
Winter fly fishing is tough, but there’s always the chance that you glimpse a good fish. And, just the possibility of that makes it all worthwhile.
A safe New Year’s Day for one and all….