After getting skunked the three times I went fishing in Winter of 2022, I was beginning to think that I was doomed to never catch a trout again. During each effort, I went through my ritual of pep talks that I give myself when I’m losing hope:
- They’ve got to eat sometime!
- There’s going to be a bite window any minute.
- If I cast enough, I’m bound to find at least one hungry fish.
- If I cast enough, odds are that eventually I will foul hook one.
- I hope I catch a turtle.
Nothing worked. For the past three fishing trips, each time I left the river weary and discouraged, not to mention very cold.
But Saturday, March 19, was the day when the wicked witch of winter died, and frisky fish finally found my flies.
Doover2 and I drove together to the Farmington River. Our plan was to fish the area that had been stocked less than 48 hours earlier, but due to a hasty reading of the stocking information, we started out fishing between Collinsville and Unionville where the trout had NOT been stocked.
But it was there that the drought was broken by a holdover 15” brown. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to feel a take and come tight on a pulling, vibrating, head-shaking, denizen of the river. I savored every run and switchback until I coaxed him into the net.
Not irreverently, but very sincerely, I thanked God for the enjoyment I received from my encounter with that beautiful fish, heightened by the fact that it’d been three months since my last such encounter. But the brown was not enjoying the experience as much as I was and he deliberately splashed me with his tail as he was swimming away. He probably enjoyed that. I figured we were even; he’ll have something to tell his friends, and I’ll have something to tell mine
After a quick stop at the fly shop, we fished at the Wall Pool, the very top end of the area that had been stocked. Doover2 had never fished the Wall Pool and I thought there was a good chance we could catch some stupid stockers there. But the water was higher than I expected and we couldn’t get close to the deepest pools where the trout were most likely hanging out. We caught nothing there and didn’t stay long.
I’d like to give a shout out to Orvis for replacing my old waders which had holes in the booties (see article) with a new pair of waders. You’ve won my affection! The new waders were nice, comfy, and dry until I misjudged a sandbar at the Wall Pool and slid off it into deeper water. Fortunately, I had my rain jacket on, zipped up to my chin.
When I fell forward the jacket kept water from going down the top of my waders until I could become vertical again. The water came up from my cuffs and soaked my sleeves, but I only had a little trickle of water come down the front.
My iPhone 12 was in the front chest pocket of my rain jacket and got a little damp. Inexplicably, while it was still in my pocket, my iPhone initiated a FaceTime call with my wife. I didn’t know iPhone had that feature that would FaceTime your wife when you are drowning. Very thoughtful of them. I could tell her all the important things I needed to tell her as I drown – like I love her and what I wanted her to do with my fishing equipment when I’m gone.
However, in this case, I survived and I had interrupted a call she was having with our daughter. I apologized and told her I’d try not to let that happen again unless I was truly drowning. She forgave me and hung up quickly so she could re-call our daughter. (Sigh), such is life.
Our final stop was some pocket water above Riverton. D2 had had some success up there a few weeks previous and wanted to try it again. We caught a total of six rainbows in a 100 yard stretch. The hot fly was the Sexy Walt’s. My admiration of Doover2 grows as he shared with me a run that had yielded him two trout. I quickly caught a beauty and then gave him the run back. What a guy!
We left the river about 4 pm weary but happy. It was very satisfying to finally get a little mojo back after months of fishless nets. I celebrated on the way back to Boston with some Popeye’s spicy chicken, as is my custom.
I suspect the Wicked Witch of Winter isn’t quite done with us yet. Even on a foggy, mid-50s day like Saturday, the water was very cold and after a few hours of wading in it, our feet felt like blocks of ice. Nonetheless, King Spring is coming. The trout will be waiting for us.
When’s your next trip and where are you going?
10 thoughts on “The Wicked Witch Is Dead or At Least Dying”
Nice report. A Sexy Walt’s has saved my day more than once as well.
Darrlln09, between a Sexy Walts and a Pats Rubber Legs, they are responsible for probably a third of all the trout I catch each year. It’s a great combination for prospecting.
Glad to hear you are back on the water and were almost baptized for for your effort but I have a question and an observation……how satisfying is Popeyes spicy chicken compared to chicken express and white peppered gravy? FYI….
Dave, after a long day of fishing, nothing seems to satisfy me like fried chicken. Actually, it’s kind of hard to find fast food fried chicken in New England. The big thing up here is roast beef. If I can find a KFC or a Popeyes on the way home, I’m as happy as a hound with two tails. But there’s nothing like Chicken Express gravy. You ought to come up here and open a franchise.
Bill, I know the feeling… I chalked it up to practice sessions this winter.. tough on all I believe. The good news is I just returned from souther Patagonia… after a long fish less winter the trout gods must have felt bad. I had a 200 + fish week as did everyone in our group. Zack st amend invited me on this expedition and I’m glad I went. Now I can at least feel good about a stocker or 2 once my body recoups from our epic fishing adventure.. Zack caught a fish on the back of a horse!! Best fishing ever. If anyone ever gets a chance to go it is unbelievable. 20+ inch fish all day!! Like it was a dream. Helicopter fishing at Choycho mallin lodge with SET fly fishing. Look it up. You will be impressed. Good luck on your next Farmington trip. I’m sure the skunk is off and you will do great. Thanks for the great story as always.
Steve, I’m so glad you reported on your trip to Patagonia. I was wondering how it went. You had me on “20+ inch fish all day!” It’s going to be hard for you to fish anywhere else after that experience. Actually I saw Zach fishing from a horse on his Instagram page, but I had no idea where he was or that you were in his party. Glad you had such an amazing experience.
Two trips for pellet heads in Eastern Connecticut yeilded about 50 small browns on two trips this week. Fish were no beautiful. Many had deformed tails. Also, they have a weird strain on browns which have no colored spots and blotches on sides, not spots. Never seen anything like it. I thought tigers but local sharpies disagree. Nice to catch first fish of year. Used my flylogic 4 weight and penn gold medal 5;weight. Most caught on small beadhead crystal bugger in green and a few on yellow and brown stonefly nymph.
Robert, wow, that’s a lot of trout! I guess I should know this, but what’s a pellet head? A stocker? Were the weird browns just small landlocked salmon? They always looked a lot alike to me. Glad you got into a lot of fish!
Yes, “freshly” stocked fish. No not landlocked. I can try and get photo but not sure how to post it. Very familiar with the brown/salmon identification criteria. These are something totally different.
Actually I think the fly logic is a 3/4 weight. Jamie fished with it years ago.