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?