The Swift, the Farmington, or the Deerfield?
Those were the choices last weekend unless we want to fish for trout in one of the ponds in Cape Cod that were stocked multiple times this fall. MassWildlife continues to stock ponds of vast importance like the Little Alum, Baddacook, and Singletary while treating the Housatonic, Quinnepoxet, and Green Rivers like red-headed stepchildren.
Boomer and I opted to go out of state to the Farmington and its mammoth brown trout. The first stop was below Canton in a long stretch of pocket water that we discovered a few years ago. Since it’s not in the Trout Management Area, we don’t think it gets as much pressure as other stretches.
We’ve often caught a dozen or more trout in this area, but the last several times we’ve tried to fish it, the water level has either been too high or too low. Even before that, it wasn’t fishing that well. This stretch of the river is not conducive to being stocked, so we were hoping for a few holdovers.
The Still River was running high from a recent rain and more water was pushing through the lower Farmie than we’d prefer, so we were quite cautious in working our way across the river to various favorite runs.
I fished for 15 minutes while Boomer was getting his rod rigged up; but despite my head start, I had nothing to show for it. Boomer got his rod bent first, pulling in a brown trout that was fooled by a chartreuse Mop Fly. Though it was small, it gave us a big boost of confidence, knowing that there were at least a few fish in the area.
None of my favorite heavy anchor flies (Pat’s Rubber Legs, Squirmy Wormy, Mop Fly) had produced any strikes so I put two nymphs on: a soft-hackle, bead head Pheasant Tail and a Prince. That worked out well, as a 10” brown took the Prince, and a few casts later a 12” brown took the SHBHPT.
Most of our favorite runs were unfishable because of the high current. We fished the area for about two hours and only caught two more trout.
We drove up to Ramp Road and stopped at a Spot that always seemed to have 3-4 trout in it. There was really only room for one person to fish it at a time. Boomer proceeded to catch three trout in five casts. His hot fly was a Lance Egan pattern known as a Tasmanian Devil.
By this time, I was ready for Boomer to give me a shot and I threatened to make him walk back to Boston if he didn’t make way. He took my subtle hint and graciously stepped aside. Things didn’t work out quite as I planned because, no matter what I put on, I could not get a bite out of that hole.
Boomer was standing nearby like a teenage boy waiting his turn at a peephole. I knew that as soon as I stepped away, he was going to step in and embarrass me by catching more fish from the same Spot.
I finally relinquished the Spot, sulking away to lick my wounds, while Boomer jumped back in. But Boomer is a considerate guy, and for the sake of my mental health, he acted like he was unable to catch another fish either.
Meanwhile, I happened into a buttery brown that was hiding under a big boulder on the other side of the river. After Boomer saw me catch Mr. Butter, he felt the freedom to pull another rainbow from the Spot, which turned out to be the biggest trout of the day at 14”.
We went to another area on Ramp Road, but nobody was home. Then to the Satan Kingdom area where Boomer set two captives free. From there to the Ovation Pool, where I coaxed a scrawny brown to the net.
Next, we went to Riverton where we had no luck.
At that point we decided to call it a day, wherein all the mammoth browns breathed a deep sigh of relief.
6 thoughts on “Fall Fishing the Farmington”
What is your take on MassWildlife stocking all these ponds and lakes in spring and fall? I realize the rivers are low this year, but it still seems, even on normal years, that the rivers get the last teat when it comes to the stocked trout. Has anyone done a count of the number of lakes and ponds that are stocked each year? It is well into the hundreds. Do the lakes and ponds have enough people fishing them to warrant being stocked so often? I don’t know. I’m relatively new to Mass. Since they all have warm weather species in them (largemouth, small mouth, bream, perch, crappie, etc) it seems that there is less of a need for trout to be stocked in so many. I may be wrong. I’m just wondering if I’m the only one who has these questions.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook), I think there are enough powerbait fishermen at these ponds to keep DFW focused on them. There is a small upside to this, however…with a little bit of research and some google maps stalking, many of these ponds have brooks that feed and drain them. One of my favorite trout holes on the planet is one such place that NOBODY visits. It’s 20 feet across, devoid of human activity and stacked with goofy bows who’ll fight over a chicken feather strapped to a size 8 hook. The cape is a different story…most of those are kettle ponds with no feeders. But a glance at some of the ponds on the mainland should give you a few leads. It sounds obvious but all you have to do is make sure there are no dams caging the fish in.
You hit it on the head Bill – If they had waited just a bit for more rain, we would have been fine. Frankly, I was born and raised in Mass – old timer now. Made the progression from bass/stripers etc to fly fishing some years ago – I still bass fish in ponds like Badacoock. I have never seen ANYONE over the years trout fishing in Badacoock (I fish there a lot). Further, I have seen what I call the trout feeding program in full swing the day of stocking on ponds like Long Pond – folks staking their dough balls to bring home dinner. I do not begrudge someone legally taking trout, but the program is designed for sport fishing, no? This state could do much more to stock fish in our rivers as a priority over ponds – they are not fished to any good degree – it is a waste, yet in private stocking like the Assebet, there are so many fly fishermen, that it certainly warrants the state re-evaluating this program.
I myself question the mass stocking practices with Spring vs Fall. It is weird with what lakes/ponds, rivers and streams listed in the spring that gets stocked, and then only certain of the same listed spring destinations are stocked in the fall and many of those fall destinations that do get stocked, get stocked multiple times. One of my main problems is locations like the Housatonic River which gets stocked in the spring, doesn’t get any scheduled stocking in the fall. The reason can’t be supporting hold overs, because many of the fall destinations that do get stocked don’t support holdovers. Locations like chesterfield gorge, we need to hold our breath on, because we never know in the fall which way the fall stocking will go until it either happens or not. Its irritating, but it is what it is.
It is vitally crucial not to target actively spawning fish when the fish are in spawning phase. While it can be debatable to fish close to redds, there are ways to do it without endangering the habitat.