Friday, September 30, 2011

DEEP offers October 8th as "Free Fishing Day"

The CT DEEP has designated Saturday, October 8th as Free Fishing Day for recreational fishing for inland and marine waters.

This day will provide a great opportunity for all anglers to introduce someone to the joys of fishing. This could be a great chance to get together with a friend or neighbor and cast a line for a few hours. With all the stocking that has been done in recent weeks, there are plenty of places to go out and enjoy a great day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What gives?

I took the slightly longer route home from Manhattan today and drove through Kent and Cornwall to check out the condition of the Housatonic. It certainly had the appearance of a nice cup of hot cocoa and, during a stop at Housatonic River Outfitters, Torrey mentioned that the levels were increasing at a very gradual clip rather than the spikes that sometimes occur with heavy rains.

Continuing on, I drove my small sections of my home river, the Farmington, which also looked chocolaty and higher than recent days. A review of the USGS charts currently show 2800cfs at the confluence of the Still River and around 450cfs at Riverton. Hopefully, the water will recede as quickly as it rose.

More importantly, I'm left to wonder what fishing gods were offended this summer. As I have not been fishing for decades, for me anyway, this has been a strange season on the river. I would like someone to tell me if a virgin sacrifice, incense, dead chickens or some other cleansing ritual is required given the rain that continues to show up every time the water seems like it's ready to be truly fishable again.

I'm open to any and all suggestions at this point.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So what's the "weary" part?

Weary...in my version of the Webster's dictionary, Weary: worn out, burned out, disillusioned resulting from stupidity, indecision, and cowardice. Imagine doing something, that used to be such fun, for so long, that you get to a point where it's just not fun anymore...not even remotely fun.

I would so love to use this as a forum to vent on the aspects of my life that fund my fishing habit however, I am much to wise to use such a public venue to do so lest my comments be used against me.

However, there are the joys of vaguery.

My winter project.

Even though I have a great online source for very good quality flies, I am going to attempt to tie some for myself. I have found that some of the most productive flies that I have been using are made by a local aquaintance and rather than continue to pay retail for these, I am going to give it a go myself.

I've picked up the Wapsi Beginner's Fly Tying Kit and this should get me going and I will likely spend some time with a local tying guru in order to get started. I'm not sure if I am getting in over my head but, how hard can it be...I think Custer muttered something similar right before Little Big Horn....

Wapsi Fly Tying Starter Kit

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Farmington 9/27

Even though the USGS flow chart reads 430cfs above Riverton, it certainly felt like the flows were much higher as I was consistently having trouble getting nymphs down deep enough. Struck out in an area that has been producing very well over the last few weeks and I wonder if the fish are really moving around in this higher water.

Fished Ovation solo for the first time today and before catching any fish, I took a nice dunk. Yep, full on, over the waders, water down to my socks. Fortunately, with the humidity is actually felt pretty good.

Shortly after gathering myself from dunk 1, yes, there was a dunk 2 later in the morning, I hooked and landed what turned out to be a red elastomer brown. I wish I had paid more attention to the fish as I don't recall which eye was tagged as this would help me determine when the fish was put into the river. I'm thinking is was the right side...

Current flows are still over 600cfs and today was the first day I wandered around the river and saw, firsthand, how things have changed since Irene came roaring through. Debris fields were amazingly high and in locations that surprised me and it seems like the character of some holes and holding spots that I have previously fished have been changed by the substantial rains we received.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just finished...

Joe Humphrey's Trout Tactics was suggested to me by a friend as a another good introductory read for fly fishing. The book was very simply written and the information was plainly stated without a lot of the personal author stories that seem to get in the way of actual pertinent information.

In particular, Humphrey really stresses the need for a simple thermometer and the need to understand how different temperatures will impact your fishing. A very good read that I would suggest to anyone just starting out or even just looking to gain some more knowledge.

Conditions 9/26

The Farmington is currently running around 730 cfs although lower waters can be found below the dam in Riverton around 430cfs.  All types of streamers are working, in particular, bright colors. Iso nymphs, Golden Stone nymphs and Pheasant Tails are all working on the bottom...fished deep at the moment.  Tan and October Caddis as well as BWO and Iso are all hatching.

Lots of these in the riffles at the moment...
I hear the Housatonic is still around 2000cfs and, if you are a die hard, the edges and pools are fishable. If the rain holds off this week, the weekend should be set up nicely.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday 9/25

Current flows on the West Branch of the Farmington River are just over 400cfs with the Still River adding another 400 cfs. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days so it's a matter of how much more we get. The DEEP did a small stocking and, hopefully, they will be in a position to finish the fall stocking program soon.

Brightly colored streamers seem like the way to go for the next few days.

Let's hope the rain stays away. One another note, the Housatonic River crested around 2600cfs and should be backing down rather quickly. I would anticipate it would be fishable again tomorrow or tuesday, again, depending on the rain.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Current flows.

454 cfs from the West Branch at Riverton plus another 250ish from the Still River have put the Farmington around 700 cfs at the moment and, depending on the duration of the rain and any need for further releases from the dam, the river should be fishable this weekend with Streamers and Nymphs being the ticket to action.

Supposedly the CT DEEP was doing some additional stocking today so there should be some "slow" fish in the water for the weekend.

The Circle E

While flying home from a business trip today, I decided to sort through the photos on my cell phone camera. I came across this beauty from a trip to the Delaware River.

Our first night in Hancock, NY, Mike and I stopped into the Circle E Diner for a bite to eat after the long day of driving. Reading the description of this dish on the menu made me curious and when the waitress asked if I wanted gravy on my open faced sandwich, which is how the locals order it, who was I to refuse.

Mike's dinner was of similar proportions and we both just laughed at the appearance of the plates. I'm know sure if I needed the knife in the photo however, I am sure a straw would have helped with the gravy.

Highly recommended for breakfast but hold the gravy if you are ever in town.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cloudy day with a chance of Rainbows...

Overall a pretty crummy day both work wise. Fortunately, I was afforded a brief trip to fast water that produced about a dozen yearling browns and 1 feisty Rainbow.

The fishing was tough today. Places that looked fishy, with all the right conditions, produced little and I was left scratching my head after working long stretches of water that I would have sworn to be more productive.

I was walking to one particular spot that I have fished about 6 times in the last month and each time, the bottom surrendered a beautiful brown trout. Now I'm left to wonder if I have landed the same fish a few times but it seems that there is always one to be found in this specific spot. As I approached the spot, ascending the slope was a spin fisherman with a beautiful 16"+ brown trout. We chatted briefly and he complained about the lack of action and the frustration of all the yearlings he was catching. I'm not sure if he noticed that I was fixated on the trout he had swinging from a hook. We parted ways and I hoped the guard rail down to the bank.

I proceeded to wade into position, a position that has shown me a brown before. Cast after cast, I came up empty with the exception of the now annoying yearlings. I couldn't help but wonder if his, soon to be dinner, was the brown that I have seen a few times before yet, will never see again.

I'm not sure what it is, but I just don't have it in me to take a catch from the river. I mean, how badly do you need the meal? Perhaps this is why I don't hunt either. In these days of all the governmental cutbacks and the potential impact on the stocking programs, holdovers and natives are even more important than ever...whenever possible Catch & Release.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fish on...

Levels on the Farmington River at Riverton have dropped from 1900 cfs to 822 cfs in the last 30 minutes. Who says Monday's suck?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A valiant attempt.

The day began full of promise. Even the 5:30am check of the USGS flow charts showing 2050cfs at Riverton didn't discourage me. I met my neighbor, Greg, at the car and we were off by 6:00. Perhaps the robin that chose suicide by Volvo should have been the first sign however, we drove on. The ride along East River Road should have been the second sign however, we drove on.

As Greg had not been up to the dam, we drove to the top of Hogback Rd, parked and walked across to take a peak at what was creating the mist and "steam" that was rising up over the trees. Alas, it was the third sign, another that I chose to ignore as I was still in withdrawl. The water was flowing off the high water release area with a fury that made be realize that fly fishing was not in the cards today.

Fortunately, I had thrown 2 spin rods into the car as a fall-back plan. Even spin fishing proved difficult as the high water pushed us back to spots on shore that were further into the tree line than usual. After relocating to a more conducive location for chucking rooster tails, cast # 2 produced a nice little brown with what felt like a full belly. This fish solidified two things for me...#1- I despise treble hooks and #2 - spin fishing is better left to people other than myself. Now, this might seem snobby, elitist or otherwise biased but I don't understand the satisfaction one derives from mindlessly and repetitively tossing a lure halfway across the river and reeling it back in only to do the same thing again and again.

Luckily, there isn't a lot of traffic to this blog at the moment so I don't think I am offending many spin fishers with my comments. For me, the allure of fly fishing comes from the presentation of a fly or nymph that you are trying to present as naturally occurring. There is a strategy, a game of cat and mouse between predator and prey, that is very appealing to me. Still, action or no action, I firmly believe there is such a thing as a poor time spent on the river.

As a footnote, the strangeness continued on the ride home when a kamikaze squirrel attempted to make it across the road in front on my car...let's just say the score is XC70 - 1, squirrel's - 0.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Let the games begin!

Beginning now through mid-October, The CT DEEP will be stocking approximately 30,000 adult trout into Connecticut ponds and rivers. 15,000 adult-size rainbows and 14,500 trophy size browns are in the mix as well as 33,000 " yearling " trout. Yearling are trout in the 6" to 9" range.

The Farmington River flows remain high with 2100cfs at Riverton and the Still River is adding another 140cfs to that number, keeping the flow high. The Housatonic River, which had been unfishable for the past several weeks, continues to drop nicely and is currently running around 1860cfs.

The DEEP stocked the Housy with yearlings and some bows on Friday and the larger browns are expected to be put in next week. Additionally, Housatonic River Outfitters will be moving forward with their private stocking which is done through contributions from anglers and non-anglers alike. To learn more about their private stocking, you can visit their website: www.dryflies.com

As the waters begin to recede and with the addition of the cooler temps, I would expect the fall fishing to be fantastic.

* note that this is not an image from stocking my local waters. this image was taken from the web as an example of methods of putting fish into the waters.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who hosts the FFA meetings?

Ok, so I have never really been addicted to anything to the point of suffering withdrawal symptoms...well, there was the Krispy Kreme phase but that's passed.

I'm trying not to count but I think I am on day 7ish of no fishing.

I must now say I am close to full on shakes...going out and throwing a fly would do me a lot of good. Not that I am going to go postal or anything, wait, my father was a mailman? That's a whole different post...the rain showers that are going on are not going to help my case with the Army Corp of Engineers. I am hoping they will stop releasing from the dam tonight or tomorrow and that the river will be fishable by the weekend or at least Monday morning for the early A.M. outing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The basics of proper catch and release.

Many times when I talk to people about fishing, they often ask if I keep the fish I catch. I am purely a catch and release angler who fishes solely for the challenge and enjoyment received from landing a fish.  In order to shorten my fly fishing learning curve, over the last several years I have been out with a number of different guides.

Each guide made sure to discuss the basics of proper casting, knot tying, drift, etc, however, none spoke of the attention that needs to be paid to landing and reviving a fish.

The article below is one of the more concise descriptions of C&R that I have come across.

Humane catch-and-release techniques

By Jen Matteis
AMC Outdoors, May/June 2011
Removing a hook from a fish can be a traumatic experience for both the fish and the one who hooked it, but there's good news for fly fishing enthusiasts who want to learn catch and release: It's easy. Plus, proper catch-and-release techniques—required by law in some waters—allow anglers to practice their sport in areas with few fish and help heavily fished areas to recover.
In many places, "catch and release definitely has helped bring back fish populations," says Shannon LeRoy, AMC Maine Woods Initiative programs manager and a Registered Maine Guide who's taught fly fishing to children and adults for almost two decades. Properly released fish "can go out, lick their wounds, and go for the next fly that comes at them," says LeRoy. Such fish can then reproduce, and provide sport for future generations.

Prepare your hooks 
Keep the following tips in mind to increase the odds of your fish living to fight another day.
Before you head outdoors, remove the barbs from your hooks or purchase barbless hooks. This will facilitate hook removal and minimize damage to the fish. Using pliers, pinch the barb down on a regular hook to remove it.
LeRoy notes that catching fish without barbed hooks may be more difficult for first-timers since barbs are designed to secure fish on the line, but it becomes easier with experience.
How to handle a fish
"Never touch the fish with a dry hand," says LeRoy. "I always try to keep the fish in the water. Bringing the fish out of the water is very traumatic to it."
Nets and any surface such as rocks or sand should also be avoided since they remove the mucous membrane on fishes' skin, which could lead to infections.
If the fish is struggling, hold it on its back underwater, and cover its head and eyes before removing the hook. "This has a calming effect on the fish and makes it easier to remove the hook," says LeRoy.
Remove the hook
Removing a barbless hook from a fish should be a breeze, even while it's still in the water. Since the fish bit a moving fly, the hook is more likely to have caught on the fish's lip than have been swallowed, facilitating fish survival and hook removal.
"Run your hands down the line to the hook and then give it a little twitch and it usually just pops right out," LeRoy says.
Those who don't want to touch the fish can use forceps to remove the hook, keeping the fish stationary in the water with tension on the line. "Hold [the fish] tight with the line to where you can reach down with the forceps," says LeRoy, who added that commercial hook removers are also available. A "push and twist" with the forceps is usually enough to get the hook out without having to touch the fish.
Revive the fish
If the fish doesn't struggle to swim away, make sure to resuscitate it. While holding the fish underwater, move it using LeRoy's method: "Wave the body back and forth so that the head rocks back and forth. That activates the gills and gets oxygen back into it and that wakes them back up."
Possible problems
Occasionally, a fish will swallow the hook or the hook becomes deeply embedded. If this happens, LeRoy advises taking the fish home to eat. However, "if you're in catch-and-release water, then you have to release it no matter what," LeRoy says. While cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish isn't ideal, the hook will eventually dissolve.
"Their saliva is so strong that it will disintegrate the hook," says LeRoy, noting that it can take up to 120 days. "The fish is still capable of moving and eating and breathing."
Once the fish is freed of the hook, don't expect to see it again anytime soon—but since you've increased its chance to reproduce, know that both you and your children can count on that fishing spot in the future. Let that one fish go today, and you'll find more tomorrow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

That's what being lazy gets you...

Instead of getting up with the sun and being on the water at 6am, I slept just a bit longer and didn't fish early. From the latest reading below, my choice was a poor one...I could have had 2 quality hours at 100cfs  and been home at my desk content for the day.

Now I find myself looking at the latest USGS chart and am wondering when I will be able to fish next...100 cfs to almost 2000 cfs in less than an hour....  :(

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years.

Amazing. I caught myself thinking the other day, as the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks approached, that it was about to be a full decade since that day passed. 10 years. Ten years that I have had to share with family and friends, to work, to play or to do nothing at all. May the families and friends of all the 9-11 victims be in our thoughts today as we are reminded that no matter how dark it gets, the sun will rise.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The new honey hole?

This particular spot above the old Hitchcock chair factory smiled on me once again. I'm not sure if it's the possible lack of fishing pressure, the high waters having receded or just plain old dumb luck but this one stretch of water, no more than 100ft long produced some great fishing.

Normally, I find that the Rainbows are very aggressive when taking the lure underneath and that trend continued today. However, several very healthy browns took flies with some serious vigor.

I had been netting a lot of bows lately and, while I shouldn't be, I was getting frustrated by the lack of browns.  In addition to being very aggressive and acrobatic, bows are not overly selective in what they will take for food. Browns, on the other hand, are very picky. I was beginning to think it was me and perhaps my presentation needed more work. Today reaffirmed that the fish are still around after all this high water and my skills continue to improve.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

High water, what high water?

I have to give thanks and credit to Rich Strolis for introducing me the the Czech / Euro Nymphing method of fly fishing. Prior to learning this method there were many days when I was skunked. Now, regardless of the conditions, there are very few trips out that I pull the old goose egg.

With all the rain the last fews days I found that, regarding the Farmington, the only positive was that the MDC stopped the releases from the Goodwin Dam and the flows were back under 450cfs - that's not to say they won't ramp that up in the near future to reduce the lake levels but, for now, I'll take it.

Had my first 3 B hat trick...Brook, Brown and Bow ( Rainbow ), I know, it 's a stretch. The brookie was only about 4" and while very colorful, not photo worthy. On the other hand, the Brown and the Rainbow were nice fish.

Even with the high water levels that are dominating just about all of the river, there are still some spots that, with a little effort, provide some great opportunity to bring nice fish to net.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is it to early to drop hints to Santa?

So my current pair of wading boots are getting pretty trashed and I have been salivating for the new introduction from Simms, the Rivertek Boa. What's not to love...super light weight, click to lock and unlock lacing system and metal laces that won't freeze during the winter.

I'm hoping that Santa happens to find my blog during his downtime before the holiday season kicks into gear.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I think we're gonna need a bigger boat.

With the rain starting again and looking to continue for a couple more days, I am resigned to reading about fishing rather than actually doing some fishing.

I didn't have this blog back in May when I made my first, and hopefully not last, trip to the Upper Delaware River. Our high water conditions are making me think of the drift boat Mike and I spent 2 days floating...

This trip was my first real taste of wild trout fishing. Mike took this picture right before we started the 2nd day of our trip and within minutes...success...

Our guide from the Delaware River Club, Bruce, was kind enough to hold this slippery brown while Mike took a quick photo. Bruce humored me and Mike over our days together as we were like giddy school girls, wanting to take pictures of EVERY fish we caught...and I think we did!

I'm hoping to make this guided trip an annual event, so Jenn, if you are reading this...let me know if I am clear for 2012 :) - and Mike, once the boss clears me, I'm hoping you'll be up for the trip as well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hiding in plain sight...

Sometimes you don't have to go far from home to find some really neat places to explore. Enders Forest is one of those spots. Numerous waterfalls and pools make it a fun hike for all ages and the kids love walking through pools that are, mostly, shallow.

While it seems that some of the trail has been blocked by recently fallen trees, there are still plenty of trails to wander down.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Katia regains strength.

With the river still re-adjusting from the after effects of Irene and the subsequent dam releases, Katia has quietly reformed into a Class 2 Hurricane way out in the Atlantic. There is potential that we could be affected by this next weekend. With the fall DEP stocking already on hold, this is the last thing we need.

Let's cross our fingers and hope we catch a break...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The 99th Annual Goshen CT Fair

This weekend marks the 99th year for the Goshen Fair, so we packed up the family and made the drive out to the Fairgrounds and I was immediately rewarded with the Fried Dough Truck. Nothing says country fair like a good fried dough an fortunately, the one benefit to being back in CT is we use sauce here.

After our initial helping of fair treats, we ventured through some of the various barns and were greeted by a host of very cute barnyard favorites: cows, sheep, rabbits, chickens and pigs.

As 1:00 rolled around, the boys became very anxious as the time for the truck pulling contest had arrived. In the heat of the afternoon, we sat and watched as various modern and antique trucks tried for the elusive " full pull ".

Once again, we visited Tractor Mac and were greeted by the author, Billy Steers, who was kind enough sign a couple of books for the boys.

We ended our day trying to free some aliens from their cages but it just wasn't meant to be...

Dam releases and re-stocking

In order to draw down the levels of the Colebrook River Lake, the dam releases from the Goodwin dam will continue until, at least, Tuesday, 9/6

This section of the river had been fishing nicely until the releases started on Wednesday morning and the levels rose almost instantly. The pre-Labor Day stocking of the West Branch of the Farmington River has also been postponed and will be reviewed next week and the re-stocking date will then be determined.

Friday, September 2, 2011

In case you missed it...

The Daily Beast just released their list of t he "Horniest Colleges in the US" - I am so glad I read the newspapers as I don't know how I would make it through my day without knowing this type of ranking.

1. Wesleyan University
2. Yale University
3. Rice University
4. Bowdoin College
5. Stanford University
6. University of Pennsylvania
7. Vanderbilt University
8. University of Southern California
9. Middlebury College
10. Ohio University-Main Campus
11. Trinity College
12. University of Wisconsin-Madison
13. The University of Texas at Austin
14. Bucknell University
15. Hamilton College
16. Colorado College
17. Dartmouth College
18. University of California, Santa Barbara
19. University of Virginia
20. University of Kansas
21. University of Oregon
22. Duke University
23. University of Miami
24. Swarthmore College
25. Brown University

I must say, I am a little disappointed that my alma mater, CCSU, was not among the list...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

George Costanza worked at the wrong place.

I'm sure those of us, of a certain age, remember the Seinfeld episode where George was fired from his job for having sex on his desk with the cleaning lady. I can still recall that great scene with George and his boss:

Mr. Lippman: It's come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct? 
George Costanza: Who said that? 
Mr. Lippman: She did. 
George Costanza: [pause] Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time. 
Mr. Lippman: You're fired! 
George Costanza: Well, you didn't have to say it like that.

Now if George had been a police officer for the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico - that would have been ok.

Apparently, this police officer decided to take the police motto " To Protect and Serve" just one step further. While on duty, the officer in question decided to have carnal relations on the hood of a car. This fine, upstanding city employee was also named Officer of the Year for 2010 and his colleagues called him a "workhorse".

While this situation was not illegal, the matter has been investigated and has been closed finding no legal wrong doing. There may be some disciplinary actions taken but it does not appear our helpful public servant will lose his job.