Friday, October 28, 2011

Good things come in small packages.

I snuck out for a quick trip to Riverton before the impending Nor'Easter and nymphed for a little while using a March brown anchor, that I tied, with an orange egg trailing. The egg was the ticket with the juvenile salmon as they struck so aggressively.
This size was plentiful today and every area of water that I worked brought them out to play. I changed back and forth from the egg to other trailers in hopes of luring something a little larger to net but to no avail. I put the egg back on and the action began again.

The lower photo is the catch of the day, around 7". It was tough today, I was in sight of numerous anglers, up and downstream, an no one seemed to be having much luck. While it was a bit windy and cold, the water temp was actually pretty comfortable but it seemed like all the larger fish were either in hiding or just not feeding. Then there is the possible scenario that is was me...naaaahhhh :)

It's beginning to look at lot like...Halloween??

I understand that we live in New England and that the unpredictable weather is part of the charm of living here however, 6-12" of snow before Halloween? I realize that this snow will likely be gone in a day or so but I was hoping the kids wouldn't have to wear their new snow boots around the neighborhood trick o' treating.

Speaking of snow and new boots...let's give another shout out to Santa, in case he is struggling with ideas...I've been a good boy, just ask anyone...  :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

" Fall " Mornings

You may wonder why a portion of this entry is in quotations and you are wise to be wondering as such...Greg and I headed out for our first early Monday morning trip in quite a while. What started out as a  dark, 35 degree morning slowly emerged into a crisp New England fall dawn.

As Greg is new to fly fishing, I was content to hang out this morning and pass along some of the modest pointers I have picked up these past couple years, while enjoying the cool morning air. We were hanging out in some very "fishy" waters that had been productive for me  earlier in the season...the big difference is the water was much lower as it's still flowing pretty good in this spot. It was wild to see all the debris in the trees, an indication of just how high this water has been over the course of the summer.

After a bit, Greg was kind enough to hand off the rod and I threw a few casts, trying to get the flies down fast. About a dozen or so casts in and I was rewarded with a nice brown.

What made this even more fun was the fact that I was actually able to get a picture of me with a fish for a change.

Having a limited amount of time, we released our catch and I turned the rod back over to Greg. A few more casts and we decided to move down river a bit. Now, here's where the quotations come into play...I had just stepped onto the bank when I hear an unusual but familiar sound and I turn to see Greg bent over in the water, 1 arm up to the shoulder for his first Farmington River Baptism. I've taken a few dunks myself this year and, fortunately, they were all warm weather dips. However, kudos to my fishing partner, while he may not have realized it at the time, he did a good job protecting the rod while he himself was partially submerged. Until next Monday...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Having started to tie my own flies, I've come up with some variations of what I started out intending to tie. Allow me to present the Root Beer Float:

I caught my my first fish on flies that I tied yesterday during a quick run by the Housy. My version of the Strolis March Brown Anchor and my Root Beer Float each nabbed a rainbow. Needless to say, there is some satisfaction that you receive from tying a fly that actually lands a fish.

The conditions where fair yesterday, I thought they would be much better than what I actually found. The wind was just steady enough to make nymphing difficult. However, I did manage to land several decent bows.

Housatonic Guide Rob Nicholas, pictured below with client, floated by during the afternoon.

I wish I had a chance to ask him how he gets that dog of his to stay so mellow in the drift boat...my 2 Labs would be all over the place :)

The day ended with a couple of my neighbors, Greg and Paul, coming over to hang out while our wive's  scrap booked at another house. As we three are fans of the hot and spicy, I whipped up the artery busting Buffalo Chicken Dip.

 This coupled with some assorted Sam Adams made for a nice evening...all in all, a good day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Double Rainbow.

Having been summoned to the corporate office this week, I decided that, if I had to make the drive down, I would go the more scenic and slightly longer route. Lucky for me, this route takes me down along the Housatonic River. Who am I to pass up an hour on the river these days...

I pulled of at a spot where I had had some previous success, geared up and began my walk thru the woods. It's funny how short stops to fish become so much more when you take the time to enjoy your surroundings. I've seen the oddest tree trunks, mushrooms that look straight out of The Hobbit and animal tracks that leave me looking over my shoulder.

My time spent fishing has become about so much more than the actual fishing itself. While my everyday life requires me to be "plugged in" to a degree and accessible to colleagues in numerous time zones, fishing allows me the opportunity to turn everything off and just look and listen.

Ok, enough of the philosophy...let's talk fish!

My first double Rainbow!

I've had the double happen a bunch of times with smallmouth Bass as they seem to feed indiscriminately. However, I was as giddy as a little boy on Christmas morning when I began to get the first fish in range of the net only to realize the line was still taut and another bow had decided to join the party. Another 4 Rainbows came to net before the action at this location turned off. Sadly, I must admit, I was overzealous trying to land one fish, which I know was the pick of the litter, and it snapped off before I could land it.

I moved about 200 yards down stream to a little riffled water that developed at the end of a small glassy pool and landed a healthy brown that bolted downstream before deciding to cooperate.

As you can see, the leaf hatch was pretty heavy as well. With the exception of discovering the previously mentioned leak in the waders, the brief diversion was just what the doctor ordered. Fall fishing is fast becoming my favorite past time. Get out and fish while the getting is good!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wet Pants.

To this point, I have been fortunate that my waders have held up better than the Titanic. My initial pair of Cabela's waders provided adequate while I was first learning to fish. As time passed, and the addiction grew, I purchased a pair of Simms GoreTex waders.

I still use both pairs but lean hard on the Simms. On a recent trip to the Housy, I parked and started the process of gearing up to realize that I had left the Simms home, hanging in the garage. Thankfully, I had the Cabela's in the car otherwise this would have been my shortest outing of the season.

The leak must be pretty small as I did not feel anything until I was back at the car and removing the waders. My left leg was damp but not drenched. I figured, as I research the best way to attempt to find my leaks, I would post this article that offers a seemingly simple process.

Finding Wader Leaks

By Scott Richmond

Sooner or later your waders are going to leak. Finding the holes is the hardest part of fixing them. Here's how to do it.

It starts with a cold sensation. Sometimes it's around the knees, sometimes on the side of the foot, and sometimes it only happens when you wade more than crotch deep. "Uh-oh," you say. "Another leak in the waders."
Leaky waders are one of the inevitabilities of fly fishing. Sooner or later you're going to have to find those leaks and fix them. Unless the holes are large and obvious--which they usually aren't--it's the finding, not the fixing, that's the hard part.
This month I talked to Simms, Dan Bailey, and John Hagen at Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters in Portland, Oregon, about the best ways to find leaks in breathable waders. Here's some ways to do it:
  1. Simms' website recommends turning the waders inside-out and using rubbing alcohol to locate the leaks. They suggest applying the alcohol with a cotton ball, but John Hagen says he uses a spray bottle. "You can do it a lot quicker that way," says John. "Just spray the rubbing alcohol on the inside of the waders. It evaporates faster where there's a leak, and that area turns dark." Use a permanent marker (Sharpie, Identi-pen, etc.) to mark the dark spots. When the alcohol has evaporated and the fabric is dry, put a dab of Aquaseal on the spot. One problem with this approach is that some wader brands use dark fabric on the inside, which makes it hard to tell where the alcohol is getting darker. If you use a spray bottle, don't saturate the fabric; just get it slightly damp.
  2. Dan Bailey suggests three additional methods. One is to turn the waders inside-out and take them into a dark room; shine a flashlight inside them and see where the pinpoints of light occur. Mark those points with a marking pen and patch with Aquaseal. Another suggestion is to trap air in the waders and hold them under water; bubbles will come out of the leaks. The third suggestion is to fill them with water and see where the water comes out.
I've tried all of these leak-finding tactics on my Simms Gore-Tex waders. The rubbing alcohol/spray bottle approach worked best for me. The flashlight-in-a-closet strategy is okay, but not as effective as rubbing alcohol. The other two tactics have only worked for me when the holes are big.
Leaks in the feet and seams can be problematic. You void Simms warranty if you put Aquaseal on a seam. Simms suggests sending the waders back to them if you have a serious tear or problem with the feet or seams. Feet can be replaced for about $50 for both feet. Seam repair is free if the waders are still on warranty.
The best strategy for foot leaks is prevention: wear gravel guards and you'll significantly extend the life of your wader's feet.
Also, turn your waders inside-out after using them and let the insides dry thoroughly. When the inside is dry, reverse the waders and dry the outside. Don't store them until they're thoroughly dry inside and out. Store in a cool, dry space out of the light.
Can you repair breathable waders forever? 'Fraid not. Rocks live forever, but Gore-Tex and other breathable fabrics will eventually wear out.
Scott Richmond is Westfly's creator and Executive Director. He is the author of eight books on Oregon fly fishing, including Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River (second edition).
Uploaded 06/26/2003.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reduced dependence on foreign oil.

Was very excited to fire up, no pun intended, the new fireplace wood insert this morning. While there wasn't completely a need to do so as the temperature was pretty comfortable this morning. However, my impatient inner child won out and we were burning by 9am.

I think we are in for a huge difference this winter as this thing really works as advertised. After getting up to temperature, the fan kicked in and began to spread the heat out into the room and beyond. I can only imagine how well it will work once we are into the dead of winter. Take that Hugo Chavez...viva la wood!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rainy Daze.

I sit here, in my office at home, listening to the continuos droplets of rain pelting my roof and wonder if this is some new form of water torture. One trip to the river in the last couple of weeks has left me with a better understanding of just how addicting fly fishing can be. It's not just about the fishing, rather the whole "experience" of getting out, being on the water, enjoying the quiet moments and just appreciating the scenery that might have been otherwise missed.

This beautiful image above leaves me wondering when I will be able to next sneak out for a bit. Is all this moisture foreshadowing what we'll have to look forward to this winter? I don't know about you but I could do without having to have my roof shoveled again.

On the bright side, this could be the opportunity to practice some tying. I'm still waiting for my order of flat lead strips as I found, for certain applications, the lead wire isn't a good weight for me. During my trip to the Housy this week, I did manage to land one fish using a fly that I tied and it really is a pretty cool feeling. Next up will be learning how to tie some Prince Nymphs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This is what PTO days are for...

Have had the serious fishing bug lately and the Farmington, with the exception of this past weekend, has been higher than I care to fish.

Decided to take a PTO day from the office and head out to Cornwall and spend the day on the Housy. 

What an absolutely perfect day! Started out in the upper 50's around 9am and went into the middle 60's by mid-day. Blue skies, sparse clouds and virtually no wind. Even better was that lack of other anglers. I'm guessing most got their fix over the long Columbus Day weekend.

Ok, so on to the fishing. Worked the area above the campground and Carse Brook and was greeted by lots of Rainbows...I am guessing all recently stocked as they were about 12" models. I love Rainbows because they are feisty and put on a nice acrobatic show, no matter what size they are.

Caught around 10 or so of this size bow in a couple of spots that were new to me. What a great day just to get out and explore some new water. Moved up river, north of the covered bridge and settled into some riffled water. This was the first spot were I encountered a few other anglers. I dropped into a spot between 2 guys who seemed to be chucking streamers. Within my first 1/2 dozen casts, I was into a nice brown...note the green elastomer behind the eye. I'll have to look up and see when this color was stocked. Not a great picture but this guy put up a fight. What made this even better was the look I got from the 2 guys who were chucking the streamers...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My first fly.

Ok, so I have a loooooong way to go before even the most starved trout jump on this bad boy however, it's a start.

This is my first attempt at my favorite fly, Rich Strolis' MBA ( March Brown Anchor ). I've used this fly with such success that I am at the point of wanting to learn to tie my own as it will be more cost effective in the long run.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My crystal ball is working...

As I recently surmised, the Army Corp of Engineers increased the flow from the dam as the West Branch of the Farmington is currently running at 1090cfs plus and additional 590cfs from the Still River putting us close to 1700cfs.

I'm hoping that they will have dialed the flow back by Thursday or Friday as the weather forecast looks very promising for the weekend and it would be nice to get out and do some fishing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Candy store follow up.

For this first time in quite a while, I was skunked today. Spent a little time above Riverton this morning and, even with the Rock candy larva leading the charge, I couldn't manage to find a willing fish. I nymphed all through the water column with no luck.

I did manage to hook one fish shortly before calling for the day but even this one fish seemed determined to   contribute to the shut out effort.

On the plus side, I watched the DEEP stocking truck hit several spots along the river...those spots to be nameless at this time. It's really neat to see the workers pulling fully loaded nets of fish out of the truck tanks and depositing them into their new home.

On the down side, I had my first experience where another angler clearly saw the water I was preparing to target and, as I was changing flies, this genius snuck right into the run, about 30 ft away. Now, given that there was virtually no one else around this morning, I can't believe he could not find another suitable place to wet his line.  While the old me would have enjoyed some verbal sparing, the slightly newer model simply chuckled to myself that this guy was a schmuck and I moved on.

With the water above Riverton around 252cfs, this is still the best best. Levels are slowly receding at the confluence of the Still and Farmington however, if the tributaries start to settle down and the rain subsides for a bit, I wouldn't be surprised to see another potential release from the dam that would make fishing tough.

Nymphing and streamers seem to be the ticket however, I did see a couple sporadic risers today.

Hope springs eternal!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A kid in the candy store...

It was with the anticipation of a child at Christmas, that I waited for delivery of my Rock Candy Larva from fly tier Rich Strolis. I have had glimpses of Rich's fly boxes the couple times I had been out fishing with them and they were cool looking. I fished this one particular pattern of his and, it was at that point, I knew I would one day have to tie my own flies.

Friday's mail delivery arrived with my order of Rock Candy and I can't wait to put them into action this week.

Overall, flows on the Farmington are around 1150cfs on the West Branch and around 220cfs below the dam. There is a 50% chance of rain each of the next 3 days with the sun breaking out consistently sometime around Thursday. I'm looking for the first chance I can get to put this guy into action.