Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The First Farmington Run of the Year

It was actually close to 80 degrees today. For early March that is almost scary. It was the perfect day to play hooky and fish the Farmington. The first Farmington Run of the year is always much anticipated, and although the water was cold an a little bit higher and faster than I would prefer it there were clearly fish on the move. Some are even starting to push into shallower and faster water. For me warmer weather and higher water mean streamer chucking and shortline nymphing. David Gallipoli and his friend Bob, spelled backwards for anonymity's sake ;)   , picked me up before 10:00 this morning and we were on the water shortly after 11:00. I had two rods with me, my 8 wgt. and my 5 wgt. The nymph rod had a two fly rig, a caddis pupa with a worm fly  dropper. The streamer rod had a four foot leader tapering down to 1x and a Drunk & Disorderly. In the first pool we fished I had a big brown come off the bottom and trash the D&D. He was obviously trying to stun it and wouldn't chase, but I wasn't able to get it to come back for the fly dead drifted, which is usually a great technique. I also had a few grabs with the nymph rig. Then we went up to Riverton to fish the pocket water.

Though it is certainly possible to fish streamers in the water bellow Hogback I have always preferred to use nymphs there. I ended up loosing my nymph rig while fishing a hard to reach pocket and changed to a Ausable Ugly. That was a great choice as I hooked a gorgeous male brown and about eight or nine wild brookies!



After a bit we decided to go down river. It was clear that the bigger fish were all in deeper, slower water. We buggered around New Hartford for a bit then went down even further. Around 3:00 I committed to streamers one hundred percent and I'm glad I did. There are a few dams on the Farmi and one in particular has been on my list of must-fish spots for a few years now. While Dave and Bob worked some excellent runs downstream I went bellow the dam to hunt for a giant. I got one pull on a Lafkas Modern Deceiver before I got it lodged on the bottom (I was fishing really deep, probably about 10 feet). Then I began pounding the eddy at the corner of the dam. There was a soft spot deep in the corner where I had about an 18 inch fish smash the fly right when it hit the water, but I then I tried to focus on the foam filled eddy. There was a bit of debris floating around and that made things very tricky. I was using a cone head Barely Legal and pretty much jigging it when I felt a few bumps. I wasn't sure what it was but I set the hook anyway and began pulling something very heavy out of the depths. It began to shake it's head just when it got in visual range and I just about shat my waders. It was a HUGE brown, and it had totally engulfed the fly. There was nothing of it showing outside of it's mouth. That made it all the more confusing when it came loose. A non fisherman probably wouldn't understand exactly what it feels like to loose the fish of a lifetime. I was shaking like a leaf. I had to sit down for a minute because my legs were wobbly and I didn't feel comfortable standing near the deep water. When I collected myself I got my fly back in the water and got a bitter consolation prize: a strong holdover bow that jumped and pulled drag. These Farmington River trout are strong, and this one did not appreciate my holding him and lodged the back hook of the fly into me palm. 







We hit one more spot and David managed to get a sizeable brown all pissed off with a streamer while I missed a few more big takes. I can feel it though. This is going to be an awesome streamer year.

12 comments:

  1. A great day for an educational field trip. That was an exciting day on the water! The trout look very healthy and strong. Your description of the hook-ups is great. Wish I was there!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

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    1. Thanks,
      It certainly was a great outing.

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  2. Looks like you had a good day of fishing, some catching and beautiful warm weather!! Great day to be on the river!!

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    1. Thanks,
      It was somuch better than going to school....

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  3. Sounds great! I am looking forward to hitting the Farmington soon. My car has a major issue and is out of commission for a bit, and that has be all upset today because I really would rather be fishing :)

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  4. The Farmington is a stunning river and those fish look happy and healthy. I'd sure like to fish it some day.

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    1. Thanks,
      They were pretty happy before I got to them!

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  5. RM
    Anytime you, Mark, or Alan does a post concerning the Farmington, it gets my attention. How I wish I lived closer to fish this fantastic tailrace. Gorgeous water and quality trout as a bonus. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks,
      The Farmington is a great river but it gets a lot of pressure, and there are even better streams in NY and PA.

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  6. We always learn from losing a fish like that. And they keep us coming back from more. I've been there...

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    1. Thanks,
      The best thing I learned from that beast was that fishing water on the Farmington that lots of people skip can be extremely productive!

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