Catching quality trout by simply flicking the Switch!

 

        

        The summer doldrums have officially set in and the numbers of fisherman have dwindled; leaving the banks littered with  fewer fisherman and plenty of exposed boulders and log jams.  The fish are weary and easily spooked as the low water levels and higher water temperatures force trout to be less active in the heat of the day.  We’ve all been there and few have mastered the art of long leader, small diameter tippet, dry fly fishing.  Hooking these educated fish in low water can try the patience of even the most experienced of fly fishermen.  For the last month I have been trying some alternative summer tactics. Though the tackle may be a great deal heavier and somewhat unconventional the results have been undeniable.

        Twilight and nightime hours when the water is at its coolest temperatures of the day and many natural predators have gone to roost provides predatory fish with the perfect set of circumstances to take advantage of  large food items ie, mice, frogs, or injured  baitfish  that are finding their way onto the river at night.  Larger fish actually seek these things out; cruising shallow tail outs, pocket water and even riffles with water barely covering their back. 

        With these thoughts in mind I was off, on a mission. I started experimenting with a few old bass patterns mixed with some newer, quicker, and easier tying materials.  Like a true mad scientist I twisted and turned, cut and glued until Whalaaaaa!  I called upon a few of my choice specimens to accompany me on my midnight spooks.

                Warning!  If all the teenage horror movies that  you watched as a teenager didn’t provoke absolute fear of the darkness and what’s in it, fishing in complete darkness just may.  How about a few bats zinging dangerously close to your head or a beaver/muskrat/racoon approaching you in darkness and erupting a few feet away when startled by you!  Wow, I hate that.  Explosive strikes from trout at a close proximity can be teeth chattering.  These circumstances are just unsuitable, and undesirable to most; however once tamed the anxiety transforms to the quiet focus of your primal senses.  The fear of not being able to see slowly diminishes and once relaxed you are amazed at how much you can actually see!  The unknown becomes know and those fishermen who master this beast can be in for some exhilarating and rewarding experiences involving trout of monstrous proportions. 

        The easiest way to tame the beast, so to speak, is to just call a fishing buddy or two and have them join in on the fun.  Teaming up is definitely the most productive and safest way to enjoy this method of fishing.  Two or more fishermen can cover water swiftly and provide comfort, sanity and safety to your expedition. 

        Many other precautions should be taken as well.  The first and most vital piece of equipment would be a couple of good, reliable lights.  I say couple because if one fails you may be left trudging around in complete darkness.  Nothing would be more horrifying than trying to hike back to your vehicle through briars, and dense underbrush with a flyrod in your hand.  On the other hand breaking a fly off early on in your trip without any light to re tie could bring an early end to your evening.  Carrying two good reliable lights with batteries that you maintain regularly is a must. 

        Scouting is another indispensable tool.  If deep cuts and drop offs exist you want to know ahead of time.   Big rocks and other tangles such as logs, brush and other debris make scouting the area you want to fish absolutely necessary. 

        Carrying a cell phone on these trips or any trips for that matter is a must for me (makes my spouse happy too).  Being able to dial 911 in case of an emergency can obviously save your life, The built in GPS tracking signal can aide local law enforcement in the event that you somehow become lost or injured.  When it comes to safety don’t take any chances, cover all angles, and always double check!

        Put a variety of patterns in your box that both sink and float which will provide lots of options on the water.  Good floating patterns should include cork poppers to mimic frogs and wounded baitfish.  Mice are a must on the list of most effective; floating flies as well.  These floating patterns should be tied with durable materials, large trout have no remorse and will quickly eradicate inferior patterns.  Even the sturdiest of patterns will require maintenance.  Like a patchwork quilt many of my patterns left tailless from ferocious strikes have new tails scabbed to the hook shank.  Though most materials are hardly a match for the large knifelike teeth of predatory trout, the destruction can be kept to a minimum by reinforcing your patterns with some good heavy thread and strong cement.  For sinking flies you will want go to large streamers that replicate the baitfish that are present in the water you fish.  The term baitfish is used loosely here as many of these large night feeding fish are certainly cannibalistic making all smaller fish suitable prey. 

        Terminal gear for this kind of fishing is greatly changed to facilitate the casting of these rather big flies.  With this in mind 5-7 weight rods are ideal and will greatly aid in casting.  A good stout 6-7 ft leader is also in order.    I like to use a butt section of 50lb test to help me turn these monster flies over on the water.  I taper this butt section down using 30lb and then 20lb mono to facilitate the 1x tippet.  This may sound brash I know, but believe me the fish are preoccupied with what’s on the end of your leader and don’t seem to mind or care about your leader at all.  I find heavier leaders necessary to minimize break offs and allow the angler to quickly subdue large fish.  Minimizing stress and exhaustion levels the fish endure before release is crucial when low water and higher water temperatures already have trout stressed.  For best results rotate your locations to ensure your on  fresh fish and not one’s you’ve spooked or put down.

        Nightime flyfishing can be a rewarding experience if the approach is thoughtful and organized.  It would be irresponsible for me to suggest this method without outlining safety concerns, proper gear and talking about the health and welfare of the fish caught in the light of the moon.  Thanks for appearances by my friends Brian, Mike and Steve I would have been very limited in water without them.  Good luck and tight lines to all!   

                                                                                                                                                  JW

  • Dog days of Summer on the Farmington River 2010.

    Date: 8/9/I0

    Water Flow: 200 CFS

    Visibility: clear

    Water Temp: 59F a.m.

    Water Condition: low

    Access Point: upper TMA

    Hatches (in order of importance:

    A.M.

    Tricos 22-26

    Winter/summer Caddis 18-22

    Tan Caddis 16-18

    Needhami 22-24

    Midday

    Ants, Beetles, and other terrestrials should do the trick.

    P.M.

    Isonychia 10-14

    Anthopotamus 10-12

    Comments: Tricos are coming off in the upper TMA, the Duns start showing up in the early a.m. shortly followed by the spinners into midmorning. I haven’t seen any blanket hatches of these insects by any means, hopefully this hatch will materialize into the lower sections of the river this week.

    Winter/summer Caddis are still blowing up the rivers’ edge in the a.m. hours. This is my favorite hatch and it is still going on each morning from the crack of dawn into the late morning. This hatch could almost be fished 365 days a year here on the Farmington River.

    Tan Caddis are coming off throughout the day and fish slash at them making loud and splashy rise forms, sometimes launching into a full body breech as they chase these emerging pupae.

    Isonychia have been emerging in good numbers in the evening hours. We have been fishing them at last light and into the darkness. Usually shortly after sunset there is a very strong emergence and fish ruthlessly give chase. Anthopotamus or formally known as Potomanthus, nicknamed Golden Dun, hatch and emerge on the slower sections of the Farmington in fairly good numbers during the evening hours. Given their large size take off can be slow and clumsy causing many fish to give chase. Fishing a yellow parachute style fly during late evening can double as the Golden Dun spinner, which also can be seen at the same time as the emerging Duns.

    The water is low but we are still having fun and catching lots of fish. I would like to especially thank my nephew Tyler for taking time out of his busy summer and spending it with my family here in Connecticut and on the Farmington River. Tyler, I speak for all of us here at JWflyfishing when I say “We had a great two weeks visiting with you and having you fish along our side.” We look forward to doing it again. Great luck out there to all!

  • Summertime on the Farmington River.

    Date: 7/20/10
    Water Flow: 220 CFS
    Visibility: clear
    Water Temp: 60F a.m.

    Water Condition: low-water

    Access Point: upper TMA

    Hatches (in order of importance): winter/summer caddis 20-22 a.m., Needhami duns 22-24 midmorning, Isonychia 10-14 p.m., midges 22-20 a.m.

    Comments: The winter summer caddis hatch continues to be a spectacle during the a.m. hours. Many fish line up on soft water seams rising to take these tiny Pupae as they row along in the meniscus to the shoreline to finish their emergence on the rocks and logs near the edge of the river. I had one of my best days on the river this past weekend when this hatch came on at 6a.m. and started winding down at 11a.m., we caught trout on everything from foam pupae patterns to french nymphing small winter/summer caddis larvae patterns.

         Needhami Duns are rolling off the water midmorning, their small spinners can drive fisherman nuts. Their small sizes make them very difficult to see on the water. The Duns however can be recognized flying in the air by their long sweeping tails.

         Isonychia have been filling the skies in the evening hours. Trout like these tasty morsels and will move greater distances from their feeding lanes to swipe at this super sized evening hatcher. When these insects start coming off the water in good numbers I prefer to fish a CDC Iso emerger pattern then as darkness sets in I switch off to a larger Iso parachute pattern, which doubles as a big spinner pattern and I fish this into the darkness.

         If you are fishing mid day I would suggest using terrestrials such as small ants, beetles, crickets, and hoppers. For all those fishing nymphs you can’t be beat fishing green caddis larvae 14-18 and Isonychia nymphs 10-14, with golden stone flies 6-12 rounding out the mix. Fishing on the Farmington River has gotten tougher forcing fishermen to take their tippet down to 7 or 8X when fishing smaller hatches such as winter summer caddis pupae and Needhami Spinners.  Good luck on the river. Remember, if you’re fishing into the afternoon hours, bring plenty of water it has been scorching out there on the river after 10a.m.

    JW

  • 6/12/10 We’re Suckers for Sulphurs!

      

    Date: 6/11/10

    Water Flow: 347Cfs 

    Visibility: clear 

    Water Temp: 59*F pm 

    Water Condition: good, water not affected by heavy showers lately. 

    Access Point: Upper TMA 

     Hatches (in order of importance): Vitreus and Sulphurs 14-18 are out in full force on the river. March Brown/Grey Fox 12-14 are hatching throughout the river and with decent numbers causing plenty of fish to notice however the Rusty Spinner in 12-14 have been working great in the evening accounting for some nice fish in the last week. Rusty Spinners in the smaller 16-20 range are showing in good numbers as well. BWO 20-26 on rainy days and in the evening. Winter/Summer Caddis 16-22 in the am are still catching a lot fish. Green Caddis and Tan Caddis are all over the river in 16-18 with lots of fish feeding on them. 

     Comments: The fishing has been good in the mornings on the Caddis hatches, and the evenings have been dynamite on spinners and Sulphur parachutes. There have been so many different type of insects on the water in the evenings, its important to watch fish closely to see what they are feeding on. Size of insects and riseform are very important when trying to do this. The cold water really has the trout in the river fighting hard, so grab your rod and waders and we here at JWflyfishing will see you down over the bank! 

    JW 

     

     

     

  • Caddis and Hendrickson Mayflies keep it interesting!

     

    CT. Flyfishing at its finest. Farmington River Caddis and Hendricksons keep it Interesting! from john webber II on Vimeo.

    Date:  5/2/10

    Water Flow:  250

    Visibility:  clear

    Water Temp: NA 

    Water Condition:  low

    Access Point:  Upper TMA

    Hatches (in order of importance):  #22 Brown Caddis Pupae AM, #16 Caddis Larvae Mid AM, #12-14 Hendrickson duns Early PM, #12-14 Hendrickson Spinners Late PM.

    Comments:  There have been tons of bugs on the water as of late, there are some many things hatching right now its hard to keep track.  Hendrickson and Caddis are still the major players on the Farmington River, each bringing large numbers of fish to the net.  Some Hendrickson patterns like the Red Quill have a place in my box  but upon my observation trout often key in on the bigger Hendrickson females.  This is where the Hendrickson with a lighter pinkish body comes in real handy.  Morning Caddis Pupae have still been putting some large browns in my net early on the morning, you will have to find very still water to access this hatch, you will also have to set your alarm early!  Before the sun shows it face these tranquil sections of still water transform into a boiling stew of rises as the trout take these tiny Caddis pupae.  A downstream presentation works best with a slight twitching of the rod tip to mimic the insects swimming motion.   Some other patterns that are effective during the day are 16-18 Mahogany duns.  I took some fish the other day in the upper TMA on these, I was perplexed at what these fish were taking, upon further inspection I saw a few small mayflies that escaping the clutches of rising trout and behold they were Mahogany Duns.  Be wary of some big fish feeding on these in the shade along the shoreline at midday.  I hope everyone is having a great time now that we have some good insect hatches and some willing fish.  I know I am, see you soon.   One other bit guys I have finished a nice video to go along with this blog but something is wrong with Youtube upload, we can thank Rich Strolis for exposing me to Vimeo and giving me an alternative.  Let me know if you have any problems viewing this is the first time I have posted using Vimeo.  Thanks

                                                                                  JW (Tags: Online slots)