26 Apr Farmington River Trip
I wanted to write up a quick recap to the Farmington River Trip that Jenks and I took last Friday. It was AWESOME. First up we met at the Middle of Nowhere Diner in Exeter, RI. Quick! Who can name the awesome river that runs through Exeter? Well the spot we met up at was only about 3 minutes away! The Diner whipped up some excellent breakfast sandwiches and even allowed me to leave my car in the back. Added bonus, a few of the diner residents instantly put me in the right mindset, fly tying anyone?
After leaving The M-O-N-D we were on our way to the Farmington to meet up with Rich Strolis of Catching Shadows fame (www.catching-shadows.com). Rich is an accomplished angler, guide and fly tyer based in Western CT. Within the past week we’d seen the following photo on Rich’s facebook page:
Needles to say Jenks and I were both excited about the day’s possibilities. Wanting to be ready for the trip I purchased a dozen flies through Rich’s website, they were specially designed for the Hendrickson hatch.
We made our way to New Hartford, CT, met up with Rich in the lot across from Dunkin Donuts and stopped in at Upcountry, a truly awesome fly shop on the banks of the river. After that we went up river and hit our first spot. Although we brought our own gear, we opted to use a few of Rich’s rods he set up specifically for mending line while nymphing. We waded our way across a run and into position. One thing that is instantly noticeable is that this river is teeming with insect life. It was like every rock was covered with stick-caddis. Later in the day I’d marvel at the amount of biomass floating past me down river. At any rate, it wasn’t long before we were doubled up.
So at this point, it was basically “mission accomplished”. But there would be more. Jenks moved with Rich a little ways downriver with EXCELLENT results. 20″ Brown, just a BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FISH. Check it out, a few pics.
We moved to other spots and Jenks continued with the “hot hand”. One fish sticks out in my mind, probably about a 16″ brown that was EXTREMELY wide from top to bottom. “Slab” is the word that comes to mind. Rich explained how there is a special program up there where they shock the river in the fall before the fish spawn. They take the fish, milk and strip the eggs, and then feed the fish like kings over the winter. I like to think of it like the fish are going to a spa. At a time when they’d normally be spent from spawning activities, they’re feasting and getting strong for the following year. In the spring these fish are re-introduced to the river. Each year they use a different color dye that is injected in a special spot so one can id what year the fish is from. Judging by the fish we saw that day, this program is having an incredible effect on the size, quality and health of the fish in the river.
Wow, what a great day. To say Rich delivered on an awesome experience would be an understatement. We fished with Rich awhile longer then he had to call it a day, but not before pointing us in the direction of an awesome deli and stocking us with the flies we’d need for the rest of the days activities. As you can imagine, left to our own devices, the afternoon session didn’t come as easy. Still, we were able to manage a few fish, mine a feisty rainbow that rose to take Rich’s Egg Laying Spinner pattern.
What a GREAT trip! I can’t recommend strongly enough that those interested contact Rich about booking a trip, you won’t regret it: