Farmington River Fishing Report

Farmington River Fishing Report

What a weird world we’re living in.  No one could have imagined the changes that would be taking place in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones.  I have the option to travel safely to a quiet stream and listen to the carefree sound of birds and moving water.  When I look at the fish, waterfowl, and all the other wildlife I see, the world hasn’t changed for them.  Life goes on.

Although not the best place to find solitude, I decided to fish the Farmington River in Barkhamsted, Connecticut.  I actually made my first trip to this river back in May of 2016, which was one of my first blog posts. One of the reasons I started this blog is with the hope that I could look back over past trips and review my learnings.  I didn’t post what fly caught the rainbow in that 2016 entry, but I do remember it being a Red Zebra Midge.

Not a bad place to spend a day.

If you’ve ever been to the Farmington, you know this stream can get crowded with anglers, especially in the spring.  It was no different on April 18th, but I was excited to get on the water like everyone else.  It seemed like every corner I turned had anglers standing 15 feet apart.  I’ve always preferred a lot of space when fishing, and that feeling has escalated during COVID-19.

I walked down a path for several minutes before I settled on where I wanted to fish.  A fast riffle section that settled into a deeper riffle.  No one in sight.  I cast a two nymph rig into the riffles and tightlined through it.  I tied on a beadhead caddis nymph and a black stonefly with excess soft hackle.  I love the way soft hackle looks in the water, and I think it’s a great match for the way these bugs actually look when tumbling through water.

It wasn’t long into my drifts when my line came to an abrupt halt.  I set the hook and this trout took off into the fast water.  I use 5x tippet at the Farmington because I feel it strikes a nice balance between being subtle and managing the weight of a larger fish.   It was a quick fight and this particular trout took the top fly, which was a caddis imitation.

First brown of the day.

Enjoying the solitude of this spot, I continued fishing for another 20 minutes.  I caught a couple more fish in this run when I starting noticing what looked to be March Browns coming down on the water.  The fish didn’t seem to be taking notice of them, which seemed like a shame to me.  The March Browns were getting swept into a pocket next to the riffle and would have been an easy meal for the trout. I’ll always prefer fishing dry flies, so I kept one eye on my line and one eye on what was happening with the March Browns.  If I started seeing a rise or two, there was no question about it, I would be switching to a dry fly.

A smaller brown that took a nymph

After about 30 minutes, I saw a rise.  And then another. Right in the middle of the run and another on the edge in the slower water.  I tied on a size 14 dark brown elk hair dry fly with a grey tinsel ribbed nymph dropper about 10″ below.  I cast right into the spot where I saw the rises and on the first cast, a fish rose to grab my fly from the surface.  This fish definitely did not want to get caught, so I had to keep constant pressure to keep it from taking off downstream.  When I finally got it to my net, I was happy to see a very healthy fish.  I quickly released it and was ready to try again.

This brown has been eating well.

I continued to catch trout on both the dry and the dropper as the sun started to fall in the sky.  At a certain point, the rises stopped, and I decided to give the trout a break.  I headed home thankful for the day, and for the opportunity to spend my time in the outdoors.

Honorable mention of the day. This one had a lot of fight.

1 thought on “Farmington River Fishing Report

  1. It is certainly nice to be fishing to a mayfly hatch like that. Good to hear the fish finally started rising to them!

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