Fly Fishing the Farmington River in April

Fly Fishing the Farmington River in April

It’s Saturday again, and here I am standing at the edge of the Farmington River.  It’s April 25th and another beautiful day out.  This April has been unique in a lot of ways.  We talk about COVID-19 much in the same way we used to talk about the weather.  And speaking of the weather, we’ve had some strange days as well.  One weekend I awoke to snow, only to see it evaporated in time for lunch.

When I arrived at the river, I was pleased to see that not too many people were out in my selected location.  I put on my waders, grabbed my rod, and looked both ways for anglers as I crossed the stream.  It’s amusing to see the paths that other anglers will take to a river during Covid-19.  While I was standing in my preferred location, I saw an angler across the river crab walking along a steep embankment, losing their footing, again and again, causing mini avalanches, presumably to find a way to the stretch just downstream from me.  Not too much later, another arrived bushwhacking through an uncharted path just upstream.  I usually enjoy sharing a section of the river with others, but the current environment has me feeling less generous with space.  It’s a shame because I think chatting about fishing is a part of the experience.  On my trip to the Raritan, a small conversation with a passing angler pointed me towards to productive fishing spot.

As I scanned the river this Saturday, I didn’t see the same surface activity I saw last time. Given the lack of activity, I took the boring route and started nymphing.  I say boring even as a fly angler who loves fishing nymphs, I just don’t get the same rushed excitement as I do with dry flies.   That feeling when you’re watching rising fish with one eye, while trying to stay composed enough to thread tippet through the eye of the hook with the other.

I still had one of the caddis nymphs I had used last Saturday on my line, so I kept that one on.  For my second fly, I decided to go with a black and red nymph with a bit of flashback behind the head.  It’s a random fly that I tied one day, loosely based on another, and it seems to work.  Within about 10 minutes of nymphing the run, I had a feisty brown on the line.

Beautiful fish. As you can see, it was also very sunny.

As I continued to fish, I had a strange occurrence.  I noticed there was a piece of debris on my second fly that didn’t come off after a few casts. I decided to take a closer look.  Upon closer look, I noticed I had hooked a Caddis larva in its case.  That was a first for me.

Hooked a Caddis in a case with my mangled fly.

I continued fishing the run and managed to catch a few more before calling it a day.  I started just after Noon and was able to get home by 2:30.  The sky started to cloud up as I was leaving, so I was happy to have enjoyed the sunny weather while it lasted.  Below are a few more honorable mentions:

It’s rare, but there are Barracuda in the Farmington.
Another beautiful fish.


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