Friday, July 5, 2019
It was only a 40 minute drive to the American Legion Campground on the Farmington River in Barkhamsted, CT, so we had a relaxing start to the day. We fixed a big breakfast of eggs, sausage and blueberry pancakes. As we left the campground, dumpsters were overflowing from the 4th of July crowds. It takes about an hour to get everything ready for travel, but we still arrived at the campground at 10:15 and check-in wasn’t until 1:00.
On the advice of the campground staff, we drove into New Hartford looking for UpCountry Sportfishing “in a big, red building. There were several big, red buildings, so we parked the truck and trailer in a construction site. Walking up the street, we couldn’t find it, so we went into the very nice Rock Shop. The nice lady/owner said she knew the fly shop well. It was a mile away. She said her husband was a famous author of trout fishing. There was a copy of his book on the table. I was flipping through it when Paul Rossman walked in. His book is Creative Salmon Fly Art. We looked around the shop as we talked. Thanking this interesting couple, we drove a mile to UpCountry Sportfishing.
It’s a great shop. The white board listed flies for the river as well as other rivers. We had some of these flies, but we picked out some more, along with a small fly box. I labeled it as I put flies in. A nice young man, Brayson, helped me choose some leaders. The braided leaders were all gone. He gave me some tips on where to go and what to use. It was obvious he was a fisherman and knew what he was talking about. It was July 4th weekend and the shop was busy. Serious fishermen were buying with a purpose, wanting to get on the river as soon as possible.
With flies, fly boxes and leaders in hand, Torrey came up and answered a few questions. He then proceeded to give us a ton of information about the river, how to fish it, water temperatures in different sections and what times of day to fish with different flies. Closer to the dam, the waters will be colder, which is great for fishing this time of year. Water temperature is about 50 degrees in the “kill and grill section”, he said. In the middle section it is about 60. This is all catch and release. Their website is excellent, and gives conditions and temperatures: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/river-report/. With renewed enthusiasm, we talked about where we had been. Both Brayson and Torrey said we would have done better on the Deerfield River than the Westfield.
We ate lunch in a pretty, little park across the street and discussed the strategy. It was still not time to check-in, so after some searching, we found the unmarked dump station that also served as a fishing parking spot. We parked the trailer at our site, but my solar system software has an irritating glitch. It keeps thinking we are fully-charged when it is not, and moves to “float” mode. #@%&#. I moved the trailer into the sun and reset the breaker.
Gearing up, a fisherman walked by. We asked him if he had any luck. “No”, he said. “It’s too hot. I think I’ll wait until later.” He is from Connecticut and knows the river well. He talked about what he uses, where we had been and where he likes to fish. He is an electrician, so we talked about that a bit. Kelly’s son, Hunter, is an electrician. We invited him for cocktails later, but he was staying somewhere else.
We joined four other fishermen on a stretch in the campground. A party of people were sitting on the edge of the river in the shade, enjoying the scenery. We took our spot and began fishing. Nothing was rising. There was no hatch. Two fish were caught downstream and one upstream. Changing flies five times, we had no luck. Several beer cans floated by, them the tubers began floating by, apologizing as they passed. It’s a gorgeous river, but this is not my cup of tea. I went back to the trailer, moved it to a level spot, built a fire and tried to find out where the glitch in the solar software. I changed a setting from battery protect to always on, but I have no idea what I am doing. I called AM Solar, but it’s July 4th weekend. They were closed.