Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Connecticut’ category

Fishing The Farmington River

Saturday, July 6, 2019

We had one day to fish the Farmington River. After cruising the road along the river, we found a spot where there weren’t other fishermen. There is an island with a couple of small runs and the main branch. I fished the first small run for 30 minutes, changing flies a couple of times, but no luck. It’s a beautiful run though. Crossing an island, I fished the second small run that looked like a good-sized trout stream with a great run and pool. No luck. 

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I walked around the end of the island and saw Kelly sitting on a rock changing flies. A fast rapid separated us, so I couldn’t hear what he was saying. He pointed behind him and yelled, “Ducks”. What? I fished the fast water for a few minutes, then walked up the side and crossed at the top of the rapid to see what he was talking about. He was now back up and casting to a shady side of the river. A hen mallard was busily feeding on moss covering rocks under water. Five of her young ones were huddled on a rock right behind where Kelly was sitting. I took pictures as I slowly approached. The mother didn’t care, and the young ones didn’t seem to either. I walked right up to the rock. They were so cute all huddled up together on a warm, sun-drenched rock in the middle of the river. 

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The water was cool, maybe 55 degrees. We chose to fish without waders. It’s July, and it was going to be hot today. Maybe these little ducks didn’t have all their down yet. 

We had this nice section to ourselves. Nice houses lined the other side of the river. There was shade from trees along the bank. The current ran down that side, and it was about waist-high. I know because I had to go retrieve a fly stuck on a branch. 

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Changing flies a number of times, we fished our way up to another rapid. It was pretty, with beautiful water. On a hot summer day, it’s a nice way to spend the morning. You would think some stupid, little trout would take a fly, but there was never an approach to a fly. We did see a couple rise and then disappear. 

By mid-day we were tired and hungry, so we went back to camp. We walked across the campground road to see if we could get to the river. Two guys were getting settled at a cabin, one of which had waders on. We asked how they did, and it was similar to our morning. They are from Connecticut and knew the river well, saying the time to fish is from 6:00 to 8:30, and there is always a hatch. “What do you use?” we asked. “Whatever is hatching.” he said. “Caddis, BWO’s, sulphurs, ISO’s”. 

We went over to explore the river. There is a huge pool, appropriately called The Campground Pool. A path as big as a road goes up and down the river. With renewed enthusiasm, we returned to camp and resorted flies, put boxes in our vests and adjusted our leaders. The weather report called for a thunderstorm at 4:00, but clear at 6:00, which would be perfect. It was hot and muggy without a breath of air moving, a perfect recipe for a storm. Sitting under the awning, I leaned my head back against the trailer and took a nap.

A black cloud approached with thunder in the distance. We scrambled around, putting fishing gear in the truck and the rest under the awning. Then with lightening and thunder, it started pouring rain. The wind and cooling temperatures were welcome. This could be the perfect conditions for good fishing later, but it didn’t happen. The rain continued until dark.

After a dinner of pork chops, potatoes and a salad, we cleaned up and I went to bed. I was asleep in three minutes. Kelly went over to talk with the fishermen across the street.

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Moving to The Farmington River

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. 

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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.

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Taken from their website

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Is that Woodstock above the Snoopy sign??

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.

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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.

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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.

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