Thank God for the Farmington River this summer and particularly during these hot and humid days. I sought some relief today by venturing to my home waters that I grew up fishing on. I specifically went above Riverton where the water is the coolest. It is still running in the mid to upper 50’s. Today I got a reading of 58 degrees in some riffled, pocket water.
It’s hard for me to be a minimalist when fishing. I don’t know if it is because of all my years in EMS and being a paramedic, where I have to carry lots of heavy gear for every conceivable situation and have been conditioned to carry everything and be prepared for anything, or is it because I do like to fish several different ways throughout the day and need to carry more stuff ? Perhaps my buddy Joe, who has influenced me the most in fly fishing, has reinforced my natural tendency to be prepared for everything ? Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above ?
That being said, it is hard on days like today to get ” geared up ” with everything because even though the river is cool and refreshing, it still is hot as hell out there ! Today, I tried to more ” Huck Finn ” it to stay cooler. I chose to fish only one fly but use it in several different ways.
My choice was a Light Cahill wet. Fished as a nymph with split shot in the riffles and runs, it represents the nymphal stage hatching from the bottom or a drowned adult of the Cahill’s, Sulphur’s, or even a tan/cream caddis. The wet with it’s light colored body and wooduck wing and hackle is very buggy looking regardless. As a traditional wet, it is a good search pattern swinging through the riffles and pockets. Finally, as a dry…yes a DRY FLY, it can be used as an emerger or crippled fly. All I did was take my shot off when I wanted to swing it in the surface film as a traditional wet.
I would occasionally see a rise in the seams and velocity changes or a patch of flat water along the edge of the bank. I used an ” old school ” tactic and dubbed some Mucilin on it and used it as a dry after adjusting my leader. It is quite fun to see a trout rise to a ruffled mess of a fly on the surface- you don’t need to have a perfectly constructed dry fly all the time. In fact, most of the time the simple flies catch the most fish !
So, it was quite ironic when I got home and read in this month’s American Angler that David Klausmeyer wrote an article called ” Simple Terrestrials for Hot Summer Action. ” In it he highlighted Ed Shenk’s famous Letort Hopper, Letort Cricket, and Harvey’s Inch Worm. All of them are simple flies to tie and not very intricate. These particular patterns have been catching fish in some of America’s most heavily and pressured trout streams of Central Pennsylvania for over 50 years !
Although he was specifically talking about terrestrials, he was making a point about the effectiveness of ” simple flies “. What I’m trying to point out is that a simple fly coupled with basic and fundamental techniques can still catch fish, too ! I guess I even taught myself a lesson today as well… I don’t always need to carry everything to have a fun , rewarding, and productive day. I certainly didn’t sweat as much as I normally would have !
All bows today in the fast water. No monsters. But, they were all in the teens and very feisty !
Get up to the Farmington and wet wade it while it is still summer. You’ll have lots of fun and be refreshed, too !