Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Naugatuck River Salmon Fishing - A Couple of Reminders

The Release

In my experience, it has been a little bit more of a free-for-all out there than usual this season. Here are a couple of reminders for those who care:


I know it's not ingrained in our local trout fishing etiquette, but please try to rotate pools and runs as much as possible. Refer to this post for more information. I've been low-holed (cut off while fishing downstream through a run or pool) a couple of times this season. It's not that unusual or surprising. It just gets a little annoying when the few people who observe the rotation get stepped on (knowingly or unknowingly). 

A couple of weeks ago, I was low-holed by an Atlantic salmon fisherman who should know better. To add insult to injury, I had just given him a tip on where to look for fish. At one time, I would have kept moving downstream until I invaded his personal fishing space. Now I just pack up and move on. Most of these type of offenses happen in a couple popular pools. The unpopular pools can be just as productive, so why stay?

Poachers and Rule Breakers

I haven't seen anyone illegally retain a salmon this season. I have seen multiple instances of anglers disregarding the rules of the seasonal atlantic salmon fishery, however. From the CT Anglers Guide 2014:

"Fishing for Atlantic salmon to use of single fly or artificial lure with a single, free-swinging hook. Additional weight may not be added to the line. Snagging is strictly prohibited."

I've seen at least three fisherman using bait so far this season. I landed one fish for an angler fishing a spinner with a treble hook (he seemed genuinely unaware of the regulations and was quite apologetic).

In my opinion, it's best not to be confrontational. I want the angler to want to change his or her behavior. I usually inform the angler of the rules and say something like, "It's not worth getting fined and losing your gear. Just letting you know so that doesn't happen to you."

Most seem to change their ways or at least leave the pool. I'd like to give most the benefit of the doubt and think that they're generally unaware and willing to change. A few others just don't care and keep doing what they're doing. Should that happen, make note of the angler's appearance and exactly where he or she is fishing. Call the DEEP T.I.P. line (Turn in Poachers) at 800.842.4357. It's up to us to protect our fishery from the few bad apples who attempt to ruin it for everyone.


My big wave of autumn work seems to be mostly over and I'll be happy to spend more time on the river in the coming weeks. November is usually a hot month. Go get some before Ol' Man Winter creams us like he did last year! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Passion for Atlantic Salmon

This morning, I had the pleasure of watching a nice short film by Bill Kessler. For new or inexperienced Atlantic salmon anglers, it's a great primer. Many of the images, videos, and illustrations in Mr. Kessler's video are culled from books and DVDs that would be very helpful for the neophyte. I encourage those who would like to know more about salmon fishing to watch the video and make note of the source materials Mr. Kessler lists at the end. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Naugatuck Report - October 13, 2014 - Bit of a Weird Day

First customer on the Micro Snaelda. It works! 

I have to get ready for a recording session in the morning, so today's report is another quick summary...

Water = Pretty much at the "too friggin' low" level again

Fish = Showing like crazy all day, but very reluctant to take a fly

Spin Fishermen = Hammered them today

What to do? = Put a fly in their face

The Fly = Micro Conehead Snaelda, fished slowly

Only one salmon for me today, but I landed one each for a couple of spin fishermen. One was a real brute, probably 8-9lbs and in great shape. 

Bizarre Naugy Event of the Day = Two teenage girls in street clothes crossing the river, then going about their business. It was like they were crossing the street. wtf??

There's supposed to be some rain on the way, thank goodness. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Naugatuck Report - October 11, 2014 - The Ol' Cat and Mouse Game

I upgraded to an Islander LX 3.6 reel for the fall.
So far, I absolutely love it. 

Rain! Just what we needed, though I wouldn't refuse even more. The river was pretty low at the beginning of the day but, again, better than it was a couple of weeks ago. Every little bit of rain helps. I was excited to get a whole day of fishing in today. It has been a while for me. Even better was the fact that we wouldn't have to worry about bright sunshine today.

I was able to visit many pools throughout the day. Some are still vacant. We need a good bump of water to move the fish around and into some of the less frequently fished pools. I got a reading of 58ºF in the water today, which isn't too bad. It's a fair bit cooler than it was at this time last year. 

I had a fair bit of action today...three salmon landed, one pricked, and one broken off on the hook set. The action started within five minutes of arriving at the first pool. My first salmon took a sz. 8 Same Thing Murray and was off to the races, making my new Islander reel sing. 

My second fish landed absolutely hammered an orange HKA Sunray/Bismo. He immediately took off on a long run directly upstream. He jumped his way back towards me, then took off on another blistering run, this time downstream. He was a real slab of a fish and he made my Islander sing even more than the first one did. 

My third fish landed was caught at the pool where I started the day. I returned several hours later. It was another "first five minutes" scenario. This fish took a sz. 8 Black Bear Red Butt. The same fly was taken by another fish later, but the fish was not hooked. I think it felt a little too much of the iron to come back, unfortunately. By the end of the day, the river was noticeably higher than it was when I started. 

This fish couldn't resist a fly fished really fast

The most interesting part of the day happened in shortly after landing my first fish. I made my way back up to the top of the run, still fishing the sz. 8 Murray. I rose a nice looking salmon, but he didn't take. I rested him and resumed casting. He rose again. Very long story, made short...that salmon and I went at it for about 90 minutes. I got him to rise 10 times, but he never took any fly. It was a series of cast, rise, rest, cast, rest, fly change, cast, rise, rest, etc., that went on seemingly forever. Wet flies, a dry fly, riffling hitch and sunk tube...you name it. Here is the list of flies and presentations that piqued the salmon's interest:

Same Thing Murray sz. 8 (two rises)
Shady Lady sz. 10
Mickey Finn sz. 6 (two rises)
Split Wing Bomber (blue/brown) sz. 6
Sunray Shadow-hitched (two rises)
Haugur (micro tube)-hitched

I even tried crossing the river to change casting angle. At some point, the fish either moved on or had enough and stopped rising. I've never had a salmon rise so many times before. After a while, I threw in the towel and moved. I figured I should rest the pool. Interestingly enough, that same pool is where I caught salmon #3 of the day. It was lying a little further upstream than the "ready riser" was. Was it the same salmon? Maybe he moved upstream a few yards? I'll never know. I was just happy to play the chess match, even if the salmon check-mated me this time around. 


We're entering prime time and the fishing is heating up. The river is still low for my tastes, but the forecast calls for pretty consistent rain almost all week. I think the fishing will only get better as the conditions improve and the fish spread out. 

If you're interested in a fun and educational, guided broodstock salmon fishing trip, please contact me. Dates have already been booked, so act fast! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Naugatuck Report - October 10, 2014 - Quick Report

Fall colors...I wish they lasted longer

At this time last season, I had already landed quite a few salmon. This season, I've had a hard time even getting out until now. I went once at the end of September when the river was down to its bones. No luck and I didn't stay long. I went again last week right after the rain and was greeted by a river full of chocolate milk. I had a couple hours to fish this morning, so I crammed in a quick trip. 

The river is still quite low. I would say it's as low now as it was as its lowest point last season. Relatively speaking, that's not such a bad level compared to what it has been up until now! We still need plenty of rain to spread the fish out, however.

M1 right in the scissors

Brief summary....

Pool #1 - Occupied, so off to next spot

Pool #2 - Landed a very acrobatic fish on a #10 Sugerman Shrimp. Nice fish, about 5-6lbs...bigger than I expected to see. He was laying right where I expected to find one in low water. Most people miss a very subtle lie that's close to shore. Every now and then, a little "blip" of water discloses a submerged rock the salmon seem to like year in and year out. 

Back to check on Pool #1...still occupied, no angler movement. Time to call an audible. 

Pool #3 - Audible pays off...Landed a smaller fish on an M1 Killer first trip through the pool (pictured above). Later, rose another four times over the course of 30-40 minutes (#6 Mickey Finn). It was time to head home, so I had to leave that salmon for next time. 


I'm going to try to post reports as often as I can this season. They might not be as frequent or as wordy as last season's reports, though. Sorry...lots of work and family obligations lately. Good luck out there! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This Is Fly: DIY Gaspé

Words by Alex Wilner
Photography by Hooké

There is a great article in the current issue of This is Fly called "DIY Gaspé" by Alex Wilner (photography by Hooké). Alex and I have been in touch for a couple of years now. He was kind enough to give me a lot of great information on my own DIY Gaspé trip (which I finally took this past July). I have to say, learning the ropes was a lot less daunting than I thought it would be. I wish I had taken the DIY Gaspé plunge sooner. Enjoy the article! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Same Thing Murray: Video Step-By-Step

This is my first attempt at an instructional fly tying video, so please forgive any sloppiness in the video quality, editing and tying! I will post more videos in the future, ironing out some of the kinks in the process. Any advice on shooting fly tying video is greatly appreciated!