Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Diary of a Dirty-Water Salmon Fisherman

A hefty male salmon, caught today on a #4 Mickey Finn

The Connecticut broodstock Atlantic salmon fishery certainly has its share of detractors. Yes, I would much rather be chasing salar in Canada, Russia, Iceland, etc. Sadly, time, money and matrimonial duties will not allow unlimited jaunts abroad. I recently purchased Atlantic Salmon Magic by Topher Browne. Near the end of the book, Browne gives a brief summary of many of the world's most important salmon (fishing) rivers. I was struck by his introduction to Russia's Ponoi River:

"The prolific Ponoi River enjoys a sterling reputation as an exceptionally productive fishery. Few (if any) rivers match its exciting ratio of salmon to angler. If you are new to the sport of salmon fishing, there is simply no better place. It is difficult, after all, to cut your teeth in the sport when you receive two or three pulls per season on rivers closer to home. If you are an old hand, the sheer numbers of fish allow you to experiment with flies and techniques that might not see the light of day when the fish are hard to come by."

-Topher Browne (Atlantic Salmon Magic, p. 411)

The sentiments expressed in the third and fourth sentences are my main motivation to fish for these broodstock salmon. Since the Ponoi is not a viable option at the moment, I will both cut my teeth and experiment close to home, where the fishing is free and the salmon are willing to take a fly swung just below the surface. 

Grilse; #4 L.T. Special

After a (very) high water skunking last week, the past two days on the Naugatuck River have been exceptional. Yesterday, I hooked and landed three salmon and one grilse-sized fish. Today, I hooked/landed one, but it was quite large for the river. So far this season, here are the flies which have caught fish:

Butterfly (w/green & red butt) #4
L.T. Special #4
Same Thing Murray #6
Claret Shrimp #6
Mickey Finn (variation) #4

Four of these five flies are mentioned here

First of the season; #4 Butterfly

Stay tuned...


  1. Nice ! those are some hefty looking fish there. Are you using that two hander ?

  2. I'm using a 11' 6wt switch rod with a 28' Scandinavian head (Beulah Elixir-350 grains). No sink tips and no weight on the flies yet.. though I'll probably switch to an intermediate polyleader and flies in the #2-#4 range as this colder November weather comes.

    The 6wt switch rod handles these salmon fine. That big one was a bit of a test for it, though. In the high water, if that fish was a runner and not a jumper, I definitely would have preferred something with more backbone.


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