Saturday, September 28, 2013

Naugatuck Report - September 28, 2013 - Ugly Beauty

Low & warm - this is the type of water you'll want to seek out

Finally! I had the whole day to fish. I think this is my fifth trip to the Naugy this season. Three trips were very brief visits. They were productive visits, but I don't like feeling rushed. Fortunately, that was not an issue today.

I've said it before...the water is just too low. It's still pretty warm, too. I started fishing around 11:00am and the water was around 60ºF. I checked periodically throughout the day and the highest I recorded was 66ºF. Conditions are pretty tough. Be prepared to work for your fish. A lot of the usually reliable pools and runs just aren't holding fish. If they are, the fish aren't taking. 

For my money, the best bet has been to try to find places with strong push of water with as much depth as possible. There is plenty of fast shallow water. I haven't found fish in that water. There is plenty of deep slow water. Those pools are better suited to the spin fisherman (and indie nymphers). 

My first pass through spot #1 yielded no fish. I switched to a #6 Mickey Finn for my second pass and caught a salmon of about 5lbs. It was a very handsome fish, with a nicely shaped tail. The fight was OK. Subsequent passes through the pool produced no action. 

I moved around quite a bit after leaving spot #1. I fished some areas downriver, but a 12" brown trout was all I had to show for my work. After a few hours, I was ready for a nap, but I decided to forge on...

I moved to a popular pool which I don't often fish. At this water level, I can't say it looked very good. I noticed some interesting water in the distance, however. I've said it here before...if you have a hunch, it pays to act on it. I don't always follow my own advice (I actually ignored it earlier in the day), but I figured I'd take a walk this time. 

I came upon a very nice run. It had all the attributes I was looking for. It was also the filthiest pool I've fished on this river and that's really saying something. I counted four shopping carts, a child's bicycle, remnants of a leaf blower, several tires and tons of other debris. The run itself was beautiful though. I ran the Mickey Finn through, but nothing was interested. It was a good push of water, so I figured I should get down a bit. I tried a small all-black Snaelda (.5" copper tube - about 2" total length). That was the ticket! I had an awesome fast water grab. It was the type of take where you fear you might have to swim after your rod (perilous in this debris-laden pool). After a couple strong runs and several urgent jumps, I brought salmon #2 to hand. It was a small fish, probably 3lbs., but it was a much more exciting catch than my first of the day. 

I wish I could say I found more salmon in that run, but I didn't. My first pass through a new run isn't always the most well thought out. Now that I'm familiar with it, I can strategize better next time. 

I continued to fish until sunset, but had no further action. 2 for 2 isn't bad, but I had expected more. The truly odd thing is that those two fish landed were the only salmon I saw all day. I didn't see one fish jump or roll the entire time. Like I said, conditions aren't exactly ideal. They're actually quite poor, so I am happy to catch any at all.

What has been working so far this season? Pretty much two approaches...relatively small flies wet flies (sizes #8-#12) and getting somewhat in their faces with Snaeldas. I don't think its "getting in their faces" so much as it's getting down a little in fast water. Plus, I think it's a fly that gets them riled up a bit, though I'm not sure why. That said, the small flies have also been working in fast water, so go figure. Atlantic salmon are strange creatures who tend to follow their own rules. The last two seasons, the Sunray has been killer for me, but I think this low water is making them shy (though my first fish landed this season took one). 

I used an intermediate polyleader on one of the colder mornings, but everything else has been on a mono leader so far. I'm making a lot of very short casts and I've found a single handed rod easiest to use given the nature of the water I'm fishing. The best runs have been pretty narrow with a highly concentrated flow. 

I promise to post some fish pics soon. I have been waiting on a new net and haven't taken many this season. I usually don't carry a net while salmon fishing, but most of these fish are too small to tail. Plus, the water is fairly warm, so I have been try to get the fish on their way as quickly as possible until it cools down a bit. 

This might be my last report for the next couple of weeks. I am supposed to chase landlocks the next two weekends, but the lack of rain might mess that up too. Keep me posted...please let me know how you do!

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