Sunday, October 30, 2016

Naugatuck Report - October 29, 2016 - First Guided Trip of the Season

Josh's boots were barely wet before he caught his first Atlantic salmon!

     I don't usually post updates about my guided trips, but the first trip of the season was one for the books. I think most of us who have fished for Atlantic salmon, be they broodstock or wild, realize that any day with a hook up is a good day. Maybe that's different if you're fishing the Ponoi River or have access to a prime holding pool somewhere in Eastern Canada. But, for most of us public water guys, one fish per day is pretty good. 
     It's the same for broodstock salmon fishing. One hookup is a solid day. If the fish is landed, even better. Two hookups is a good day. Three hookups is a great day. Anything over three is exceptional. Based on conditions (falling and clearing water, warmer day, overcast, etc.), I had a hunch yesterday would be an exceptional day. I would never say it out loud for fear of the trip not living up to expectations. But I had that feeling in my gut. 

     Between two anglers, we had five hookups with four salmon landed and safely released! It was both anglers first day of Atlantic salmon fishing, which made it all the more exciting. Andrew fished all day. He hooked four salmon and landed all but one. All four fish took a sz. 8 Mickey Finn. Josh joined us after lunch. He wasted no time at all, hooking and landing his first salmon within 20 minutes of starting! Josh's fish was the outlier of the day, haven taken a sz. 4 Green Machine w/white tail

     That was the third day I have been out on the river so far this season. Between myself and the one guide trip, we have hooked a total of sixteen salmon hooked with only one fish lost. We got a late start to the season, but we are making up the time extremely quickly! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Naugatuck Report - October. 27, 2016 - Hell Seemed to Freeze Over Today

This fish creamed a sz. 6 Butterfly.

     Snow? Huh??? It's not like October snow is all that unusual, I just wasn't expecting it. I was expecting heavy rain, which we also got today. Actually, it snowed, then it changed to rain, then changed back to snow, and finally back to rain. I was cold, wet, tired, and sore. I was hungry enough to stop fishing at one point. I lost way too many flies by doing dumb things. It seems like everything I own is drenched. Despite all of that, it was a tremendous day.

     I'm too tired to give a play-by-play. I'll sum it up briefly. When the river is rising, there seems to be a window of time when the salmon turn on. It usually ends when the water gets dirty. Today, the river rose, but very slowly. The window, which is usually fairly brief in heavy rain, lasted almost all day long. 

     I fished my 9' 7 wt. Sage One with my Islander IR4 reel. I used a floating line, mono leader, and unweighted flies. On paper, it shouldn't have worked this well on a day this cold (air between 33-36º, water 48º). Sometimes these fish defy logic, however. Everything I hooked, I landed. I pricked a couple of others and moved a couple without hooking up. Here is a rundown of the flies which successfully hooked and landed salmon:

1. Mickey Finn (#10)
2. Mickey Finn (#4)...worked this fish 40 minutes and got it up 6 times before he finally took
4. Butterfly w/Green and Red Butt, red Krystal Flash tail (#6)...biggest of the day, about 7lbs. 
5. Butterfly w/Green and Red Butt, red Krystal Flash tail (#6)
6. Ally's Shrimp (#6)
7. Ally's Shrimp (#6)...crazy fish!!!

     Salmon #7 went totally berserk. I wish I got the fight on video. My reel was screaming and the fish cartwheeled all over the run. It wasn't just jumping, but flinging itself through the air with reckless abandon. It was a good day. I'm going to bed. 

Let it snow (but only if fishing is going to be really good)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Naugatuck Report - October 23, 2016 - Swingin'!

First salmon of the 2016-2017 season

     Swingin'...not just flies, but what I do for a living. Sure, I sell some flies and guide some, but it mainly helps feed the addiction. The addiction to swinging, and this time I do mean flies. 

     At the beginning of last week, I had pretty much given up hope that we would have a salmon season on the Naugatuck. This drought is for real. By last Tuesday, I said to myself, "Screw it. I'm sick of thinking about losing my favorite local fishery. I'm just going to play music every free chance I have." So I did and it felt really good. I hate to admit it, but I forgot about salmon fishing pretty quickly and began to get excited about some upcoming gigs and some other longterm goals. 

     Then, out of the blue, I found out salmon season was on. I had three guide trips booked within the first couple of hours of hearing the news. I needed to get out on the river ASAP to get my mojo working. But I still had music on the brain. I had 2.5 hours to fish this afternoon, so I decided to do it with headphones on, something I never do. "What if a salmon rises behind me and I don't hear it?" I thought. So's just a fish. Besides, I really wanted to continue listening to Eric Reed, Ben Wolfe, and Gregory Hutchinson swing their asses off. 

     I tied on a size 10 Ally's Shrimp and went to the top of Pool #1. Before the first song ended, I was tight to my first salmon of the season! What made it more exciting was that it was the first salmon on my new Naugatuck single hand combo, a Sage One 9' 7 wt. rod and my trusty Islander IR4 reel. The reel purred and the salmon was eventually brought to the net. I think that's the fastest season opening salmon I've ever caught. I raised another on the inside of the seam, but couldn't get it back. As much as I like a challenge, I decided to find more fish than to play the chess match. 

Ally's Shrimp excerpt from "Flies for Connecticut Atlantic Salmon"

     That move paid off, as I took another three salmon at Pool #3. I trashed my Ally's Shrimp with my forceps, so salmon #4 was caught on the next closest thing I had, a size 10 Cascade. I was losing light fast, so there wasn't time to change pools. That's ok, I was really satisfied with how the last 2.5 hours of the day went. Good fishing and good music...what more can you ask for? 

A killer combo 

     If you'd like to book a day on the water, CONTACT ME soon. Dates are filling up quickly! 

Eric Reed - "Wade in the Water"