|My view from the plane on approach to Bozeman, MT.|
August 6, 2011: Eleven days since returning from Montana and I needed to be on a river again. So, despite family obligations (sister and family in town) and a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, I head back to the Farmington river. I'm almost there when I notice a text from Antoine: morning guiding trip canceled--come to ovation.
Talk about the dog days of summer: it was incredibly hot, muggy, and ovation pool had transformed into a kid's wading pool since I was last there July 2nd. Antoine is already fishing. "Any luck? What are you using?" I asked him. He said he had on a size 26 trico and asked if I had any 8x. 8x? Good grief! Having just returned from Montana, slinging size 8-12 dries on 3x-4x, I had to laugh.
Since I came straight to Ovation without stopping at the local flyshop, I'm ill prepared for the morning's fishing and rely on Antoine. He gives me some 8x and a tiny trico. It takes me a good 5 mins to tie a simple surgeon's knot with the 8x and attach the fly. Antoine is focused on a fish that took his fly. He's determined to get it back. There are a few sporadic rises. I target one, get a fish on, but lose it. I get another one on, and this time, I'm not losing him. I tire him out--a small brown. But I have a 12-ft leader and over 2 ft of 8x tippet on. My arms and net are not long enough to reach him. Every time I swooped the net close, he evaded it. Antoine finally says, I need to take a chance and pull my leader through the guides to land him. He's a small fish, it shouldn't be a problem. Success!
|Beautiful ovation pool, Farmington River, CT. (Photo courtesy of E. Koh)|
After a quick stop at UpCountry, I head upriver. The fishing was tough. I caught another small brown on an ant in the Pipeline area. I took a long lunch, enjoying the scenery and quiet. Then tried another spot and caught several sardine-sized salmon. They were voracious and gulped down everything I put out there. I don't understand why they stock them on the Farmington. They never seem to survive and grow. I decided to head back to my favorite pool and await the evening action--hopefully there would be some.
Once again, there were very few bugs. I spot a few tiny bwos and put on a size 24. Nothing. Before evening arrived, I had changed flies at least 10 times, including 3 variations of bwos. In that time, I had only 2 hits and missed both. It was just one of those days. It started to drizzle. I decided to give the fish a break : ) and practice casting. I walked back to the parking lot, put on an old leader, and practiced the double haul. After a while, I decided to call it a day.
As I'm changing out of my waders, a man from an RV parked at the far side of the lot walked over. He said he had watched me practice and asked how long I've been fly fishing, etc. He said he had some beers in his RV, if I wanted any (Yeah, right! It looked like he already had a couple). Perhaps he was just being friendly but the way he kept looking at me and at the contents of my car (trying to figure out if I was alone?), gave me the heebie jeebies. He was a bear of a man but not very fit. I figured I could outrun him if necessary. I thought, that can of bear spray from Montana would come in pretty handy right now. There were 2 other anglers on the river but they were far out of sight and sound.
Now that I find myself fishing more on my own and sometimes in isolated places, it's probably a good idea to either get a dog (wish I could borrow one for fishing trips : ) or carry some pepper spray with me--man spray/weirdo spray. Back in Montana, Josée and I had worried about running into bears. Back on the east coast, there are different types of bears to watch out for. Wish I was back in Montana. (Sigh...) I'll get over it, eventually.