Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beach Day

This should have been a post about my third or fourth ice fishing trip of the season so far, but apparently Old Man Winter didn't get the memo. So like many anglers across the region, I am making the best of the spring-like weather. With the lack of ice opportunities in Connecticut, a gorgeous January day on the banks of the Farmington River is a solid plan B. 

A few friends and I met bright and early at UpCountry Sportfishing, picked up a few supplies and hit the river, which was at a very manageable flow; the lowest it had been in weeks. There were trout surface-feeding on winter caddis as we suited up, but not enough to pull us away from dredging the bottom with various nymphs. It was slow going at first, but each of us eventually settled into brief grooves and pieced together a decent batch of rainbow and brown trout. If there was a magic fly that fish were keyed into, we couldn't figure it out, yet a variety of patterns produced, including golden stone flies, pheasant tails, winter caddis, and midge larvae. 

When winter hats and gloves come off by 10 AM in January and no ice is in forming in our guides that is what I call a beach day. With the stellar winter weather, the river was loaded with like-minded anglers. We turned the crowds into be a positive thing and forced ourselves to fish water that we often overlook. The highlight of my day was plucking a holdover rainbow trout on my first drift from a pool I had never fished before. We capped off the beautiful day on the tailgate of a friend's truck sipping beers and talking fishing. 

The long-term weather forecast doesn't look all that encouraging for anxious ice anglers in the Northeast, but at least we have some great options like the Farmington River to keep us at bay while waiting. 

Photo credit: Tommy Baranowski

Photo credit: Aaron Swanson

Photo credit: Aaron Swanson