Monday, April 4, 2016

Early Spring Rainbows on the Salmon River, CT

I wanted to get back to the Salmon River in CT before the crowds really hit so I could get a decent impression of what the early spring fishing would be like. Sugi and I chose a day that looked like it would "break" the spell of winter on the weather report. (We've since learned that was only temporary, )but it was definitely a perfect day for us to be out.

We chose a nice spot where there weren't any other anglers yet. The river was flowing a bit low, but was in beautiful shape. The first section yielded one hard missed strike and then finally a fish to net.

The sun popped out here and there, and it became important to watch the shadows... which limited my techniques to mostly downstream fishing.

But the (likely recently stocked) rainbows were eager to take a fly from any angle, from what it seemed.

In a few instances, I was able to take many fish from each deep, dark hiding spot.

There is plenty of cover for fish, and a lot of opportunity to use large rocks to shield the fish from your presence on the river.

As the sun got brighter, the fish could see us more easily. I started fishing the deeper, darker and more hidden holes and the results were, at times, promising.

A break for lunch... home made Onigiri is always appreciated and enjoyed.

The setting was almost ancient... if it weren't for the fact that a dirt road runs along this river, you would almost think you were into the deepest and wildest of wildernesses, not close to major cities in Connecticut.

Of course, among the beauty was the usual trash left by anglers. I picked up many beer cans and some other commonly found bits of trash. Less than ideal, to say the least.

Working up another section that looked promising, I let the momentary frustration from the trash fade and settled back into the rhythm of high stick nymphing from pocket to pocket. 

I was using my new Suntech Grayce II. The rod telescopes from 4.7-5.2 meters. That means at its fully extended point, it is 17 feet long. That may seem a little strange to the average angler, but let me assure you... it is amazing. Given the complex patterns of water flow, I surmise it is easier to fish this river with a longer rod. You need the reach to avoid constant mending and to obtain a natural drift in the short plunge pools where so many trout reside.

The rod is almost insanely fun to cast, and my chosen method is something like a spey cast that doesn't rely on so much line being on the water. It is almost impossibly light, and with the right moves, does most of the "work" for you.

After catching so many rainbows, many of which were pretty beat up from their hatchery life and not worth a photo, I was happy to pull of a brown here and there as well.

Soon it was back to rainbows though, and some were of decent size.


At this point I was getting tired and it was getting late. I took a break for a snack and then hit the last deep plunge pool of the long section I had been fishing.

A particularly fat and hard fighting rainbow came from this pool first, and it took longer than the others to land. I was able to steer it in circles with the longer rod, but had to watch for branches given the situation.

After this I stumbled upon a pod of stockies and continued to pull them out until my arm was actually getting a bit sore. I decided to step off the water and call it a day. I didn't find any large brookies or holdover browns, but what a great day when you get tired from catching too many fish! While this river was a ton of fun, I'm actually looking much more forward to exploring some of the tributaries down the line.


  1. Nice trip report, that Grayce II rod sounds pretty interesting, glad you were able to give it a good workout.

    1. Thanks Mike, yeah I am loving that rod right now. It is not really much of a "tenkara" rod so to speak, but its a fine example of what a high end keiryu style rod can deliver for this method of fishing...

  2. You had a good outing. A few of the fish look real nice.
    A spot or two look familiar.