July 20 – Thursday –
Fishing for trout in mid-July when it is 96 degrees and humid is kind of unthinkable unless you have spring fed creeks like the Connetquot, Nissequogue and Carmans. I considered the Carmans but the reports were weak and I was just at the Nissequogue with the Project Healing Waters folks, so the Conny is my choice for a mid-July outing.
Mike Postol told me at the last Flyrodders meeting that the Connetquot is now open 4-8, evening sessions. What good news! The State Parks cancelled their evening sessions back during some budget crunch or other.
I ask Chuck if he wants to go, says he will try, but not sure. Joe is available. We thought we would have the place to ourselves but it turned out that 12 people had reservations, only 8 showed up.
I am getting updates from the guys out west, fishing the Big Hole, the Wise and more. A bunch of others are heading to Missoula next week – Clark Fork, Bitterroot, Rock Creek, Blackfoot and Missouri. More heading to Yellowstone and all will hit the Madison at some point. The Connetquot ain’t like them – but it is near home and full of fish.
Joe asks what flies might work and I suggest his own JoeStack along with ants and beetles. I sat down and tied a few ants size 14 and 16; six so I could share, but as I crimped the barbs two broke off. I countered my own advice – crimp before you tie.
We have beats 14 and 15. Any beat would work, especially once the sun starts to set. Any fly will work as well, if you present it properly and switch once it is rejected a few times. I start at the big hole at mid-15, deep. I can see the fish and try a small caddis. One guy comes up to look but is not convinced. A streamer with some weight to it is next. Three mouthed it without a hook up and then not. I try it along the back wash and let it settle in the sand, hopping it like a cray fish, making puffs of dust. A good size Rainbow is entertained but not fooled.
I spent too much time working the hole and Joe reminded me to rest the pool, move on. I switch to dry flies and work under the trees where they are occasionally rising to something I can’t see. I lose a good number of flies in the bushes which are aggressive this time of year. By the end of the evening I recover all but one and find a few more.
I manage a few fish which I release without benefit of the net since the rod is 7 foot and the leader 12. I just grab the 4x tippet and twist the barbless hook out, if he doesn’t release himself. I am enjoying the action both when they refuse and when they take.
Joe is working 14 and getting hits. I put on what we now call the Montana Monster because I once used it for an entire trip out west and had continuous hits. It works here too. Joe puts one on and can’t keep the fish off the hook down toward 13. We are having a good time.
There is a nice assortment of fishers this evening. One fellow has not been here in 30 years and is introducing a new fly fisher to the river. We refreshed his mind of the spots they are fishing, 9 and 10. Another guy is above us on 16 and spending most of his time in the same location, having set his camera tripod on the rock diverter. He is hitting some big fish. As we are walking out he just misses a big boy that he has been working on for the whole session. I know that sound – Yeeahh-ouch! %#$*&. A couple come walking by who worked the lower river and say they had a big fish – but then everyone here is getting big fish.
Joe located one of at least 24 inches and is determined to go through his entire fly collection if that is what it will take to hook him. The fish ate a green caddis pupa and then calmly spit it out as the soft rod went through the motions of setting the hook.
So Connetquot in the evening is a nice way to spend a hot summer afternoon, wet wading comfortably (the biting insects are not bad). Call for a reservation and get there before 3:45 as the booth and the gates close at 4. You can stay in the river until 8 but they ask that you please be out of the Park by 8:30. The last thing we want is to give them a reason to take away these evening hours, so please comply.
BTW – the session fee has gone up to $25 – a lot cheaper than a trip to Missoula!
Need a refresher on your fly fishing? Click here.
Please use the icons below to share and thanks for the support!