Float Fishing on the Farmington River | S17 E01

♪♪music ♪birds chirping Woo hoo wow Boat honk ♪gentle piano music ♪♪ [VO Chris] Short days and cold
weather make for long winters in
New England. Especially for fishmerman
itching to wet a line in open water. Thankfully there are some
special opportunities for desperate fisherman
who want to beat back the cabin fever. On The Water editor Jimmy Fee
and I Took advantage of a break
between winter storms to visit Connecticut’s famed
Farmington River. A well known fly fishing
destination. There we met up with Joe Diorio. A fishing guide who specializes in saltwater striped
bass fishing but also loves to target trout
on the Farmington. Rather than our typical fly rods are plan was to use
Centerpin rigs and float fishing setups. Centerpin fishing has quickly
become a popular way to target salmon and steelhead on the Great Lake tributaries. After we rigged up our rods We set out on a short hike to
one of Joe’s favorite pools For winter time fishing. (river running sounds) ♪ sentimental piano music ♪♪ [Chris] So Joe everything
has names. What stretch of water? [Joe] The boneyard [Chris] The boneyard okay and where does the boneyard
beginning and end. -Well it really starts at the
top of the hole up there. – Yeah okay. And it will go all the way
down to the slack water down here. -Here we are at March 1st and we’re gonna get into
some Centerpin fishing. So this is kind of new
for me. What are we gonna start what
are we gonna do. -So basically what we’re doing
is we’re center pinning. I’m basically float fishing and we’re gonna be fishing the seams and there’s seams and
pockets pretty much. As you can see you have the fast
water over out in the middle. And you have the slack water on
the inside. Basically what’s happening
is there’s a shallow part over here and it
goes down deep. And it comes back up. And there’s big rocks
right in the middle. And what we’re gonna do
is we’re gonna fish that seam. The water levels pretty low
to be honest for this time of year. I either like it really really
low. or really really high. When it’s really really high it
pushes the fish to the bank. And it really congregates them
in one specific area. When it’s low like this it also congregates them but it also makes for a lot
better drift as well. -[Chris] How deep are we gonna
be setting this as far as the depth. -[Joe] When we’re float fishing
that’s probably the most important thing is making sure that you
have the correct depth. If you don’t want to be dragging
you don’t want to be too high. Cause if you’re too high
you’re not gonna be above their heads. And if you’re too low you’re
not gonna be natural. -Right. -The most important thing
that we’re gonna be doing today is making the most natural
drift possible. Okay so we’re gonna try
and get that eggsack out front. And the bobber behind it. Right here I’d say it’s anywhere
between three and a half to four and a half feet. Up at the top it’s
a little bit shallower. And right on the back of that
tree actually. It’s about five six feet. You know we’ll be adjusting the
floats as we move up and down the river. -Ok one of the big questions
we get asked all the time is how do you set your weights. Traditionally you could use
an accelarated shot line. Okay so what that means is
you want to be heavy up top. Medium in the middle
and then light on the bottom. And what’s that’s gonna do
is the top of the water is the current is moving a lot
faster than it is on the bottom. So what do you want to do is That’s why we put really really
light on the bottom. -Kinda gives it an even flow
all the way down. -Those weights up top are
really gonna punch through that top of the current. And the bottom end it’s gonna be
lighter so it kicks everything out. And this way you can create the
most natural drift as possible. Well it looks like we’ve got
a beautiful day. We’ve got great water. -Yeah. Jimmy I know you’ve been here a few times.
How have you done so far? -So I’ve been here fly fishing
only in the Farmington four times. I’ve yet to catch my first
Farmington River trout and So when I learned that Joe
was doing the centerpin fishing here and he said how effective
it was. I was excited to try out
something different. -I’m sure we’re gonna get them
pretty good today. ♪acoustic guitar strumming When you’re casting
you’re hand is the guide. It’s just a very easy motion. You starting here you’re going here. And like I said you’re keeping
that line 90 degrees off of that spool. And its gonna come right off
on top of the spool. -Some people use an O to
go through the thing. I know Andy was trying
to teach me that. -Some people use an O other
people use just the side of your hand. Whatever works best for you. -Alright I’m gonna jump up
ahead. -Go right ahead. You’re good
right there. -[Jimmy] So to hook these
I’m gonna go through one of the eggs just to pop it and then
it’s gonna get some of the scent out there in the water. To help attract the trout. But for the most part you
want to keep the eggs intact. And you’re gonna want to check
this every few drifts to make sure the eggs aren’t
white or washed out because once they are
it’s not fishing effectively anymore so you want to make sure
you’ve got a an egg sack that’s looking
good the eggs are nice and bright orange. Always takes me a little bit to get used to casting
these again. Perfect! You got it! The guys already a pro. -[Jimmy] And there is an edge
here where we have some faster water out towards
the middle. And some slower water here
and those trout are gonna hang on the edge of
the fast water cause the fast water is gonna be what
brings them their food. Whether its nymphs or
trout eggs. And but they’re gonna want to
expend as little energy as possible so they’ll hang on the
slow edge of the water. Waiting for the fast water to
bring them something to eat. So I’m trying to get that
float and that rig right on the edge there. Cause that’s gonna be where the
trout are sitting. ♪ energetic acoustic music ♪ -[Chris] Joe you get a nice
fish on these. You just kind of cup your hand
underneath it like that and let that be your drag? -If I yeah. Yeah. Either that or I use this hand. -Yeah. -Here we go! I’m on! -Jimmy tight? -There you go! First Farmington River fish. -Not yet! (laughs) I have to not lose him yet! Looks like a brown seeing kind
of that beautiful gold to it. -Fever getting it done. -We have a great net we
of course forgot at the office. Beautiful brown trout. Oh man. -Nice! -There we go just gonna. So here’s the first one
just look at the colors on that fish it’s got
little red spots in there. So I’m gonna put him back
in the river. Beautiful fish. Not to bad for my first
fish on the Farmington. ♪ glorious acoustic music (river running noise) So that fish was on white. It’s a. I always think its a
little more fun when you have to dial them
in a little bit. You know started out had to find
depth. Then mess around with the color. And then finally made it work. And I think the key
right now. The fish don’t seem to be
holding on the close edge of that fast water and
slower water. They seem to be on the
far side. Which is where that brown was. I’m gonna try to get another
cast out there. And see if there’s a few more
in there. Man they’re pretty fish in here. -[Joe] Yeah right? -[Chris] That’s pretty cool. -[Joe] Hey why don’t we head out
this way? -[Chris] Alright. -[Chris] Don’t have to ask me
twice. -[Joe] We’ll go low hole
Jimmy. (Jimmy laughs) -[Jimmy] Now you have to fill
us in on the lingo. What does low hole mean? -[Joe] We’re going below
the person below you. And stealing their drift
away from them. -That’s how they do it
on the Farmington Huh that’s the etiquette here? The best thing about today is
that we can low hole each other all day long. -Oh boy! (the guys laugh) Just don’t tell my wife. (the guys laugh) -So as you can see. -[Jimmy] So right there
as it kind of hit there. That’s the place where
it dropped. -[Joe] Yeah that’s perfect.
That’s actually four to five feet. I think there is one section
right there thats six feet deep. -I wasn’t mending it enough. Yeah so it dropped twice in
the same spot. I wasn’t sure if the first one
was bottom but now I’m pretty sure it was
a fish. -[Joe] It was probably a fish. -A lot of the center pin
specific rods. Are designed with guides
you have the thinner These are actually I think this
is This does have recoil guides
but it’s got thinner guides that are set further out
from the blank. Especially towards the tip and that’s going to minimize
icing. Because you are doing this in
the coldest time of the year. You know the water temperature
is in the mid 30s. The air temperature is colder
than that. So you do deal with quite a bit
of icing. And there are a couple
ways to mitigate it. One way to keep the icing to
a minimum some guys will spray pam
or cooking spray on to their guides.
And that helps. -There is really no difference
between tackle for upstate New York
and for here. You could use a 13ft rod or you
could use a 9ft rod I like to use a 9ft rod
just because the streams a little bit
smaller. A little bit easier to cast
some of the times we’re walking through some highly wooded areas so the smaller rod definitely
makes it a lot easier. You know with my center pin.
It’s spooled up with 10lb to 12lb Maxima
Ultra green. A lot of guys like to use
the high vis line. So this way they
can see the line in the water. – It goes out really easy.
There’s no resistance. -No yeah it’s definitely
very very great line. It’s really nice line. Not a lot of memory
in this line. Especially the Ultra Green
when you start using other lines a lot of them will have
heavy memory. And especially with the
center pins You’re casting off the sides
so its making a natural line twist in the
line. You know I have my 12
my 10lb test attached to my first swivel. That swivel is attached
to my shot line. My shot line is anywhere
between 8 to 6lb test. That’s what the line I put all
my weights on. So like I said I have -And how long is the length
on that one. Depends on where I’m fishing. I have some spots on this river
that are eight feet deep. So I’ll make that line eight
feet deep. And then I’ll put a two
foot leader behind it. But most of the time my shot
line is 5ft deep. -Who’s back now? -You got it down now
that’s for sure. -The last week
castings clicked. -Here we go! -[Chris] Jimmy’s got one. -[Joe] That’s a nice fish
right there. That’s a nice fish. -[Chris] Jimmy’s still white on
their bud? -[Jimmy] Yeah I actually
increased the depth a little bit on this one. Looks like another brown. Fat, a fat fish. Another nice thing about the
long limber rod is they will protect the leader. You kind of. That’s a
pretty brown. -[Joe] Oh yeah that’s a nice
one Jimmy. What’s that almost like 19
20 inches. That’s a beautiful fish. That’s gotta be 20. -[Jimmy] Look how thick too. I mean just a beautiful brown
trout. -[Joe] Meateater right there. (the guys laugh) -[Jimmy] She’s in no rush. -[Joe] Nice fish. ♪ serene music Yeah they’re definitely taking
a little bit to wake up this morning. And Joe said it could be a
couple of things. It could be the cold night
and they’re just waiting for the water temperature
even if it clicks up just a couple degrees. That could be enough to get
them feeding or he said the thing that
might have put the bite off a bit was the recent drop in the
water level. So think of it this way.
If you were sitting in your house and your ceiling
dropped too it would freak you out too so that’s Just takes him a little bit to
get adjusted and acclimated to the new water levels
and then they start showing. After a day or two so maybe as we get deeper in the
afternoon the fishing will pickup a little bit. -[Chris] I’m in a great spot
right there kinda drifting down. This center pin’s
very new to me. And it definitely takes a little
bit of time to get used to it. Sometimes in low light
conditions in the winter time. It can affect the bite. During summer time, during
spring time, fall low light conditions
are best. But this time of year
they like the sun on the water. So typically that first that first hour and the last
hour sometimes aren’t the best times
to be fishing. Oh oh oh oh! [Chris] Starting to happen boys Not for everyone but. So basically what I was doing
is I was fishing right along the seem right here. There is a nice little pocket
where these fish have been holding very tight to shore
almost. This is a stocked trout. But you can see its
adjusted to the river. with it’s markings. So these
red markings. They’re not stocked like that they adjust to the river That’s how they get those colors That’s maybe 20 inches? Let’s let this guy go. Here he goes. ♪ gentle relaxing music -[Chris] I think I’m gonna
be a little further out. -[Joe] No actually that’s
a good area. Oh yeah there you go!
You got him! -[Chris] About time -[Joe] That’s a nice fish
right there. -[Chris] I’m holding out
for a hero Jimmy. The weather as you said earlier
I said I asked you a question you know bright sunshine.
He said sometime that turns them on you know? That will turn
it on and. And as this sun has warmed up. My feet have warmed up.
This fishing’s actually improved. Yeah, that’s a beautiful fish
right there Chris. [Chris] Look at the colors
on that fish huh? [Joe] Oh my god. There you go! That’s a stocked brown trout. -I’m gonna give you that. -Perfect! [Chris] Very similar to the
last one you had and you said earlier that
this is about that 20 inch spot. You know? -Yeah like look at the
colors on that look at the dark black spots. -That is amazing that
right there. -Finally broke the ice.
Literally broke the ice off my guides earlier. (laughs) -That’s beautiful. -I’m gonna let this guy go. -That’s one heck of a fish
right there. -That’s awesome Joe huh? [Chris VO] After another hour of
fisihing we tied into one more brown
trout before Joe signaled it was time to try a
new location farther down stream. With our gear packed we hiked
the snowy trail back to the truck. And then closely followed
Joe to a spot he predicted would
hold more hungry trout. ♪ compelling piano music [Chris] Should we go on the
other side of the bridge and back into the light?
Or not that far? -You can go all the way
to the other side of the bridge. That’s fine. I go pretty much until I can’t
see it anymore. -Yeah ok. A little colder here. -Yeah that wind is a nice
little wind tunnel right here. -Nice. -That might be a rainbow. That’s a good brown huh? -Rainbow! -Oh rainbow nice! -Yeah, oh! Quick on and off. -Rainbow huh? -Yep nice rainbow. Yeah this spot we catch a lot
more rainbows because they sit in the faster water
better. [Jimmy] I take my eye off it
for one second [Joe] There we go! [Chris] He’s got the sweet
spot. Nice! -Yeah. Not bad. Yeah. [Chris] I’m going over to
the land of big fish. Is it all about the same
depth going over. -Yeah pretty much the same
depth. -Just the current
a little stronger? -The current is a tiny
bit stronger. [Jimmy] Chris if you aim
for the green part its a little bit cushy feel like you get a good
grip on it. -That’s good You can go there or
down further, whatever you want. ♪fun country music [Jimmy] As you get to the bridge
its dipping down pretty good? -Yeah it dips down to about 3.5ft. -I’ll hang here. -You can go over there. -That’s alright. -There’s plenty of room. Yeah right basically there is
right in front of you. Yep? Is like one of the
sweet spots. -You want to fish from Start right here, ok? And we’re gonna fish all the
way down to where our bobber is. -Into the soft water?
Ok. -Right around there. There we go. -Nice. [Jimmy] Is there a fish on that? -Oh yeah. Doubled up baby! Doubled up. -Oh sure! Nothing to see. I knew I moved down here at
the right time. All beautiful rainbows. Right on that, right on
that spot. -Beautiful rainbows. -Not gonna tell Jimmy about it. [Jimmy] Not that you guys would
have told me but I couldn’t hear anything
out there anyhow so. (guys laugh) -Beautiful fish. -Look at that. -Look at the colors on that. -You know what? -That could be wild. They didn’t chop the adiposal
fin. -Chris is that a brown you got? -Yeah I got to brown. A little
brownie. Come on fella. -That’s a nice fish. -Nice. We’re in them boys now
we’re in them oh yeah. Were you guys getting some hits
before that? -I dunno who knows these things. -Were you trying to
signal me by or no? no. (Chris laughs) -That’s very similar
to the other one. That 18, 19inch fish. Stocked
that’s when. -Gorgeous fish guys. You know I was losing it under
the shaddow line. My indicator. And just coming over here
gives it a different profile. A little different profile
also these fish are sitting right
in that slack water. [VO Chris] Fishing the bridge
proved to be exceptionally productive. We managed to catch nearly
a dozen trout on that single stretch of
water. -There we go. -There it is. -But look that’s a wild fish. -Yeah probably. Five. Four. Three. Two. Oh! There you go
Chris you’re on. -Yup oh yeah. -Look at that you calling it. Jimmy I’m gonna swing this guy
right in front of you. -Nice fish. -I told you this Chris.
This is our spot. This iis our spot. (guys laugh) [VO Chris] However, Joe had one
final spot in mind. Just downstream a few miles. [VO] With sundown approaching Joe managed to tie into
one final big brown trout before daylight turned to dusk. -Oh my goodness. Look at that, that’s
a nice fish. [VO] For anglers itching to wet
a line and beat back that cabin fever It’s worth seeking out this
hidden gem in the heart of Connecticut.

4 thoughts on “Float Fishing on the Farmington River | S17 E01

  1. Very poor catch and release practices. Dry hands, beaching fish and no rubber nets add to mortality.

  2. This method is intriguing. I heard a few stories of guys trying it on the Saranac with great success, particularly in the late winter/early spring

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