Friday, July 19, 2024

Friday 7/19/24 Farmington River Report: Weekend looks good

Store Hours
8am-6pm Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm on Saturday & Sunday.

Pictured up top is customer & friend Mike Andrews with a solid holdover brown from yesterday. Mike has more than paid his dues and catches a lot of big fish due to time spent on the water and lessons learned.

Second pic is of world flyfishing champion Yannick Riviere. Antoine Bissieux, the “French Flyfisherman”, is bringing Yannick from France for multiple clinic days in CT (not VT) covering Euro-nymphing & secret French dry fly techniques in late July/early August- contact Antoine directly to find out more, these classes are coming up fast. This is a do-not-miss! Yannick will also be doing a fly tying class on Saturday August 3rd at 5:30pm at Legitimus Brewery just down the street from us- he will show you some of his deadly fly patterns. Yannick is truly a magician with the fly rod and seems to be able to catch Farmington trout almost at will (he’s been here twice so far) on nymphs & dry flies. He does things with dry flies that we had never seen or heard of. Yannick also has won the individual gold medal in the World Fly Fishing Championships before, and he recently helped coach FlyFishing Team USA to a bronze medal in the World Championships a few weeks ago. Call Antoine at 860-759-4463 to find out more or sign up, spots are limited.

The FRAA & Farmington Valley TU will be putting on a joint picnic Saturday the 27th, from 12 noon through 2pm in the “Picnic Table” area at Ovation in New Hartford, all are welcome to attend. There will be free burgers & hot dogs, as well as a casting competition. Yannick Riviere & Josh Miller will both be in attendance. Yannick is a guide in France, and was an individual gold medal winner of the world flyfishing championships more than once. He recently helped coach Flyfishing Team USA to a bronze medal in the world championships in France. He will be here doing clinics through local guide Antoine Bissieux. Josh is a full time PA guide for trout & steelhead, a coach of the Team USA Youth Flyfishing Team, recently wrote a book on Euro Nymphing, and was also a member of the adult team. Both will do fishing demos during the picnic.

Friday 7/19 morning Report:
We are setting up for another nice weekend of fishing. Rain Wednesday bumped the flows up a bit, but total flow is already back down in the 300’s and dropping steadily with dry weather for the next several days. Riverton, from the dam to the Rt 20 bridge, as usual remains almost unaffected by the rain, and is still releasing ice cold water (about 49-50 degrees right at the dam powerhouse) at 265cfs. The Still River is adding 122cfs & dropping fast, putting us at 387cfs and dropping in the Permanent TMA/C&R. Total weekend flows should be in the low 300cfs range, a very nice level indeed. Water temps were averaging 50’s to low 60’s before the rain (depending upon river section, weather, and time of day), but with additional water from the Still River (it runs warm in the summer), keep an eye on water temps if you are below Church Pool in the afternoon & evenings. Cooler nights (50’s last night) are giving you a good window of colder water (50’s to low 60’s) in the mornings even down near us in New Hartford & Canton, but you may want to migrate further upstream by noon as the water temps slowly rise, . Look for water temps under 70 degrees, and ideally 65 degrees or less for the most active trout. If you don’t own a thermometer, you should in the summertime.

We are in summer mode, which means that overall early & late in the day are the peak hatch and fishing times. The exception to this can be Riverton, which due to the icy cold water will often see hatches in the late morning to early evening period. If you are out after work, try to stay until full darkness if you can, or you may miss the best fishing of the evening. The hotter the day, the more the good rising activity will push closer to darkness. Again, Riverton above the Still River can be an exception to this rule. During the slower times of the day, a good strategy is to target the faster, broken water. If you can find shade, even better.

Farmington trout can be very particular when they are rising to a hatch, especially the bigger holdovers and wild browns, so match the bugs as closely as you can. If you are in between 2 fly sizes, the general rule is to err on the smaller side. If you are nymphing in the summer with a 2 fly rig, make sure one of your nymphs is small, as in #18 or smaller. The exceptions to small nymphs would be large Stoneflies in the early to mid mornings, and big Isonychia nymphs in the mid afternoons through evenings. Both those bugs live in fast water FYI, so that’s the water type you should target. Mousing at night is also an option, especially to catch larger browns. Early & late in the day are generally the peak times to be out, but good fishing can be had any time of day right now if you are flexible in how you fish (like nymphing), and are willing to fish different sections of the river at different times of the day. The upper river is seeing a mid to late afternoon Sulfur hatch, and also another batch of them at dusk.

Hatches are diverse right now, and vary depending upon the section of river and time of day. Attenuata are hatch, going on mostly in the upper river currently (think Mathie’s Grove/Campground and above). They are often mistaken for a Sulfur from a distance, Attenuata are an evening Mayfly hatch with a bright lime green body with cream wings & legs. Sulfurs are still going from about Pipeline up to the dam in Riverton, and we are seeing mostly #18’s. Isonychia (Iso’s) are hatching in the fast water. Typically in the Permanent TMA, Iso’s are a late afternoon to evening hatch, but sometimes earlier- especially up in Riverton closer to the dam in the icy cold water. They run #8-12 this time of year and average about a #10. Iso’s live & hatch in faster water, so look for them there, not in flat pool water. Needhami #22-26 are going, they are a morning hatch and both the duns & spinners are important. The spinners fall earlier in the morning, with the duns hatching during and/or after that. We are also seeing assorted Caddis, various sized Light Cahills/Summer Stenonema (“Steno’s”), and small Blue Wing Olives (more on cloudy & rainy days). This is also a great time of year to fish Ants & Beetles, especially when you have sporadic risers but no real hatch.

Large Golden Stoneflies are crawling out on the rocks to emerge between first light and mid mornings, they run from about a #4 down to a #12. Imitate them with #8-12 nymphs in the fast water, big trout key in on them. They will be active & emerging from June through October. Look for their empty shucks on protruding rocks in fast water, you’ll also see a bunch on concrete bridge abutments. Fishing these big nymphs will net you some bigger fish, especially if you fish the fast water from first light to mid-morning (until about 10am). You can beef your tippet up when fishing bigger bugs like this for bigger trout- 4x to 5x is not to heavy, and if you have a really big trout located, 3x may be more appropriate.

Wet fly/soft hackle guys are putting fish in the net, and streamers are producing early & late in the day. Even had some good midday streamers reports, with the caveat that they were fishing them in fast water. Caddis typically come back later in the day to egg-lay in the riffles areas where they dump into the pools, and they typically hatch in the morning (can be afternoons up closer to the dam due to the colder water temps there). Trout normally feed on the pupa during the hatch, not so much the adults- this can mean anything from nymphing pupa near the bottom, to swinging pupa/wet flies/soft-hackles mid column, or dead-drifting pupa in the surface film. Dry/dropper with a Caddis dry and a pupa fished 6-12” below it can be effective during the hatch. You get more of the classic dry fly fishing with Caddis dries during the evening egg-laying events.

The state has done multiple stockings up & down the river, the fish density is currently very high between stocked, holdover & wild trout. They put in a lot of fat 14-16” rainbows, some are 17” and over 2 pounds. Many of the FRAA trophy rainbows are getting caught. They have been averaging about 5-7 pounds, and some are even bigger. Many trout are holding in faster water now: riffles, faster runs, and pocket water. Also the FRAA put in 18 large Golden Rainbows, and you will see them here & there, along with the leftover ones in the upper river from the Riverton Derby in early April. They are always a challenge to catch because they stick out like a sore thumb and everybody targets them.

Be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, small Mayfly patterns, big Stoneflies, Sulfur nymphs, Isonychia nymphs, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. Also try BWO nymphs #16-22 (especially on overcast days), #12-20 Pheasant Tails/Frenchies and other assorted nymphs. Small nymphs #18-22 are often the ticket in July, with the fly size being more important than the exact pattern. Cream Mops & Squirmy Worms (pink, red) are always worth a try, especially as a clean up fly after you nymph a run, or if trout are not responding to your usual more imitative patterns. They can also be good during non-hatch periods. Don’t neglect attractor nymphs that have flash, fluorescent colors, UV, or gaudy colors- pink beaded nymphs are very effective.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods arrived in March, and they have really impressed us. Slightly more flex in the tip, but still plenty of power in the mid & lower sections, with fantastic crisp recovery and a low swing weight.



-Needhami #22-26: early/mid mornings, spinners & duns
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long
-Sulfur #18 (Dorothea): Riverton, from about Pipeline up to the dam. Often hatches in both mid/late afternoon and again in the eves in the cold water up near the dam.
-Isonychia #10-12: typically a late afternoon through dusk hatch in fast water, starts later on hot, sunny days. On the entire river currently. July is normally the peak month for Iso's in the Permanent TMA/C&R, this bug brings some large trout to the surface in fast water.
-Attenuata #18-20: Often mistaken for a Sulfur, but it's a bright lime green and smaller. Mostly upriver now, from about Mathie’s Grove/Campground and up. Typically in the evenings, but sometimes in the afternoon as you get closer to the dam.
-Light Cahill/Summer Stenos #12-20: evenings, but can pop in the afternoons on the upper river
-Ants & Beetles #12-18: very effective, especially when you have sporadic risers without any major hatch occuring
-Blue Wing Olive #20-24: cloudy afternoons, eves too sometimes

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-Small Nymphs #18-22: frequently size is more important than the exact pattern, especially in July & August when most of the bugs are smaller. Generic bugs likePheasant Tails/Frenchies, Hare’s Ears, etc. all are good choices.
-Sulfur Nymph #18: can use specific imitations, also Frenchies/Pheasant Tails are effective
-Caddis Pupa #16-18 (tan, olive/green)
-Pheasant Tails/Frenchies #12-20: imitates a wide range of Mayflies including Sulfurs, Isonychia, Blue Winged Olives and more
-Stonefly #8-12: excellent in early to mid mornings when they crawl out in low light onto the rocks to emerge in fast water. They emerge from June through October on the Farmington River, and can produce some bigger fish.
-Isonychia Nymph #10-12: fish in fast water, mid afternoon through dusk
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles #12-16: assorted colors/patterns, try to imitate the main hatches, but also use flashy attractor patterns
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenie)
-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-22, good all year, common item in the drift
-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red
-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18 (yellow): can also imitate Midge larva
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: lots of these in the river
-Cased Caddis #12-14: underfished pattern, abundant in the Farmington
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Frenchies, Prince, Triple Threats, Pink Bead Walt’s Worm, Pink Bead Pheasant Tails, etc. Often work better than drabber, more imitative flies.


-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various patterns/colors, deadly fished on a tight-line/Euro rig, often sorts out bigger fish. Great to use as a clean-up fly after you nymph a run.
-Ice Picks (tan, gray, white, yellow): tied by Rich Strolis, a very nice single hook baitfish pattern
-Wooly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors, try also Don's Peach Bugger
-Zonker #4-6: a classic fish catcher! In white, natural
-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6: deadly fly! Also standard Matuka in olive, brown
-Zuddler #4-8: one of our favorites, in olive, white, brown, black
-Complex & Mini Twist Bugger #2-6: assorted colors, very effective