Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday 12/14/15 Report- mild December & big browns...

The unusually nice weather is bringing fishermen out, and this month we are also starting to see more big fish being caught. Witness this beautiful 20" plus brown caught by Derrick's (CT Fish Guides) client Jed Drake on a nymph- he's done 2 guided trips with Derrick, and this is the 2nd trip in a row he landed 20" class fish (and he landed other big fish on this same outing). This one looks wild to me, absolutely perfect fins, and no adipose clip or dye mark behind the eyes. Farmington Gold. Flow is a medium-low 218cfs total in the permanent Catch & Release area (181cfs from the dam in Riverton).  Normally (AM hatch of Winter Caddis excepted) you want to focus on the late morning through mid-afternoon period from now through March, but with these above average air & water temps, the fishing lately has generally been better in the mornings (even subsurface), with afternoons being slower. Interesting. Good fishing reports from many anglers this past week (but not all), with fish coming to nymphs, streamers & dries. Quite a few 16-18" fish reported by anglers, with some up to 20+ inches. Experienced nymphers are catching the most & biggest (no surprise there), however dries & streamers have both been effective at moments. Change spots and/or techniques if you are not catching trout, experimentation is key to success right now. Mild weather combined with nice flows has been driving some above average December fishing by warming the cold water up and speeding up the trouts' metabolisms. Water temps vary depending upon distance from dam, sunshine, daily high, and daily low- they've been averaging in the mid 40's. Normally water temps would be in the 30's in an average December. Trout haven't set up in the slow water winter lies yet, they are anywhere from medium-slow pool water to riffles, to softer/deeper pockets. Eventually when temps go inot the 30's (probably not until January!), you will see most trout migrate into the slower/deeper pool water. Most browns are post-spawn right now and as such are feeding, but moving around too, so cover lots of water if you can.

Fish are rising in the mornings to Winter Caddis #20-24, in the afternoons Midges #22-32 are hatching, and  there are still a few small Blue Wing Olives #22-28 (light hatch. almost over) -Midges & Winter Caddis will hatch straight through the winter. Ironically, when winter weather normalizes, the morning Winter Caddis hatches get heavier. If you are nymphing in the early to mid mornings, try egg patterns, Squirmy Worms & big stoneflies, and pair those up with a smaller nymph in the #16-20 range. Streamers are another good choice in the mornings, but fish them slow & deep, don't rip them in fast like you would in May or October as water temps are colder now and trout are more lethargic, make it easy for them to "catch" your fly. If your primary goal is numbers, go with medium sizes (#6-8), or go bigger if you want a crack at the biggest trout, but are willing to catch less and forgo some of the small to medium fish.  Assorted smaller nymphs in the #16-20 range are some of the more consistent fish catchers right now- try Flashback WD-40's, Zebra Midges (black, olive, red), and Pheasant Tails. Caddis Larva in #14-16 too, there are TONS in the river. Also try attractor nymphs in #12-18 (Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Yellow Sparkle Prince, Lightning Bug, etc.).

Other suggested flies include the following nymphs: Yellow Stoneflies #8-16, Black Stoneflies 8-14, Fox Squirrel Nymph #12, Hot Spot Baetis #16-20, Olive nymphs #16-22, Rainbow Warrior #16-18, Tan Caddis Pupa #14-16, Green/Olive Caddis Larva #14-16, Pheasant Tails #16-22, Prince Nymph #12-18. Play with colors on your streamers, lately some of the better ones have been white, olive, and brown. Nothing lighter than 2-3x on your streamers (for average sizes streamers), and go heavier if you are tossing big ones. 5x fluoro is a good average for your nymphs, and 5x-7x tippet for your dries (depending upon size), with 6-7x being more the norm right now due to the small size of the flies & flat water they hatch on. Long tippets help with both dries & nymphs: it will give you "S" curves to get a drag-free float with dries, and it will sink faster with less weight when nymphing.
We just scheduled our second & final Don Butler beginner tying class for this winter, it will be 2 day course, January 9th & 16th, 10am-3pm, cost is $125 per person. Call 860-379-1952 to sign up, class size is limited. See Events/Classes for more details.

Our apartment is now closed for the season, and will be available again starting in April 1 2016.