This Saturday April 11th at 6am is Opening Day! But you have about 21 miles open to C&R fishing before then, from Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton, down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville. The Farmington is running clear and has dropped nicely from last week- 253cfs from the Goodwin Dam in Riverton (a nice, medium flow for the upper river), downstream to the confluence of the Still River. The total flow in the river below the Still River is 733cfs (with 480cfs from Still River) through the permanent TMA/C&R section in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford, this is is 100% fishable boys & girls. This is a normal flow for this time of year. The DEEP was back stocking more trout throughout the river Friday for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. The dirt road into Greenwoods & Boneyard is once again drivable now that the snow is melted. Best action Friday, due to the high water and winds, were streamers such as Rich Strolis's Ice Pick, Jack Smola's Wooly Jack, plus heavily weighted nymphs including larger stoneflies, green and olive caddis larva, Hendrickson nymphs, and Pink/Silver Lightning Bugs.
I did well last Thursday evening on nymphs, and I also had a good outing after work on Easter Sunday with various nymphs, especially those with some pink in them. Water temp was 44 degrees last Thursday, and 37.5 on Easter (both near the shop & up in Riverton too). Fishing reports have varied greatly, depending upon the day and who you talked to, with some anglers doing quite well and others struggling. As flows continue to drop & temps warm, look for afternoon water temps to push well into the 40's. Up in Riverton, temps will stay colder due to cold water release from the bottom of the dam (still mid/upper 30's up there). So from the Still River downstream, especially on mild/sunny days, the water will be noticeably warmer, which often translates into more active trout. Those who have found pods of freshly stocked trout recently have racked up the biggest catches, but some bigger holdovers are mixing in here & there. Fish a spot, but if it's not producing, move on, don't linger. Lately the more water I cover lately, the better I do. I might come up empty in 2-3 spots, and then bang fish in the 4th. Nymphs & deeply/slowly fished streamers are the most reliable fish catchers in the cooler waters of the early season, especially when flows are up. The dry fly guys have been back at it and catching some fish at moments (ideally look for days without much wind). Big flat pools like Church, Greenwoods, Whitemore, Campground & Beaver Pools are your best bets if you want to fish dries. The Caddis (AM) & Midges (afternoons) can bring trout to the surface, but Stones fluttering on top (sz 14-18) can bring trout up too. With the Caddis & Stonefly dries, try both dead-drifting them and also lightly twitching them. Tiny Winter Black Stones (sz 8-24) & Early Black Stones (sz 12-16) have been all over the river lately. Seeing some Early Brown Stones (#14-16) as well as Midges (sz 20-28) in the afternoons.
Subsurface, it's not too early to start fishing Hendrickson nymphs, they get active and end up in the drift a good month before the hatch begins, and Bruce Marino ties us a DEADLY nymph for this- ask and we will point you toward it Hendrickson nymphs catch me a lot of BIG trout in April. A bigger #12-14 Pheasant Tail can also work well. Hendrickson Nymph patterns can also pull double-duty as early season stoneflies. Early Black & Early Brown Stoneflies (sz 12-16), Pheasant Tails (sz 12-18), olive/green caddis larva (sz 8-16), cased caddis larva (sz 8-16), midge larva/pupa (sz 16-20, especially in red), attractor nymphs (sz 12-18 in Red Headed Stepchild, Copper Johns, blue Lightning Bugs, Yellow Prince, Rainbow Warrior, and egg flies (sz 10-18) are still a good choice (rainbows & suckers are both spring spawners in March/April, contributing fish eggs to the drift), etc. Don't be afraid to fish some some gaudier/flashy/attractor-type nymphs, the trout sometimes show a preference for them, doubly true for recently stocked trout. If you are fishing streamers, remember that a slower presentation (swinging and/or slow stripping & twitching) matches up with the slower trout metabolism due to cooler water temps- but as always, play with your presentation and let the trout tell you how they prefer it, they may still want a bit faster strip at moments. Try using a floating line and slowly bouncing/hopping a weighted Fishskull Skulpin Bunny on the bottom- use a 0x-2x tippet with this pattern & method, that fly is heavily front-weighted and rides hook point up. If you are using unweighted or lightly weighted streamers, use something to get them down- sinking line, sink-tip line, sinking leader, or split shot. Slow & deep is typically the name of the game until water temps get up near 50 degrees (usually mid/late April if you are downstream of the Still River).
Beginner Fly Fishing Course with guide Marla Blair on April 25, May 2, June 20, and July 25th:
These beginner classes are limited to 4 people, run from about 7am-4pm. Please contact Marla directly at 413-583-5141 or at www.marlablair.com. Cost is $175 per person, and she can provide any equipment you might need for no additional charge. You will learn about the elements of fishing: equipment/supplies, reading the water/finding fish, what trout need, hatch/fly selection, knots, river etiquette, casting, line control & presentation. No kids under 13. Coffee & muffins provided, please bring a bag lunch, raincoat & vaild 2015 CT fishing license.
Visit us at our new: UpCountry Sportfishing Facebook page for daily reports, photos of big fish and information about the Farmington River community.
We are looking for good used fly rods and reels for trade and purchase. If you have some equipment that you don't like bring it to the store to turn it into something shiny and new. Call to make an appointment for an appraisal or to make a deal.