Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday 4/15/15 Report:

The Farmington is medium & clear at 260cfs from the Goodwin Dam in Riverton. 600cfs through the catch & release area in Barkhamsted. Had a report of a light hatch of Baetis Vagans (a bigger, early season #16 Blue Winged Olive mayfly) down in the C&R section, and a friend also caught several nice browns there on a #16 Olive nymph. River is nice & clear, and with the mild, sunny weather here now, the water temps are creeping up closer to where they should be, and this will make both the trout & bugs more active. Some nice trout were caught over the weekend, but some of the biggest ones that were stocked for the derby & Opening Day are still in there and did not get caught! CT DEEP has stocked at least 3 times over the past few weeks, and will stock the C&R section very soon with 5,000+ trout, including 1,000 large Two Year Old browns.
Air temps this week are predicted to be in the 60's every day, with nights mid 30's to mid 40's- this will push water temps up for better fishing as the week progresses. If fishing below the Still River, the water is higher, so think nymphs & streamers, and fish closer to the banks, anywhere there are current breaks. Look for wider pools & also inside bends. Higher flows scare many fishermen away, but the fish are still there and catchable if you approach them correctly. They simply move closer to the banks, out of the heavier current. You can upsize your nymphs & streamers, no need for light tippets, and make sure to fish your flies slowly, down near the bottom.
I did well after work on Opening Day, catching a bunch of trout on nymphs, including a nice broodstock brown. Fishing reports have varied greatly, depending upon the day and who you talked to, with some anglers doing quite well and others struggling- cold than normal water temps for Opening Day weekend made for sluggish trout last weekend. As flows drop & temps warm this week, 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 in the mornings, but warming by the afternoon on sunny days). 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 when flows have been normal, and catching some fish at moments (ideally look for days without much wind). Big, flat, wide pools like Church, Greenwoods, Whitemore, Campground & Beaver Pools are your best bets if you want to fish dries. The Winter Caddis (AM) are waning but you may still see some, in the afternoons you should see Oives (#16 Baetis Vagans), Midges (#20-28) & Early Stones (#12-18). With the Caddis & Stonefly dries, try both dead-drifting them and also lightly twitching them, Baetis & Midges should mostly be dead-drifted. Sometime in late April we should see the first Hendricksons, they will probably be a little late due to the brutally cold winter.
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 & Rich Strolis both tie us DEADLY nymps for this- ask and we will point you toward them. Hendrickson nymphs catch me a lot of BIG trout in April/May. A bigger #12-14 Pheasant Tail can also work well. Hendrickson Nymph patterns can also pull double-duty as early season stoneflies. #16 Olive nymphs imitating Baetis Vagans are also a good choice now, they are just starting up. 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.