Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday 12/29/15 Flow Update

Flow from dam was bumped Monday at 9am from a low 122cfs to a more normal 226cfs, giving us a total flow today of 368cfs in the permanent Catch & Release area (424cfs total is the historical median flow for today). This is a very nice, normal, medium level. Clarity remains excellent. Better flows usually means more big fish in my experience. Some really nice browns keep showing up regularly- check out this beauty caught Sunday by Mike Andrews, a recent convert to Euro Nymphing. The adipose fin clip shows it was stocked as a Survivor Strain Two Year Old, and it evidently held over and got even bigger. Long Range Forecast calls for highs in the 30's-40's, lows mostly in the 20's (6 out of the next 10 days will be in the 40's). This will have several effects. First there will be less anglers. Second, cooler, normal below freezing winter nights means that the Winter Caddis hatch will get heavier, the mild temps most of December had it lighter than usual. Thirdly, as water temps drop into 30's the trout will start to transition into their typical winter lies- this means slow to moderate speed water with some depth. Once they move, they will often pod up, so where you find one, there may be a bunch more They have been scattered all over the place because water temps have been well into the 40's, we've been catching them in the medium-slow to medium fast water. Over the next week or so as water temps decrease into the 30's they will start to move into the pools and softer/deeper runs, so look for them there. Nymph slow & deep and expect strikes to be subtle. Get your streamers well down into the water (using weighted flies, split shot, sinking leaders, or sink-tips/sinking lines) column and don't fast strip them, but rather swing, twitch, and slow retrieve them. Due to the slower water you will be fishing & less aggressive presentations, don't use to much weight or too fast sinking of a line or you will hang up on the bottom a lot. Slow streamer presentations mean that you fly will fish deeper than normal. If you fish a weighted fly on a 200 grain line, you will have to fish it way too fast to keep it from snagging. Winter trout like their streamers slow, deep & easy to catch.

Still a couple spots available in our second & final Don Butler beginner tying class 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.

Winter Caddis #20-24 are hatching in the mornings, and in the afternoons we are seeing Midges #22-32- they will both hatch straight through the winter. With more normal winter weather starting up this week, look for morning Winter Caddis hatches get heavier (the mild temps most of December kept the hatch lighter than normal). 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- try swinging, twitching, and slow retrieving them. If your primary goal is numbers, go with medium sizes (#6-8), or go larger if you want a crack at the biggest trout, but are willing to catch less and forgo some of the average 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, and they fish well in wintertime. Also try attractor nymphs in #12-18 (Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Yellow Sparkle Prince, Lightning Bug, etc.), some days they will do the trick when trout ignore drabber more natural patterns.

Other suggested nymphs include the following: Yellow Stoneflies #8-16, Black Stoneflies 8-14, Fox Squirrel Nymph #12, Wade's Olive Tungsten Biot nymph #16, Wade's Tungsten Clinger Nymph #16 (brown, olive), Rainbow Warrior #16-18, 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 6x-7x tippet for your dries (depending upon size). 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.
Our apartment is now closed for the season, and will be available again starting in April 1, 2016.
Jed Drake with a sweet December Farmington Brown: