Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday 2/12/16 Report- Welcome to New England....

They aren't all big, but they are pretty! Epic afternoon for me Wednesday after the snow, I'd tell you how many I caught but you'd say I was lying. Let's just say I got more than I deserve. It was a steady bite for me on a variety of nymphs, with Caddis larva predominating, and then late in the day as the light level dropped, various hot spot nymphs were getting it done. Brutal cold Saturday & Sunday will make shopping, fly-tying & reading a better choice than fishing, highs will barely crack 10 degrees, with lows -4 to -10, yowza. By Tuesday, you will see a high cracking 50 degrees, and many days topping 40 in the long range forecast. That's a temperature spread of over 60 degrees in 48 hours, wow. Welcome to New England.... Slush will definitely be an issue on the river this weekend, if you have to venture out fishing, head upriver above the Still River, the influence of the dam keeps the water just warm enough to stay above freezing. I'd also recommend focusing on the most comfortable part of the day, late morning through mid afternoon. Dead-drifted nymphs would be the way to go on really cold days. Fishing has continued to be good to excellent most days this winter, especially for the skilled nymphers, but trout are also eating dries & streamers at moments. The Farmington is 131cfs from the Goodwin Dam in Riverton, downstream to the confluence of the Still River, about 90cfs from the Still River (flow gauge appears to be freezing up and giving a false elevated reading of 138cfs), giving us a total flow in the permanent Catch & Release area of approximately 220fs. This level is a moderate water flow, leaving the river very wadeable in all areas. The Winter Caddis #20-24  hatch is providing some decent dry fly fishing for a few hours in the morning. Typically the hatch is an early to mid morning deal, but that can vary depending upon the day, with winged adults often on the water after the hatch in late morning/early afternoon. On milder afternoons we are seeing Midges #22-32 with some trout feeding on the surface in the larger pools. Our hardcore nymphing crew has been doing very well at moments with Zebra Midges #16-20 (black, red, olive), Green/Olive Caddis Larva #14-16, Cased Caddis #12-14, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-18, small Egg Flies, Squirmy Worms, Rainbow Warriors #16-18, Hot Spot Nymphs #14-16 & Stoneflies #8-14 (brown, black, golden/yellow).

Most of our Farmington trout are in winter lies (slow to medium speed water with some depth). Skip the faster water and focus on pools, deeper pockets, moderate riffles, and deeper runs. Look for fish around current edges, drop-offs & structure; anywhere there is a break from the faster current combined with some depth. Trout are cold blooded so in the winter they don't have to eat as much and conserve energy by moving out of the faster water and holding in slow to moderate water. Having said that, when nymphing we are still hitting a lot of fish in medium speed water, especially where moderate riffles start to drop into deeper water. While you may still hit fish in knee-deep water, spots with 3-5 feet of depth seem to be holding the lion's share. Trout will often pod up this time of year, so where you find one, there may be a bunch more. Nymph slow & deep and expect strikes to be subtle. Get your streamers well down into the water column using weight or sinking lines and don't fast strip them, but rather swing, twitch, and slow retrieve them. Winter trout like their streamers slow, deep & easy to catch.

Aaron Jasper is doing a tying class on Saturday March 5th on "Tying Weighted Euro Anchor Flies", see "Events/Classes" page for more info.