Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday 5/6/16 Report- fishing is good, still some Henny's hatching

Catch & Release works: pictured is the same trout 1 year part. Upper pic taped at 20", and caught again in lower pic this week by guide Zach St. Amand, longer & fatter now, in the exact same spot. The good fishing reports continue, and with the permanent Catch & Release section stocked with 6,000 trout last week (including 1,000 large Two Year Old Survivor Strain Farmington River Brown Trout), as you might imagine its been fast & furious there at moments. Flow is a very nice & moderate 277cfs in the permanent C&R section (New Harford/Pleasant Valley), with 129cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 148cfs from the Still River. Water temps are averaging low 50's. Many anglers are doing well lately, with quite a few landing larger trout- both recently stocked and holdovers. Move around if you aren't doing well, the trout are all over. Also play around with techniques, because dries, wets/soft-hackles, nymphs & streamers are all catching at moments. Hendricksons are still hatching to some degree in C&R section, the hatch just won't end this year! Most days they come off around 3pm. I'd still say your safest bet is more upriver, as in upper end of C&R (Campground section) up to the dam. Some spring Caddis are mixing in, but not enough yet to call it a real hatch. However, pupa have been working underneath for the past 2 weeks.

The Two Year Old Farmington River Survivor Strain brown trout that the state recently stocked have a clipped adipose and a chartreuse green elastomer tag behind their left eye, and they normally average 14-18" are are unusually fat when stocked. The adults/yearlings are right eye red for 2016, and they will typically run 6-12". Some of these will hold over and become, big beautiful trout, so don't complain while you are catching 6-8" Yearling Survivor Strain browns, they are future trophies with fantastic genetics and will be extra pretty when they grow to a larger size. Weighted Woolly Buggers in colors like black, olive or white are typically very effective on the Two Year Olds for the first 2-3 weeks, then they wise up a bit . Swinging wets & soft-hackles has been good too.

Hendrickson's are still hatching, albeit getting lighter in C&R section. This is the longest hatch period I've ever seen for this hatch, by all rights they should have been done already considering how early they started, but yet they keep going. Crazy. They are up into Riverton now, so your safest bet to catch the best afternoon hatch may be to fish from the upper C&R (Campground) to Beaver Pool (also includes Van's & Canal pools) or so. Spinners will continue to fall when conditions are right (mild, not too windy, no rain). Traditionally the books say it's an evening event, but I've seen them fall lately in mid/late morning, and even overlap with the hatch. Even in sections where the Hendrickson hatch has ended, the spinners usually go about a week beyond. 

Also hatching in the afternoons are #18 Mahogany Duns /Blue Quills, #18 Blue Wing Olives (a few, but heavier on crappy, wet, cloudy days), and Black  Midges #22-32. Starting to see some Caddis mixing in at moments, not sure on the exact species, I haven't been able to grab one in my hand yet. Tan Caddis are the next big hatch after the Hendricksons, they typically emerge in the AM (fish pupa), and egg-lay in the evenings (that's why you will often see them flying upstream). You should see a full-blown Caddis hatch first downriver (Collinsville/Unionville), and then it moves up to the C&R in a week or less.

The entire river outside of the Catch & Release section has been stocked multiple times over the past 2 months. Don't limit yourself to only the more popular sections of the river, as there is literally excellent fishing all over it, and it gets you away from the crowds. I spend a lot of time in the open water, because I like a little elbow room. And FYI, in an average year both my biggest brown & rainbow usually come from OUTSIDE the permanent C&R section. The 2 fish, 12" restriction seems to keep a lot more trout in the river, and you would be surprised at the amount of holdover and wild fish that elude the catch & kill crowd. Recently the rainbows have totally scattered throughout the entire river, even in areas where they didn't stock them, many are 14-16", with a few even bigger, including the occasional monster broodstock fish in the 6-8# plus range.

Nymphing has been a very consistent way to catch rout when they aren't rising, and some truly large fish are getting caught on them. It's how I (Torrey) personally catch most of my bigger trout.  Underneath the water use Hendrickson Nymphs #12-14 (in the afternoons when the Henny nymphs are active), Hendrickson Soft-Hackles #12-14, Olive/green Caddis larva #14-16, Caddis Pupa #14-16 (tan, brown, olive/green), Prince Nymphs #12-16, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-18, Strolis Dark Brown Quill Jigs #10-14, Strolis Rock Candy (olive, green) 10-12, Black Stoneflies #12-16, Golden Stoneflies #8-12, Zebra Midges #18-20 (black, olive), and Hot Spot Nymphs #12-18.