Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday 6/13/16 Report- It's "Crazy Time"

Guide Zach St. Amand with yet ANOTHER big brown- this is a wild 22 1/4" brown caught on a Sulfur Dry over the weekend. I caught the same fish on a nymph a year ago, it grew 1 1/4" during that time period. Absolutely beautiful trout with unique red spotting on it. Sulfurs averaging a #16 (I think it's mostly Dorothea's now) are still the glamour hatch, but there are a ton of other bugs hatching too. Seeing a FEW #10 Iso's (Isonychia, also known as the Slate Drake or Dun Variant) in the lower part of the C&R section, should be a full-blown hatch  by this weekend. They've been hatching down in Collinsville/Unionville for at least a week. Water level, temps & clarity are all excellent, 325cfs total flow in the permanent C&R section (New Harford/Pleasant Valley), with 281cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 44cfs from the Still River. Water temp was 53 degrees Saturday evening in the lower part of the C&R section when I fished after work- it's colder than that up near the dam in Riverton (above the Still River, which runs warm), and higher downriver (Collinsville/Unionville) in the late afternoons on warm/sunny days. Long Range Forecast has highs averaging in the mid 70's through the low 80's, with lows in the 50's. Hatchwise, it's the beginning of "Crazy Time" now- Sulfurs, assorted Caddis (especially tan), March Brown/Gray Fox, and Vitreus (Pink Lady) are all hatching in the Catch & Release area. Even seeing a few #12-14 Light Cahill & #10 Isonychia. Some days, like Sunday, the "evening hatches" have started at lunchtime (happens mostly commonly on cooler/cloudy days).  March Browns/Gray Fox & Vitreus (Pink Ladies) are getting light in the C&R section, but you will see them up in Riverton due to the colder water near the dam. Nymphing remains effective all day, with skilled nymphers giving us great reports. Caddis pupa in tan has been a consistent producer.

Local guide and Joe Humphrey's disciple Mike Carl has a Dry Fly Class coming up Saturday June 18th, 10am-2pm, 5P max class size, cost is $100- call UpCountry at 860-379-1952 to sign up.

Isonychia, or Iso's, are JUST STARTING to show up in the C&R section, but they been a legitimate hatch down in Collinsville/Unionville for at least a week now. I'd expect a fully developed hatch in the permanent Catch & Release area by this weekend. Like the March Browns/Gray Fox, they are a "trickle hatch", coming off one here & one there, heaviest from mid/late afternoons through early evening normally. Cooler, cloudy days can see them start earlier. They are a big bug, with a gray/brown body and medium to dark gray wings, and very light colored legs. They like faster water- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & rapids. The nymphs are excellent swimmers, they can rapidly dart 6-12", just like a small minnow. The June/July batch averages a #10 on the Farmington, but they can be as big as a #8, and as small as a #12. They get smaller later in the summer, and even smaller in the fall. You can blind fish Iso dries, and nymphing with Iso-type nymphs can be very effective. If nymphing, try both dead-drifting, swinging, and stripping them. Overall I do best on the dead-drift, but I've seen many days when the trout won't eat your nymph if you don't move it. Iso's migrate shoreward and often crawl out on rocks to hatch, but some emerge on the surface just like most other mayflies. Specific Iso nymphs, emergers, duns & spinnners all have their moments. You can also fish bigger #10-12 Prince Nymphs & Adams dry flies to match this bug.

Sulfurs are hatching from just below the Still River in Riverton (but not above it yet), all the way down to Unionville & below. Average size is #16. Look for spinner falls at dusk, they bring big trout to the surface. Make sure you have duns, emergers & spinners. Nymphing with #16 Quasimodo Pheasant Tails & Sulfur nymphs has been effective in the afternoons & evenings.

Caddis hatches remain excellent, with more than one variety hatching, but the most common by far are the tan ones, averaging a #16-18, with a few #14's around. They are active from mid/late morning right into the evening. Larva, pupa, wet flies/soft-hackles, and dries are all possibilities with the Caddis, depending upon the time of day and whether they are hatching or egg-laying. A pupa or soft-hackle hung 12" off the back of a dry can be deadly when they are rising to Caddis. Most Caddis look tan when in the air, so make sure to catch one in hand and flip over to look at the body color. Nymphing the medium to fast water with #14-16 Caddis pupa is deadly, and swinging wet flies/soft-hackles is also very effective when they are both hatching and egg-laying. Be aware that this bug is frequently is most active in low-light conditions with mild air temps (overcast, warm, cloudy/drizzly days can be fantastic), but don't rule out midday hatches in the sunshine either, especially on a cold rivers below dams like on the Farmington River. On really bright sunny days, Caddis normally get more active when the sun drops low on the horizon & shadows appear.

UpCountry is looking for good trade-in fly rods and reels to sell on our website. If you are looking for some new equipment we will gladly put the value of your used gear toward new items in our store. Give us a call to make an appointment.... our prices on trade ins are typically higher than found anywhere else.

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The 6+ mile permanent Catch & Release section was stocked in late April with 6,000 trout (including 1,000 large Two Year Old Survivor Strain Farmington River Brown Trout). 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 literally all over. Also play around with techniques, because dries, wets/soft-hackles, nymphs & streamers are all catching at moments. Don't be afraid to venture outside of the C&R section, there are plenty of trout literally all over the river. The Two Year Old Farmington River Survivor Strain brown trout that the state stocked in 2016 have a clipped adipose with a chartreuse green elastomer latex tag behind their left eye, and they typically 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.

Nymphing has been a very consistent way to catch trout when they aren't rising, and some truly large fish are getting caught on them. Subsurface effective patterns include: March Brown Nymph #10-14, Caddis Pupa #14-16 (tan, olive/green, brown), Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-18, Sulfur nymphs #14-16, Olive/green Caddis larva #14-16, Hare's Ear #12-16, Fox Squirrel #10-14, Triple Threats #14-18, assorted Soft-Hackles #12-16 (Hare's Ear or green for Caddis pupa, yellow or orange to imitate Vitreus), Prince Nymphs #14-16, 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 #14-18.