Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday 7/11/16 Report- fishing is good!

Had a fun time fishing the pocket water with Wade after work Sunday night, caught all 3 species, including this pretty wild brown- you see, we don't always catch big trout. I always get a kick pulling a wild trout out from among a bunch of stocked fish, it's almost as much fun as getting a big one. Caddis pupa & Pheasant Tails/Sulfur nymphs were the ticket. Flow is a normal, nice wadeable summer level at 270cfs (medium to medium-low) total flow in the permanent Catch & Release section (Pleasant Valley/New Hartford), with 20cfs of that coming from the Still River. Water temps in Riverton up near the dam range from high 40's to low 50's (above the Still River), and in the permanent Catch & Release section have been running from the mid 50's to low/mid 60's (depends upon time of day, weather, and distance below dam).  

Plenty of good reports from fishermen, both on dries & nymphs -for detailed hatch info, see several paragraphs down. However, fish are getting pickier and some fishermen are struggling to hook up, which we see happen every year in the Summer. The trout have been getting caught & released for months, and most of the bugs (Iso's & Stones excepted) are getting smaller, with most in the #18-26 range (Olives, Attenuata, tan/black/brown Caddis, Summer/Winter Caddis, Midges, etc.). Trout sipping tiny bugs on flat water is some of the toughest dry fly fishing out there. Learn how to do a Reach Cast, which helps present your fly to the fish before your leader, and also usually makes it easier to get a drag-free float. Longer leaders, lighter lines, lighter tippets, smaller flies, proper fly selection, accurate casts, and drag-free presentations are the keys to unlucking the puzzle. Many anglers THINK they are getting a drag-free float, when in reality they are getting micro-drag they cannot see. Longer tippets & shorter casts will help give you a natural, drag-free presentation, and as flies get smaller you need to lighten your tippet. For all but the biggest dries, think 6x & even 7x tippet (for tiny flies like the #24-26 Needhami for example), for Iso's and big foam terrestrials you can do 5x and even 4x (it's a bigger, more wind resistant fly, and you are fishing it in the fast water). FYI if it's not too windy and you are able to turn your dry fly over, lengthening your tippet out to 3 or even 4 feet will do wonders for reducing drag, it will give you the same effect as dropping down 1-2 tippet sizes.

For nymphers, some of the same advice for the dry fly guys applies to you too. Longer leaders, accurate casts, and drag-free floats are all very important. While there are exceptions (#6-12 Stonefly nymphs & #10-12 Iso nymphs), I frequently find smaller nymphs (no bigger than #16-20 patterns if tied on short-shank curved scud hooks, and #18-22 if tied on standard hooks) to be the key to success many days in July, August & September. Most of the natural bugs are smaller this time of year, and our highly pressured trout seem less suspicious of smaller flies too. Use a two fly rig with a bigger fly, but make your second pattern something SMALL. If one of your flies is gaudy, flashy or has a hot-spot, make sure your second pattern is drabber & more natural (maybe beadless or with a black or brown bead instead of a shiny gold, copper or silver one). Usually 5x fluorocarbon tippet is light enough, but sometimes in pressured spots (like Church Pool) I'll go down to 6x, especially if it's in the second half of the day after the fish have been punished & it's sunny and the flies are small. No need to go light in the heavy pocket water, especially if you are fishing bigger flies. I caught fish in heavy pocket water no problem with a #14 nymph tied to 4.5x TroutHunter fluro tippet last night. Lots of trout pile into FAST water in the summer, so make sure to make some casts there. Big Stones, many Caddis larva/pupa, and certain Mayflies all live in faster water, so put your flies where the food (and the trout) are.

From Tuesday onward air temps rise, with highs running from 86 to 91 through the end of the Ten Day Forecast for New Hartford. Fortunately the Farmington River is a tailwater (fed by a deep reservoir with a bottom-release of cold water all summer). You should be okay with water temps right now at least as far downstream as Canton and probably even further downriver, but when the heat this week take water temps with a thermometer, and if it's above 68 degrees, go upriver until you find cooler water- the fishing will be better, and it will be less stressful for the trout. During hot weather I would not venture below Canton, and you may even want to stay from the C&R upstream. Also starting early in the morning will get you the lowest water temps if you are fishing downriver, and then as temps rise at lunchtime you can either knock off early or head upstream to cooler water.

We have a bunch of both demo & new Sage ONE's, Circa's and ESN's on sale, priced to sell, get 'em while we still have 'em- current stock of them is listed on our website if you can't make it in to the store, and you can also purchase them directly off our site. We also recently received 50 pairs of Snowshoe Rabbits Feet in natural colors (cream, tan), and we just received more in light & medium dun. The past couple of years they have grown increasingly hard to get from our suppliers.

The Isonychia (#10-12) hatch is at least up to the top of the permanent Catch & Release section (Campground/Whittemore) now, maybe even higher up. Remember they hatch in FAST water, so focus on pool heads, pocket water and faster riffles. They normally hatch later in the day, and the hotter it is the later they start up. Other bugs hatching include: Blue Wing Olives, assorted Caddis, Sulfurs (Riverton), Light Cahills, Stoneflies, Needhami, Summer/Winter Caddis, Ants & Beetles, Midges, Craneflies & more. Different bugs are hatching on different sections of the river, so read this paragraph if you want to hit a specific hatch. People are consistently misidentifying both the evening Olives & Cahills as Sulfurs. The Sulfur hatch is ONLY in the upper river now, I'd say your safest bet is Riverton, from about the Rt 20 bridge up to the dam- you may see some a little downstream of that, but not much below that- try Van's, Canal & Beaver Pools. We have been getting 2 batches a day, with one around 11am-2pm, and then again later in the day- focus on the pools, especially where the riffles dump in and soften out. Evenings have also been bringing Blue Wing Olives #18-20 to the C&R section, and some nights we've seen #12-14 Light Cahills (this batch is yellowish and has 2 tails, so don't confuse them with true Sulfurs which all have 3 tails). The evening Olives (Attenuata I THINK) are a very light bright greenish/olive-yellow, and easy to confuse with Sulfurs from a distance. They are very light colored when hatching (almost a light chartreuse), but darken up while they drift. Look also for #10-12 Iso's hatching in the fast water, they aren't in Riverton yet, but are up to the top of the C&R (Campground) and also up as far as Pipeline- July is usually the peak month in the C&R for the first season's batch of bigger Iso's. Evening Caddis typically run #16-20 and tan is the most common color, but not the only one (black, olive/green, brown). Mornings in the C&R have been seeing Summer Caddis #18-22 hatching in the riffled water, and very good Needhami Duns & Spinners #22-26 in the morning (some days going into the afternoon). Ants & beetles of all sizes are working during the midday on the entire river. You can also blind-fish the banks, riffles & pocket water with bigger terrestrials such as Mini Chernobyls, Stimulators & Monster Beetles (killer new fly in our bins). For you nymphers, overall the faster water has been the most productive lately.

Iso Info:
Isonychia are a "trickle hatch", coming off one here & one there, heaviest sometime from late afternoons through the evening normally. Cooler, cloudy days can see them start earlier, hot days can push them off closer to dusk. They are a big bug, with a brown to gray-brown body (females can even have an olive cast due to the olive-green egg mass they carry) and medium to dark gray wings, and cream colored legs. They like faster water- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & rapids.  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  Swinging wet flies such as a big Leadwing Coachman can be effective- the best presentation angle is standing near or on the shoreline and swinging them toward the shoreline (that is the direction the naturals migrate). We sell a variety of specialty Isonychia nymphs and dry flies to match the hatch. Some of my biggest dry fly trout have come on Iso patterns, it's probably my favorite mayfly hatch, due to the size, duration, the fast water it hatches in, and the big trout it entices to eat.

The scoop on Stoneflies:
If you look you will see big Stonefly shucks on the rocks in fast water. The larger varieties of Stones crawl out to emerge at night and in the mornings, so it can pay to hit the water with Stonefly nymphs at first light when they are most active (they crawl out at night and in the mornings on rocks in the fast water). I usually match them with #8-12 patterns in either golden/yellow or brown. Focus on the medium to fast water, that's where they live - riffles, pocket water, runs, pool heads, and rapids are the best spots to fish them. Don't neglect the edges of the stream, especially early in the morning before fishermen have walked all over the river. The bugs often migrate to the edges to crawl out, and the trout will follow them. The bigger species of Stoneflies live 2-3 years, so they are always present and are a good year 'round nymph choice when paired with a smaller nymph. I like to nymph the fast water in the morning with a big stone paired up with a #14-16 Caddis Pupa (usually tan).

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.

If you like our fishing report, please consider buying your gear from us. We generally ship the same day, for free anywhere in the country on all but the smallest orders. Our shop can only exist with your help.