Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday 7/5/16 Report- back to normal

Wade nymphed up this big, fat, colorful rainbow yesterday morning. This past 4th of July weekend was a bit crazy with human traffic on the river (tubers, kayakers, canoes, fishermen, swimmers, etc.), but despite that, quite a few good fishing reports from those fishing on the surface, and those fishing underneath too. The Isonychia (#10-12) hatch is at least up to the mid-section of the C&R (Church Pool/Mathie's Grove), maybe even a bit further up than that. 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. The weather forecast for the rest of this week is hot (90 degrees plus Wednesday through Friday, mid 80's this upcoming weekend), but luckily we have ice-cold water coming from the dam in Riverton. You MAY want to give the lower river in Collinsville/Unionville a break when the hot weather hits, as it will raise water temps down there, especially as the day progresses (mornings will see the lowest water temps if you have to fish down there). I suggest carrying a thermometer if you fish downriver, and if it's over about 68 degrees, go upriver to colder water for better fishing and less stress on the trout. The permanent Catch & Release section up to the dam should stay anywhere from 50 degrees or so, up to the low/mid 60's, depending upon the day, the time of day, and distance below dam. Despite a virtual drought, flow is very close to normal at 265cfs (medium-low) total flow in the permanent Catch & Release section (Pleasant Valley/New Hartford), with 18cfs of that coming from the Still River.

Bugs you may see include: Blue Wing Olives, Isonychia (Iso's), assorted Caddis, Sulfurs (Riverton), Light Cahills, Stoneflies, Needhami, Summer/Winter Caddis, Ants & Beetles, Midges, Craneflies & more. Different bugs are hatching in different sections of the river, so read this paragraph if you want to hit a specific hatch. The Sulfur hatch is mostly confined to the upper river now, I's say your safest bet is Riverton, from about the Rt 20 bridge up to the dam- you may see some downstream of that, but I'm not sure what the lowest point for them is. We have been getting 2 batches a day, with one around 11am-2pm, and then again later in the day. 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 are a very light bright greenish/olive-yellow, and easy to confuse with Sulfurs from a distance. They are very light colored when hatching, but darken up while they drift. Look also for #10-12 Iso's hatching in the fast water. Evening Caddis typically run #16-20 and tan is the most common color, but not the only one.  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 & Monster Beetles. For you nymphers, overall the faster water has been the most productive lately.

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 #16 Caddis Pupa (usually tan).

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.

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