Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday 1/22/16 Report- Wet Fly class & plenty of trout...

Steve Culton will be doing a tying class for us on Saturday January 30th "Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River", call the store to register at 860-379-1952, there are a couple of slots still open, so grab them before it's full up. You can go to "Events" for a more detailed description.

Pictured is one of many trout caught yesterday. Interesting day for me Thursday. The cold weather & wind kept most anglers away, and it was a challenge keeping my hands warm. Despite that, fishing for me was excellent. I started noonish, and before I left I had 11 trout grace my landing net. The crazy part is I missed well over 20 hits and broke 2 fish off on the strike, so it would have been a truly epic day if I hooked & landed them all. Not that I'm complaining. Caught fish on more than one fly pattern, but once again Caddis larva were better than average flies. Flashy attractor nymphs & big stoneflies also produced. Surprisingly, I'm still hitting fish in medium speed water, at least in the afternoon when I normally venture out. They are podding up though, and normally where I find one there are at least a handful more. Water temps yesterday afternoon never got above 33.5 degrees, but it didn't stop the trout from feeding.

A little slush floating down behind the store today (it's 12 degrees out at 8am!)- it usually clears by late morning/lunchtime most days. Weather looks gnarly Saturday, but Sunday looks great with a high of 37 and some sunshine. I see several days into the 40's next week. If you start early after a colder night and there is morning slush, venture closer to the dam to get slightly warmer water & slush-free conditions. On the coldest days, you can go above the Still River (basically from Hitchcock Chair up to the dam) to find conditions where it never slushes up and you never get shelf ice. On colder days that I have the itch to fish, I focus on the most pleasant part of the day- late morning through mid afternoon. The Farmington is currently 161cfs from the Goodwin Dam in Riverton, downstream to the confluence of the Still River, 148cfs from the Still River per USGS- I'd guess flow from the Still is closer to 100cfs, as the cold weather this week seems to have that graph all over the place giving false readings. I'd guess total flow in permanent Catch & Release area at about 250cfs, give or take. This is a very nice winter level, water clarity is excellent. The return to cold nights has the morning Winter Caddis #20-24  hatch improved and 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 warmer 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 well with Zebra Midges #16-20 (black, red), 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).

Trout are podding up 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 trout 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 laying in slower water. They 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.

Rich Strolis' new book "Catching Shadows- Tying Flies for the Toughest Fish and Strategies for Fishing Them" has just arrived. It covers 20 of his best original fly patterns, the rationale for developing the fly and how/when to fish it. He will be doing a book signing at UpCountry on February 7th, noon to 3pm.

Our apartment is now closed for the season, and will be available again starting April 1st.