Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday 2/22/16- fishing is picking up again

Great picture of a very healthy brown caught Sunday by Mike Simoni on a nymph, looks like the trout are feeding well this winter. We've been seeing the #18-20 Tiny Winter Black Stones (Capnia) for at least a couple weeks now, and a few Early Winter Black Stones (#12-16) showed this past weekend, so you might think about adding a #12-20 thinly tied Black Stonefly nymph to your rig. The shelf ice and almost all the snow is now gone, so snowmelt won't be an issue anymore. The super mild temps Saturday took out most of the snow, which in turn dropped water temps and put the trout off the feed. Sunday was much improved, with reports ranging anywhere from slow to excellent, with most anglers catching a few, and some hit double digits. "Big Dave" landed a 20" brown, and "Big Fred" bagged a 19 incher, all on nymphs (Caddis Larva & Zebra Midges). They had a combined catch of 25-30 fish, not bad at all. FYI fish seemed to mostly be laying in softer & slower water the past few days. I've had my overall best success in 3-5' of slow to medium speed water around drop-offs, current breaks/current edges. Flow is currently 189cfs in Riverton, with Still River adding another 225cfs, bringing the permanent Catch & Release section to 414cfs which is nice medium winter fishing level. Milder weather means that at least for a while, no more AM slush floating down the river.

Fishing has been good to excellent many days this winter, especially for the skilled nymphers, but trout have been eating dries & streamers as well.  Blue Wing Olives (#22-26), Midges (#22-32 and Winter Caddis #20-24  hatch have been providing some good dry fly fishing on the warmer days. The Winter Caddis hatch is an early morning to early afternoon hatch this time of year., Mild afternoons bring the Blue Wing Olives (#22-26) Midges #22-32 with some trout feeding on the surface in the larger pools some days. Our nymphing crew has been doing well with Zebra Midges #16-20 (black, red, olive), 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).

Most of the Farmington trout are 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 fish 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 moving out of the faster water and holding in slow to moderate water. Having said that, when nymphing we are still hitting a lot of fish in medium speed water, especially where moderate riffles start to drop into deeper water. While you may still hit fish in knee-deep water, spots with 3-5 feet of depth seem to be holding the lion's share. Trout 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/leaders and don't fast strip them, but rather swing, twitch, and slow retrieve them. Winter trout like their streamers slow, deep & easy to catch. You can even nymph small to medium sized streamers under a strike indicator.

Aaron Jasper is doing a tying class on Saturday March 5th on "Tying Weighted Euro Anchor Flies", see "Events/Classes" page for more info.