Friday, February 26, 2016

Saturday 2/27/16 flow update- big brown, and flow dropped/cleared nicely for weekend

Flow has dropped like a stone, we are now 150cfs in Riverton, with 676cfs and dropping from the Still River, giving us a total combined flow in the permanent C & R section of 826cfs. Water is medium-low in Riverton, and high but very fishable & dropping with good clarity in the permanent C & R section. Think nymphs & streamers mainly this weekend. It's sunny and will crack 40° today, and Sunday will see a high of 55°, wow! Total flow by Sunday morning should be down close to 600cfs if I had to guess. Clarity is fine whether you fish up or downriver.

Check out this brute, caught Tuesday by Joe Trettel swinging a streamer while he was practicing his spey casting on his new 4 weight switch rod! Wow. I measured his net opening at 17", and the trout went way beyond that. While they don't come easy, there are always some truly trophy size trout all over the Farmington River, both in & out of the permanent C&R area.

When flows are up, fish the intersection of the slow & fast water, that's where the trout are. If the permanent C&R section is higher than you like it, simply drive upriver to Riverton, above the Still River (basically anywhere from the Rt. 20 bridge by Hitchcock (now Riverton Self Storage) and upriver, the flow is a very moderate 150cfs up there. The Still River dumps in 1/8 mile below the Rt 20 bridge. Personally I like elevated flows in the permanent C&R, I often catch bigger trout under higher flows. I think the bigger trout are more comfortable feeding when there is more water, plus more food gets knocked into the drift. The Still River drops & clears very fast. Fish the major pools & side channels when the flow is up. 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 last weekend, so you might think about adding a #12-20 thinly tied Black Stonefly nymph to your rig. The shelf ice and all the snow are now gone, so snowmelt won't be an issue anymore. This winter I've had my overall best success by nymphing with two flies in 3-5' of slow to medium speed water around drop-offs, current breaks/current edges.

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, looks for this to kick into gear again as flows return to normal shortly. 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.