Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday 3/4/16 Report- river is stocked & great weather moving in

Starting next week on Monday 3/7, will will be open on weekdays until 6pm (instead of 5pm), weekends will remain at 5pm year 'round. Another sweet brown from this past weekend, this one caught by local fly tyer extraordinaire Matty Baranowski. Some quality fish were landed. High 30's today, and then back into the 40's for the weekend, and into the 50's & 60's (!) next week, wow. The upper river above the permanent Catch & Release, from Whittemore to the dam (about 4 miles) was stocked Tuesday, and they have since stocked below the permanent C&R, from below the 219 bridge in New Hartford, stretching to quite a ways downriver- at least down to Canton, and quite likely all the way down to Unionville by now. This will greatly expand March fishing opportunities, as the fresh stockers are much easier to fool than the holdovers & wild fish. River is in very nice shape and at a medium water level, total flow per USGS in permanent Catch & Release area is 497cfs, with 207cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 290cfs & dropping from the Still River. Clarity is excellent. I skipped Wednesday due to the 40+ mph winds, and ventured out Thursday afternoon. Fishing was good in the stocked areas for browns & bows averaging 12-14", and then I ventured into the permanent C&R looking for bigger fish. It was cold & breezy and the water temps were colder there (air temps never got above freezing), but I finally managed a very nice 17" or so holdover brown (adipose fin clip & dye mark showed it to be a spring stocked 2015 Two Year Old Survivor Strain brown), and my buddy Mike got a very nice one too. With most of the river stocked now, it should help spread the pressure out.

We've been seeing the #18-20 Tiny Winter Black Stones (Capnia) for at least a couple weeks now, and some Early Winter Black Stones (#12-16) have been showing recently, so you might think about adding a #12-20 thinly tied Black Stonefly nymph to your rig, or maybe a Prince or black Pheasant Tail in that size range to your rig. The warm weather moving in over the next week should crank this hatch up. 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 still in classic 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.