Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday 3/18/16 Report- Fish Porn Friday

My girlfriend Mandy with a hefty & beautiful Farmington Survivor Strain brown trout caught Thursday on a Caddis larva. I was out fishing Wed & Thurs, fishing was good both days. I was all over the river, both in & out of the permanent Catch & Release, and fishing was good in all locations, with a mix of fresh stockers, holdovers & wild fish. Browns predominated, but there were Rainbows up to 17" and guide Zach St. Amand caught a big Brook Trout! Starting to see some Baetis Vagans (bigger Olives) in about a #18, they can run as large as a #16 and as small as a #20. We caught trout on large brown Stones, #14-16 Caddis larva, #16-18 Baetis-type nymphs, and darker #12-16 nymphs (imitates Hendricksons & Early Stones). Streamers fished slow & deep can be effective now too, try also trailing a #14-16 nymph 18" off the streamer's hook bend. With water temps averaging somewhere in the 40's, it's important to slow your streamer presentations down, make it easy for the trout to eat your fly. Seeing plenty of Early Black Stones popping in the #12-16 range, a Prince nymph in that size range can be a great imitation. Flipping rocks and looking on sticks we pulled off the bottom, we saw a lot of dark colored #14 Hendrickson nymphs, and of course piles of cased & uncased Caddis. Water temps hit 47 degrees Thursday afternoon in the permanent C&R section. If this keeps up we could see the Hendrickson hatch in early April, we will see what happens with the weather. The Riverton section has been cracking into the low 40's on warmer afternoons. Currently the flow is clear at 174cfs in Riverton below the dam, 184cfs from the Still River, giving us a total flow in the permanent C&R section of 358cfs- this is a very nice medium fishing level & wadeable for sure. Saturday looks like the day, with sunshine & a high in the mid 40's, not windy at all. Get out there!

The river was stocked about 2 1/2 weeks ago from the dam in Riverton down to Whittemore (just above the Campground), and from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford down to the Mini-Golf in Collinsville/Unioville. The permanent C&R section (Campground to Rt 219) will get stocked sometime shortly after Opening Day in April. There were already plenty of trout all over the river, so this will only make the fishing better. The recently stocked trout will be the easiest to catch, the holdovers/wild ones will be pickier but bigger. It's good to have options. For the fresh stockers, the 'ol Woolly Bugger in black, olive or white is pretty deadly- experiment with colors, it can make a BIG difference sometimes and can change during the day. Various nymphs, especially egg flies, are also quite effective on recently stocked trout.

From now through October will will be open on weekdays 8am-6pm (instead of 5pm), weekends will remain 6am-5pm year 'roun

Fishing has been good in the stocked areas for browns & bows averaging 12-14". With a good chunk of the river freshly stocked now, it should help spread the pressure out, instead of all anglers congregating in just the 6 miles of the permanent C&R section. Ive been getting good reports from the dam in Riverton all the way down to Collinsville, on both stockers & holdovers/wilds. There are 21 miles of the Farmington River currently open to fishing until opening day. Mild weather is bringing us hatches of Early Black Stones (#12-16).When the Early Black's pop, they often skitter along the surface, sometimes leading to explosive rises. Prince nymphs & Pheasant Tails in that size range can be deadly underneath. Try both dead-drift & skittering with the stonefly dries, often the trout will only hit ones that are moving. Overall I've had my most consistent success by nymphing with two flies in medium-slow to medium speed water around drop-offs, current breaks/current edges and submerged structure (rocks/trees).

Fishing has been good to excellent many days (not all) this winter, especially for the skilled nymphers, but trout have been eating dries & streamers as well. Baetis Vagans (a bigger olive in the #16-20 range), Olives (#22-26), Midges (#22-32) and Winter Caddis (#20-24)  hatch have been providing 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 that aren't too windy can bring the Baetis (bigger Olives), Blue Wing Olives & Midges with some trout feeding on the surface in the larger pools some days. Our nymphing crew has been scoring with Green/Olive Caddis Larva #14-16, Hendrickson-type nymphs #12-16 (brown mayfly nymphs such as Pheasant Tails, Brown Euro Jigs, Heavy Hitter PT's, etc.), Princes #12-18, Stoneflies #8-16 (brown, black, golden/yellow), Cased Caddis #12-14, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-18, Zebra Midges #16-20 (black, red, olive), small Egg Flies, Squirmy Worms, Rainbow Warriors #16-18, and  Hot Spot Nymphs #12-16. Don't be afraid to fish bigger #8-10 Stoneflies in golden or brown, there a plenty of the matching naturals in the river, they are on a 2-3 year underwater life cycle. Last week my biggest trout (18") came immediately after tying on a #8 stone.

Warming water temps will cause the trout to start to spread out from the classic winter lies (slow to medium speed water with some depth) into water with a little more current. I'd still skip the fastest water, but don't be afraid to fish riffles & medium speed runs now. Look for fish around current edges, drop-offs & structure; anywhere there is a break from the faster current combined with some depth.