Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday 6/3/16 Report- looking good

Shop guy Wade Schools with another really nice Farmington River brown trout, this one topped 19" and has no fin clips or dye marks. AM on/off drizzle today & mild temps should be great for hatching- already getting reports of Blue Wing Olives & Caddis this morning. Look for March Browns/Gray Fox & Vitreus later today. Overcast conditions should also be good for streamer fishing. Not a fishable hatch of Sulfurs in the C&R section yet, but we are seeing a few. Downriver in Collinsville/Unionville there should be a legitimate hatch of them by now (water temps are higher downstream as you are farther from the cold water dam release). Water conditions (both level & temps) are very nice:  medium & clear with 326cfs in the permanent C&R section (New Harford/Pleasant Valley), with 294cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 32cfs from the Still River. Water temps are averaging low/mid 50's in the C&R section - colder than that up near the dam in Riverton (above the Still River, which runs warm), and higher downriver (Collinsville/Unionville) in the late afternoons on warm/sunny days. While other trout streams in the Northeast are very low and starting to warm up during the heat wave we recently had, the Farmington River is nice & cold with a great water level due to a bottom release out of the deep reservoir (Hogback/Goodwin Dam) up in Riverton. We probably have some of the coolest water in the northeast right now.

March Browns/Gray Fox #10-14 are currently a very good hatch on the Farmington. This is typically a "trickle hatch" that normally starts mid/late afternoon, one here and one there straight through the evening (similar to Isonychia), typically heaviest in the early evening. FYI they hatch in faster water, as they live under the rocks in pocket water. The nymphs migrate to the edges about 1 week prior to hatching. Hatch typically goes close to 4 weeks. You can use a specific nymph pattern subsurface, or fish a Hare's Ear or Fox Squirrel nymph. Blind fishing dries in the broken water can work too, as trout will be on the lookout for them from late afternoon onward. Standing near the shoreline and swinging a March Brown wet fly back toward the banks can also be very effective when they are emerging.

We are starting to get reports of some #14-16 Sulfurs downriver in Collinsville/Unionville, but not a fishable hatch in the C&R section in New Hartford/Pleasant Valley as yet (but soon!). Caddis are all up & down the river, both #14-18 tan ones & #16-18 green/olive bodied- they are active from mid/late morning right into the evening. Larva, pupa, wet flies/soft-hackles, and dries are all possibilities with the Caddis, depending upon the time of day and whether they are hatching or egg-laying. A pupa or soft-hackle hung 12" off the back of a dry can be deadly when they are rising to Caddis.

Vitreus (aka Pink Lady/Pink Cahill, Pale Evening Dun, etc.), a #12-16 pseudo Sulfur-type mayfly, are hatching from anywhere from the Still River downstream to Unionville and below, they typically hatch between late afternoon & evening (can be earlier on cooler, cloudier days). In addition to matching dries like the Usual and others, wets/soft-hackles work great during that hatch, as the winged dun pops out of the nymph on the stream bottom & swims to the surface, so a swinging orange or yellow bodied soft-hackles/wets can be very effective in broken water. Hare's Ear bodied soft-hackles and Partridge & Green soft-hackles work great to imitate the Caddis- either swung, dropped under a dry, or dead-drifted deep in a nymph rig with split shot (or with a weighted nymph).

Most Caddis look tan when in the air, so make sure to catch one in hand and flip over to look at the body color. When in doubt, try both colors, the trout will tell you which one they prefer. Tan/light brown, however, IS the predominant color right now. Nymphing the medium to fast water with #14-16 Caddis pupa is deadly, and swinging wet flies/soft-hackles is also very effective when they are both hatching and egg-laying. Be aware that this bug is frequently is most active in low-light conditions with mild air temps (overcast, warm, cloudy/drizzly days can be fantastic), but don't rule out midday hatches in the sunshine either, especially on a cold rivers below dams like on the Farmington River. On really bright sunny days, Caddis normally get more active when the sun drops low on the horizon & shadows appear.

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The 6+ mile permanent Catch & Release section was stocked in late April with 6,000 trout (including 1,000 large Two Year Old Survivor Strain Farmington River Brown Trout). Many anglers are doing well lately, with quite a few landing larger trout- both recently stocked and holdovers. Move around if you aren't doing well, the trout are literally all over. Also play around with techniques, because dries, wets/soft-hackles, nymphs & streamers are all catching at moments. Don't be afraid to venture outside of the C&R section, there are plenty of trout literally all over the river. The Two Year Old Farmington River Survivor Strain brown trout that the state stocked in 2016 have a clipped adipose with a chartreuse green elastomer latex tag behind their left eye, and they typically average 14-18" are are unusually fat when stocked. The adults/yearlings are right eye red for 2016, and they will typically run 6-12". Some of these will hold over and become, big beautiful trout, so don't complain while you are catching 6-8" Yearling Survivor Strain browns, they are future trophies with fantastic genetics and will be extra pretty when they grow to a larger size.

Nymphing has been a very consistent way to catch trout when they aren't rising, and some truly large fish are getting caught on them. Underneath the water use March Brown Nymph #10-14, Caddis Pupa #14-16 (tan, olive/green, brown), Olive/green Caddis larva #14-16, Hare's Ear #10-16, Fox Squirrel #10-14, Triple Threats #14-18, assorted Soft-Hackles #12-16 (in green or Hare's Ear for Caddis pupa, yellow or orange to imitate Vitreus), Prince Nymphs #14-16, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-18, Strolis Rock Candy (olive, green) 10-12, Black Stoneflies #12-16, Golden Stoneflies #8-12, Zebra Midges #18-20 (black, olive), and Hot Spot Nymphs #14-18.