Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday 7/22/16 Report- heatwave is here, but the water is cool in BrownTown

Local guide Zach St. Amand providing us with yet more fish porn, check out this sweet 21" brown from this week- not sure if he caught it or a client did. Summer is here in full effect, including a string of 90+ degree days, but the water remains in the trout's comfort zone in the 50's-60's. I would stay anywhere from the Rt. 44 Satan's Kingdom bridge in New Hartford (right by Satan's Kingdom Tubing, less then 1 mile downstream of UpCountry), up to the dam Riverton- that's a 12-13 mile stretch of river. Downstream from that, you may find water temps rising above trout friendly temps as the day progresses. The MDC cut the release from the dam by about 50cfs on Thursday, we now have a total flow of 176cfs in the permanent Catch & Release section in New Hartford/Pleasant Valley (169cfs from the dam in Riverton, 7cfs (!) from the Still River. Can you say we need some rain? Despite the somewhat low flow, still getting good reports from some fishermen (but not all!).

The slide into summer conditions requires some adaptations from the angler. Fish are spookier, and are more approachable during lower light conditions, and as well hatches are best early & late in the day when air temps are more comfortable too. Riverton can be the one exception, as far as I know we are still seeing a midday Sulfur hatch there (about a #18, somewhere between 11am-3pm). This is due to colder temps near the dam. The C&R section will typically fish best in mornings & evenings now (that's when the main hatching is), but you can often prick some fish on dries if you go to terrestrials such as beetles & ants in the afternoons. For that approach, I recommend sticking to the main pools in the C&R, and look for sporadic risers. Nymphing the faster water is always a good option, lots of trout are stacked up in the faster current. If you look at the rocks in the pocket water & at the pool heads, you will see plenty of big Stonefly nymph shucks- mornings are a good time to nymph with a #8-12 Stonefly nymph. Other than big Stones & Iso nymphs, nymphers should also consider downsizing most of their nymphs now, think mainly #16-22 flies. #24-26 Needhami & #18-24 Winter/Summer Caddis are still the dominant morning hatches in the C&R, with Iso's & Blue Wing Olives (#18-26, and Rusty Spinners too) in the evenings when things cool off a bit. Tan Caddis in #16-20 can mix in anytime, especially early & late in the day. Isonychia (Iso's) are the July glamour hatch in my opinion, they are a big #10-12 bug that hatch in the fast water. Look for them to hatch in mid to late evenings with this hot weather here now. I would not venture any further upstream than Pipeline to hit the Iso hatch, haven't had reports of good hatching of them in Riverton yet (but soon). Still seeing some Sulfurs & Caddis in the early to mid eves there too. For after work anglers, summertime usually means the best dry fly fishing is dusk to dark if fishing the anywhere other than Riverton (both starts & ends earlier due to coldest water at the dam). If you don't like to nymph, you can also blind fish the riffles & pocket water with bigger foam terrestrials such as #10 Monster Beetles, #12-16 Mini Chernobyls, and also fish #10-16 Stimulators. Trout have gotten "educated" over the past several months, so make sure to read the two paragraphs below.

Summertime Fishing Advice:
Fish are getting pickier and some fishermen are struggling to hook up, which we see happen every year in the Summer. The trout have been getting caught & released for months, and most of the bugs (Iso's & Stones excepted) are getting smaller, with most in the #18-26 range (Olives, Attenuata, tan/black/brown Caddis, Summer/Winter Caddis, Midges, etc.). Trout sipping tiny bugs on flat water is some of the toughest dry fly fishing out there. Learn how to do a Reach Cast, which helps present your fly to the fish before your leader, and also usually makes it easier to get a drag-free float. Longer leaders, lighter lines, lighter tippets, smaller flies, proper fly selection, accurate casts, and drag-free presentations are the keys to unlocking the puzzle. Many anglers THINK they are getting a drag-free float, when in reality they are getting micro-drag they cannot see. Longer tippets & shorter casts will help give you a natural, drag-free presentation, and as flies get smaller you need to lighten your tippet. For all but the biggest dries, think 6x & even 7x tippet (for tiny flies like the #24-26 Needhami for example), for Iso's and big foam terrestrials you can do 5x and even 4x (it's a bigger, more wind resistant fly, and you are fishing it in the fast water). FYI if it's not too windy and you are able to turn your dry fly over, lengthening your tippet out to 3 or even 4 feet will do wonders for reducing drag, it will give you the same effect as dropping down 1-2 tippet sizes.

For nymphers, some of the same advice for the dry fly guys applies to you too. Longer leaders, accurate casts, and drag-free floats are all very important. While there are exceptions (#6-12 Stonefly nymphs & #10-12 Iso nymphs), I frequently find smaller nymphs (no bigger than #16-20 patterns if tied on short-shank curved scud hooks, and #18-22 if tied on standard hooks) to be the key to success many days in July, August & September. Most of the natural bugs are smaller this time of year, and our highly pressured trout seem less suspicious of smaller flies too. Use a two fly rig with a bigger fly, but make your second pattern something SMALL. If one of your flies is gaudy, flashy or has a hot-spot, make sure your second pattern is drabber & more natural (maybe beadless or with a black or brown bead instead of a shiny gold, copper or silver one). Usually 5x fluorocarbon tippet is light enough, but sometimes in pressured spots (like Church Pool) I'll go down to 6x, especially if it's in the second half of the day after the fish have been punished, it's sunny, the water is low, and the flies are small. No need to go too light in the heavy pocket water, especially if you are fishing bigger flies. Lots of trout pile into FAST water in the summer, so make sure to make some casts there. Big Stones, many Caddis larva/pupa, and certain Mayflies all live in faster water, so put your flies where the food (and the trout) are.

We have a bunch of both demo & new Sage ONE's, Circa's and ESN's on sale, priced to sell, get 'em while we still have 'em- current stock of them is listed on our website if you can't make it in to the store, and you can also purchase them directly off our site. We also recently received 50 pairs of Snowshoe Rabbits Feet in natural colors (cream, tan), and then we received more in light & medium dun. The past couple of years they have grown increasingly hard to get from our suppliers.

Iso Info:
Isonychia are a "trickle hatch", coming off one here & one there, heaviest sometime from late afternoons through the evening normally. Cooler, cloudy days can see them start earlier, hot days can push them off closer to dusk. They are a big bug, with a brown to gray-brown body (females can even have an olive cast due to the olive-green egg mass they carry) and medium to dark gray wings, and cream colored legs. They like faster water- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & rapids.  If nymphing, try both dead-drifting, swinging, and stripping them. Overall I do best on the dead-drift, but I've seen many days when the trout won't eat your nymph if you don't move it  Swinging wet flies such as a big #10-12 Leadwing Coachman can be effective- the best presentation angle is standing near or on the shoreline and swinging them toward the shoreline (that is the direction the naturals migrate). We sell a variety of specialty Isonychia nymphs and dry flies to match the hatch. Some of my biggest dry fly trout have come on Iso patterns, it's probably my favorite mayfly hatch, due to the size, duration, the fast water it hatches in, and the big trout it entices to eat. No light tippets for Iso patterns, I'm usually fishing them on 4-5x whether I'm using dries (hard to turn over leader with anything lighter) or nymphs, and with the violent strikes wets can produce I'd go 3-4x with them.

The scoop on Stoneflies:
If you look you will see big Stonefly shucks on the rocks in fast water, this will be true right into October The larger varieties of Stones crawl out to emerge at night and in the mornings, so it can pay to hit the water with Stonefly nymphs at first light when they are most active (they crawl out at night and in the mornings on rocks in the fast water). I usually match them with #8-12 patterns in either golden/yellow or brown. Focus on the medium to fast water, that's where they live - riffles, pocket water, runs, pool heads, and rapids are the best spots to fish them. Don't neglect the edges of the stream, especially early in the morning before fishermen have walked all over the river. The bugs often migrate to the edges to crawl out, and the trout will follow them. The bigger species of Stoneflies live 2-3 years, so they are always present and are a good year 'round nymph choice when paired with a smaller nymph. I like to nymph the fast water in the morning with a big stone paired up with a #14-16 Caddis Pupa (usually tan). Keep your tippet size for big Stones mostly in the 4x-5x range, no need to go lighter unless you like donating flies to the bottom & the fish.

UpCountry is looking for good trade-in fly rods and reels to sell on our website. If you are looking for some new equipment we will gladly put the value of your used gear toward new items in our store. Give us a call to make an appointment.... our prices on trade ins are typically higher than found anywhere else.

If you like our fishing report, please consider buying your gear from us. We generally ship the same day, for free anywhere in the country on all but the smallest orders. Our shop can only exist with your help.