Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday 7/29/16 Report- some rain, finally

Jordan M, with yet another really nice Farmington River brown trout caught recently. Finally, some rain this morning, with more likely over the next several days. It's all done now and is supposed to be sun & clouds for the rest of today (Friday). Starting Sunday, several days with highs in the upper 70's/low 80's, and I don't see anything hotter than the 80's days in the Ten Day Forecast. Total flow in the permanent Catch & Release is about 110cfs (105cfs from the dam, and about 5cfs from the Still River- flow from Still will prob be higher at next flow update, but will be fine). This is pretty low, kinda like it was last summer at this time. They made two 50cfs flow reductions over the past 7 days due to the lack of rain. Water is coming out of the dam in the 50's, so we are still quite fishable. Despite very low flows the past several days, many good to excellent fishing reports from anglers, and some really nice trout continue to be landed. It does require adapting to the conditions- this means more stealth, and on average smaller flies (with a few exceptions). The upside is that during a hatch in the morning & evening, even more trout will rise (slower/shallower water makes it more efficient for trout to feed on the surface during a good hatch). Stealth means a quiet, slower approach that doesn't send shock waves through the pools. It also means staying low, maybe even casting sidearm and staying in the shadows where possible. Longer leaders (12', and some go longer), lighter tippets, smaller flies (which matches up nicely with the smaller summertime bugs). Exceptions would be the #10-12 Isonychia hatch, as well as nymphing with big #8-12 Stones (they crawl out in the mornings). It also makes early/mid mornings and mid/late eves the peak time to be out (Riverton often sees earlier evening action due to colder water). Midday, look for shade, and if you are fishing dries think terrestrials. Nymphing the fast water can be good anytime, just make sure at least one of your nymphs is SMALL, as in #16-20 , or #18-22 if on a straight/standard hook. Streamer fishing is best early & late in low light, and just like with dries & nymphs, on average going smaller will work better. I would currently target the section of the river, from slightly downstream of us at Satan's Kingdom/Rt 44 bridge in New Hartford, all the way up to the dam in Riverton- this is about 13 miles of river. Downstream of that you may see afternoon/evening water temps get too high to trout fish on hot/sunny days.

The Catch & Release is seeing morning & evening hatches, afternoons are slow there in terms of hatching activity, but you can usually find sporadic midday sippers that can be caught on terrestrials or tiny dries if you stick to the major pools. Riverton is still seeing a Sulfur hatch (more late afternoon thru evening now, not a lunchtime deal) from the dam down to about the Rt 20 bridge (Hitchcock), and other assorted bugs in the evenings (Blue Wing Olives, Iso's, assorted Caddis, Cahills/Summer Stenos)- stick to the pools (Van's, Canal & Beaver Pools) to find rising trout. The Sulfur hatch is only in Riverton, NOT in the C&R. Trout can be caught on nymphs in the fast water anytime of day, with mornings & early/mid eves being the peak times. Big stones are good in the AM, and pair them up with some sort of small nymph or Caddis pupa. With the exception of big Stones & Isonychia, small flies are often the ticket in the Summertime. In the TMA/C&R, in the major pools we are still seeing #24-26 Needhami duns & spinners in the early/mid AM (probably getting near the end I'd guess, but still hatching), as well as #18-24 Summer/Winter Caddis. No Tricos yet, but anytime. Midday no major hatches, but you can find a few sippers in the main pools- try ants, beetles & tiny dries for them. Evenings are seeing Olives & Rusty Spinners (#18-26) in the pools, and big #10-12 Isonychia in the faster water. Iso's are now all the way from below the permanent C&R right up to the dam. Look also in the C&R section for Light Cahills/Summer Stenos (#12-22), basically a two-tailed cream mayfly. Riverton is seeing #18 Sulfurs in late afternoon/evening. Late in the day there, also look for some of the same Olives & Rusty Spinners that are in the C&R. All over the river assorted Caddis are showing up at moments, usually in the riffled water in the morns & eves- from #16-22 in tan mostly, but also black and olive. If trout are on either Caddis or Isonychia, the rise forms will typically be aggressive, as opposed to the normal gentle rises to fish on Olives, Needhami, Sulfurs & Midges.   

The slide into summer conditions requires some adaptations from the angler, especially now that we are seeing low water (many good to excellent fishing reports despite that!). 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, 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. 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, Tricos, etc.). Lower flows means it is easier to spook the trout, so a stealthy approach can be very important, especially on flat water pools and trout laying in skinny lies. 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 (12' and up to 15'), lighter lines (#2-4), 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 (12' or even longer, Euro-style nymphers often use 30+ foot leaders or pure mono set-ups), 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.

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