Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday 8/1/16 Report- 23" wild brown & cooler weather

Mike Andrews with a superb 23" Farmington River brown trout, caught after dark on a big streamer. This one looks wild, it's absolutely perfect. Nice job Mikey! Over the past week we've received over 2" of rain, but you would not know it by looking at the river & local brooks- it seems to have soaked into the ground like a sponge. River is a total flow of 119cfs in the permanent C & R section (New Hartford/Pleasant Valley), with 105 cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 14cfs from the Still River. Despite the definitely low flow (similar to summer of 2015), we are getting oodles of good to excellent reports, including more than a few large trout. Water temps remain cool & trout-friendly, with Riverton temps averaging mid/upper 50's, and in the 60's in the permanent C&R/TMA (mornings see lowest water temps). I'd fish anywhere from the Rt 44 New Hartford/Satan's Kingdom bridge up to the dam, that gives you about 13 miles with trout-friendly water temps. If you want to fish downstream of that, I recommend keeping an eye on the weather, and look for cooler days and especially nights- focus on the mornings when water temps are lowest. Looks like the worst of the super-hot summer temps are behind us now that August is here. Highs will be in the 70's for today & Tuesday, and then upper 70's/mid 80's after that, with night in the upper 50's/low 60's. So if you've been sequestering yourself inside in air conditioning the past several weeks, now is your chance to fish in some very pleasant weather. The best dry fly action is normally early & late in the day, midday is tougher/slower, but sporadic risers are catchable on terrestrials. Nymphing the fast water can be good all day, but prob peaks in the mornings & evenings when there is maximum bug activity subsurface. Make sure to read "Summertime Fishing Advice" a few paragraphs below- low water, small bugs, and heavy fishing pressure require some adjustments for success.

Somebody turned in a very nice camera they found in the woods on Sunday, call the shop at 860-379-1952 if you can identify it. Despite being outside in the rain, it appears to be in working order.

Hatchwise, here's the latest scoop:
Starting in the C&R section, mornings are still seeing #24-26 Needhami (spinners, duns, emergers- prob getting near the end, but still hatching) & Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24. Usually these bugs both hatch between first light and about 10am. Late morning through late afternoon is the slow time for hatches, but terrestrials such as beetles #10-18 & ants #10-24 are very effective on sporadic midday risers in the pools, and can also be blind-fished in likely looking riffled water. Try also searching likely water with Stimulators #10-16 & Hoppers #8-14. While I would not consider Hoppers to be a major deal on our river, I am seeing them recently and you can bring fish up to them. Try dropping a small beadhead nymph 1 foot off your hook bend to dramatically increase your catch. Early to mid evenings, and sometimes 'till dark, will see big #10-12 Isonychia hatching, one of the few exception to the small flies of summer. They are a fast water bug, so look to pool heads, riffles & pocket water. In addition to Iso dries, try also dead-drifting Iso nymphs and swinging Iso-type wet flies (such as #10-12 Leadwing Coachman) in the fast water- keep wet fly tippets heavy, the trout hit hard, so think 3-4x for swinging wets. Also look for Olives #18-26 in the evenings (and on cloudy/rainy days), with the same matching sizes in Rusty Spinners. Other bugs you may see: Caddis #16-22 (especially tan, but also black, olive/green), Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-22, Midges #22-28, Flying Ants #16-28 (especially the day after some rain, and on warm/humid days). No real morning Trico hatch (about a #24) yet to speak of, but anytime now. Riverton will see many of the same bugs including Isonychia #10-12, but more Caddis (especially tan #16-20, but also black #18-22), still some evening Sulfurs #18 (early to mid evening, getting lighter now), and Olives/Rusty Spinners #18-26. The "evening fishing" will often both often start & end earlier up there due to the colder water right below the dam. The best Riverton dry fly fishing typically takes place in the major pools there: Van's, Canal & Beaver Pools.   

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. 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.

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.