Monday, August 8, 2016

Monday 8/8/16 Report- cool water & big trout

Guide Zach St. Amand must catch more big browns here than anybody I know- this one is a 21.5" x 12" fish that is over 4 pounds by my favorite length/girth formula, caught on a Stonefly Nymph this past week. Looks wild too. I guess spending 300 days per year on the river teaches you a thing or two. Remember that on September 1st, the entire river from the dam in Riverton downstream 21 miles to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville goes C&R until Opening Day in April. Both the MDC & the FRAA will stock a bunch of trout in the river in latter September. Despite being still being only a little over the minimum release from the dam, we are getting good fishing reports on a daily basis. Mostly on various dries, but nymphers are doing well on smaller nymphs #16-22. I've received numerous inquiries about water temps, given the low flow, and I took readings all over the river after work Friday, and I got readings from the upper 50's at the dam, and in the 60's in the permanent C&R- these are all well within the trout's comfort zone. Remember, lowest water temps are in the mornings, so I was getting the highest reading of the day. Thank goodness for a nice, deep bottom release dam that pumps cold water into the river all summer.

New Sage & Redington rods have arrived at the store: the hot new Sage X (replaces the ONE), the new version of the Sage ESN, and the Redington Trout Spey rods in 2-4wts are all in stock and online as well. We still have a bunch of both demo & new Sage ONE's, Circa's and ESN's on sale, priced to sell. Current stock is listed on our website if you can't make it in to the store. Our George Daniel Nymph & Streamer Clinics are coming up in September & October and are filling fast. George is one of the premier nymph and streamer fisherman for our generation so don't miss an opportunity to learn from the best. Give us a call to reserve a spot.

Getting some reports of the Trico hatch #22-26 in the early/mid mornings in the C&R section (some are seeing them, some people aren't) along with some #22-26 Needhami & #18-24 Summer/Winter Caddis. During the Midday and afternoon use Ants, Beetles, Stimulators, Chernobyl Ants, Midges and Rusty Spinners.  Evenings will see Isonychia #10-12 , Blue Winged Winged Olives #20-26, Rusty Spinners #18-26, Caddis #16-22 (tan, black, olive),  and Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-22. Riverton will see many of the same bugs,  though with the colder water there the Tricos haven't arrived upstream yet.

The MDC has reduced the flow from the dam over the last couple of weeks This is due to the lack of rainfall combined with no snowpack this past winter. I'm amazed they were able to keep the flow normal for so long, kudos to them. Currently we are at a low 65cfs total flow in the permanent C&R/TMA section- the CT DEEP was able to request and additional 10cfs to what would otherwise be minimum release (50cfs) from the dam. Unless we get a lot of rain, I suspect we will see a low realease in August & September.  Despite the low water, we are getting some really good reports, both in terms of numbers & size caught. Cold water is still coming out of the dam (upper 50 degrees), so the trout are fine, but you probably should limit yourself from the bottom of the C&R in New Hartford (Rt 219 bridge) upstream to the dam. Riverton will see the coldest water from the bottom release of the Goodwin Dam, temps will slowly creep up as you head downriver. The downside of fishing in low water is that you can spook trout easier and there is less good holding water. The upside is that it concentrates the trout, making it easier to locate where they are holding and when there is a hatch, many trout will feed on the surface. Don't neglect knee deep water right now, especially if it has a riffled surface- it can hold surprisingly large trout, and also more trout than you might think.

Somebody turned in a very nice camera they found in the woods recently, 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.

Summertime Fishing Advice:
The trout have been getting caught & released for months, the water is the lowest of the year. 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 bugs on flat water requires using better techniques to drift the fly. Use 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 Tricos for example), for Isonychia 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). 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 Isonychia 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. Many 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 sunny, the water is low, and the flies are small. If you like TroutHunter fluoro tippet, they do in-between sizes: 4.5x, 5.5x & 6.5x- I use the 5.5x a lot in the summertime, and so do some of the guides. 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.

UpCountry is always 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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