Monday, September 19, 2016
We received about 1/2" of rain overnight, with some more on the way throughout today (Monday). This morning the Farmington is still low & fishable at 93cfs in the permanent Catch & Release area in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (78cfs at the dam, with an additional 15cfs from the Still River). Despite the small flow increase from the rain, the MDC is reducing the release from the dam by 15cfs (from 75cfs to 60cfs), because Colebrook Reservoir (which feeds the Hogback/Goodwin Dam) is very low and they need to conserve what they have left. We need lots of rain!! Pretty much the case over most of the northeast this year, but so far we've weathered the drought better than 99% of the other rivers. See a few paragraphs down for low water fishing advice. Water temps on most of the Farmington River have been running low to mid 60's over the past week due to the return to normal September temps. I see Tuesday through Friday averaging in the low 80's for highs, and high 50's/low 60's at night. Mornings you can safely fish from Canton to the dam in Riverton, but if you are downriver on those warmer & sunny days check the water temp with a thermometer in the afternoons to make sure it's under 70 degrees (preferably 68 or less), and if not head up closer to the dam where it has been staying in the low/mid 60's all day long. From Saturday onward, highs drop into the 60's-70's, with lows in the 40's/50's. Love it! At those air temps you can fish anywhere on the river you want, so this upcoming weekend should be a good one to get out and hit a section you haven't fished in a while.
The Farmington was stocked with 2,000 trout for Labor Day. All of the trout were put in the area from the Goodwin Dam/Hogback in Riverton, downstream to Whittemore Pool which is at the northernmost point of Peoples State Forest, above the Campground. Morning hatches are Tricos #22-26 (Riverton only, almost done), and Summer/Winter Caddis #20-24. The best afternoon dry fly action has been with terrestrials- Ants, Beetles, Hoppers and Mini Chernobyls have been excellent for bringing trout to the surface even if they are not rising (drop a small beadhead nymph off the hook bend to up your odds). Evenings are seeing Blue Wing Olives #20-24, Isonychia #12-14 (fast water only), White Flies #12-14, Yellow Sally Stoneflies #14-16, Midges #24-28, Tan Caddis #16-18, Summer Steno/Light Cahill #16-20, Rusty Spinnners 18-24. Smaller nymphs #16-22 are a good choice anytime of day. Bigger #8-12 Stonefly nymphs (brown, yellow/golden) are working in the AM, and you can try #10-14 Iso nymphs from late afternoon through the evening (try also swinging a #10-12 Leadwing Coachman wet fly in the faster water when Isos are active, deadly). #14-16 Yellow Sally Stonefly nymphs are a good choice throughout the day (you will see their shucks on the rocks, they look like miniature Golden Stones and can run from #12-20).
UpCountry has just acquired $30,000 of Simms closeouts that are now on sale. There is a huge selection of Mens & Womens: Gore-tex jackets, packs, slings, shirts, pants, tee shirts, shoes, wading boots, and waders. Sizes are limited and there are only a couple of each item so when they are gone they are gone. In addition to the Simms items we will be closing out Lamson Litespeed Reels, Sage "One" Rods, Scott A4 rods, and Temple Fork Outfitters Deer Creek Spey rods. There is also a large selection of used freshwater/saltwater rods and reels from Sage, Orvis, TFO, Redington, Scott, Winston, including some that are not listed for sale on our website. The fly tying bargain bin is currently overflowing with saltwater bucktails, necks, saltwater hooks, Mustad freshwater hooks and more.
Late Summer/Early Fall Low Water Fishing Advice:
The trout have been getting caught & released for months, and the water is very low. Reduced flows means it is easier to spook the trout, so a stealthy approach is 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 maybe even 4x (it's a bigger, more wind resistant fly, and you are usually 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. FYI the main reason for lighter tippets is not so much so the trout cannot see it (I don't believe going down 1/1,000 of an inch suddenly makes your line invisible), but rather to get a better drag-free natural presentation with smaller/lighter flies, which is easier with thinner, limper, and more flexible smaller diameters. Thinner tippet is also more prone to land in "S" curves and create slack for a drag-free float. If your tippet lands poker straight, say hello to instant drag.
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 (#8-14 Stonefly nymphs & #12-14 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 late summer/early fall. 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 one- trout see TONS of gold bead flies). 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. Many 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 (Isonychia for example) 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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