Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday 1/9/17 Report: It's c-c-c-cold baby

Pictured is a modest but perfect Farmington River brown trout my girlfriend Mandy caught recently, love the red adipose fin- looks like a possible wild to me. We are in the tail end of a brief cold snap, my car thermometer hit -1 on my drive in, and it's a balmy 1 degree as I write this. We start to thaw out Tuesday, and the next several days after that will be in the 40's and even top 50 on Thursday. The nasty cold nights the past few days combined with lower flows has the river mostly frozen over this morning, including Church Pool. The upper river in Riverton from above the Still River and up to the dam virtually always stays fishable, ice & slush-free, and right now is the section to fish. At the moment, below that we are unfishable due to ice and slush, the pools and slower water are totally frozen over. This will change as the week goes on and things warm up. I would estimate the total flow in the permanent Catch & Release/C&R/TMA this morning at a little over 100cfs (59cfs from the dam in Riverton, the Still River gauge is frozen and reading 200cfs, while in reality it's probably 40-60cfs).

Pat Torrey has availability his February "Tying the Wet Fly & Soft-Hackle" two-day class, see Events/Classes page for info, call store at 860-379-1952 to sign up.

We still have some availability in Aaron Jasper's 2/4/17 "Fly Tying Outside the Box" and 2/25/17 "Dry/Dropper Tying & Fishing" classes. Rich Strolis' "Tying Streamers for Everday" on February 11 is almost full now. Call 860-379-1952 to sign up for any of these classes, see "Events" for more details.

Prior to this extra-cold weather, the fishing was good for many anglers, and those fishing up in Riverton are still catching fish. Be flexible in your approach, and move if you aren't catching fish or the fishing slows down. Don't be a one-spot angler, keep showing your flies to new fish and your catch rates will improve. Morning Winter Caddis hatches have varied, with some mornings seeing heavy hatching & rising trout, and other mornings having minimal hatching. We've also been seeing Midges many afternoons. Regardless of whether you find risers, nymphing is consistently productive if you know how to do it, and slowly/deeply fished streamers are also picking up fish (sometimes bigger trout). FYI the water from the dam runs slightly warmer in the winter (and colder in the summer), and so normally does not to freeze or slush-up in the upper 2 miles or so, even during really cold snaps. Often, especially on sunny days, if there is morning slush in the permanent Catch & Release are, it clears out by lunchtime.

Right now hatches are: Winter Caddis sz 18-24 in the mornings (sometimes going into the afternoon), and Midges sz 24-32 in the afternoons. Ideally look for days that are not windy if you want to target rising trout. Water temps will typically be in the 30's, depending upon weather, time of day, and distance from dam- it can crack into the lower 40's during warming trends. This means trout have mostly dropped out of faster water and moved into their deeper, slow to moderate current winter lies. Colder water leads to a slower trout metabolism, which means they don't need to eat as much. They look to conserve energy by holding in water with less current, that also has some depth (for security). However, they will often move into moderate riffles at the pool heads to feed on nymphs/pupa/larva when sunshine raises the water temps at midday, which both increases their metabolism and gets the bugs more active.

FYI the new book "Nymphing The New Way: French leader fishing for trout" is now in stock at UpCountry, and it looks really good. Update: temporarily sold out, but should be back in stock in time for this weekend.

Streamers are still catching fish, especially during low-light conditions- browns are post-spawn & hungry now, looking to bulk up. Experiment with colors & retrieves to find what's best at any given moment (it changes). I would also try to make your presentations mostly slow & deep due to the cooler water temps, both swinging and slow retrieves are good choices. The hot streamer rig has been a weighted streamer with a soft-hackle or nymph trailed off the hook bend 18" behind . Typically the smaller trailing fly catches most of the trout, but some days the streamer does most of the business. This rig allows you to cover a lot of water and present your nymphs/wets in water that would normally be hard to nymph.

Colder water temps typically make nymphs dead-drifted down deep the most consistently effective flies, good patterns include: smaller nymphs sz 16-22 (Midges, Baetis/BWOs, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails, Hot Spot Attractors, Rainbow Warriors, etc.), Caddis Larva sz 14-18 (olive/green), and Perdigones #14-20 (black, olive, brown, yellow). Egg patterns are very effective, so make sure to have some egg flies (small Glo Bugs/Sucker Spawn/Otter Eggs) in your arsenal. Although smaller nymphs have been more consistent than bigger ones, don't rule out Stonefly Nymphs sz 8-14 (brown, golden/yellow, black), sometimes they will pull bigger fish.

The MDC did their fall trout stocking in early November. This batch was stocked in the upper river from the Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton downstream to Whittemore Pool.

Simms Headwater Waders are now $249.99.... $100 off. Only a few pairs left!

UpCountry acquired a ton of Simms closeouts that are on sale. There is still a large selection of Men's & Women's: Gore-tex jackets, packs, slings, shirts, pants, tee shirts, and a few shoes/wading boots/waders. Sizes are limited (the Men's is mostly in Large, and the Women's is all in Medium) and there are only a couple of each item so when they are gone they are gone.

We are 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.

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 patronage.
. Simms Tee Shirts size large are buy one get one free. We have a limited selection of Simms & Umpqua Packs and Vests 40% off.  In addition to these items, UpCountry will price match just about any sale or deal you can find on the internet.... we appreciate your business and recognize that sometimes a deal will pop up online that you can't resist.... just bring it to our attention.