With highs pushing 40s-60s for the 15 Day Forecast, it may technically be Winter, but it seems more like early Spring. Pictured is a nice brown caught nymphing Saturday by a client of Derrick Kirkpatrick of CT Fish Guides. Total flow is currently a medium 266cfs through the permanent Catch & Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (72cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 194cfs from the Still River)- snowmelt Sunday finally put a normal amount of water back in the Still River, so the flow is close to normal from there down, but still low in the upper two miles immediately below the dam.
Wow, were we busy this past mild weekend, the thermometer almost hit 60 degrees on Sunday, and there were lots of anglers out and about! The much warmer temps had the Tiny Winter Black (Capnia) Stoneflies active Sunday, although the trout didn't seem too excited about them. We still have a good amount of snow on the ground as of Monday morning, but it looks like it should be mostly melted later this week, with highs in the low/mid 60s on this Thursday & Friday. Remember that snowmelt on warm/sunny days can actually lower the water temps in the afternoons, so until the snow is gone, take that into account when planning out your fishing strategy. Two things you can do: 1) start early, before snowmelt drops the temps, and/or 2) go upriver above the Still River and focus on the 2 miles between there and the dam- the water coming out of the dam is fairly stable in regards to the temperature, from the Still River and below colder water dumps in when there is snowmelt. The better reports this weekend, especially Sunday, were mostly in the mornings when water temps were slightly higher. Normally it's the opposite in the winter, with mid/late afternoons seeing the highest water temps. As has been the case the past few weeks, Midge Larva/Pupa in sz 18-20 fished deep seemed to be the best fish catchers (try black, red, or olive). By the weekend, the snow should be mostly gone and you won't have to take runoff melt into account, and then afternoons should be good all over the river. Despite "the experts" saying the best fishing in the winter is 11am-3pm, I often do best from mid-afternoon until dark, when water temps are normally highest (except during snowmelt).
Expect water temps mostly
in the 30's, but later this week when the snow is gone, it could easily get into the low/mid 40s on warm/sunny afternoons, which could fire up both the trout and insects. Hatches include Winter Caddis sz 18-24 (mornings primarily,
into the afternoon), Midges sz 22-32 (typically afternoons, but can start
earlier), and Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies (Capnia) sz 18-24 (afternoons). We may start seeing the somewhat bigger Early Black & Early Brown Stones, they average #14-16 on the Farmington. They've been all over sticks we've pulled off the bottom when nymphing lately. Hatching
activity has ranged from light to pretty good, depending upon the
day and location. The Winter Caddis hatch best after cool to cold
nights, mild nights actually make for light hatches of them. Stones usually hatch better on mild days. Nymphing
remains the most consistent producer of trout, but streamers are
catching too at moments (just remember to fish them slow & deep first, and if that doesn't work, strip them in faster, but make sure to get them down in the water column).
"Keystone Fly Fishing" (covering PA in
detail by local guides/experts) is out now, and it's an incredible book. Almost 600 pages of detailed info by 9 different PA authors, tons of beautiful color photos and fly suggestions, numerous stream maps & a great PA hatch chart, this book is the new Pennsylvania fly fishing bible. They don't sugar coat things either- streams that were once famous & great but aren't anymore are described accurately, and if a stream is marginal, they will tell you that it isn't worth fishing after a certain date in the spring. If you ever wanted to explore PA, this is the book to get. Devin Olsen's & Lance Egan's new
"Modern Nymphing" DVD's arrived at UpCountry recently and is selling
fast, we already on our second batch. They did a great job, with clear instruction and
excellent cinematography (filmed by Gilbert Rowley of flytying123.com-
excellent website, check it out). Devin & Lance are 2 of the top
members of Flyfishing Team USA- both scored an individual bronze medal
in the World Flyfishing Championships in 2015/2016 respectively, and
both years Team USA also garnered team medals (bronze & silver), so
you could say these two are legit, truly world class anglers who have
held their own against the best in the world (historically France,
Spain, Czech Republic, and Poland). Devin's website is
tacticalflyfisher.com if you want to check it out and watch a DVD
preview, he also has many insightful fly tying & fly fishing
articles on there.
The new book "Nymphing The New Way: French leader fishing for trout"
is back in stock again- it focuses on Euro-style nymphing using
very long leaders, which is deadly indeed. The first batch sold out in a
week or two. Keep your eye out for "Nymph Masters" by Jason Randall
coming out in March/April (they keep changing the release date), and this batch is now almost sold out.
Winter water temps will typically average in the 30's in the wintertime, depending upon
weather, time of day, and distance from dam- it can crack into the 40's during warming trends like we have now (after the snow melts off).
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
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
riffles at the pool heads to feed on nymphs/pupa/larva when sunshine
raises the water temps in the afternoons, which both increases their metabolism
and gets the bugs more active.
Nymphs dead-drifted down deep the most
consistently effective winter
flies, good patterns include: smaller nymphs sz 16-22 (Midges, Baetis/BWOs,
Tails, Hot Spot Attractors, Rainbow Warriors, etc.), Winter/Early Stones sz 14-20 (black, brown), Caddis Larva sz
14-18 (olive/green), Cased Caddis sz 8-16, and Perdigones sz 14-20 (black, olive, brown,
yellow). Egg patterns are often very effective in the winter/early spring, 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 bigger Stonefly
Nymphs sz 8-14 (brown, golden/yellow, black) and #8 Mops, sometimes bigger nymphs pull
are still catching fish, especially during low-light
conditions- browns are post-spawn & hungry,
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
both swinging and slow retrieves are good choices. Experiment though,
sometimes even in cold water the trout will respond to a fast retrieve,
but overall in winter they like it slower. 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.
The MDC did their fall trout
stocking in early November, typically they put in 1,000+ fish. This batch was stocked in the upper river
from the Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton downstream to Whittemore Pool.
The state & the FRAA both stocked the upper seasonal Catch &
Release section last fall also. Close to 4,500 trout were stocked in the
upper 4 miles of river in fall of 2016, and that entire section is C&R from September until Opening Day in April.
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
only a couple of each item so when they are gone they are gone. 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
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.