Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday 2/27/17 Report- river is dropping, highs are going up!

Guide Zach St. Amand's hand is holding a good looking Farmington River brown trout he caught last week, one of many.

Overall reports were good to very good over most of the past week, with many smiling anglers. Weekend reports were overall slower, due primarily to the river shooting up to 1,000cfs+ and getting off-color by early Sunday morning. It's been dropping since then, and the clarity and conditions are greatly improved as of Monday morning- fishing should pick right back up now. Total flow is currently a very fishable 511cfs & dropping through the permanent Catch & Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (90cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 421cfs & dropping from the Still River)- Riverton flow is still low but improved from a few weeks ago, and from the Still River and below we are medium to medium-high and dropping in the permanent Catch & Release. Water temps will typically average in the upper 30's to mid 40's as we get into March, depending upon weather, time of day, and distance from dam. This means trout will be starting to move around a little, with the bulk still holding in the softer/deeper water of pools and runs, but they will start moving into into the current & riffles now when they want to feed on nymphs/pupa/larva.

The mostly spring-like conditions of late has the bugs active & ahead of schedule, we are seeing all of the Winter/Early Stones at once- Tiny Winter Blacks sz 18-24 (Capnia), Early Black sz 14-16, and Early Brown sz 14-16. Sometimes trout will rise to the Stones, but typically they choose to feed more on the nymphs. Specific imitations work, as do generic flies like Princes, Pheasant Tails and Hare's Ears. With flows coming back down to normal now, #18 Midge larva/pupa nymphed deep should continue to be effective. 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 times of heavy snowmelt). Other bugs to look for include Winter Caddis sz 18-24 (mornings primarily, but sometimes into the afternoon), and Midges sz 22-32 (typically afternoons). For Midge larva & pupa nymphed deep, think black, olive, or red. 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).
Good nymph patterns include: nymphs sz 14-20 (Midges, Baetis/BWOs, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails, Hot Spot Attractors, Rainbow Warriors, etc.), Winter/Early Stones sz 14-18 (black, brown), Caddis Larva sz 12-18 (olive/green), Cased Caddis sz 8-16, and Perdigons 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 bigger fish. Anytime the water comes up or gets off-color, think bigger/gaudier nymphs (Stone, Mops, Squirmies/San Juans, egg flies, etc.).

Streamers are still catching fish, especially during low-light conditions. 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. 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.

"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 are available now and selling fast, we are awaiting our third batch. They did a great job, with clear instruction and excellent cinematography (filmed by Gilbert Rowley of 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 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.
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 are 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 attention.

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.