Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday 7/31/17 Report- back to summer this week

Local guide Zach St. Amand is one fishy dude, and he fishes a lot! Check out this big & absolutely perfect Farmington River brown trout he nymphed up this week, what a beauty. It's either a wild fish or a multi-year holdover stocked at a very small size, I'm guessing wild. Either way it's an awesome fish. Despite 6x tippet, after a brutal fight he was able to manhandle this big one away from some snags- the new Cortland Ultra Premium fluorocarbon tippet is amazingly strong/durable and has tremendous "fishing strength". I fished last night from about 7pm until dark and managed a very respectable number of trout on nymphs in the fast water, a mix of browns & bows, including a beautiful 4-5" wild brown- all caught in water where you can kill fish and where the bait guys hit it hard. Biggest topped out around 15" for me. There are always more fish in this river than you think, even outside of the no kill in easily accessible hard fished spots. Quite a few fish were sipping in the flat water right before dark- don't leave the river too early or you will miss it!

The FRAA is having a raffle to benefit Veterans (both Rivers of Recovery and Warriors & Quiet Waters). The prize is a premium Douglas Fly Rod Outfit (Sky 9' #5 4pc with Nexus 5/6 reel & Airflo line), they will announce winner on October 18th. Tickets are $20, and only 200 tickets will be sold- tickets are for sale at UpCountry Sportfishing.

I was curious so I took water temps in Riverton last night after work, it was a surprisingly chilly 54.5 degrees! Make sure to wear fleece or thermals on your lower body if fishing upriver and wading deep in the pools fishing dry flies. Total flow in the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA is currently a very nice 304cfs (285cfs from dam in Riverton plus an additional 19cfs from the Still River) as of 8am this morning (Monday). Expect water temps between the dam (Riverton) and New Hartford to run from about mid 50's to mid 60's. Along with Isonychia ("Isos") #10-14 & Cahills/Light Cahills #12-14, we've been seeing small Olives #22-24 in evenings also. The past week saw good AM hatches of Summer/Winter Caddis, but the cool weather slowed up the Needhami- the return to summer weather with highs in the mid 80's & lows in the mid 60's this week should see the morning Needhami hatch & spinner fall ramp up again. Overall I'd recommend staying from New Hartford up to the dam in Riverton this week, that seems to be fishing the best of late. If you want to venture downriver, do it in the mornings when water temps are lowest. If you are chasing the Iso hatch in the late afternoons & evenings, remember they are a fast water bug so look for them there.

Small Rusty Spinners #18-26 and Terrestrials #14-18 such as ants and beetles have been working well at moments. The best evening fishing is currently after 7:30pm. If you're out in the evening, stay until dark if you can or you will miss out on some of the best hatches. Sulfurs #16-18 are only in the upper river from Riverton (Rt 20 bridge by Hitchcock) upriver to the Goodwin Dam. Isonychia #10-14 and Light Cahills #12-14 are found in the evenings throughout the river in light numbers.

Isonychia #10-14 are hatching from the lower river all the way upstream to Riverton. Isonychia are a fast water mayfly, so look for them in riffles, pocket water & pool heads- you WON'T see them popping in the slow to moderate speed pool water. Hatch time can start as early as late afternoon and go as late as dark, typically peaking in early/mid evening. Both the nymph and the dries fish well for this hatch. The nymph is an unusally good swimmer, so try both dead-drifting & swinging it, at moments I've done better making short strips and retrieving it like a small streamer.

In the summertime, many of the hatching insects are smaller, when nymphing make sure to downsize your flies. #18-22 nymphs are key to success with fly size more important then the exact pattern (although I love either a little flash or a hot spot in my small nymphs). Some days small flies are the difference between struggling to hook a trout versus catching more than you can count! The two main exceptions would be Isonychia nymphs #10-14, and big Stonefly nymphs #6-12. Iso's are typically active later in the day, say late afternoon through dusk. The big Stonefly nymphs emerge by crawling out onto rocks overnight and in the early mornings. If you do have a big fly on, make sure you also have another pattern in your rig no bigger than a #18, it's more in line with what they are seeing this time of year.

We are closing out our Sage Salt, Sage Accel, Sage Bolt, and Winston Nexus fly rods in store and online and can be found on our Used / Store Specials page. Our closeouts are first come first served and won't last long so don't wait to come in or place an order.

Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet is now in stock in 3x-8x. This stuff has been difficult to keep in stock since it arrived recently. Customer & guide feedback on this new product has been exceptional. No hype or exaggeration, it literally is the world's best fluorocarbon tippet, hands down. We've found it to be super strong, unusually flexible, hold & knot like a champ, very abrasion resistant, have excellent clarity- it just is an amazingly durable tippet. The combination of high break strength, stretch, and perfectly smooth plasma optical quality outer finish make it hard to break off fish & flies, and despite the slightly higher price tag, most using it report they go through it at about half the rate of normal tippet due to it's amazing durability. 

Top Dry Flies: Blue Wing Olives #22-24, Needhami #22-26 (mornings), Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 (mornings in permanent C&R/TMA), Sulfurs #16-18, (Riverton only), Cream Cahills/Light Cahills #12-14, Isonychia #10-14, tiny Blue Wing Olives #18-26, Beetles & Ants #14-18, Summer Dark Caddis #16-22, Tan Wing/Olive body Caddis #16-18, and an all Tan Caddis #16-18 . The best dry fly activity has generally been in the riffles and the upper end of pools including Pipeline, Roberts, Whittemore, People's Forest, Church Pool, Greenwoods and the Boneyard. Try also blind-fishing with attractors such as Mini Chernobyls #12-16, Stimulators #10-16 & Hippy Stompers #16-18.

Nymphing has typically been the most productive method from late morning through early evening (when the insect activity is sparsest) and is accounting for the lion's share of truly big fish,  using patterns like Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive-green- Caddis pupa are especially active in the mornings), Antoine's Perdigons #16 (various colors), Attractor nymphs #14-18 (Frenchies #14-18, Egan's Red Dart #14-16, Rainbow Warrior #16-18, etc.), big Stoneflies #8-12 & Pat's Rubber Legs #8-10 (especially in the mornings), Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-22,  BWO nymphs #16-20, Isonychia #10-14 (mid afternoon thru eves), Fox Squirrel Nymphs #12-16, and Zebra Midges #16-22.