Monday, January 23, 2017
It was busy weekend at UpCountry between the mild weather & tying classes both days (Pat Torrey's "Tying Flies that Trigger Trout" on Saturday)- there were quite a few anglers fishing on Saturday with the sunshine and 50 degree plus highs. Fishing reports were mostly good to very good Saturday, with almost everybody catching some trout on a mix of dries, nymphs & streamers. Sunday was a little cooler & overcast, and the fishing was slower for most (but not all) anglers. The temps of late & for the near future have meant that shelf ice & slush have been non-existent, and iced rod guides have not been a problem either. Flow is currently a moderate 190cfs total in the permanent Catch & Release/TMA/C&R in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (64cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 126cfs from the Still River)- river remains low & fishable in Riverton, and medium downstream from the Still River and in the permanent C&R. Look for water temps to range from mid to upper 30's this week (mid to late afternoon water temps will be the highest).
Hatches currently include Winter Caddis (mornings primarily, sometimes into early afternoon), and Midges (typically afternoons). Hatching activity has ranged from very light to pretty good, depending upon the day and location. Winter Caddis hatch best when we have "normal" cold winter nights, mild nights make for less Caddis hatching. Midges can hatch well in mild weather.
Devin Olsen's & Lance Egan's new "Modern Nymphing" DVD's arrived at UpCountry today- I've personally previewed it, and 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 finally 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 early March, and "Keystone Fly Fishing" (covering PA in detail by local guides/experts) will be available by early February.
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 "Classes, News & Reviews" for more details.
Pat Torrey has limited availability his February "Tying the Wet Fly & Soft-Hackle" two-day class, see "Classes" page for info, call store at 860-379-1952 to sign up before it totally fills. We also just posted up a Steve Culton class for Sunday February 5th, "Tying Farmington River Favorites"- it runs 9am-1pm, leaving you plenty of time to go to your Super Bowl Party & watch the big game.
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 sz 18-24 have varied, with some mornings seeing heavy hatching & rising trout, and other mornings having minimal hatching- you need cold nights to get good hatches. We've also been seeing Midges sz 24-32 some 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.
Winter 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.
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 often very effective in the winter, 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. 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.
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.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.