Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday 2/10/17 Report- winter wonderland

One of the many cool Farmington River bugs trout eat- here is an Early Brown Stonefly nymph I pulled off a stick that my nymph caught on this week- it was about a #16. Early Black Stones are more common to see, but the Early Browns are really neat. Looks like a winter wonderland after Thursday's snow, we received 1 foot plus of powder, with another 3-5" on the way overnight, and then a mild and sunny Saturday with a high of 42 degrees. Mostly good reports from Wednesday when it hit about 50 degrees, quite a few anglers were out and found success in the permanent Catch & Release and upriver in Riverton. I made the decision to stay way downriver away from all the other anglers, and evidently I made a bad decision, haha. It was a pleasure being outside on such a beautiful day. Total flow is currently a moderate 177cfs through the permanent Catch & Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (59cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 118cfs from the Still River).

Look for water temps in the 30's (mid to late afternoon water temps will be the highest, especially on sunny days). You may see slush in the mornings, and if so just head upriver to Riverton, upstream of the Still River, and it should be slush-free. Most days slush clears out by lunchtime, unless it's really cold & cloudy. Hatches still include Winter Caddis (mornings primarily, but sometimes into the afternoon), and Midges (typically afternoons, but can start earlier). 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. Nymphing remains the most consistent producer of trout, but streamers are catching too at moments.

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.

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 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 early March, and "Keystone Fly Fishing" (covering PA in detail by local guides/experts) will be here by the weekend, I hear it's fantastic.

Winter water temps will typically be in the 30's in the wintertime, 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 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, 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) and #8 Mops, sometimes bigger nymphs pull bigger fish.

Streamers 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 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. 

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.

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.