A very nice Farmington River winter brown by UpCountry customer Chris. The water may be cold, but the trout still eat. Looks like a winter wonderland out there, with 2 significant snow dumps over the past 5 days. Weather through the weekend looks good after today, with most days above freezing, even well into the 40's this upcoming weekend. Total river flow is currently a moderate 163cfs through the permanent Catch & Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (60cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 103cfs from the Still River). Keep an eye out for Winter Stoneflies, first we normally see the Tiny Winter Blacks (Capnia) in February, they run #18-24 on our river, and then we see the somewhat bigger Early Blacks & Early Browns in the #12-16 range (March is the big month for the Early Stones, but they often start to show up in February, especially on milder days).
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 after colder nights, if so just head upstream to
Riverton, above the Still River, and it should be slush-free. When it happens, slush normally clear out by lunchtime, unless it's really cold &
Hatches still include Winter Caddis (mornings primarily,
into the afternoon), Midges (typically afternoons, but can start
earlier), and start to look for Winter/Early Stonfeflies now (see paragraph above). 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 (teens to 20's), 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. Aaron Jasper still has room in his "Dry/Dropper Tying & Fishing" class on 2/25, call store to sign up
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 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
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.), 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 8-16 (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. 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
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.