Some epic fishing reports midweek during the mild weather, guide Zach St. Amand reporting 50 fish landed in two 1/2 days of Euro Nymphing the fast water. Pictured is his youngest with a recent winter Farmington River brown trout. Hard to believe it's March already, and the unofficial start of spring. March 1st didn't come in like a lion, felt more like a lamb (60 degrees at 10pm that night at my house), but the lion is appearing for a couple of days now. Sunday looks like the better of the two days, with sunshine and a high of 34, Saturday will be very windy with a high only in the teens! FYI cold nights usually see good Winter Caddis hatches in the mornings. We are stocked to the gills if you need anything- fly tying supplies, waders, rods, reels, fly lines, leaders clothing, sunglasse, books, etc., cold/windy days in March are a good time to get restocked. It's always nice to start the season off with a new fly line that floats high and shoots through the guides like a rocket. Or we can set you up to get into the deadly Euro Nymphing methods.
Total flow is currently a nice medium 239cfs & slowly dropping through
the permanent Catch
Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (67cfs at USGS
Riverton gauge, plus 172cfs from the Still River)-
Riverton flow remains low as it has been for quite a while now. Water temps will drop back into the 30's for the next few days, and then start popping back into the 40's in the afternoons starting Monday when highs move back into the 50's.
There is still a little availability if you want to purchase an FRAA Banquet (it's tomorrow, Saturday March 4th at 6pm) ticket at the store (cash/check only), or you can go on fraa.org and purchase one online with a credit card. As I write this, there are only 2 tickets left for the 75 Ticket Raffle, prize is a Scott Radian 9' #4, with matching Hatch reel & Rio line- these raffle tickets are only available at the store.
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 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
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,
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
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,
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
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
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 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
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.