Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday 3/20/17- it's officially Spring!

A good looking holdover Farmington River brown trout caught by customer Sam Morse, well below the permanent Catch & Release (C&R) section. He managed some nice holdover & wild browns in the 16-19" range over the weekend on Stonefly Nymphs. This brown has a serious motor on it, look at the size of the tail!

Today is the first official day of spring, and with highs 48-50 today & tomorrow, it will certainly feel like it. Still a pile of snow on the ground though, so it looks more like winter. The good part is that when it melts, it will really help fill the reservoirs up. Best fishing lately has been in the areas that were recently stocked (no surprise there!), from Whittemore to the dam in Riverton (stocked 3/13, about a 4 mile section), and from below the Rt 219 Bridge in New Hartford down to the 2nd & lower dam in Collinsville (stocked on 3/9). The permanent C&R section (6+ miles, from the bridge abutment above Campground at the tail of Whittemore down to Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford) gets stocked after Opening Day, and has plenty of holdover & some wild trout in it already if you are looking for quality over quantity. A lot of spots still aren't plowed, so stop by the shop for the latest on access points. Church Pool, of course, has a plowed out parking lot. Lately the stocked sections are fishing way better than the permanent C&R, and the fresh stockers in those areas are also making the other trout bite better too, probably due to competition.

Total flow in the permanent Catch & Release area is a moderate 244cfs (161cfs from dam in Riverton, plus 83cfs from the Still River). With normal flows here lately, some normal sized nymphs (#14-16) are working, along with the smaller #18-20 Midge Pupa/Larva & Pheasant Tails that have been so effective the past month. Even some good reports on big #8 Mop flies lately too, especially on the recent stockers. Bigger Stones #8-12 are pulling less but bigger fish. If you are looking for rising trout, target the soft water in the big wide pools (generally Caddis in AM, and Midges & Stones in afternoons, but that is a very general rule and varies from day to day).

We have been receiving mass quantities of various products literally every day. Louis Gaudet is back here full-time now, and even with 3 full time employees, and 4 part-time, it's still hard to keep up with product ordering & restocking. We are receiving a big Hareline/Spirit River fly tying materials order later today, and Wapsi should be arriving in the latter part of this week. I'm both restocking and adding in new products/colors/sizes of materials. Cool new wading boots in from Korkers, lots of new rods and so many other things. 

Winter & Early Stones are all hatching, especially on milder/sunny days- Tiny Winter Black Stone sz 18-24 (Capnia), Early Black sz 14-16, and Early Brown sz 14-16. Trout do rise to the Stones at moments for sure, and we have some great flies here tied & designed by Don & Bruce to imitate them. However, nymphal imitations are the more consistent producers. Bruce has a new Early Black Stonefly nymph pattern out that we just put in the fly bins. Specific Stonefly nymph work well, as do generic flies like Princes, Pheasant Tails and Hare's Ears. Despite "the experts" saying the prime 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 snow melt). Other bugs to look for include Winter Caddis sz 18-24 (mornings primarily, but sometimes into the afternoon), and Midges sz 22-32 (typically afternoons). For Midge larva & pupa nymphed deep, think black, olive, red, or yellow (yellow doubles as an imitation of certain small Caddis larva too). 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/sunny days. Nymphing remains the most consistent producer of trout, but streamers are have been effective as well (just remember to fish them slow & deep first, and if that doesn't work, strip them in faster).
Good nymph choices include: nymphs sz 12-18 (Princes, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ears, Baetis/BWOs, etc.), Hot Spot Nymphs #14-18 (Triple Threat, Frenchies, etc.), Rainbow Warriors sz 16-20, Midges sz 16-22 (black, olive, red), Yellow Larva sz 18, Squirmy Worms (pink, red, worm tan), Winter/Early Stones sz 14-18 (black, brown), Caddis Larva sz 12-18 (olive/green, yellow), Cased Caddis sz 8-16, and Perdigons sz 14-20 (black, olive, brown, yellow). Egg imitations are often very effective in March and into April, so make sure to have some egg flies (small Glo Bugs/Sucker Spawn/Otter Eggs) in your arsenal. Don't rule out bigger Stonefly Nymphs sz 8-14 (brown, golden/yellow, black) and #8 Mops, sometimes bigger nymphs will also pull bigger fish. Anytime the water comes up or gets off-color, think bigger/gaudier flies (Stones, Mops, Squirmies/San Juans, egg flies, etc.).

Streamers have been very productive lately. 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 cold winter they like it slower. March is normally a great month for slowly swinging streamers though, it's a fun & relaxing way to fish and cover water both thoroughly and efficiently.

"Keystone Fly Fishing" (covering PA in detail by local guides/experts) is out now, and it's an incredible book if you want to explore that state (and trust me, you do!). 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, once again we are almost out. 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 in stock again- it focuses on Euro-style nymphing using very long leaders, which is deadly indeed. The first 2 batches sold out fast. Keep your eye out for "Nymph Masters" by Jason Randall coming out in early April (they keep changing the release date though).

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 April 8th.

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.