Friday, March 31, 2017
I checked the water level at Colebrook Reservoir twice this past week. I hadn't seen it in almost 2 months, and as of Monday it must have come up 50+ feet in vertical height since late January, it was maybe 30 feet below the level of the boat launch parking lot. Yesterday (Thursday) it had come up yet another 10 feet or so, which makes me happy. It would be nice to start the spring season with a reservoir full to capacity in case we get another dry year. For those of you planning out your fishing this weekend, Sunday looks the best by far- sun & clouds with a high of 51, not too windy either!
The most concsistent fishing lately is still upriver from above the Still River up to the dam. And the most consistent flies remain Midge larva & pupa #18-20 or so (black, olive, red, brown). The permanent Catch & Release area (TMA/C&R) has been spotty many days, with most anglers working very hard for every fish. As flow drops and we get milder weather again, expect bug activity & fishing to both improve there. It's a quality over quantity deal in the permanent C&R- don't expect big numbers, but expect some higher-quality and bigger fish. Best flows right now are upriver ABOVE the Still River (first 2 miles below the dam), it's a very moderate 169cfs at the USGS Riverton gauge. Total flow in permanent Catch & Release (Pleasant Valley/New Hartford) is a moderately high but fishable 557cfs, with the Still River contributing 388cfs of that. Historical normal/median USGS total flow for permanent C&R section today would be a high 747cfs, so we are in better fishing shape than normal for the last day of March.
We are now back to our usual in-season hours: 8am-6pm weekdays, 6am-5pm weekends. CT Opening Day is Saturday April 8th at 6am, and we are stocked to the gills for it!
Midges have been the most active bug of late, so it's not surprising they have been the best producer. Peak Midge hatching has normally been early to mid afternoons. With milder temps coming starting on Sunday 4/2, you should see the Stonefly hatching ramp up, with the somewhat bigger #14-16 Early Black & Early Brown Stones joining the black micro stones (sz 20-24) we've been seeing. FYI, subsurface, Hendrickson nymphs start getting active a good month plus before the hatch, so a #14 medium to dark brown nymph can be the ticket sometimes, especially for the holdover & wild browns.
With normal flows here lately, some larger 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). Other good nymph choices for this season include Prince Nymphs and Quasimodo Pheasant Tails, Hot Spot Nymphs such as the Triple Threat, Frenchie, Rainbow Warrior. Squirmy Worms and Egg patterns are also great choices.
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 water temps they like it slower. Early spring is a great time for slowly swinging streamers, 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 quite well and getting great feedback from customers that bought it. 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 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).