The good fishing reports keep coming in, and it will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 40s on Saturday & Sunday, sweet! Pictured is a recent photogenic brown by customer Darren Yoos, one of many caught nymphing. Flies producing lately include: Midge larva/pupa (#16-22 in black, red), Mops(various), Caddis Larva (#12-16 in olive/green), small dark nymphs (#18-22), Squirmy Worms (pink, red), and Egg flies (various colors). With flows at about 500cfs & dropping from the rain Tuesday, don't be afraid to fish a little bigger/gaudier flies, such as #6-10 Stonefly Nymphs. Streamers are definitely a good option too, just make sure to get them deep and move them slowly- I like to swing them in cold water, or if there isn't enough current to do that I'll strip them slowly with a longer pause between strips. Also try twitching them gently during the swing, that's a good way to animate them without moving them too fast or pulling them into the upper water column. I wouldn't be surprised to see a decent Winter Caddis hatch in early to mid morning on Saturday- a cold night followed by a sunny, mild day is exactly what normally produces a good hatch. Mild days have typically seen a nice afternoon Midge hatch too.
I see a big Hareline Dubbin' tying materials order came in during my days off, and in the past week we also received a big Nature's Spirit material order, and 2 huge boxes of materials from Wapsi. We have more fly tying materials on the walls than we have ever had! These orders all include some new stuff we haven't carried before, as well as filling inventory holes and adding new colors & sizes of products we normally carry. The order from Nature's Spirit included a bunch of Hanak hooks (including the brand new 490 "Jig Trophy" hook- it's heavy wire that won't bend out, even on really big fish), Hends Spectra dubbing, Solarez UV resin, Hends Perdigon Tinsel, Hends Body Quills, and more.
Rich Strolis is doing a "Tying Competition Flies" class
for us next month- we just moved the date from 2/4 Super Bowl Sunday to
2/18, all other details are unchanged. Call store at 860-379-1952 to
sign up, go to "Classes" page for more details.
If you have some equipment gathering dust in your closet, our shop is "hungry" for trade-ins. We
give fair market value toward new equipment in the store..... no
waiting for your item to sell, just bring your used fly rods, reels, and
fly tying equipment to us and we will turn it into something shing and
new for the upcoming season. Please call ahead for an appointment.
Total flow in permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA is a clear, medium-high, dropping and very fishable 507cfs (240cfs from the dam, plus 267cfs
and dropping from the Still River). Water temps lately are in the 30s, depending upon weather & time of day can range from low 30s to up near 40 degrees (first light after a cold night will be the lowest, and late afternoon on a sunny day will be the highest). Other than the Winter Caddis hatch (often starts up around 7am), there isn't a big reason to start
too early (unless you have mild overnight air temps), I normally focus on the late morning to late afternoon time
slot. My biggest winter trout often come in the last 2 hours of daylight.
Rising fish are a
distinct possibility at moments, and nymphing will continue to be a
mainstay. On days with highs above freezing, it means you can strip in
without your guides icing up every 3 casts. With both the streamers
& nymphs, remember slow & deep is key. Expect strikes to be s-u-b-t-l-e.
The new Thomas & Thomas Contact 10' 2" #2 rods
arrived recently. My initial impression is: these rods are fantastic! They
retained the fighting butt (which I personally favor), and they built
some real power into the lower half of the rod so you still have plenty
of big fish fighting capability, even though it's only a 2 weight rod.
The softer tip will nicely protect 6x-7x tippet for those of you who
like to fish lighter line (it sinks your nymphs faster and with less
weight). Despite the
more flexible/softer tip section, the rod recovers quickly and dampens
Joe Goodspeed, the rod designer, told me he is using some special
material in this #2 rod that makes it incredibly durable in real world
fishing & fish fighting conditions. Click this link to check out or
purchase this awesome new rod: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/thomas-and-thomas-contact/
Local guide Pat Torrey is doing a class on "Tying Wet Flies & Soft-Hackles" on Saturday 2/10/18 from 9am-3pm, cost is $80.
These style flies are some of the oldest flies in existence, and there
is a reason they are still around hundreds of years later: they catch
fish! There has been a resurgence of interest in them in recent modern
times, and people are learning there are ways to catch trout other than
dries & nymphs. At moments, a properly presented soft-hackle/wet
will vastly outfish any nymph, dry or streamers. And also, they are just
plain a lot of fun to fish. Call shop at 860-379-1952 to sign up. Pat
is also planning on doing a follow-up clinic this spring where he will
teach you how to fish these flies. Here's a link to his class description: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/classes-news-reviews/tying-wet-flies-softhackles-with-pat-torrey-sat-21018-9am3pm/
Curious about Euro Nymphing but have no idea where to start? I (Torrey) will be doing a FREE 1 hour "Crash Intro to Euro/Tight-Line Nymphing" at 10am on Saturday, February 3rd.
All are welcome and there is no sign-up, just show up at the store with
a pen/notepad and some questions to ask me. I'll cover as much as I can
about the basics in one hour, and I welcome your questions. Here's a link with a more detailed event description: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/classes-news-reviews/free-1-hour-crash-intro-to-eurotightline-nymping-with-torrey-10am-sat-2318/
Midges are one of two main hatches currently, mostly dark colored (black/gray)
and in the #18-32 range- if you are nymphing them subsurface with
patterns tied on short-shank scud hooks you can try flies in the #16-22
range. They normally pop during the mildest part of the day, typically
in the afternoons. The
morning Winter Caddis is typically an
early to mid morning deal with #16-24 pupa & adult imitations (so
make sure to have foam pupa patterns as well as winged adults).
Sometimes they start later and hatch into the afternoons too.
The "perfect storm" for this hatch is a cold night followed by a sunny day without too much wind. Sometimes they start later and hatch into the afternoons too. If you
venture out in the AM and don't find risers, be prepared to go
subsurface with streamers & nymphs. The early winter post-spawn brown trout streamer was good, just make sure to fish them deep and slow down your presentation (olive has been a hot streamer color).
5x flurocarbon tippet should be about right, depending upon fly size, with 6x for the smallest nymphs.
During higher flows and/or fishing bigger flies, you can bump it up as high as 4x (Mops & big Stoneflies for example). If you haven't yet tried it, the Cortland Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon
tippet is amazing, by far the strongest out there with the most
resistance, stretch, flexibility & clarity. Total game-changer, and
an extra-good choice if you like to nymph with lighter tippets- here's a link to purchase it off our site: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/cortland-top-secret-ultra-premium-fluorocarbon/ Use
patterns like Midges/Zebra Midges #16-24, Egg Flies
(yellow/pink/orange), Squirmy/San Juan Worms (pink, red, worm tan), Caddis Larva #14-16 (olive to green), Cased Caddis #8-16, Mop Flies
#8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan), Stoneflies #6-12
/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10, Antoine's Perdigons #16 (various colors),
#14-20 (Pineapple Express, Frenchies, Triple Threat, Egan's Red
Dart, Rainbow Warrior, etc.), Quasimodo Pheasant Tails
#16-22, and Fox
Squirrel Nymphs #12-14.
Here are 12 tips for winter fishing when it's below freezing:
1) Don't start early.
Late morning through mid afternoon is not only the warmest (least cold?
haha) part of the day, but probably also the best chance to catch some
trout on a brutally cold day. Rising water temps increase both trout
metabolism & insect activity. The big exception to this is our Winter Caddis hatch, which typically pop early to mid mornings.
2) Try to pick sunny days.
Sunshine will raise water temps more than anything else, and that in
turn get the trout & bugs more active. even on truly cold days. If it is sunny outside and there is morning slush, the sunshine will often melt it by the afternoon (but not always).
3)Try to fish a fixed length of line to minimize ice-up of your guides. Short-line nymphing & swinging streamers
will both allow you to not have to constantly be retrieving line in
& out of the guides. Give your streamers additional action when
desired by jiggling/twitching your rod tip rather than stripping line.
For nymphing, a 10-11' rod will greatly assist in managing your line. Loon Stanley's Ice Off Paste will also delay your guides icing up.
4) Make sure your wading shoes don't fit tightly.
Many people size there boots for a perfect fit with thin socks during
mild weather, and then when they put a nice thick, warm Merino wool sock
on for the cold weather, they have to cram their foot in the boot. Now
you cut your circulation off, and the result is ice cube feet. An
oversize pair of boots for winter fishing is a great idea.
5) Wear a good pair of fingerless gloves.
If your hands get really cold, that can pretty much be a day-ender, or
at the very least make fishing an unpleasant experience. Half-finger
gloves with exposed fingertips will give you dexterity, while still
promoting blood flow to your fingers/hands.
6) Expect to fish subsurface.
While I have seen trout rising well to Winter Caddis & Midges on
some super-cold days, that is the exception during extra-cold snaps. It
usually greatly slows down the bugs, making nymphs & streamers the
way to go. But by all means, if you have risers, match the hatch. Also,
the bigger trout tend to stay deep when they feed, with small to average
trout dominating the surface feeders (but not true 100% of the time, I
do sometimes see large trout eating Midges & Winter Caddis).
7) Expect hits to be extra subtle.
Cold water = slow trout metabolism. As such they don't need to eat much
at all, and they won't move much to eat. Even when swinging streamers,
you often feel nothing more than your fly stopping, you think you
snagged up, but when you pull back there is something wiggling on your
line. With nymphs you almost have to hit them on the nose, and those
type of strikes can be very subtle and hard to detect. If you are using a
strike indicator, it might only hesitate, slow, faintly twitch, or just
rotate. Look for any slight change and set the hook. If you are
tight-line nymphing, your drift might just slowly stop or even just slow
down slightly- set the hook! Some hits are undetectable no matter what
8) Be patient.
I often have long periods of no action in the winter, and then all of a
sudden I'll have an hour or two of good fishing. It's not 100%
predictable when a "bite window" will happen, but even on really cold
days there is often a period when trout put on the feedbag (typically in
that late morning to mid afternoon window, but not always).
9) Locate the fish.
Trout drop out of faster water when water temps are in the 30s, and
they tend to pod up in softer water with some depth. Where you find one,
there are often many more nearby.
10) Go smaller with your nymphs.
Most of what trout actually feed on in the winter is small, so your
nymph size should reflect that. Think #16-22 on average, with some
exceptions (like #8-10 Stoneflies & "Junk Flies" like Mops & Squirmy Worms). Midges are a primary winter food
source, and patterns imitating them in #16-24 are often the ticket. Play
with colors, flash/no flash, hotspots, etc., until you figure out what
triggers a response on any given day.
11) The warmest water on cold winter days is up in Riverton, in the 2 miles or so above the Still River and up to the dam itself. Cold snaps can cause shelf ice & floating slush below the Still River, but if you go above that it NEVER freezes or slushes up.
Water is densest at 39.2 degrees, to the water coming out of the dam
runs slightly warmer on the coldest days. That does not necessarily mean
the water coming out of the dam is 39 degrees, but it is always at
least a few degrees above freezing. This can save your ass when you
drive to the Church Pool, only to discover it is iced up bank-to-bank or
has so much slush coming down that you cannot fish it.
12) Read the water carefully, pick what you think is the highest percentage water, and fish it thoroughly.
Much of the water is vacant of trout in the water, and they will pod up
in the better spots, but they won't move much at all to eat your fly. As such,
fishing only the best water and fishing it methodically with multiple
drifts covering every inch will put the odds in your favor. Fish the pools, deeper/softer runs, and gentle riffles that have some depth. Skip the fast water & pocket water. In the
winter, I'll often re-fish the best spots several times using different
flies and/or different tactics. It'a a totally different ballgame than
in the spring through fall when the trout are spread out all over the
river, their metabolism is in high gear, and lots of bugs are hatching.
Simms new 2018 version of the G3 wader is here now- 190% more breatheable (!), 30%
more puncture resistant, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets with side
zips, a velcro docking station for a fly patch, and a G4-style
reinforced seat/butt area. And the best part: NO price increase! They are now better than the G4 Pro Wader, but at a much lower price than. We also have their new redesigned versions of their Freestone, Guide & G3 vests. And last but not least, their new super-warm heavyweight Guide Thermal OTC Sock. FYI the old style Simms vests in stock are on sale at 40% off.