Friday, March 9, 2018
Friday 3/9/18 Report- snow, trout & Trout Stamp
FYI as of this afternoon, the $5 Trout Stamp is available for purchase. I'd estimate that 95% plus of trout anglers will need one, even if you release 100% of your trout, have a free Senior license, or a half price Junior license. If you fish in a TMA/WTMA (Trout or Wild Trout Management Area), Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area, or a Trout Park you need one, even if you keep no trout. Almost the entire Farmington River is a TMA, so if you are fishing here you need a Stamp, even if you practice C&R. And if you want to keep trout, Atlantic Salmon or Kokanee, you need a Trout Stamp no matter where you fish in CT if you are fishing in waters stocked with trout by the state. If you bass fish (or target other species) in Trout Management Lakes, as long as you don't keep any trout you don't need a Trout Stamp.
We got 8-10" of the white stuff, and above freezing temps have already reduced it by half. Highs 37-40 with a mix of sun & clouds this weekend will make for very doable fishing conditions. This is exactly what you want when there is snow on the ground- nights below freezing, and mild days that aren't so warm as to create a lot of snowmelt (which would drop water temps). The 15 Day Forecast for mid-March is seasonable to mild, with highs 30s-50s, and lows 20s-30s. Pretty standard for March, looks like we covered the "comes in like a lion" part so far. Current bugs to look for are Winter Caddis (mornings), Midges (afternoons), Tiny Winter (Capnia) & Early Black Stoneflies (afternoons)- see a few paragraphs down for detailed hatch info/advice. Nymphs, dries & streamers are all possibilities, with nymphs being the most consistent producer.
8am flow is 261cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, with an additional 264cfs from the Still River, giving a total flow of 525cfs & dropping in the permanent Catch & Release (C&R) section. The upper 2 miles in Riverton (below the dam) are currently medium, clear & normal. The permanent C&R is clear, medium-high and quite fishable. Look for the the flow from the Still River to continue to steadily drop.
FYI we got in a huge collection of stuff last week. All sorts of items, including tying materials (quite a few dry fly necks/saddles), rods, reels, books, DVDs, and other assorted goodies. The rods/reels are listed under the used equipment section
When fishing in higher flows that are so common in March & April, pick your spot carefully. Trout will seek out refuge from the increased current. Typically this means they move closer to the bank, out of the heavier flows. Look for wider pools that disperse the current, and also spots where the river goes from narrow to wider (it make current breaks on both sides of the main flow). Inside turns provide nice soft water for the trout to hold in, and are relatively easy to fish and figure out where the trout are. You can upsize your flies & tippet in elevated flows. Streamers are very good for targetting better fish when the water is up, and nymphs arealso an excellent choice. Don't be afraid to fish "Junk Flies"- Mops, San Juan/Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies, Eggs/Eggstasy flies, etc. Sometimes they will save your ass, both in the winter, and also in high water. Higher flows also knock things into the drift like Cased Caddis, big Stoneflies, and Fish Fly Larva (I use a #8-10 dark Rubber Legs to imitate them, they resemble a small dark brown Helgramite). Medium to large streamers, especially in black or white, are also excellent high water choices.
Nymphing, as always, will normally produce the most trout this time of year- if you know what you're doing. Other than the Winter Caddis hatch which sometimes start up by 7am, there isn't a big reason to start at daybreak- the exception would be after mild nights, then it can make sense to wake up early. Mild overnight air temps, above freezing, will get bug and fish activity going earlier than on cold mornings. Sunny days will see the biggest water temps increases. I normally focus on the late morning to late afternoon time slot, with my biggest trout often coming in the last two hours of daylight. Rising trout have been chowing on Midges and Winter Caddis in the major pools at moments. Streamers have also been working well, particularly in medium paced water around the rocks and logs.
We are seeing more & more Stoneflies, both the Tiny Winter Black (#18-24) & Early Black (#14-16). Midges are still hatching, mostly dark colored (black/gray)- if you are fishing Midges subsurface use flies in the #16-22 range (red, black, olive, brown), on top more like #22-28 (gray to black). They normally pop during the mildest part of the day, typically in the afternoons, but will sometimes start in late morning when it's mild. The Winter Caddis #18-24 is normally an early to late morning deal in February, frequently providing some surface activity. We just started seeing a few of the early season Baetis (Blue Wing Olives/BWOs) that average about a #18, sometimes even a #16. Not enough to call it a legit hatch yet, but I'm sure the nymphs are moving around, so try a #16-18 olive colored mayfly style nymph in the afternoons.
Winter Caddis: Winter Caddis Pupa #18-24, Winter Caddis Adult #20-22, Winter Caddis CDC #22, Parachute Winter Caddis #18-22, Midges: Griffiths Gnat #20-26, Fowler's Midge #20-22, Hi-Vis Griffith's Gnat #22, Stoneflies: B-MAR Black Winter Stone #22, Black/Brown Cadddis patterns in #14-18 (for Winter & Early Stones)
Black Stoneflies #14-18, Midges / Zebra Midges #16-24, Skinny Nelson #18, Olive Nymphs #16-18, Egg Flies (yellow/pink/orange) #10-18, Squirmy Worms / San Juan Worms (pink, red, worm tan), Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16, Cased Caddis #8-16, Mop Flies (various colors, especially cream/tan) #8-12 , big Stoneflies #6-12, Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10, Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20, Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #16, and Attractor / Hot-Spot nymphs #14-20 such as the Pineapple Express, Frenchie, Triple Threat, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, etc.
Fish patterns with lots of built-in motion from materials like marabou & rabbit strips. #2-12 flies, especially in colors like white, black or olive- other colors are good too, and it pays to experiment. Think SLOW & DEEP, either swing them or strip in slowly with longer pauses. Think Zonkers, Woolly Buggers, Bruce's Yellow Matuka, Dude Friendly, Ice Picks, Mini Picks, Mop Heads, Slump Busters, Sculpin Helmet patterns (for a weighted sculpin imitation), etc.
5x fluorocarbon tippet should be about for most nymphs, depending upon fly size, with 4x for bigger flies like Mops & bigger Stoneflies in higher flows, and 6x for the smallest ones. Think mostly 6-7X for smaller dries (prob 5x for bigger #14-16 Stones), and 0-3x for streamers. If you haven't yet tried it, the Cortland Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet is amazing, by far the strongest out there with the most abrasion 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/
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 shiny and new for the upcoming season. Please call ahead for an appointment.
The new Thomas & Thomas Contact 10' 2" #2 rods arrived recently, and we have a loaner/demo version of it you can borrow and try out on the water. My initial impression is: these rods are fantastic! They retained the fighting butt, 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 nicely. Joe Goodspeed, the rod designer, told me he is using some special material in this rod that makes it incredibly durable. Follow the link to check out this awesome new rod: Thomas & Thomas Contact 2wt
Simms new 2018 version of the G3 wader is 190% more breatheable (!), 30% more puncture resistant, has 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. We also have their new redesigned versions of their Freestone, Guide & G3 vests.