Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday 5/14/18 Report- mild temps are back, Hendricksons moving upstream

That's a big Bow!! Happy clients of Antoine Bissieux ("The French Fly Fisher"), Kerry landed this big 'un. It's been a good spring for big trout so far, with a mix of holdovers, wilds, and big stocked breeders. And as you can see, it's greening up nicely as the leaves pop out. Pic below is a net-filling brown by customer Don Rose. He did Pat Torrey's wet fly class Saturday, and then put the info to use to fool the big fish on a wet fly.

After a cold weekend, mild seasonable weather is back. The cold temps over the past weekend slowed up the Hendrickson hatch bigtime and temporarily dropped water temps, but had #18 Blue Winged Olives/Baetis popping. Expect things to kick back into gear now, supposed to get sunny this afternoon and reach into the mid 70s, and this will put water temps well back into the 50s for most of the river. The rest of the week will see highs in the 60s to low 80s. I'm guessing we sill see a spinner fall today/tonight. Remember that the Hendrickson hatch moves upstream, but the spinner falls will linger for up to a week in sections where the hatch has ended. Not sure on the exact upstream and downstream hatch boundaries, but I would say a safe bet is roughly Church Pool & upstream to Riverton (and it may still be hatching well substantially downriver to New Hartford, but I cannot say that for certain). It should be starting above the Still River now & up further, probably up to Beaver Pool and maybe even beyond. Good nymphers have been doing consistently well regardless of hatch activity, with nymphs imitating Olives, Hendricksons, big Stones and Caddis pupa/larva all producing at moments. Attractor nymphs & Mop flies continue to score well also.

It's getting extra pretty around here now that the green leaves are popping out. Hatchwise expect to see Hendricksons, Tan Caddis, and Blue Wing Olives. Nymphing remains good to excellent for anglers who know how to do it, and is producing some big fish. But the Hendrickson hatch brings big trout to the surface, and quite a few big ones have been landed on dries, both during the afternoon hatch and especially during spinner falls. Big trout are more prone to rise during spinner falls because spinners fall spent on the water and cannot fly away, unlike the duns in the afternooons that can fly off at any moment. Plus the spinnner fall often occurs during the low light of dusk. Personally I lean toward emergers during the afternoon hatch, because they are temporarily stuck in surface film, only part way out of the nymphal shuck. Think about trying to run away with your pants pulled down to your knees, haha. Big trout instinctively key on food that is abundant and easier to catch.

Flows/Water Temps:
Water levels are primo- total flow in permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA is excellent and very wadeable at 243cfs (166cfs below dam in Riverton, plus 77cfs from the Still River). Water temps are going well into the 50s in the afternoons, especially on sunny/warm days (mid/upper 40s in Riverton above the Still River). 

The Hendrickson hatch has been starting anywhere from 1pm-3pm most day, and typically lasts about 2 hours (sometimes less). Make sure you have an assortment of dries in #12-14- light & dark (for males & females), emergers and spinners. And a nymph imitation for when they aren't rising (deadly, especially in the few hours right before the hatch, and even during the hatch).

We are seeing Hendrickson spinner falls (imitated with a Rusty Spinner #12-14) on days with mild temps (60s & higher), no rain and no wind (otherwise they come out of the trees, and then fly back). The books say they fall in the evenings, but they often hit the water in mid to late mornings, and even overlap the afternoon hatch sometimes. The females will gather in the air over the riffles, they are big at a #12 and have bright yellow egg sacks. And if conditions are to their liking, they will mate in the air and slowly work their way down to the water, which drives the big trout nuts. When trout aren't rising, the nymphing has been spectacular at moments. Now that the water has finally warmed up, a pile of trout have moved into the calf to waist deep riffled water and good catches are being made- ideal scenario for tight-line/Euro/short-line/contact nymphing with a pair of weighted nymphs and/or some split shot to get your flies down. There are so many stocked trout literally all over the entire river, that sometimes it's hard to get past the recently stocked fish and get your flies to the better holdovers & wild fish. A good problem to have I guess. Venturing as far as possible away from the easy stocking points can help.

Blue Wing Olives (#18-20), Winter Caddis (#20-24), and Tan Caddis (#16-20) have also been hatching throughout the river.

The permanent catch & release (C&R/TMA) has been heavily stocked recently with the two year Survivor Strain brown trout and many thousands of smaller yearling/one year old browns. The rest of the river outside of the permanent TMA/C&R has also been stocked MULTIPLE times. Suffice it to say the river is loaded with trout from Riverton down to Unionville and below- stocked, holdover & wild. If you aren't catching them, it's not because you aren't over trout. Streamer fishing has really picked up lately.

Pat Torrey's first two "Fishing Wet Flies & Soft-Hackle" classes filled up fast, so we scheduled a 3rd one on June 2nd, 2018 (click on class name to go to a description of it).

Hendricksons #12-14 and Baetis #16-20 (Blue Wing Olives/BWOs). Also seeing #16-18 Tan Caddis (tan wing/olive green body)- mornings the pupa emerge, evenings the adults egg-lay. Hendricksons are a full-blown hatch, and the trout are rising to them. Fishing a Hendrickson nymph or a bigger Pheasant Tail is very effective prior to the hatch (and even during it....).

Hendrickson: #12-14 emergers, Sprouts, parachutes, Catskill-style, rusty spinner, Comparaduns, etc.;  Baetis/Blue Winged Olives: #16-20 emergers, parachutes, CDC, Sprouts, rusty spinners;  Tan Winged/Olive Bodied Caddis #16-18: X-Caddis, Elk Hair, CDC Caddis, etc. 

Hendrickson Nymphs #12-14, Olive Nymphs #16-18, Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20, Tan & Olive Caddis Pupa #14-18, Midges / Zebra Midges #16-22, 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, bigger Stoneflies #6-12, Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10, Antoine's Perdigons (various colors, especially olive, black) #16, and Attractor / Hot-Spot nymphs #12-20 (Pineapple Express, Frenchy, Triple Threat, Pink Soft Spot Jigs, Carotene Jigs, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, etc.).

The "New" Cortland Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet is 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:

The streamer bite has really picked up. Try #6-14 patterns, especially in colors like white, black or olive- other colors are good too, and it pays to experiment. If you're specifically targetting larger trout, go bigger, but expect to catch less fish. Water temps are into the mid/upper 50s now, which means you can speed up your retrieve. Play around with your presentation & retrieve and see what works. If you listen, the trout will tell you what they want. 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.

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.