Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday 8/13/18 Report- colder water, bigger fish

Well the heavy weekend rains missed our area, we just caught the edge of it. Flows are currently medium & excellent- the Still River (which dumps in warm water) is low again (that's good), and they increased the cold water release from the dam (even better). This means colder water temps, and you can fish further downriver before you hit water too warm to trout fish. Very cool, literally & figuratively haha.

Check out some of the nice fish landed over the weekend: top left picture is Saturday shop guy Wade's hands holding a measured 21" brown he caught Sunday on a big Stonefly nymph, it appears to be wild to me (always an educated guess FYI). Next pic down is the semi-new shop guy Jake holding a fat 19" Two Year Old brown (adipose clip, left eye orange elastomar tag/dye mark). Bottom pic is Wade's buddy Lucas Bombardier with a beautiful 18 1/2" brown. And these are just some of the above average fish that were caught lately.

Currently the dam is releasing very cold water, I got 54 degrees right below the dam Thursday. The Still River dumps in warm water 2 miles down, and below that the temp reflects the mix of the two different rivers. If you start in the early to mid morning, water temps are coolest then, and you can venture downriver further, and I'd work upstream as the day progresses and the temps rise (especially on hotter, sunny days). It really helps to carry a thermometer this time of year, that way you can find optimal water temps & good fishing when you are fishing further downstream- upriver it's a non-issue. FYI in the summertime after a good rain, the warmer Still River water raises the downstream water temps, and as it drops things cool off again. The Still drops fast when rain ends. Look for water temps under 70 degrees, and ideally from 50s to mid 60s for the best fishing. As I write this Monday morning, you should be able to find those temps from the dam in Riverton, all the way down through the permanent Catch & Release, and down into New Hartford and probably even Canton (mornings would be best down that far). However if we get rain and Still River flows bump up a fair amount, I would stay more upriver as that would temporarily raise downstream water temps. I'd probably leave Collinsville/Unionville and below alone until we get into consistently cooler weather. 

We scheduled another of Mark Swenson's "Fly Fishing 101" beginner classes for Sunday, September 9th from 9am-4pm, click the link to the class for more details. Call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up, cost is $150. If you don't have equipment, we can rent you rod/reel or waders/boots if needed.

Ten Day Forecast has highs mid 70s to mid 80s, and nights all in the 60s. The total flow in the Catch & Release area through Barkhamsted is medium & excellent at 355cfs (296cfs cfs below Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton, plus an additional 59cfs from the Still River). Water temps right below the dam are mid 50s, and as of today (Monday) should be upper 50s to low 60s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). Water temps slowly rise as you move further downstream from the dam. Water temps are at their lowest in the early mornings, and at the highest in late afternoon/evening. Hot/sunny days will see the biggest temp increases, cloudy days the least. Summertime rain that's heavy enough to raise the Still River (which runs warm in the summer) will increase water temps downstream of that. Colder water below the dam often means the "evening hatch" will start in late afternoon in the upper 2 miles of the river above the Still River confluence. Further downriver, hatches happen at the more traditional times, with early & late in the day normally being the peak times.

Plenty of bugs hatching, with the caveat that you need to be in the right place at the right time. I get customers coming in the shop in the early afternoon asking me "What's hatching right now?", to which I reply "Nothing"- they look at me like I slapped them. Bugs don't hatch all day, every day, everywhere. It's summertime, and just like on most trout streams in the northeast, early & late is typically the best (with a few exceptions). Midday is the slowest hatchwise, with mornings & late afternoons through evenings seeing various insects (depending upon what section of the river you are located). Mornings bring Winter/Summer Caddis #20-24 in the very early hours. 7am-10am has been seeing Needhami Duns #22-26. Tricos are not hatching yet, but could start any day now. When they start up, they run #22-26 and are an early to mid morning deal. Late morning through the evening brings various Caddis #16-20. Isonychia #10-14 are still hatching in the late afternoon and evening, but not as heavy as they were in July. Sulfurs are confined to Riverton now, I'd stay from Hitchcock/Van's/Canal/Beaver and up to the dam- typically a late afternoon/early evening hatch up there and averaging a #18. Terrestrials such as ant & beetles have been excellent as well during the day on all section of the river. Other bugs hatching include Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-14 (eves), and small Blue Wing Olives #18-26 (afternoon/eves). Hatch times will vary depending upon time of day, air temps, and how far up or down river you are. Make sure to have more than one size Sulfur, because if they are on the smaller ones, they likely will refuse a #16 (there are still a few bigger #16 Sulfurs in Riverton, but more of the smaller #18-20s). Isonychia live in fast water so look for them there- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & runs, Sulfurs live/hatch in a variety of water types (especially medium-slow to medium fast). You can even blind fish large Isonychia dries and bring fish up to them. Dry/dropper is very effective in the summer here, run one or two small weighted nymphs behind a buoyant visible dry (2-3 feet under your dry if you are searching/blind-casting the water, but only about a foot if fish are actively rising during a hatch). Isonychia nymphs are also very effective- try both dead-drifting & swinging/stripping them. They are excellent/fast swimmers, and sometimes the trout want them moving, and sometimes they don't.

George Daniel's brand new book "Nymph Fishing" is now available. I've read it, and in my opinion it's excellent. He covers new things he learned in the last 6 years since "Dynamic Nymphing" came out, plus things he has changed his opinion on. Lots of new patterns shown in this book too, plus some new leader formulas. FYI I'm in it :). The first two batches sold out fast. We also have the brand new 2nd DVD on Euro Nymphing from Devin Olsen & Lance Egan (filmed by Gilbert Rowley) in, it's called "Modern Nymphing Elevated", and is the follow up to "Modern Nymphing". This one covers many new things, and is geared toward intermediate to advanced anglers (the 1st was more for beginers to intermediates). And just like the first one, the cinematography is excellent.

George Daniel Clinics coming this fall at UpCountry and doing 4 clinics for us (3 nymph, 1 streamer)- click on the clinic name to take you to link with clinic descriptions/info. Call shop at 860-379-1952 to sign up, cost is $150, paid in advance, nonrefundable. FYI payment in full is required when you sign up, we cannot "hold" a spot for you without payment. The 9/29 & 10/20 Nymphing Workshops are FULL now, but we have a third Nymphing Workshop scheduled for Sunday October 20st, 9am-2pm that is still open:
-9/29/18 Nymphing Workshop (9/29 & 10/20 dates are FULL, but 10/21 clinic still has openings)
-9/30/18 Streamer Fishing Workshop (FULL)

Subsurface, Sulfur-type nymphs, Caddis Pupa, big Stonefly nymphs (especially mornings), Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, #10-12 Isonychia nymphs, and small Blue Wing Olive nymphs are all taking trout at the right moments. A variety of attractor/hot-spot nymphs have been very effective some days also, including Antoine's Perdigon series. When trout aren't rising, the nymphing has been good. Catching trout is not always about exactly matching the hatch (sometimes it is though, especially during a hatch when trout are surface feeding), it's about getting a trout's attention and enticing them to eat your fly. The best nymphing has been in medium to fast water with some chop to it- just look for current breaks, seams between fast & slow water, drop-offs and structure. Wet flies & Soft-Hackles have been catching plenty of trout too, we have a good selection of them if you need us to pick you out a couple of winners. Wets are both fun to fish & good fish catchers. They also enable you to efficiently cover a lot of water and search for fish. They are most deadly when fished 2 or 3 at a time, with tag end droppers.

-Isonychia #10-14 ("Iso's, faster water, typically late afternoon until dark)
-Sulfur #16-20 (Riverton only, late afternoon/early eve)
-Needhami #22-26 (morns & sometimes eves)
-Caddis (olive/green, tan) #16-20
-Light Cahill/Summer Stenos #12-14 (evenings/dusk)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #18-26 (mostly afternoons & eves)
-Tiny Summer Stenos #20-22 (Riverton mostly, eves)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Ants & Beetles #10-20 (anytime, especially during non-hatch times)
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16 (great for "searching the water" or dry/dropper) 

Sulphur-type nymphs #16-18, bigger Stoneflies #6-12, Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10 (esp. coffee/black), Tan & olive/green Caddis Pupa #14-18, Olive Nymphs #16-20, Yellow Sally #14-18, Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20, Isonychia Nymph #10-12, Prince Nymph #10-14 (makes a good Iso),  Midges / Zebra Midges #16-22, Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16, Mop Flies (various colors, especially cream/tan) #8-12, Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-20, 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.).

Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet has a Plasma finish is by far the best and strongest stuff out there: it has 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:

Try #2-14 patterns, especially in colors like olive, white, black or brown- other colors are good too, and it pays to experiment. Typically the low-light periods of early & late in the day are the optimum times to fish a streamer. During the day, target structure (undercut banks, fallen trees, undercut banks, big boulders, etc.) and shady areas. If you're specifically targeting larger trout, go bigger, but expect to catch less fish. Water temps are mostly in the 50s to mid 60s 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.

We are in that time of year (summer) where in order to catch the best evening dry fly fishing you should to stay LATE.  Leave too early and you may completely miss it (especially on hotter days when the evening fishing kicks off later). And remember that spinner falls occur over riffles. Having said this, it also depends upon the section of river and the weather that day. Riverton with it's colder water often sees "evening" bug activity begin & end earlier in the day, and morning activity begins later upriver due to colder water. In the rest of the river, cloudy/cooler weather will often see the "evening bugs" start up earlier. Super hot days might see the evening hatch begin right at the edge of darkness.

Quite a few trout (including some BIG ones) are holding in only 1-2 feet of choppy water lately (especially during hatches and/or low light conditions) and sometimes even skinnier water than that, so don't focus only on the deep stuff. Typically when trout are in shallower water, they are there specifically to feed. Plus many bugs (Isonychia and many Caddis species for example) hatch in fast, often shallow water. Spinner falls typically occur over/in riffles and pocket water. Also, fast water is more oxygenated. All reasons you should should not ignore it. Personally I've been targeting fast water almost exclusively since early/mid May, and there have been plenty of trout in residence there. In water that's not too deep, dry/dropper with 1-2 weighted nymphs about 2-3 feet under a buoyant, visible dry fly can be very effective, not to mention fun. It also enables you stay back a bit, and gives you the opportunity to catch fish on both nymphs/pupa & dries. Most days they'll take the nymphs, but you will get plenty of bonus trout on the dry.