Sean Monaghan landed his PB Farmington brown trout over the weekend, and check out the beautiful and extremely colorful one below that Dave Machowski landed fishing nymphs in dirty water Saturday- he got a bunch that size and bigger, but that was the prettiest one.
We weathered the heavy rain of last week, and conditions are now about back to normal. The dam is still releasing icy cold water, and the Still River is way down and continues to drop. Some weekend warriors braved the higher, off-color water that was downstream of the Still River, and others went above it to fish in clearer, lower & colder flows. In the summer, I highly recommend using a thermometer to find the best water temps. It will let you know how far downstream you can venture before the water gets too warm. Ideal water temps are 50-65, and 70 & above is too warm. I try to stay in water 68 degrees or less, and preferably 65 degrees or lower (trout seem to feed better at that temp and below on the Farmington in my personal experience). Last Thursday, with 220cfs of icy water below the dam and only 50cfs of warm water from the Still River, I was able to start all the way down in Canton in the morning and start in 65 degree water. When I left that section at 1:30pm, it had risen to 68 degrees, and after lunch I hit the upper Catch & Release and measured the water temps at a more optimum 62 degrees, and the fishing was very good. With the current water levels from the dam lower than last week and the Still River higher, that will reduce how far downstream you can venture before you hit water temps that are too high. I would stay from bottom of the Catch & Release (Rt 219 Bridge in New Hartford) and upstream to catch the most trout-friendly water temps. It's not a bad game plan to start at your most downstream spots in the morning, and then venture
upstream as the day progresses to stay in optimal cooler water temps.
Afternoon update (Monday 8/6):
MDC increased the dam release by 49cfs at 9am, bringing the flow in Riverton to 204cfs as of 2:30pm USGS update. Still River is steadily going down and131cfs as of 2:30pm USGS update, giving a total flow in the permanent Catch & Release/TMA of 335cfs & dropping. This will lower the water temps a bit, and also keep the river cooler further downstream- all good things during hot summer weather.
The total flow in the Catch & Release area through Barkhamsted is medium/normal at 312cfs (159cfs cfs below Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton, plus an additional 153cfs & dropping from the Still River). Water temps are back to low/mid 50s right below the dam in Riverton (over the weekend warm water from the top of the reservoir had been spilling over the top), and in the 60s down in the Catch & Release (temps will decrease as the Still River continues to drop, as it dumps in warm water that dilutes the ice cold water from the dam). Clarity is back to normal now, with that slight iced tea/Tannic tint you typically see here. I would not be surprised to see them increase the release at the dam to 200-300cfs sometime this week, but that's just an educated guess and a maybe. If so, that will keep the river cooler, and also keep it cooler further downstream.
The hatches are pretty much status quo. Mornings continue to bring Winter/Summer Caddis #20-24 in the very early hours. 7am-10am has been seeing Needhami Duns #22-26. Late morning through the evening brings various Caddis #16-20. Isonychia #10-14 are still hatching in good numbers in the late afternoon and evening. Sulfurs are mostly uprvier now, and I'm not sure exactly where the lower boundary for them is, but I'd stay from about Mathie's Grove (Spring Hole/School Bus) or Campground and up to the dam- they are definitely still hatching well all throughout Riverton. We are seeing mostly the smaller Sulfurs now, averaging a #18- look for them in the evenings, but you may see them as early as late afternoon up closer to the dam. Terrestrials such as ant & beetles have been excellent as well during the day. Other bugs you may see include Light Cahills #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. 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- 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 Nymphing Workshop is full now, but we have a #2 Nymphing Workshop scheduled for Saturday October 20th, 9am-2pm, plus a 3rd on on Sunday October 21st:
-9/29/18 Nymphing Workshop (full but we have another on 10/20, and 10/21 also)
-9/30/18 Streamer Fishing Workshop
Mark Swenson's next "Fly Fishing 101 Class" for beginners is scheduled for August 4th, 2018 from 9am-4pm, cost is $150, class is limited to 4P. Click on link for details, call shop at 860-379-1952 to sign up, payment in full is required when you sign up to lock in your spot.
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 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 fish 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 (few Invaria & mostly Dorothea, typically eves, but mid/late afternoon upriver closer to dam)
-Needhami #22-26 (morns & sometimes eves)
-Caddis (olive/green, tan) #16-20
-Light Cahill #12-14 (evenings/dusk)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #18-26 (mostly afternoons & eves)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Potamanthus & Varia #8-12 (eves)
-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, 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: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/cortland-top-secret-ultra-premium-fluorocarbon/
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.