Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday 10/12/18 Farmington River Report- foliage, trout stocking & sale

Tom with a big 'un on a big streamer
Sunday morn 10/14 8am flow update:
Total flow in permanent Catch & Release/TMA is down to 596cfs and steadily dropping, Riverton is 331cfs. Clarity is good.
Well it's Friday and once again Mother Nature decided to "bless" us with some additional water yesterday. Flows will be high but fishable this weekend, so if you want lower/clearer water stay up in Riverton above the Still River where it's medium-high & very fishable. Check out the big, hook jawed male brown that our customer Tom caught this past week on a big streamer (you can see it hanging below his left hand pinky finger)- 'tis that streamer time of year. Foliage is finally starting to get pretty, I'd guess next weekend will be peak color.

"Rainy Week Sale" starting today and going through Sunday 10/21- in store only, no mail orders. 10% off all used rods/reels (does not include clearance/markdown rods/reels), 10% off discontinued clothing/rain jackets/vests/packs (does not include socks/hats/caps/gloves), and 20% off all fly tying materials (does not include tying materials already on sale/marked down in the bargain bin). Fly tying tools are 10% off. 

The river was stocked with 800+ 13-18" fat rainbows purchased by the FRAA and supplied by Harding Trout Hatchery on Tuesday in New Hartford/Pine Meadow, in spots between the New Hartford 219 bridge and the Satan's Kingdom/Rt 44 bridge. Some of the bigger ones were pushing 3.5-4 pounds. This higher water here now should help spread them out nicely.

FYI Grady & I did some "thinning of the herd" with the fly tying walls. The fly tying bargain/sale bin was looking anemic but is once again loaded with some good stuff, including various flash materials, dubbings, feathers, glow in the dark materials, fur pieces, etc. We also got in some beautiful MFC fly
Big Harding 'Bows going in!
boxes with spectacular artwork on them.

Options & Tactics:
So those of you fishing this weekend have 2 choices: 1) go up to Riverton, where the water is lower/clearer, or 2) stay below that and modify your tactics to deal with higher, off-color water. Water will drop & clear more each day, with Sunday seeing the best conditions. If you go to Riverton, don't expect a lot of elbow room, as it's only a 2 mile stretch, its the weekend, and all the other major rivers are blown out.  Relatively normal flies & tactics will apply up there, and you might even find a few risers in the pools. If you stay downstream, make sure to modify your tactics & flies to the conditions. Fish out of the heavy current & closer to the banks. Focus on the wider pools, inside turns, and behind large bankside obstruction that break the current. Don't jump in and wade out right up to crotch level, as the catchable trout are going to be in the water you just blew up by wading out too far. Fish subsurface with nymphs, streamers, and/or wets/soft-hackles, see fly recommendations in next paragraph. Fish them slower than normal, as you have to give the trout a
View at Ovation Parking lot this week
chance to see & find your fly when visibility is reduced.
View behind shop on 10/12

High Water  Flies:
During the not infrequent periods of higher and/or off-color flows the past 2 months, it's been mostly a subsurface game with nymphs
& streamers, and "Junk Flies" have been often been king. We are talking Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Egg Flies & Green Weenies. Junk Flies are often just the ticket for recently stocked trout too, as it takes them a little while to transition from getting fed pellets to dialing into natural food sources (FYI about 3 weeks according to some stuff I've read). Good streamer conditions now between it being fall & having plenty of water, and a variety of streamers are giving trout sore lips. Make sure to experiment with colors, it can make a big difference. Olive is a good starting color in clear water, but color preferences can change from day to day, and even during the same day as light conditions change. The correct color can be the difference between a lot of strikes and hardly any, so change colors every 15 minutes or so until you find the hot one. 

We are seeing the bugs ramp up a bit now that cooler fall weather is here to stay.  Of course we once again need the river to drop back down before you will see much surface action. Beaver Pool is probably your highest percentage for dries this weekend, flow is lower up there. In the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, Church Pool often has a few risers even during high flows. As the river drops to a normal level. look to gradually see more rising trout. Pick your spot carefully if you want dries, look for bigger/wider pools that can spread the flow out and give you some softer water. A good amount of assorted Caddis in various sizes, including an occasional Giant October Caddis, have been active. Isonychia hatches are picking up and showing up in the afternoons again. Big Stonefly nymphs continue to be a top producer in the mornings- you will see the empty nymph husks on the rocks in faster water, this should be the case straight through October. Small Blue Wing Olives #20-24 are making an appearance on cloudy days, but above average flows minimize surface feeding on them (however they will eat the nymphs subsurface regardless). The lower the flows, the more likely you are to see risers to the small stuff. Water continues to drop a little every day.

We are open at 8am, 7 days a week, from now through March 2019.  Weekdays 8am-6pm, weekends
8am-5pm. Come November we will switch to 8am-5pm every day.

Last 2018, "Fly Fishing 101" class with Mark Swenson on October 28th, call 860-379-1952 to sign

FYI we got some cool tying materials in recently, including #20 Hanak 480 Jig Champion hooks, Jan Siman Fine Peacock Dubbing in all the best colors including some UV ones (one of the absolute best materials for nymph collars), more Hends UV ribbing material, some Whiting feathers (especially Woolly Bugger Hackles), plus lots of other good stuff. Also a Montana Fly Company order came in so we restocked on Sexi-Floss, plus we got in a few more new fly patterns.

Flows & Temps:
Current water level in the upper 2 miles below Goodwin/Hogback Dam at USGS gauge is medium-high and relatively clear (light stain) at 368cfs. 1/4 mile below the Rt. 20 bridge in Riverton, the Still River is adding in another 589cfs, bringing total in permanent Catch & Release/TMA in Barkhamstead to a high 957cfs & dropping- below the Still the water is off-color, with approximately 2 feet of visibility behind the shop Friday morning. Water temps from the dam in Riverton are decreasing, upper 50s or so, and as you move downstream look for temps in the mid/upper 50s. With consistently colder weather here now (highs 50s, lows 30s/40s), water temps will continue to decrease. FYI after really cold nights, it may be wise to wait until late morning, thereby giving water temps a chance to rise a degree or two, which will get the trout (and bugs) more active. Specific temps depend upon daily weather, specific location, and time of day. Highest temps will be in the late afternoon to evening, with sunny days seeing biggest temp increases. Lowest water temps will be in the early AM, with colder nights seeing the lowest morning temps. Cloudy days will see minimal temperature changes.

The East Branch is currently dumping in an additional 200cfs as of 9am on Tuesday 10/9, it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry (by condos/sewage plant). As such, I'd definitely stay above that, or you will be dealing with even higher water.

The MDC (the peeps that run the reservoir system here) stocked Riverton in mid September, so many anglers have been heading up there for easier fishing and catching plenty of fresh rainbows averaging 11-12". "Junk Flies" such as Squirmy Worms/San Juans, Mops, Egg Flies, and Green Weenies have been doing much of the damage on them, along with generic nymphs & Woolly Buggers. Try also nymphs with hot spots. However, the highest quality, bigger holdover and wild trout have mostly been coming from the permanent Catch & Release area, as well as downstream (that is during periods when downstream water levels have been doable). Be advised that you will work harder for these fish and you won't catch as many as in the freshly stocked sections, but your compensation might be a big holdover or wild brown.

Stonefly nymphs of various colors (brown, golden/yellow, black) in sizes #6-12 continue to catch many of the better trout, especially in the mornings, but also later in the day too. For best results, pair the Stones with a smaller nymph in the #14-20 range. Midday bugs are picking up now that fall is here, look to likely see some Iso's and maybe #14-18 Tan Caddis in mid/late afternoons. Evening dry fly fishing peaks at dusk to dark, and mostly in the riffle water. Its a mix of bugs: Cahills/Summer Stenos (#12-14), assorted Caddis #14-20, Blue Wing Olives averaging #20-24, and a few Iso's #12-14. Don't leave too early or you may miss the best of the evening bugs.

The CT DEEP Fisheries did their fall trout stocking for the Farmington River on September 11th, they stocked from below Satan's Kingdom downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, and also in the town of Farmington by the Larry Kolp Garden Plot (downstream from seasonal TMA). Also the MDC stocked their 1,000+ trout in the upper river/Riverton (they usually do from below the dam down to Whittemore) on 9/14. The FRAA will stock between the Rt 219 bridge and the Satan's Kingdom bridge in the second week of October. But even without these stockings, there was already a pile of trout in the river, including the sections open to harvest from April through August. 

Some great new products:
Many of you asked for a "Euro" Steelhead rod, well now you finally have it: T&T released their latest entry into their extremely successful "Contact" series of tight-line/Euro rods, a 10' 8" #6 T&T Contact rod designed for larger fish such as Great Lakes Steelhead & Lake Run Browns. It will handle heavier tippets in the 1x-3x range no problem, and has the power to subdue 10-15# fish, while still protecting your tippet. Joe Goodspeed designed it to have increased durability, while still having a light, flexible and sensitive tip that will help keep the hook from popping out. Not only can you tight-line with this rod, but it throws a 6 weight line like a champ for indicator nymphing & swinging, roll casts easily, and the extra length lets you mend your line better. They also beefed up the cork handle & fighting butt. Homerun!

-Tan Caddis #14-18 (morns & late afternoon/eves mostly)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #20-24 (cloudy days especially)
-Giant October Caddis #8-12 (eves, a few)
-Isonychia #12-14 ("Iso") afternoon/eves (light hatch, in faster water)
-Light Cahill/Summer Stenos #12 (eves, in riffle water)
-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 as a suspender for dry/dropper) 

-Bigger Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (esp. mornings)
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)  
-Tan Caddis Pupa #14-18
-BWO/Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Blue Lightning Bugs/Copper Johns #14-16
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-18
-Isonychia Nymph #12-14
-Prince Nymph #12-16 (makes a good Iso)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-18
-Attractor/Hot-Spot nymphs #14-18 (Pineapple Express, Frenchy, Triple Threat, Pink Soft Spot Jigs,  
    Carotene Jigs, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, etc.).

"Junk Flies": nymphs for high/dirty water and/or freshly stocked trout:
-Squirmies/San Juan Worms/G-String Worms #10-14 (pink, red, worm brown)
-Egg Flies #10-18 (various colors)
-Mops #8-12
-Green Weenies #10-14

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:

Now that fall is here with the impending brown trout spawn, they are aggressive and the streamer bite is on. Try #2-14 patterns  (FYI bigger is sometimes better in the fall, gotta appeal to their aggression), especially in colors like yellow, olive, white, black, brown, or combinations of colors (a little yellow or orange mixed in can be very effective in the fall)- 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, as are cloudy days. The day or two after a rain, when flows are still elevated & off-color can produce some really good streamer fishing conditions for big trout. 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 on your fly, but expect to catch less fish. And FYI a 4-6" articulated fly is not too big if you are looking for top end fish. 3-4" is a good compromise if you want a shot at better fish, but still want to catch some average ones in between the big dogs. Play around with your fly size/pattern/color, presentation & retrieve and see what works. If you listen, the trout will tell you what they want. Think Autumn Splendor, 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.
     -Report by Torrey Collins