This wet fall is in stark contrast to the past 2 years of droughts. While it may bother some anglers, it doesn't bother the trout one damn bit. In fact, they prefer it, as higher flows conceal them from predators, create more habitat, and wash more food into the drift. Fishing pressure was light this past weekend. Reports have varied over the past week, with some anglers doing quite well, and others struggling. The key is adapting to the conditions, experimenting with flies, covering the water, and moving to different spots if you aren't having success. Check out these two beauties Zach St. Amand's kids landed Sunday on nymphs.
|Foliage view behind shop on Monday 10/29|
Nymphing is a consistent producer, and October/November are above average months to streamer fish for big browns as the spawn makes them more aggressive & territorial. There is some limited dry fly fishing, especially when the Caddis are hatching. When flows return to normal/lower levels, expect to see more rising fish. Better flies include a mix of assorted streamers, #18 Baetis/Blue Wing Olive nymphs, big Stoneflies, egg patterns, and assorted "Junk Flies" (Mops, Squirmies/San Juan Worms, Eggs, Green Weenies, etc.). Other than the Winter/Summer Caddis in the early AM, your best shot at dry flies is probably afternoons with Isonychia & Caddis, mostly in the riffles at the pool heads. Small #22-24 Blue Wing Olives are hatching, but with elevated flows the fish are feeding mostly on the nymphs, less so on the surface. However if it's not too windy, you may find fish eating Olives in Church Pool.
call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up, cost is $150.
Flows & Temps:
Total flow in permanent Catch & Release/TMA in Barkhamstead/Pleasant Valley/New Hartford remains moderately high & fishable at 718cfs and dropping (469cfs from dam in Riverton, plus an additional 249cfs & dropping from the Still River 2 miles below the dam). Water temps are averaging mid to upper 40s in the permanent Catch & Release/TMA, low 50s in Riverton above the Still River With consistently colder weather here now, water temps will continue to slowly decrease. After colder 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- streamer fishing can be an exception to this, as it's not hatch-related. The other strategy is to start your morning in the first 2 miles below the dam in Riverton, where water temps hardly vary at all during the day (due to being released from down deep), and then by late morning you can go back downriver.
Now that cooler days and cold nights are here to stay, the water temps are steadily dropping and the days are getting shorter, and this calls for some changes in tactics. Egg flies are effective now- experiment with colors, typically yellows, oranges, and pinks. This is a great time of year to toss streamers, and some good-sized ones at that, for what could potentially be some of the biggest trout you will catch all year. Brown trout get extra aggressive toward streamers in October/November due to spawning. Nymphs are probably the most consistent flies, with a mix of "Junk Flies" & imitative patterns all having their moments. Other than maybe a light hatch of Winter/Summer Caddis in the early AM, most bug activity has now shifted from late morning thru dusk, but subsurface patterns continue to vastly outproduce dry flies due to the above average flows (normal for late October is a moderately low flow of 200-250cfs, currently we are in the 700cfs range and dropping) . Main October bugs will be #14-18 tannish Caddis, #14 Isonychia, and on cloudy days some #22-24 Blue Winged Olives. You will still probably see big Stonefly shucks on the rocks through the end of October, and a few Giant October Caddis (latin name Pycnopsyche, different from the October Caddis they get out west) #8-12 in the eves.
T&T's new award-winning Zone series is finally available, it's a mid-priced ($495) set of rods that perform at a high level, they feel great in the hand and cast beautifully- stop by and cast one in the backyard. They even do a 10' #7 for you Steelhead guys. We also 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), and are once again fully restocked on all the popular colors of Montana Fly Company Barred Sexi-Floss in both small & medium sizes (this makes awesome legs on a Pat's Rubber Leg Stonefly Nymph).
The areas stocked in September/October are yielding the highest catch rates, with Junk Flies & Woolly Buggers doing much of the catching. Make sure to pair your Junk Flies with a "normal", drabber fly (with or without a hot spot). 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.
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 stocked 800+ 13-18" fat rainbows (some to 3.5-4#!) in New Hartford between the Rt 219 bridge and the Satan's Kingdom bridge recently. But even without these stockings, there was already a bunch of trout in the river, including the sections open to harvest from April through August.
New T&T Contact Steelhead/Lake-Run Brown Trout Rod:
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 (especially mid afternoons 'till dusk, riffly water)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #20-24 (cloudy days especially, gentle riffles/pool tails/slower water)
-Giant October Caddis #8-12 (eves, a few, in riffles)
-Isonychia #14 ("Iso") afternoon/eves (light hatch, in riffly water)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM in pools)
-Bigger Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (esp. mornings)- gold/yellow, brown, black
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)
-Tan Caddis Pupa #14-18
-BWO/Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Egg Flies #10-18 (various colors: yellow, pink, orange, etc.)
-Blue Lightning Bugs/Copper Johns #14-16
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20
-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, freshly stocked trout, or when standard nymphs aren't working:
-Squirmies/San Juan Worms/G-String Worms #10-14 (pink, red, worm brown)
-Egg Flies #10-18
-Green Weenies #10-14
Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet has a glass-smooth Plasma finish and 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/
Now that fall is here with the impending brown & brook trout spawn, trout are aggressive and the streamer bite is on. Try #2-14 patterns (FYI bigger is often 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, especially when it's bright &sunny, 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- it can make a BIG difference. If you listen, the trout will tell you what they want. Think Home Invaders, Zonkers, Zuddlers, Woolly Buggers, Bruce's Yellow Matuka, Don's Peach Bugger, Dude Friendly, Ice Picks, Mini Picks, Mop Heads, Slump Busters, Sculpin Helmet patterns (for a weighted sculpin imitation), etc.
-Report by Torrey Collins