Friday, May 11, 2018
It's getting extra pretty around here now that the green leaves are popping out. For those of you making weekend plans, Sunday looks like the nicer day, with highs in the mid 60s, not windy, and some cloud cover- just about perfect I'd say. Hatchwise expect to see Hendricksons, Tan Caddis, Blue Wing Olives, and Parapleps (Blue Quills). Nymphing remains good to excellent for many anglers, and is producing some big fish as you see pictured. Some big ones have been landed on dries too, 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. 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.
Water levels are excellent- total flow in permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA is an unusually good for early May 243cfs (164cfs below dam in Riverton, plus 79cfs from the Still River). Water temps are reaching into the mid/upper 50s now most afternoons (mid/high 40s in Riverton above the Still River).
These Hendricksons are hatching from downriver (Collinsville/Unionville), and up to the top of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and even a bit further upstream into the Whittmeore/Roberts/Pipeline/Lyman Rock area. Not hatching above that yet (Still River & below sees higher water temps, still in the mid/upper 40s above that in the 2 miles between the dam and the Still River). The hatch has been starting anywhere from 1pm-3pm, and typically lasts about 2 hours. 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, you have only yourself to blame, haha. 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, early season Baetis #16-20 (Blue Wing Olives/BWOs), and Paraleps #16-18 (Blue Quill/Mahogany Duns) are all hatching in the afternoons. Also seeing #16-18 Tan Caddis (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....). On mild days that aren't cold, windy or rainy, look for Hendrickson spinner falls- traditionally in evenings, but they can fall mid/late AM and even overlap the afternoon hatch.
Hendrickson: #12-14 emergers, Sprouts, parachutes, Catskill-style, rusty spinner, Comparaduns, etc.; Baetis/Blue Winged Olives: #16-20 emergers, parachutes, CDC, Sprouts, rusty spinners; Paraleps/Blue Quill/Mahogany Duns: #16-18 CDC Comparadun; Tan 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 Caddis Pupa #16, 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: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/cortland-top-secret-ultra-premium-fluorocarbon/
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.