Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The Holiday weekend was a long and busy one for us at UpCountry, lots of anglers were out & about. Quite a few good reports, with Friday & Saturday seeming to be the better days. I managed to sneak out after work Sunday and find my own stretch of water well below the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). That was the cold, on/off showers day. The crappy weather had the crowds gone and small Blue Wing Olives (BWOs) all over the surface, but nothing rising where I was. I didn't do much until I switched to a small olive nymph, and then I started missing & losing a bunch of fish. Eventually the Vitreus hatch picked up and some fish started to make splashy rises at them, and I picked up a few on dries, missing several for every one I hooked. Ended up going back to nymphs and picked up several more before I knocked off. Not a bad evening, but I lost /missed waaay more than I caught.
Believe it or not, we are still getting reports of decent afternoon Hendrickson hatches up in Riverton (only in the 2 miles above the Still River up to the dam). Water temps remain significantly colder up there, making hatches start & end dates happen later. This will probably be the last week for that afternoon hatch up there. You may still see a few straggler Hendrickson spinners in the upper permanent TMA, and even when the hatch in Riverton is done, the spinners will continue for almost a week after that.
Assorted Caddis, Blue Wing Olives, and Vitreus have been the dominant hatches in the permanent Catch & Release (C&R/TMA). Sulfurs & March Browns/Gray Fox will be the two next up-and-coming hatches, they start downriver first in Collinsville/Unionville/Farmington and work there way upstream. Vitreus #14-16 (see pic on below right) remain the major evening hatch in the permanent TMA/C&R and below, they are also known as the Pink Lady/Pink Cahill/Pink Sulfur/Pale Evening Dun/Orange Sulfur/Yellow Quill, etc.- the egg mass in the females gives them a pink/orange glow in their abdomen, the males are more of a pale yellow. They are in the Epeorus mayfly family, just like the Quill Gordon, and they have two tails (not 3). Many people call them a Sulfur, but they are not a "true" Sulfur in the classic sense (Invaria is is usually the first Sulfur we see, 3 tailed and #14-16 with a yellow body, June being the peak month for them). And just as with the Quill Gordon, the winged Vitreus dun emerges from the nymph at the stream bottom & swims to the surface, which can make a Partridge & Orange, Partridge & Yellow or other yellow/orange/cream bodied wets/soft-hackles good flies to swing during the hatch. #16-18 Caddis (tan, olive) are hatching well in the permanent C&R area and downriver throughout the rest of the river. (nymphers- make sure to fish the pupa in the fast water, it's lethal). #18-20 Blue Wing Olives remain a good hatch, especially when it's overcast, they have been all up and down the river. Hendrickson hatch is confined to Riverton now, I wouldn't go any lower than Hitchcock. There are still light Hendrickson spinner falls in the upper permanent Catch & Release, but that too is moving upriver.
Water level is a nice, normal and medium total flow of 382cfs at 8am in permanent Catch & Release/C&R/TMA (312cfs in Riverton plus 70cfs from the Still River). Water temps are going into the mid/upper 50s in the afternoons (even highest downriver), especially on sunny/warm days (upper 40s in Riverton above the Still River).
When trout aren't rising, the nymphing has been good to very good for many of our customers. If you don't know how to nymph effectively, learn!! Caddis pupa #14-16 nymphed in the faster water has been lights out when they are active. Water temps well into the 50s has pushed many trout 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.
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, it's not because you aren't over trout. Streamer fishing has really picked up lately.
Caddis (olive, tan) #16-18: X-Caddis, Elk Hair, CDC Caddis, etc.; Vitreus #14-16; Hendrickson (Riverton only): #12-14 emergers, Sprouts, parachutes, Catskill-style, rusty spinner, Comparaduns, etc.; Baetis/Blue Winged Olives: #18-20 emergers, parachutes, CDC, Sprouts, rusty spinners; Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults.
Olive & Tan Caddis Pupa #14-18, Olive Nymphs #16-18, Hendrickson Nymphs #12-14 (Riverton only), Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20, Midges / Zebra Midges #16-22, 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) #12-18, 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 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/
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.