Friday, June 15, 2018
Here's the latest scoop, directly from the guides & one hardcore customer (I didn't get on the river since last weekend, been sick as a dog but getting better now):
#16 Sulfurs (Invaria) & #10-14 March Browns/Gray Fox are hatching at least as far up as the Campground area. Sulfurs have been starting up anytime from late morning to late afternoon/early eves, with March Browns typically hatching sporadically in the afternoons (look for concentrated MB spinner falls at dusk though, make sure you have the correct spinner!). Still seeing some #14-16 Vitreus, and small #20-24 Blue Wing Olives are making appearances, especially on cloudy days. Caddis remain a constant, both olive/green & tan, averaging about a #16, with some slightly bigger and smaller- typically they hatch sometime between late morning and early afternoon. ALL Caddis look tan in the air, make sure you are matching the body color or you may struggle to catch fish. Further downriver (Canton & below) look also for #12-14 Light Cahills in the eves.
Overall, I'm getting heavier hatching reports downriver than upriver. Water temps are still a bit cooler than normal for mid June, and water temps increase the further you go downstream from the dam. Hatches also seem to occur later in the day downstream, while the colder water upstream can make bugs hatch quite a bit earlier in the day. The good nymphers are literally catching trout all day long right now.
Local guide Mark Swenson is doing another session of his "Fly Fishing 101" beginner classes for us on Saturday, July 7th from 9am until 4pm- click the link to find out more.
Water temps get better as you move downriver (still low/mid 40s up in Riverton, but in the 50s as you go downstream), so I'd recommend staying from below the Still River and down to find the most active trout and better bug activity. Be flexible in your approach and also where you fish. The entire river is currently loaded with trout- stocked, holdover & wild, so don't be afraid to explore new water, the trout are literally everywhere. Seriously. Those finding the most success adapt to the conditions and move around until they find good fishing. A thermometer will help you find optimum water temps (50-65 degrees). Often you need to fish subsurface with streamers, wet flies/soft hackles, or nymphs. The nymphing & wet fly fishing is good to excellent right now if you know how to do it, and will produce fish whether or not they rise. Streamers will give you a shot at some of the biggest fish in the stream, especially if you fish them in the low light of early morning & evenings.
Subsurface, Caddis Pupa, Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, Sulfur & March Brown nymphs, and small Blue Wing Olive nymphs are taking trout, and big Stonefly nymphs are working in early to mid morning. A variety of attractor/hot-spot nymphs have been very effective also, including Antoine's Perdigon series. Catching trout is not always about exactly matching the hatch (but, sometimes it is, 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.
Water level is medium at a total flow of 336 cfs at 8am in permanent Catch & Release/C&R/TMA (305cfs in Riverton plus 31cfs from the Still River). Water temps are going into the 50s in the afternoons, especially on sunny/warm days. Riverton above the Still River remains in the low/mid 40s.
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 have been lights out when they are active (generally mid-morning & onward). Perfect 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 this spring 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 the trout aren't there....
-Permanent Catch & Release: Sulfur #16: emergers, Usuals, Comparaduns, parachutes, spinners; Caddis (olive/green, tan) #14-18: X-Caddis, Elk Hair, CDC Caddis, etc.; Vitreus #14-16: Usual, parachutes, Sulfurs; March Brown/Gray Fox #10-14: Comparaduns, parachutes, emergers, spinners; Baetis/Blue Winged Olives: #20-24 emergers, parachutes, CDC, Sprouts, rusty spinners; Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults.
-Downriver (Canton/Collinsville/Unionville), all the above plus: Light Cahill #12-14: Usual, parachutes, etc.
Tan & olive/green Caddis Pupa #14-18, Sulphur Nymph #16, March Brown Nymph #10-12, Olive Nymphs #16-20, 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 #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 targetting larger trout, go bigger, but expect to catch less fish. Water temps are in the 50s now (Riverton is mid 40s), 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.