Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday 7/6/18 Report- a reprieve from the heat wave!

Weekend Hours:
Back to our normal summertime weekend hours of 6am-5pm starting Saturday 7/14, weekdays are still 8am-6pm.

Customer Justin Hock with a beauty of a brownie he nymphed up this past Tuesday, he didn't measure it but it looks to be in the upper teens and is healthy multi-year holdover. Above average fish like this are getting caught on a daily basis by those "paying their dues".

George Daniel's brand new book "Nymph Fishing" has arrived at UpCountry, and it's damn good! FYI I'm in it :). First batch sold out, but I should have a dozen more coming today, or Monday 7/9 at the latest.

No major changes since our last report, river is in nice shape as I write this, with nice cool water temps still (due to the bottom release from the dam). A little break from the extended 90 degree plus heat wave we just had, with high 79 to 85 for today through Sunday, even going to see the next two nights down into the mid 50s. #10-12 Isonychia ("Iso's") and assorted #16-20 Sulfurs (Invaria & Dorothea) are two of the main "glamour hatches". Hatch times will vary depending upon time of day, air temps, and how far up or down river you are. As a rule of thumb, Iso's hatch from late afternoon through the evening, and Sulfurs are typically an evening deal. If you are up in Riverton closer to the dam, you may see some Sulfurs pop in mid to late afternoon, and Iso's can start closer to noonish up there. Make sure to have more than one size Sulfur, because if they are on the smaller #18-20 ones, they likely will refuse a #16. Iso's are a nice big bug and will hatch all month. They live in fast water so look for them there- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & runs. You can even blind fish big Iso dries and bring fish up to them, and they are big & buoyant enough to use as a dry/dropper fly. Dry/dropper is very effective in the summer here, run one or two small weighted nymphs behind a buoyant visible dry. Iso nymphs are also very effective- try both dead-drifting & swinging/stripping them. They are excellent/fast swimmers, and sometimes the trout want them moving, and sometimes they don't. Big trout LOVE Iso's. You can also swing a big #10-12 Leadwing Coachman wet fly to imitate them- keep your tippet at 3x-4x if you are swinging wets, and also keep your rod tip up to help absorb hard strikes and prevent break-offs.

The water coming out of the dam in Riverton is still in the upper 40s/low 50s, and then gradually warms as you move downriver. The further you go downstream away from the dam, the more this river behaves like a freestoner. I got a water temp of just over 62 degrees last Sunday night after work at Church Pool after a sunny 98 degree day. It's summertime now and we are getting mostly hot weather, so stay at least until dark for the evening fishing (with the exception of Riverton above the Still River, icy water up there means the hatches both start & end earlier than downstream where water temps aren't as cold).

Water is cold, medium & clear in Riverton at about 261cfs, the Still River is coming in at 31cfs, for a total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) of a medium/excellent 292cfs as of 11am Friday morning. A 1/2 hour downpour this morning may bump Still River flow up a bit, but not enough to radically change anything. Riverton/Pleasant Valley/New Hartford/Canton should all remain cool enough with water temps ranging from upper 40s/low 50s (Riverton) to low/mid 60s New Hartford/Canton), I probably would leave Collinsville/Unionville alone until the weather cools off some more. If you do go below that, enture out in the early/mid morning when water temps are the coolest, and then move upriver to colder water as the day progresses. I'll try to take a water temp downstream one night and see where we are at, and I'll update this report when I do so.

#16 Sulfurs (Invaria) are currently a major hatch everywhere including Riverton, and we are seeing the smaller/yellower #18-20 Sulfurs (Dorothea) mixing in now (all the way upstream to Pipeline/Lyman's Rock, not quite up to the dam yet)- make sure to have #16 AND #18/20, sometimes it makes all the difference between refusals or catching a bunch. #10-12 Isonychia are all the way up & down the river, even a few in Riverton now. I typically think of Iso's as a late afternoon to evening hatch, but you may see them earlier in the day up in Riverton. Assorted Caddis averaging #16-18 in olive-green & tan are all up and down the river, typically popping in the late morning to early/mid afternoon normally, and then egg-laying at dusk. #10-14 March Browns/Gray Fox are still hatching in small numbers but only upriver (Riverton), still a few Vitreus (Riverton only), and depending where you are, you may see #12-14 Light Cahills, #18-20 Attenuata (a bright green almost chartreuse sort of Blue Winged Olive) are working up into the permanent Catch & Release now, #8-10 Varia (Yellow Drake), #18-26 Blue Wing Olives (early/late, especially on cloudy days). And small Midges are always present, especially in the icy cold water up near the dam in Riverton.

Tip from Torrey:
By customer request, a tip for those of you doing tight-line/Euro/high-stick nymphing:
Make sure to "lead" your drift when you are tight-lining nymphs. It's important to be in touch with your flies so you can detect the strike and set the hook quickly before the trout spits your fly (FYI on average, I've read fish will hold a fly for 2 seconds before rejecting it, and heavy catch & release fishing pressure can make them spit even faster). By "leading your drift", I don't mean pulling your fly, but rather keeping your rod tip downcurrent/downstream of where your leader enters the water. All you are trying to do is keep pace with your drift so you get as drag-free a presentation as possible, while minimizing the slack by keeping light tension so you can detect subtle hits. Keeping your rod tip slightly ahead of the drift does this, and also puts you in a great hook set position (FYI set the hook downstream and to the side- I'll do a future tip about that). If you keep your rod tip exactly even with where you leader enters the water (as many people do and as many outdoor writers mistakenly say you should do), you will not be in as good contact with your flies. 

We are getting into that time of year (summer) where in order to catch the best evening dry fly fishing you need to stay LATE.  Leave too early and you may completely miss it. And remember that spinner falls occur over riffles. Having said this, it also depends upon the section of river and the weather that day. Riverton with it's colder water often sees "evening" bug activity begin & end earlier in the day, and morning activity begins later upriver due to colder water. In the rest of the river, cloudy/cooler weather will often see the "evening bugs" start up earlier. Super hot days might see the evening hatch begin right at the edge of darkness.

Quite a few trout are holding in only 1-2 feet of choppy water lately (especially during hatches and/or low light conditions) and sometimes even skinnier water than that, so don't focus only on the deep stuff. Typically when trout are in shallower water, they are there specifically to feed. Plus many bugs (Isonychia and many Caddis species for example) hatch in fast, often shallow water. Spinner falls typically occur over/in riffles and pocket water. Plus fast water is more oxegenated. All reasons you should should not ignore faster water. Personally I've been targetting fast water almost exclusively since early/mid May, and there have been plenty of trout in residence there. In water that's not too deep, dry/dropper with 1-2 weighted nymphs about 2-3 feet under a buoyant, visible dry fly can be very effective, not to mention fun. It also enables you stay back a bit, and gives you the opportunity to catch fish on both nymphs/pupa & dries. Most days they'll take the nymphs, but you will get plenty of bonus trout on the dry.

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- only one spot left as of this morning, we will also take names for a wait list/next class once it fills.

Subsurface, Sulfur-type nymphs, big Stoneflies, Caddis Pupa, Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, #10-12 Isonychia ("Iso") nymphs, and small Blue Wing Olive nymphs are taking trout, and big Stonefly nymphs are working (especially early/mid morning). A variety of attractor/hot-spot nymphs have been very effective also, including Antoine's Perdigon series. When trout aren't rising, the nymphing has been good. Catching trout is not always about exactly matching the hatch (sometimes it is though, 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.

The permanent catch & release (C&R/TMA) was 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 (Invaria)
-Sulfur #18-20 (Dorothea)- not in Riverton yet
-Caddis (olive/green, tan) #14-18: 
-Isonychia #8-12 ("Iso's")
-Light Cahill #12-14
-March Brown/Gray Fox #10-14 (Riverton only)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #18-26
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults.
-Attenuata #18-20 (like a Blue Wing Olive, but bright green, almost chartreuse)
-Ants & Beetles #10-20
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16
-Attenuata #18-20 (like a Blue Wing Olive, but bright green, almost chartreuse)- not up in Riverton 

Downriver (Canton/Collinsville/Unionville), all the above plus:
-Varia (Yellow Drake) #8-12 

Sulphur-type nymphs #16, bigger Stoneflies #6-12, Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10, Tan & olive/green Caddis Pupa #14-18, March Brown/Gray Fox Nymphs #10-14 (Riverton only), Olive Nymphs #16-20, Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20, Isonychia Nymph #10-12, 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, 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:

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 mostly in the 50s/60s now (Riverton is mid/upper 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.