Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday 7/9/18 Report: Isonychia & big trout, good flows

Some VERY nice trout were recently landed: a two foot class 'Bow on a nymph by customer Marco Kamimura, a 4th of July brown beauty caught at dusk on a dry by customer Kristina, and a big wild brown on an Isonychia by customer Joe Ceballos (with an "assist" by Allen Landheer). Customers have given me many other reports and/or showed me pictures of 18-20"+ fish also, some on dries, some on nymphs. Isonychia dries are unusually good for better fish- they hatch for a long time (straight into mid-fall on the Farmington River), and they are a big bug sized 10-14.

Did a little fishing after work Saturday night, picked up a mix of rainbows & browns  I broke off the best trout I hooked, and I lost several and missed a bunch. Saw a mix of Isonychia, Sulfurs, and small Blue Wing Olives. For me Sulfur & Blue Wing Olive nymphs in #16-18 were the ticket.

George Daniel's brand new book "Nymph Fishing" arrived at UpCountry last week, and it's damn good! FYI I'm in it :). The first batch sold out, but I should have a dozen more coming later today or tomorrow, and another big batch coming the beginning of next week.

George Daniel Clinics coming this fall at UpCountry- click on the clinic name to take you to link with clinic descriptions/info. Call shop at 860-379-1952 to sign up, cost is $150, paid in advance, nonrefundable. FYI payment in full is required when you sign up, we cannot "hold" a spot for you without payment:
-9/29/18 Nymphing Workshop
-9/30/18 Streamer Fishing Workshop

#10-12 Isonychia and assorted #16-20 Sulfurs are two of the main hatches fo this time of year. 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 noon. 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. Isonychia live in fast water so look for them there- pool heads, riffles, pocket water & runs. You can even blind fish big Isonychia 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 (2-3 feet under your dry if you are searching/blind-casting the water, but only about a foot if fish are actively rising during a hatch). 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.

Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) of a medium/normal/excellent 335cfs as of 8am this morning. Riverton/Pleasant Valley/New Hartford/Canton should all remain plenty cool enough with water temps ranging from about low 50s in Riverton to the mid 60s in Canton. I probably would leave Collinsville/Unionville alone until the weather cools off some more and the downriver water temps drop. If you do go way downstream (and I don't recommend it), look for a cooler night, go out in the early/mid morning when water temps are the coolest, and then move upriver to colder water as the day progresses.

Sulfurs are hatching, both the slightly larger #16 (Invaria- from way downstream up to the dam, but heavier as you go upriver) and the smaller/yellower #18-20 Sulfurs.  #10-12 Isonychia are all the way up & down the river now. I typically think of Iso's as a late afternoon to evening hatch, but you may see them earlier in the day up closer to Riverton (due to colder water closer to the dam). Assorted Caddis averaging #16-18 in olive-green & tan are hatching everywhere, typically popping in the late morning to early/mid afternoon normally, and then egg-laying at dusk. There are still a few #10-14 March Browns/Gray Fox upriver in Riverton only, still a few #14-16 Vitreus (Riverton), and #12-14 Light Cahills, #18-20 Attenuata (a bright green almost chartreuse sort of Blue Winged Olive), #18-26 Blue Wing Olives (early/late, especially on cloudy days) are also hatching. Small Midges are always present, especially in the colder flows up near the dam in Riverton.

Subsurface, Sulfur-type nymphs, big Stoneflies, Caddis Pupa, Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, #10-12 Isonychia 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.

-Isonychia #8-12 ("Iso's")
-Sulfur #16-20 (Invaria & Dorothea)
-Caddis (olive/green, tan) #14-18
-Light Cahill #12-14
-March Brown/Gray Fox #10-14 (a few, Riverton only)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #18-26
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Attenuata #18-20 (like a Blue Wing Olive, but bright green, almost chartreuse)
-Ants & Beetles #10-20
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16

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 #12-20, Isonychia Nymph #10-12, Midges / Zebra Midges #16-22, Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16, Mop Flies (various colors, especially cream/tan) #8-12, Antoine's Perdigons (various colors, especially olive, black) #12-20, 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 targeting larger trout, go bigger, but expect to catch less fish. Water temps are mostly in the 50s to mid 60s 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.

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.