-Mike Andrews in the uppermost pic with a red-spotted beauty (I think I caught the same fish back in January, C&R works!)
-Dave Moranino balancing his fly rod on his shoulder while holding a very nice fish
-Jason Grieco grip & grinning with a hefty brown
-The lowermost big, fat colorful brown pictured filled up Will Ryan's landing net
I guess you could say fishing has been good.... :) Many people (myself included!) would rate it as currently excellent, with multiple hatches, rising trout, big fish in the mix, and trout coming to dries, nymphs, streamers, and wets/soft-hackles. Truly something for everyone. The flow has been
medium in the low 300cfs range the past week, but MDC made a 100cfs flow reduction from the dam at 9am this morning. This will put total flow in the low 200cfs range. What does this mean? Well it will have both positive & negative effects. If you like to fish dries, it means more rising trout. It also means easier wading, and the ability to get into some of the heavier/faster pocket water sections that were difficult to access at 300+ cfs. It will also concentrate the fish a bit more, making reading water a little easier. The main downside is that you will have to be a little more stealthy now: more careful on your wading (don't wade like a hippo and send out shock waves), use a longer leader, and maybe smaller flies. Think about dropping down to a lighter line weight if you have more than one dry fly rod: maybe a #2-4 rod instead of a #5.
The second batch of George Daniel's brand new book "Nymph Fishing" arrived at UpCountry late last week, and I've got another big batch coming today. I've read it, and in my opinion it's excellent. He covers new things he learned in the last 6 years since "Dynamic Nymphing" came out, plus things he has changed his opinion on. Lots of new patterns shown in this book too, plus some new leader formulas. FYI I'm in it :). The first batch sold out fast. We also have the brand new 2nd DVD on Euro Nymphing from Devin Olsen & Lance Egan (filmed by Gilbert Rowley) in, it's called "Modern Nymphing Elevated", and is the follow up to "Modern Nymphing". This one covers many new things, and is geared toward intermediate to advanced anglers (the 1st was more for beginers to intermediates). And just like the first one, the cinematography is excellent.
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. The 9/29 Nymphing Workshop is full now, but we have a #2 Nymphing Workshop scheduled for Saturday October 20th, 9am-2pm:
-9/29/18 Nymphing Workshop (full but we have another on 10/20)
-9/30/18 Streamer Fishing Workshop
Mark Swenson's next "Fly Fishing 101 Class" for beginners is scheduled for August 4th, 2018 from 9am-4pm, cost is $150, class is limited to 4P. Click on link for details, call shop at 860-379-1952 to sign up, payment in full is required when you sign up to lock in your spot.
#10-12 Isonychia and assorted #16-20 Sulfurs are two of the main hatches here in July. Terrestrials such as ant & beetles can be excellent too. 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 early/mid aftetrnoon. 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, Sulfurs live/hatch in a variety of water types (especially medium-slow to medium fast). You can even blind fish large 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.
9am flow update:
MDC cut release from the dam in Riverton (Goodwin/Hogback Dam) by 100cfs, which will put the combined total flow at about 230cfs. I would call that a medium-low level.
Total flow at 8am in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) is medium at 329cfs. 95% of that flow is coming from the dam, with only 13cfs from the Still- this keeps the river nice & cold for quite a ways downstream, as the dam runs very cold and the Still River runs warm. Riverton/Pleasant Valley/New Hartford/Canton should all remain plenty cool enough with water temps ranging from about low 50s in Riverton to the low/mid 60s in Canton. I probably would leave Collinsville/Unionville alone until the weather cools off some more and the downriver water temps drop (hot sunny days can top 70 degrees in the afternoons if you venture too many miles downstream of the dam and it's cooler water, especially now that they reduced the dam release). If you do go way downstream, and I don't currently recommend it, look for a cooler night and go out in the early/mid morning when water temps are the coolest. Move upriver to colder water as the day progresses.
Sulfurs are hatching quite well, both the slightly larger #16 (Invaria- mostly upriver now) and the smaller/yellower #18-20 Sulfurs (Dorothea). #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). We started seeing #22-26 Needhami recently, they are typically a morning deal, but can also be on the water in the evenings. They are the size of a small Blue Winged Olive, but have a chocolate brown body and darker wings. 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. #12-14 Light Cahills, #18-20 Attenuata (a bright green almost chartreuse sort of Blue Winged Olive), and #18-26 Blue Wing Olives (early/late, especially on cloudy days) are also hatching. Small Midges are always present, especially in the colder & less fertile 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 for the Stones). 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. They are most deadly when fish 2 or 3 at a time, with tag end droppers.
-Isonychia #10-12 ("Iso's, faster water, typically late afernoon until dark)
-Sulfur #16-20 (Invaria & Dorothea, mostly eves, but mid/late afternoon upriver closer to dam)
-Needhami #22-26 (morns & sometimes eves)
-Caddis (olive/green, tan) #14-18
-Light Cahill #12-14 (evenings/dusk)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #18-26 (mostly afternoons & eves)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Attenuata #18-20 (evenings- like a Blue Wing Olive, but bright green, almost chartreuse)
-Ants & Beetles #10-20 (anytime, especially during non-hatch times)
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16 (great for "searching the water" or dry/dropper)
Sulphur-type nymphs #16-18, bigger Stoneflies #6-12, Pat's Rubber Legs #6-10 (esp. coffee/black), Tan & olive/green Caddis Pupa #14-18, 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: 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 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.