Monday, October 8, 2018

Columbus Day 10/8/18 Farmington River Report- big 'uns & 10/9 update

20 1/2" brown by customer & friend Darren Yoos
10/9 Update: the river was stocked with 800+ 13-18" fat rainbows purchased by the FRAA and supplied by Harding Trout Hatchery on Tuesday afternoon in New Hartford/Pine Meadow, in spots between the New Hartford 219 bridge and the Satan's Kingdom/Rt 44 bridge. Some of the bigger ones were pushing 3.5-4 pounds.
Hope some of you will make it out today and take advantage of the holiday (that is if you get today off from work!). After a humid, almost 80 degree day Sunday, it's cloudy with a high of 60 today- personally I like that much better, I'm all done with summer. Got some more nice fish pix for ya. Top one is a 20 1/2" hook-jawed male brown Darren Yoos caught on Friday. Next pic down is local guide Steve Hogan with a 20" beauty. Third down is a 19 1/2" Rainbow I caught Saturday after work. Subsurface tactics are still producing best, with a combination of nymphs & streamers catching the lion's share of the fish, especially the bigger ones. There are some risers if you look around, but you have to be in the right place at the right time.
Guide Steve Hogan and a 20" golden brown buddy

FYI on Sunday Grady & I did some "thinning of the herd" with the fly tying walls. The fly tying bargain/sale bin was looking anemic but is once again loaded with some good stuff, including various flash materials, dubbings, feathers, glow in the dark materials, fur pieces, etc. We also got in some beautiful MFC fly boxes with spectacular artwork on them.

Joe Goodspeed, one of the main designers of the amazing T&T Contact series of tight-line nymphing rods, is doing two free Steelhead fishing presentations at Connecticut TU groups this week:
-Wednesday 10/10 Candlewood TU chapter
-Thursday 10/11 Hammonassett TU chapter
Both links are clickable and will take you to the respective website. Each presentation will cover the deadly way Joe likes to tight-line for Steelhead, including his leader formulas. Joe grew up in the Cortland, NY area and has logged a ton of time fishing Lake Ontario tribs for Steelhead. His latest addition to the T&T Contact rod family, an 10' 8" #6 rod, is a sweet Steelhead stick.

Big after work 'Bow
We are seeing the bugs ramp up a bit now that cooler fall weather is here to stay. Still more subsurface than surface fishing with the elevated flows, but as river drops look to gradually see more rising trout. Pick your spot carefully if you want dries, look for bigger/wider pools that can spread the flow out and give you some softer water. A good amount of assorted Caddis in various sizes, including an occasional Giant October Caddis, have been active. Isonychia hatches are picking up and showing up in the afternoons again. Big Stonefly nymphs continue to be a top producer in the mornings- you will see the empty nymph husks on the rocks in faster water, this should be the case straight through October. Small Blue Wing Olives #20-24 are making an appearance on cloudy days, but above average flows minimize surface feeding on them (however they will eat the nymphs subsurface regardless). The lower the flows, the more likely you are to see risers to the small stuff. Water continues to drop a little every day.

We are open at 8am, 7 days a week, from now through March 2019.  Weekdays 8am-6pm, weekends
Bargain tying bin is loaded!
8am-5pm. Come November we will switch to 8am-5pm every day.

Last 2018, "Fly Fishing 101" class with Mark Swenson on October 28th, call 860-379-1952 to sign

FYI we got some cool tying materials in last week, including #20 Hanak 480 Jig Champion hooks, Jan Siman Fine Peacock Dubbing in all the best colors including some UV ones (one of the absolute best materials for nymph collars), more Hends UV ribbing material, some Whiting feathers (especially Woolly Bugger Hackles), plus lots of other good stuff. Also a Montana Fly Company order came in so we restocked on Sexi-Floss, plus we got in a few more new fly patterns.

Flows & Temps:
Current water level below Goodwin/Hogback Dam at USGS gauge is medium-high at 328cfs. 1/4 mile below the Rt. 20 bridge in Riverton, the Still River is adding in another 186cfs (and dropping), bringing total in permanent Catch & Release/TMA in Barkhamstead to a medium-high and very fishable 514cfs & dropping. Water temps from the dam in Riverton are decreasing, upper 50s/low 60s, and as you move downstream look for temps from the mid 50s to low 60s. Specific temps depend upon daily weather, specific location, and time of day. Highest temps will be in the late afternoon to evening, with sunny days seeing biggest temp increases. Lowest water temps will be in the early AM, with colder nights seeing the lowest morning temps. Cloudy days will see minimal temperature changes.

The East Branch is currently dumping in an additional 200cfs as of 9am on Tuesday 10/9 (reduced from 250cfs), it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry (by condos/sewage plant). As such, I'd stay above that or you will be dealing with higher water. It's not unfishable below that, but the conditions above it are better IMHO. 
Beautiful MFC fly boxes

During the not infrequent periods of higher and/or off-color flows the past 6-8 weeks, it's been mostly a subsurface game with nymphs & streamers, and "Junk Flies" have been often been king. We are talking Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Egg Flies & Green Weenies. Junk Flies are often just the ticket for recently stocked trout too, as it takes them a little while to transition from getting fed pellets to dialing into natural food sources (FYI about 3 weeks according to some stuff I've read). Now that flows have dropped quite a bit & cleared up, the trout are eating drabber & regular size nymphs too. Great streamer conditions now between it being fall & having plenty of water, and a variety of streamers are giving trout sore lips. Make sure to experiment with colors, it can make a big difference. Olive is a good starting color in clear water, but color preferences can change from day to day, and even during the same day as light conditions change. The correct color can be the difference between a lot of strikes and hardly any, so change colors every 15 minutes or so until you find the hot one.

The MDC (the peeps that run the reservoir system here) stocked Riverton in mid September, so many anglers have been heading up there for easier fishing and catching plenty of fresh rainbows averaging 11-12". "Junk Flies" such as Squirmy Worms/San Juans, Mops, Egg Flies, and Green Weenies have been doing much of the damage on them, along with generic nymphs & Woolly Buggers. Try also nymphs with hot spots. However, the highest quality, bigger holdover and wild trout have mostly been coming from the permanent Catch & Release area, as well as downstream (that is during periods when downstream water levels have been doable). Be advised that you will work harder for these fish and you won't catch as many as in the freshly stocked sections, but your compensation might be a big holdover or wild brown.

Stonefly nymphs of various colors (brown, golden/yellow, black) in sizes #6-12 continue to catch many of the better trout, especially in the mornings, but also later in the day too. For best results, pair the Stones with a smaller nymph in the #14-20 range. Midday bugs are picking up now that fall is here, look to likely see some Iso's and maybe #14-18 Tan Caddis in mid/late afternoons. Evening dry fly fishing peaks at dusk to dark, and mostly in the riffle water. Its a mix of bugs: Cahills/Summer Stenos (#12-14), assorted Caddis #14-20, Blue Wing Olives averaging #20-24, and a few Iso's #12-14. Don't leave too early or you may miss the best of the evening bugs.

The CT DEEP Fisheries did their fall trout stocking for the Farmington River on September 11th, they stocked from below Satan's Kingdom downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, and also in the town of Farmington by the Larry Kolp Garden Plot (downstream from seasonal TMA). Also the MDC stocked their 1,000+ trout in the upper river/Riverton (they usually do from below the dam down to Whittemore) on 9/14. The FRAA will stock between the Rt 219 bridge and the Satan's Kingdom bridge in the second week of October. But even without these stockings, there was already a pile of trout in the river, including the sections open to harvest from April through August. 

Some great new products:
Many of you asked for a "Euro" Steelhead rod, well now you finally have it: T&T released their latest entry into their extremely successful "Contact" series of tight-line/Euro rods, a 10' 8" #6 T&T Contact rod designed for larger fish such as Great Lakes Steelhead & Lake Run Browns. It will handle heavier tippets in the 1x-3x range no problem, and has the power to subdue 10-15# fish, while still protecting your tippet. Joe Goodspeed designed it to have increased durability, while still having a light, flexible and sensitive tip that will help keep the hook from popping out. Not only can you tight-line with this rod, but it throws a 6 weight line like a champ for indicator nymphing & swinging, roll casts easily, and the extra length lets you mend your line better. They also beefed up the cork handle & fighting butt. Homerun!

-Tan Caddis #14-18 (morns & late afternoon/eves mostly)
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #20-24 (cloudy days especially)
-Giant October Caddis #8-12 (eves, a few)
-Isonychia #12-14 ("Iso") afternoon/eves (light hatch, in faster water)
-Light Cahill/Summer Stenos #12 (eves, in riffle water)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Ants & Beetles #10-20 (anytime, especially during non-hatch times)
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16 (great for "searching the water" or as a suspender for dry/dropper) 

-Bigger Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (esp. mornings)
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)  
-Tan Caddis Pupa #14-18
-BWO/Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Blue Lightning Bugs/Copper Johns #14-16
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-18
-Isonychia Nymph #12-14
-Prince Nymph #12-16 (makes a good Iso)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-18
-Attractor/Hot-Spot nymphs #14-18 (Pineapple Express, Frenchy, Triple Threat, Pink Soft Spot Jigs,  
    Carotene Jigs, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, etc.).

"Junk Flies": nymphs for high/dirty water and/or freshly stocked trout:
-Squirmies/San Juan Worms/G-String Worms #10-14 (pink, red, worm brown)
-Egg Flies #10-18 (various colors)
-Mops #8-12
-Green Weenies #10-14

Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet has a Plasma finish is by far the best and strongest stuff out there: it has 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:

Now that fall is here with the impending brown trout spawn, they are aggressive and the streamer bite is on. Try #2-14 patterns  (FYI bigger is sometimes better in the fall, gotta appeal to their aggression), especially in colors like yellow, olive, white, black, brown, or combinations of colors (a little yellow or orange mixed in can be very effective in the fall)- 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, as are cloudy days. The day or two after a rain, when flows are still elevated & off-color can produce some really good streamer fishing conditions for big trout. 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 on your fly, but expect to catch less fish. And FYI a 4-6" articulated fly is not too big if you are looking for top end fish. 3-4" is a good compromise if you want a shot at better fish, but still want to catch some average ones in between the big dogs. Play around with your fly size/pattern/color, presentation & retrieve and see what works. If you listen, the trout will tell you what they want. Think Autumn Splendor, 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.
     -Report by Torrey Collins