Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday 4/8/19 Farmington River Report: more big browns

Dan Phelan with a big 'un from Sunday 4/7
Another weekend with quite a few big holdover & wild brown trout landed, the pictures will tell the story. Flows remain way better than normal, we are medium at 435cfs total flow (about 200cfs below typical early April flows which would normally be in the 600-700cfs range). Water temps hit 47 degrees Sunday afternoon in Church Pool. Opening Day is this Saturday April 13th at 6am, and it's shaping up to be a good one: supposed to be 66 with sun & clouds. Be aware that Opening Day weekend will be extra crowded, especially Saturday morning. The crowds typically come & go after that.

FYI we went to our extended
Tristan Holt with a 20" plus brown from the weekend
summer hours starting 4/1.
Also, from 4/1 until 4/13 at 6am the roughly one mile plus section in Riverton from where Hogback Rd joins Rt 20 (Canal Pool) downstream to the gas pipe at the head of Pipeline Pool is closed to fishing- this is the section they do the fishing derby for the kids on Opening Day. Beaver Pool remains OPEN to fishing.

Local guide Mark Swenson is doing a FREE intro to fly fishing for beginnners class, click to get taken to a class description.

Flows in Riverton are just over 200cfs (medium) in the first 2 miles below the dam (FYI part of that section is temporarily closed to fishing until 4/13). Fishing reports continue to pick up, Early Stoneflies #14-16 and Baetis/Blue Wing Olives #18-20 are popping in the afternoons. You may see some risers, but expect to go subsurface if not. Most of the big trout you've been seeing posted on here were caught on nymphs or streamers. You still want to get your nymphs & streamers deep, but with rising water temps you can definitely start fishing your streamers faster, and look for big trout feeding on nymphs in some faster water now too.
Tristan's dad John with his own big brown from the weekend

As of Monday April 1st, we went from to 8am-6pm on weekdays, and 6am-5pm on

We have Devin Olsen's hot new book "Tactical Fly Fishing", and it looks really, really good- second batch just arrived this week. Covers
Dave Machowski's client Chuck with one of several nice browns landed Sunday
Covers Euro style nymphing, plus a whole lot more. Based upon what he's learned from years of the highest level fly fishing competitions against the best trout fly fishermen in the world. It covers things in an extremely detailed way, and has some great "Case Studies" where he shows you different water type pictures with photo sequences of how they were able to successfully catch fish in them, and what adjustments they had to make in their rigging, approach, presentation & flies to find success. It's a good new option that does NOT duplicate George Daniel's two books on nymphing, but rather it compliments and adds to them. 

Early Black Stones (and Early Brown too now) have been active for a while now, and the holdover & wild trout are definitely taking notice. The recently stocked trout from early March (above and below the permanent Catch & Release/TMA) will be receptive to a variety of flies, especially things like Woolly Buggers and "Junk Flies" (Eggs, Mops, Worms, Green Weenies), but they are also getting dialed into more natural, imitative flies now. Look also at moments for trout rising to Winter Caddis
Another view of Dan Phelan's big brown from Sunday 4/7
(early/mid morns),  small Blue Wing Olives #20 (afternoons), Midges (late AM & afternoons), and Black Stones (afternoons). Hope for dries, but expect to fish subsurface with nymphs & streamer. Remember that highest water temps occur in mid/late afternoon, and sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases.

Streamers have picked up less but bigger fish lately. If you wanna throw 4-6" streamers for trophies, you are swinging for the fence and may strike out, but some days you will hit a home run and catch a
giant. Be patient and cover lots of water. Soem anglers are finding fish rising to Winter Caddis,
Midges, and occasionally Stoneflies. Look to slower water for dry fly fishing, but be prepared to go subsurface if needed. Sometime they will eat the Black Stones on the surface, but it's very hit or miss.
Junk Flies and various streamers fished slow & deep are also the ticket sometimes. Experiment and the trout will tell you what they want. It can vary from day to day, and even during the same day as water temps, trout metabolism, insect activity, and light levels all change as the day progresses.

Some of the better fish are moving into the faster water to feed, espeically in the afternoons. As water temps rise in the afternoon most days, trout often get more active and feed, and may move more into the current if there are bugs in the drift. When trout are less active due to cold water temps, it typically pushes them into the softer water of pools, deeper runs, and gentle/deeper riffles. But they (and especially bigger fish) will often slide up into the heads of pools/riffles/runs into the somewhat faster water to actively feed. This is most common later in the day (afternoons) when water temps are highest and light levels diminish. It's a combination of rising water temps, bug activity, and light levels that gets the trout feeding.

Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Eggs, etc.) should all continue to have their moments, but also try pairing then up with some regular nymphs. Early/Winter Stones (black, brown), Midge patterns, Caddis Larva, Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ears, etc. all could be good flies to pair up with a Junk Fly. Bigger Stonefly nymphs are still on the menu and make an excellent anchor fly when you need something heavy, and just might net you a bigger fish too. If you are fishing pools that get hit hard (like Church Pool or Hitchcock), make sure to fish some drab/natural flies (no bead, no flash, no hotspot) and/or patterns that are unusual and the fish haven't seen before. Heavy pressure can make specific patterns less effective, and sometimes shiny metallic beadheads and make trout shy away, so try some nymphs with no beads or black beads. And sometimes regular beadheads work way better than unbeaded patterns, you have to experiment if you know you are over fish but aren't doing well. Of course it goes without saying that a good dead-drift is critical (but let it swing out at the drift's end, strikes often occur at that moment, especially during insect activity). Slowly/deeply fished streamers are still connecting up with big trout, and some mornings have seen trout rising to Winter Caddis in early/mid mornings, and Midges after that. 

Nymphing is the #1 producer most days, as there are lots of nymphs in the drift now, but browns are hungry and sometimes want a big bite like a streamer. Many days Church Pool has been offering up morning dry fly fishing in the slower water (some days great, and some slow)- look for mornings that are not windy, preferably following a cold night. You may also see Midges sometime between late morning and the afternoon, and also Blue Wing Olives in about a #20. Other than the Winter Caddis, I usually target the late morning to late afternoon period for the most comfortable temps & best fishing (higher water temps = more active bugs & trout). The low light and higher water temps of the last couple hours often brings bigger browns out of hiding too.

Flow update as of 9am Monday 4/8/19:
Total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release according to USGS gauge is in great shape-  currently medium at 435cfs (the Still River is 217cfs), and in Riverton above the Still River the Farmington is medium at 218cfs. Normal median total flow for today would be 644cfs, so we are in great shape. The Still River joins the Farmington River about 1/4 mile below Riverton Rt 20 bridge, roughly 2 miles below the dam. East Branch release was 200cfs last I knew, it joins the West Branch about 3/8 mile below UpCountry near condos & sewage plant. MDC may have reduced the East Branch since then, but I'm not sure.

Click this Thomas & Thomas blog link for a very recent review I wrote about their awesome new Contact 10' 8" #6 rod for Steelhead & Lake Run Trout/Landlocks:

Check out this link to my blog post on 10 of my favorite books on a variety of subjects: I'll be doing more blog posts on recommended books in the future, there are many great books out there.
A favorite image of mine Matt Supinski used in "Nexus"

We will be open 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends.

Water Temps: 
Look for water temps to be somewhere in the 40s, but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location. Long range highs average in the 50s, even into the 60s, so this could push water temps up near 50 on warmer, sunny days. Highest temps will occur in mid/late afternoon, with sunny days seeing the biggest temperature increases- this often activates both the aquatic insects & trout. After colder nights, it may be wise to wait until late morning, thereby giving water temps a chance to rise a degree or two, which will get the trout (and bugs) more active- streamer fishing can be an exception to this, as it's not hatch-related, as can nymphing with egg patterns or other "Junk Flies" like worm patterns & Mop flies, or flashy attractor-type nymphs that stimulate a reaction bite.

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 (mostly underneath, but sometimes gets fish on the surface) 
-Early Brown Stoneflies #14-16 
-Blue Wing Olives #18-20 
-Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Midges #20-28 (late morns through afternoons)

-Black Stone/Black Nymphs #14-18 
-Brown Stone/Brown Nymphs #14-16
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12- gold/yellow, brown, black
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)  
-Egg Flies #10-18 (various colors: yellow, pink, orange, etc.)
-Blue Lightning Bugs/Copper Johns #14-16
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Cased Caddis #8-16 
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-18
-Attractor/Hot-Spot nymphs #14-18 (Haast Haze, Pineapple Express, Frenchy, Triple Threat, Pink   Soft Spot Jigs, Carotene Jigs, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, Prince, etc.).

"Junk Flies": nymphs for high/dirty water, cold water, freshly stocked trout, or when there is no hatch and standard nymphs aren't working:
-Squirmies/San Juan Worms/G-String Worms #10-14 (pink, red, worm brown)
-Egg Flies #10-18
-Mops #8-12
-Green Weenies #10-14

-Dude Friendly #8 (white, yellow, natural)
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (olive, black, white, brown)
-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-Strolis Laser Muddler #6 (olive, tan, brown)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown)

Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon tippet has a glass-smooth Plasma finish and 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:

     -Report by Torrey Collins