Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday 5/31/19 Farmington River Report: Great Fishing

Wild 19" brown from Wednesday eve on Caddis Pupa
The fishing over the past week has been nothing short of excellent. While the dry fly action remains somewhat limited due to medium-high flows, the subsurface fishing has been lights out. I went out for a couple of hours Wednesday eve, and netted well over 20 fish, with the majority of them being wild browns running anywhere from 5" up to 19". 80% came on a nymphed Caddis (and virtually all the bigger browns), the rest were on Sulfur type nymphs (Pheasant Tails work fine). Prior to that for me it's been more Pheasant Tails/Sulfur Nymphs lately, but remember I've been going out more after work/later in the day when Vitreus & Sulfurs are active and hatching. Quite a few bigger fish are mixing in, the problem some days is getting past all the 8-16" stockers to get to the truly big browns! Highs in the mid/upper 70s will make for a nice weekend and helps with the hatches. A 50% chance of T-Storms Sunday will make Saturday the day for you fair weather fishermen (sun & clouds for Saturday). Sunday will see less pressure, just bring a raincoat for the afternoon.

Hatching activity gets stronger as you move downriver, even getting March Brown reports from downriver (Collinsville/Unionville). Warm weather this weekend will
Mina with a 22" tank of a brown trout caught nymphing
help move the hatches further upriver. There are Vitreus & Caddis hatching now (heavy in New Hartford), the Caddis are all up through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and up to Pipeline Pool now, the Vitreus are up to at least the lower end of the permanent C&R (at least as far up as Boneyard/Spare Tire, and working their way upstream daily). I even saw a few bigger Sulfurs (Invaria) in the lower end of the C&R/TMA and down in New Hartford over the holiday weekend. Not enough to call it a hatch yet, but downstream in
Wild Brown Trout collage from Wednesday eve
Collinsille/Unionville they are a legit hatch.
It's a bigger river downstream, so be careful if you venture down that far- we are down to water levels that will allow you to get into that section and successfully fish it, but still on the higher side for that section.  Subsurface the trout have been chowing on #14-16 Caddis, both in olive/green & tan, and various mayfly nymphs in #14-16

Vitreus are in the Epeorus family and close cousins to the Quill Gordon, I would call them a "pseudo Sulfur"- the "true" Sulfurs are the Invaria & Dorothea, but some peeps call them Sulfurs. Like the Quill Gordon, they are two tailed and the winged dun emerges from the nymph on the stream bottom, and then the winged dun rises to the surface. They tend to emerge/hatch in faster broken water, with riffles & pocket water being typical habitat. They are normally creamish yellow in color, but the females have a pinky/orange cast to them.
Big brown by Brayson on Wednesday
A big Nature's Spirit order arrived recently, and it includes new colored Solarez resin (fl. orange/pink/chartreuse, etc.). It also restocks us on competition style barbless hooks, including the best-selling Hanak 450 Jig Superb hook. FYI we received & put away almost $15,000 (our cost) worth of fly tying materials from Wapsi & Hareline recently. We have tippet rings in stock again, Squirmy Worms, and lots of fly boxes. Tacky boxes are also back in stock, and we now have their new breathable fly box! No more rusty flies... 

FYI we have a KILLER assortment of custom tied soft-hackles in our bins by Dick Sablitz, they are both fun & deadly to fish. Dries are producing a few fish, but at this flow you have to pick your spots carefully (bigger/wider pools) if you want rising fish.

The Two Year Old Survivor Strain browns the state recently stocked in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) are extra big this year, quite obese with a good number in the 18" plus range and some even bigger. They are putting smiles on a lot of angler's faces . Some big holdovers & wild fish are mixing in with the stockers. The biggest problem is getting past the recent stockers to get to them. That can be a fun problem though.

Caddis larva & pupa are very active subsurface, and at moments are the ticket- try both olive green & tan ones. In June we will see Sulfurs (Invaria). Cloudy days we are seeing #18-20 Blue Wing Olives (Baetis), try a small olive nymph when the usual flies aren't working.

If you are nymphing, think about fishing a #14-16 olive/green to tan Caddis Larva or Pupa, a brownish #14-16 Mayfly type nymph (can be a Pheasant Tail), or something smaller & olive in the #16-18 range to imitate the Baetis/Olives. The Pheasant Tail is a very effective imitation of Olives and many other mayflies. If you are targeting the fresh stockers, I'd try pairing a natural looking nymph with a Junk Fly like a Mop or Squirmy Worm, or maybe a flashy/gaudy hotspot nymph- deadly combo! Streamers continue to be productive, and give you a shot at some of the bigger trout. Play around with size, color & style of streamers, and experiment with your retrieve until you find the winning combo for that day. Be aware that color preferences for streamers can change throughout the day as light conditions change.

During higher flows, stick mainly to the major wider pools/runs, and look also for inside turns that break the current. High flows push trout closer to the banks, out of the heavy current. Find a current break that's close to where they normally hold, and you will find trout. Don't make the classic mistake of wading out in high water, I see anglers walk right through the fish all the time in high water, it's a rookie mistake that many veteran anglers make. Look for the current edges and fish the transition between the fast & slow water. Again, don't walk through the prime holding water! Rule #1 is find the fish and fish where they are, and Rule #2 is don't spook them! Rule #3 is fish something they want to eat, and Rule #4 is present it in such a way they they will eat it.

Water temps have been averaging low/mid 50s most days in the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA, (reaching upper 50s on warmer/sunny days), and in Riverton the temps have been in the mid 40s. Downriver temps are averaging mi/upper 50s.

FYI we are now in our extended hours: 8am-6pm weekdays, and 6am-5pm on weekends.

We have Devin Olsen's hot new book "Tactical Fly Fishing", and it looks really, really good- second batch arrived recently. It cover 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.

Flow as of 11am Friday 5/31/19:
Currently the total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release per the USGS gauge is medium high, very fishable & dropping at 629cfs (the Still River is 189cfs & dropping), and in Riverton the in the 2 miles above the Still River the Farmington is medium-high at 440cfs. USGS average historical total flow for today is 383cfs. 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 is 50cfs, it joins the West Branch about 3/8 mile below UpCountry near condos & sewage plant. The Still River drops every day we don't get significant rain.

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

Water Temps: 
Look for water temps to average in the 50s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (mid/upper 40s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location.  Long range highs are in the 70s, with lows in the 50s. Mild, sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases. The exception to this will be during high water releases from the dam, as the colder water from deep in the reservoir chills down the river. Highest water temps will occur in mid/late afternoon, with sunny days seeing the biggest temperature increases- this often activates both the aquatic insects & trout. Typically the best bug activity (and fishing) correlates to the most pleasant time of the day for us humans.

-Vitreus #14-16 (downriver & up into lower end of TMA/Catch &  Release)
-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan)- all the way up to Pipeline/Lyman's Rock
-Blue Wing Olives #18-20 (afternoons, esp. cloudy days
-Sulfurs (Invaria) #14-16 (downriver in Collinsville/Unionville, a few in lower TMA/C&R)
-March Browns #10-12 (lower river only, Collinsville/Unionville, just starting)
-Hendricksons #12-14 (done in TMA/C&R, still a few in Riverton above Still River)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Midges #20-28 (late morns through afternoons)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-16
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12- gold/yellow, brown, black
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #10-14
-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #12-14 (Riverton only)
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)  
-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, freshly stocked trout, cold water, 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

-Home Invader #2-6- tan, black, white, yellow 
-Foxeee Red Clouser Minnow #6 
-Tequeely #4-6
-Dude Friendly #8 (white, yellow, natural)
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (olive, black, white, brown)
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown, yellow)

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