|Dan Phelan with a dry fly Brown on a Caddis Sat 5/11|
|Perfect recent brown by Dave Moranino|
FYI we received & put away almost $15,000 (our cost) worth of fly tying materials from Wapsi & Hareline last week. We have tippet rings in stock again, Squirmy Worms, and lots of fly boxes. I should have Tacky boxes back in stock today or tomorrow, including their new breathable fly box! No more rusty flies...
Lots of anglers were out Saturday, and I had many good reports, and of course,some slow ones too. I find it interesting that on the same day some anglers catch dozens of trouts and some big ones, and other anglers fishing the same river on the same day get skunked or only get one or two small fish. Adaptable anglers who move around, cover the water, and are willing to fish dries, streamers, nymphs or wets/soft-hackles will always have the best success. If you fish the same 10 yards of water with one technique for 4 hours straight, don't be surprised if you have lackluster results. If you aren't doing well, try different techniques, presentations, and flies. Also move around and cover the water if you aren't catching fish where you are.
Here's the good news now, and there is plenty: 1) the Still River drops fast when it's not raining, 2) the rest of the week looks dry, 3) with leaves on the trees now, they will soak up water and make the flow come down faster, temps warm up again starting Wednesday 5/15, 4) even in the higher flows, lots of trout, including some big ones, are getting caught on a virtually daily basis (mostly a nymph/streamer thing in high water), 5) Hendricksons are still hatching in the upper end of the river,and with the mild weather moving back in Wednesday that will help the hatch, 6) the state stocked the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) last week on Thursday/Friday with a pile of
|Steve Hogan & finny friend|
After the cold & rain today/tomorrow, look for conditions to improve markedly starting Wednesday- it will get much milder (highs 60s, lows 40s/50s), and the river should drop quite a bit by then and get lower every day. There are literally TONS of trout in the river: fresh stockers, holdovers, and wilds. Look for Hendrickson spinner falls starting Wednesday- even though the hatch is nearing the end in the permanent TMA/C&R and moving into the upper river now, the spinners will be around for about another week after the hatch winds down. They occur when it's not too cold, wet or windy. It those conditions are met, the males & females mate in the air, over the riffles, and then fall spent to the water, where big trout gently sip them in. The books say that the spinners drop in the evenings, and they often do, but we also see them mid/late mornings some days, and it's not uncommon to see spinners on the water right before and even overlapping the afternoon hatch. FYI the Hendrickson hatch has been happening as early as 1-2pm on milder, sunny days, and as late at 3-4pm on cooler, cloudy days. Hendrickson spinners are #12-14 and rusty brown (both males & females), and they fall to the water with they wings spent to the sides. As such they cannot escape, and large trout intuitively know that and gently sip them in. The Hendrickson hatch, and especially the spinner fall, brings some of the bigger trout to the surface. The evening spinner fall has the advantage of low light, no nymphs hatching to compete with the spinners, plus the spinners are helpless and cannot fly off the water like a dun can during the afternoon hatch. Add in the relatively large size of the bug, and you have an ideal hatch to get big trout fired up. FYI I typically have some of my best nymphing for big trout at Hendrickson time, with the best nymphal activity from late morning through late afternoon. Also seeing Baetis/Blue Wing Olives (BWOs/Olives), especially on cloudy days.
FYI we went to 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.
Bigger streamers continue to pick up less but bigger fish. 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. Smaller streamers will often catch more trout, but you are less likely to get a giant on them. Be patient and cover lots of water, change colors/retrieves/patterns/fly size. Look to softer/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 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.
Many better fish are moving into the faster water to feed, especially in the late morning & afternoons. As water temps rise during the day, trout & bugs often get more active and it spurs the fish to feed, and they may move more into the current if there are bugs in the drift. When trout are less active due to cooler water temps and no hatching activity, it typically pushes them into the softer/deeper water of pools, deeper runs, and gentle/deeper riffles. Trout (and especially bigger ones) 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 (late morning through late afternoon) when water temps are highest. At the end of the day light levels diminish, and some of the bigger browns wait until then to feed. 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 (especially on freshly stocked trout and during high or dirty water), but also try pairing then up with some regular nymphs to give the trout a choice. Hendrickson Nymphs, Baetis/Olive/BWO Nymphs, Caddis Larva, Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ears, etc. all could be good flies to pair up with a Junk Fly- the Junk Fly often acts as an attractor, and then the trout eat the more natural looking, smaller nymph. Bigger Stonefly nymphs are always 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/black 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 metallic or colored beads 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).
Flow as of 10am Monday 5/13/19:
Currently the total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release per the USGS gauge is high are marginally fishable at 1,090cfs (the Still River is 650cfs & dropping), and in Riverton the in the 2 miles above the Still River the Farmington is a very fishable cfs. 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 decreased to 100cfs, it joins the West Branch about 3/8 mile below UpCountry near condos & sewage plant. The Still River will continue to drop fast 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: https://thomasandthomas.com/blogs/news/torrey-collins-contact-1086
Check out this link to my blog post on 10 of my favorite books on a variety of subjects:
http://www.farmingtonriver.com/classes-news-reviews/10-of-torreys-favorite-books-december-2018/ 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.
Look for water temps to average in the low 50s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (low/mid 40s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location. Long range highs average in the 50s-60s, with lows in the 40s/low 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 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.