Monday, July 1, 2019

Monday 7/1/19 Farmington River Report: hot air/cold water

Derrick Kirkpatrick of CT FishGuides with a stud of a male Brown Trout
We are getting some full-blown summer weather now, but most of the river is still icy cold and in the 50s until you go quite a ways downstream. Flows have been normal & perfect the last several weeks, which makes for easier wading & rising trout. Highs in the 80s now with Thursday predicted to hit 90 make standing waist deep in the Farmington River a very comfortable place to be in July. Anytime of day can be good fishing here right now, but peak times are typically in the mornings & eves, when it's most comfortable to be out fishing. The general Rule of Thumb is the best time to fish for trout is when it's the most comfortable for us humans, and it rings true about
Brown Trout perfection by John Holt
90% of the time.   

While other freestone rivers are crapping out until the fall due to water temps getting into the 70s, we have perfect water temps and are in peak fishing mode with numerous hatches all going on at the same time. Sulfurs are the dominant evening hatch, but we have a ton of other bugs in the mix encompassing all sorts of Mayflies, assorted Caddis, big Stoneflies, and Midges. Lots of food on the Trout Menu. Gets the trout fired up and feeding, with quite a few trout rising in the evenings, but it also means you have to figure out what they are feeding on. Can be a fun problem to solve, or frustrating when you can't solve it haha. If they are sipping gently and refusing standard dries, try a spinner pattern. Sometimes wet flies-soft-hackles are the answer when the trout are feeding just under the surface (that happens a lot). Don't forget about terrestrials like Ants & Beetles, warm air temps has them active, they are particularly good
when there aren't many bugs hatching but you have rising trout.

Hatching currently seems to get heavier to some degree as you work your way downstream, and we
Tristan Holt and a quality Brown
are also seeing big Isonychia (Isos) all the way up in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release now. They are a big bug (#10-12) that hatch in faster water, normally from late afternoon into evenings. Subsurface think Isonychia nymphs & big Princes, try both dead-drifting AND swinging them (Isos are excellent/fast swimmers). We are also seeing Attenuata #18-20, they are a small evening Mayfly that are often confused with Sulfurs. Attenuata are a bright greenish-yellow, almost light chartreuse color. Summer weather here now means the best fishing will shift more & more to early and late in the day. Ants &
Beetles are a good midday choice for sporadic risers. When fishing Caddis dries, if a dead-drift doesn't produce, try twitching your fly (less is more on the twitching) as Caddis are quite an active bug.

While the focus for the majority of our customers seems to have shifted to dry flies, the subsurface angling with nymphs, wet flies & soft-hackles remains consistent and is often better than the dry fly
fishing, especially when the trout aren't rising. The key is to focus on the faster/broken water (pool heads, riffles, runs, pocket water, etc.), get your flies down, get a dead-drift, and cover lots of water.
A "native" by Sean Monaghan haha (it's a Sucker FYI)
Experiment with your flies, as the better producing flies may change as the bug activity changes throughout the day. Don't rule out Junk Flies like Squirmy Worms & Mops, they are still having their moments here & there when it's slower on the imitative patterns. At the end of the day the goal is to get the trout to open their mouth and eat your fly, and sometimes attractor/Junk Flies work better than the imitative ones- you have to experiment to find out.  

We are seeing big Stonefly nymph shucks on the rocks in fast water, making them a great morning fly that are most active at first light through mid/late mornings (can work all day though, but generally best in the AM). They crawl out on the rocks to emerge during low light. Caddis pupa get active subsurface around mid-morning, and then they typically hatch into adults in the afternoon. Evenings are a mix of various Mayflies & egg-laying Caddis. Streamers are still good, especially during low light (early & late in the day) and on overcast or rainy days. Nymphs/pupa/larva are picking up fish all day long, and wet flies/soft-hackles have been deadly. Steve Culton reports that the evening wet fly fishing has been fantastic during the evening hatches. You can do things with them that you cannot do with a dry fly or weighted nymph, and they fish in the upper water column where the bugs are & the fish are feeding in the evenings. Big Isonychia ("Iso's") are the latest hatch to join the fray in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release. They are typically a late
afternoon to evening trickle hatch in fast water, same as the March Brown.

Ben Diptula and a FAT 2 Year Old Survivor Strain Brown 6/23
Multiple hatches are occuring throughout the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), as well asabove it, and especially downstream.
Hot weather can push the evening activity closer to dusk/dark, and conversely cool/cloudy days can make it happen earlier. Nymphing with Caddis pupa  (and Larva) is very effective from about mid morning through late afternoon. Mayfly nymphs are at their best from mid/late afternoons through evenings. Non of these hatch times are set in stone, so be sure to be observant & experiment. Streamers tend to be most effective during low light (early & late in the day), and on overcast or rainy days, and also in higher, off-color water. If you fish them on a bright sunny day, look for structure (downed trees, big rocks, undercut banks, overhanging bushes) in the shade. Wet flies & soft-hackles can be effective any time of day, but especially when the nymphs, pupa & egg-laying bugs are active/hatching.
New Fulling Mill streamers
We got in a veritable pile of flies from Fulling Mill recently, and we have some great streamers in the bins now, plus some cool new nymphs and lots of Frenchy Pheasant Tails. Got some cool patterns in this order from the Fly Fish Food guys, such as the Complex Twist Bugger, Ice Caddis pupa, and Masked Maurauder in a golden stonefly version, George Daniel's Sculp Snack streamer, Tim Flagler's Euro Golden Stone (good anchor fly), Joe Goodspeed's Juvenile Crayfish, and many other deadly new patterns.

Now is a great time to experiment with fishing a pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-hackles/wet flies, it is both fun & very effective. It's an efficient and pleasant way to cover a lot of water, and you can hit those thin water lies near the banks that are hard to nymph- big browns often hold in water like that, especially during hatches & low light. It's also deadly during a hatch, as a lot of the bugs get eaten by trout just under the surface, and that is where you are presenting these flies. The people fishing soft-hackles & wet flies are giving me some excellent reports, try soft hackles with Hare's Ear bodies, Sulfur soft hackles,  March Brown wets, as well as
Pretty holdover Bow by Ken Morris Sunday 6/30
Partridge & Yellow/Green/Orange these flies will cover your Caddis, Sulfurs, Vitreus & March Browns. I recommend fishing 2-3 at a time, on
tag end droppers, spaced about 20-30" apart. If tangles are a big problem, go to 1 fly only, but be aware 2-3 at a time are more effective and allow you to animate the flies in ways that you cannot do with a single fly (eg. "dancing the top dropper").

Sulfurs #16-18 are all over the river now and probably the dominant evening hatch (FYI sometimes a secondary hatch of them occurs int the latter morning/lunchtime). Good amounts of various cream Mayflies in the evenings in the #12-16 range (Light Cahills/Summer Stenos). Assorted Caddis #14-20 are heavy all over the river. Isonychia are all the way up in the TMA/C&R now, normally hatching sometime between late afternoon and dark- look for them in faster water. Sulfurs are typically an evening hatch so don't leave early! Caddis typically hatch in the afternoons and egg-lay in the evenings, Isonychia hatch sporadically from late afternoon through evening.

If you are nymphing, think about fishing a #14-16 Caddis Pupa (olive/green & tan) or Larva (olive/green), #14-20 Mayfly type nymphs (can be a Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, Frenchy, Sulfur Nymph, etc.), or something smaller & olive in the #16-20 range to imitate the Baetis/Olives (especially think Olives on cloudy days). The Pheasant Tail is a very effective imitation of Olives and many, many other mayflies. If you are targetting the semi-recent 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! D 

FYI we have a KILLER assortment of custom tied soft-hackles in our bins by Dick Sablitz, they are
both fun & deadly to fish. We have flies to imitate all the current hatches, the most effective way to
fish them is 2-3 at a time on droppers.

The Two Year Old Survivor Strain browns the state stocked in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) this spring are extra big, quite obese with a good number in the 18" plus range and some even bigger in the 20-21" range. They are putting smiles on a lot of angler's faces . Some big holdovers &
wild fish are mixing in with the stockers. 

Wanna catch trout? Obey the following  4 rules, laid out years ago by Jack Gartside:
-Rule #1 is find the fish and fish where they are
-Rule #2 is don't spook them!  (FYI big wild trout spook easily)
-Rule #3 is fish something they want to eat
-Rule #4 is present it in such a way they they will eat it (dry fly guys take note: this may mean you 
                                                                                          have to fish subsurface!) 
I would add Rule #5 fish when the fish are feeding, with hatches being prime-time, especially when they intersect with low-light periods (big browns love to feed in low light). Fishing subsurface a couple hours before a hatch with the matching nymphs/pupa can also be deadly.

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 good. 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 Monday morning 7/1/19:
Currently the total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release per the USGS gauge this morning is normal & medium at about 274cfs (the Still River is 25cfs), and in Riverton the in the 2 miles above the Still River the Farmington is medium/normal at 249cfs. USGS average historical total flow for today is 276cfs. 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 25cfs last I knew, 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 upper 50s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (low 50s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location. Downriver in Collinsville/Unionville will be slightly warmer, probably low/mid 60s. Long range highs average in the 80s, with lows in the 60s. Warmer, 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 for quite a ways downstream. Highest water temps will occur in late afternoon, with sunny days seeing the biggest temperature increases. Typically the best bug activity (and fishing) correlates to the most pleasant time of the day for us humans, which in the summer is normally early & late.

-Sulfurs #16-18: eves, sometimes late morn/noonish too
-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan): afternoon hatch, evening/dusk egg laying
-Isonychia #10-12 (from Still River and downstream)- late afternoon thru dusk in faster water 
-Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-16: eves
-March Browns #10-12 (late afternoon/eves)- a few (hatch near the end), trickle hatch, eve spinners
-Attenuata #18-20: eves
-Ants & Beetles #12-20
-Blue Wing Olives #18-22 (afternoons on cloudy days)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails /Frenchies #14-20
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-16
-Caddis Pupa #14-16 (olive/green, tan)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #10-14  
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black) 
-Mop Flies #8-14 (various colors, especially cream/tan)   
-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.).

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear/March Brown, Partridge & Green/Orange/Yellow, Sulfur, 
     Pheasant Tail, 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

-Complex Twist Bugger #2- assorted colors
-Sculp Snack #8 (George Daniel pattern)
-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, tan)
-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