|DJ Clement, guide/competitor/Antoine's protege, with a NICE brown
Mark Swenson's next Fly Fishing 101 class will be on August 18th, 9am - 4pm. Call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up, cost is $150, and space is very limited.
The dry fly fishing on the flat pools can be very technical this time of year: most of the bugs are small, and the fish have been worked over hard for months, so bring your "A" game, a bunch of tiny flies, and a long leader with a long/light tippet. Also try terrestrials like beetles & ants before you tie on the tiny stuff, sometimes you won't have to go small. Fishing riffly water in the eves can give you an edge, as the trout have to make a quick decision, the bugs are bigger in the faster water, and the trout don't get to inspect your fly with a magnifying glass there. It's also the same water both Mayfly spinners & egg-laying Caddis are active in. Win-win. 6x will suffice for most of the evening bugs, and you can go 5x on your Isonychia dries. Think 7x on the smallest dries.
As you can see in the photos, plenty of above average trout are being caught. Even an occasional semi-rare wild Bow, and some Brook Trout are still mixing in with the Browns & Bows. Your highest percentage big trout tactics are big Stonefly nymphs in the early mornings, hunting big heads rising during the evening hatches (especially Isonychia), streamers at first & last light (and after dark), and night time mousing. Months of fishing pressure has wised up the better fish, so consider every big one you hook a true accomplishment. Daytime nymphing in shady spots and near structure can also produce the occasional bruiser- make sure one of your nymphs is small.
Sulfurs (Dorothea) are up in Riverton only now, think above the Still River and match them with #18-20 patterns. Most of the daytime dries are tiny, think #22 and smaller and fish them on long/light
|Steve Hogan's client Michael Foley & "friend"
We get lots of feedback from both successful & unsuccessful customers, so I'll summarize what those doing the best are doing. The theme with dry flies during the mornings through early evenings is either tiny flies on light tippets (think #22-28 on 7x with a long piece of tippet to promote a drag-free float), or various terrestrials (especially ants & beetles, sometimes smaller hoppers). You can also blind fish riffles, pocket water, etc. with attractor dries like Mini Chernoblyls, Stimulators, etc. Other than evenings, mornings & afternoons mostly you will find sipping trout feeding on minutae in the flat water- it could be Needhami, smaller Winter Caddis, Midges, tiny Mayflies, Micro Caddis, ants, etc. If you can find holding water in the shade, that's also a big plus. Evenings see the bulk of the heavy insect hatching, with all sorts of bugs, Sulfurs (Riverton only), assorted cream-colored Mayflies, Isonychia, various Caddis, and more. Dry/Dropper can be a fun way to fish now: use a bigger buoyant dry (like a Mini Chernobyl or big Isonychia) and drop a #16-18 tungsten bead nymph 1-3' below the dry. Most fish will take the nymph, but you will get some bonus fish on the dry also. Tie the nymph off the hook bend. Run it closer (12-18") to the dry during insect activity or in shallow water, run it further apart (2-3') in deep water and during non-hatch periods. It's like the fun of dry fly fishing, combined with the consistent effectiveness of nymphing. Plus it allows you target fish at distance and not spook them. If you wanna target big trout on the surface after dark, try a short/heavy leader with a deer hair mouse pattern- make sure to bring a BIG landing net with you...:)
If you are nymphing (and you proably should be!), successful anglers are finding that first light to mid
|A beauty by Damon Matus
Hot weather means that generally the best hatches (and fishing) are early and late in the day, when it's
|Justin Barden with the "fruits" of a 24 hour fish-a-thon
Isonychia are one of the bugs that will hatch in the earlier part of the evening, remember that they are BIG bugs that live and hatch in fast water, so don't look for them in the slower pool water (think pool heads, riffles, pocket water, faster runs). The Sulfur hatch has moved upriver to Riverton above the Still River, and it's more like a #18-20 now (Dorothea). Still seeing cream mayflies (Light Cahills/Summer Stenos) at dusk in the #12-16 range, standard Cahills, cream Usuals & White Wulffs work well. Attenuata #18-20 are done in most of the river, but you may still see some up in Riverton. A Rusty Spinner is a good "problem solver" in the summer, and I also like to have spinners to imitate Sulfurs & Cahills. Another good problem solver is a terrestrial imitation such as a beetle or ant, especially when there aren't many bugs hatching but you have some rising trout. Sometimes wet flies/soft-hackles are the answer when the trout are feeding just under the surface (that happens a lot, especially during peak hatch activity in the eves)- present them both on the dead-drift and the swing/twitch. You can also run them as a trailer behind a dry fly during a hatch when trout are refusing your dries.
In mid to late summer, the flows are normally medium-low to low, and many of the bigger nymphs/larva have hatched, leaving the majority of nymphs/larva at #18 and smaller (exception: Isonychia & big Stonefly nymphs). Often I find the difference between a slow day of nymphing and a double-digit outing in July/Auugst/September is using nymphs #18 or even smaller. It can be a game changer. In general the small size is much more important than the exact fly pattern, but I'd still have several options from drab to gaudy, and in different styles/shapes/colors. You can pair them up with a bigger fly. Stoneflies #4-12 emerge in the early to mid mornings, you will see them on the rocks in
the fast water, I tend to have my best luck with #8-10 patterns in yellow/gold to brown colors. Isos nymphs are #10-12, and they can swim in 6-12" spurts. Having said that, overall I tend to do better dead-drifting them, but I always let them swing at the end of the drift. Experiment and do whatever works best, it can change from day to day.
While the focus for the majority of our customers seems to have shifted to dry flies, the subsurface
|Handful of wild Bow, Dave Moranino
pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-hackles/wetflies, 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, as well as Partridge & Orange (yellow, green/olive also)- these flies will cover your various Caddis, Sulfurs, and Cahills/Summer Stenos. 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").
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
|Zach's client Thomas Zimmerli
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's really good. It cover Euro styleFlow as of Monday morning 7/29/19:
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.
Click this Thomas & Thomas blog link for a review I wrote about their awesome Contact 10' 8" #6
|Cody Varza with ANOTHER tank of a brown in the dark
From April through October we are open 7 days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends.
Look for water temps to average in the low/mid 60s (even upper 60s in PM on hottest/sunny days) in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (upper 50s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and distance from the dam. Downriver below the permanent Catch & Release will be warmer, probably mid 60s (in mornings) and into the low 70s if you venture far enough downstream on hotter/sunny days in the afternoons/eves. Check water temps with a thermometer if you are down in Canton/Collinsville/Unionville, and venture upriver if the temps are not in the 60s- the best time to fish downriver during the summer is in the morning when water temps are lowest, especially after a cooler night. Hot, sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases. The exception to this will be during periods of 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, and water temps won't significantly drop until after dark. 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/mid morns & mid/late eves. Be aware that the colder water near the dam in Riverton often means the evening bugs may start up a few hours earlier in that section.