51 degrees air temp at 8am this morning, you can definitely both feel & see the transition into Fall on this last day of September. More foliage color is popping every day, we typically hit peak around the 3rd week of October, with the entire month being quite colorful, right into early November. Couple of days into the 70s this week on Tuesday/Wednesday, and then a big temps drop Thursday (high 52!) and 3/4" of much-needed rain. After that high average in the 60s, with lows in the 40s- just about perfect I'd say. Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is somewhat low & very fishable at 123cfs this morning (111cfs from the dam, 12cfs from the Still River), 8am water temp was 64 degrees in Riverton. As colder weather moves in Wednesday night, expect water temps to continue to drop. Rain Thursday should give us a modest flow bump, which is a good thing right now.
Dropping temps & shorter days are not only triggering some pretty fall foliage, but those same 2 factors also make the trout go on the feed & get more aggressive- don't forget about those streamers, Fall is prime time for them. Trout are getting caught on a mix of dries, streamers, nymphs, and wets/soft-hackles. Be flexible in your approach, cover water, experiment and you should be successful. Or conversely be a stick-in-the-mud one-trick pony, and you may get skunked if you try to force feed unwilling trout the flies & techniques they have zero interest in- the choice is yours. Being adaptable/flexible is a major key to success.
Check out local guide/writer/blogger Steve Culton's article on the Farmington River in the latest issue of Eastern Fly Fishing- there's even a big picture of yours truly in the article, but check it out anyways...:)
Mark Swenson's next Fly Fishing 101 Class will on Sunday October 20th, call the store at 860-379-1952, cost is $150.
On warmer/sunny days you may see Flying Ants- they typically hit the water during mating swarms in late summer/early fall on warm, humid, sunny days. Make sure to have a few with you in the #20-24 range. Still seeing #12-14 Isonychia, assorted Caddis, various Cream mayflies, Hebes/Fall Sulfurs, Blue Wing Olives, Summer/Winter Caddis, etc. Other than the Summer/Winter Caddis in the early/mid mornings and the afternoon Flying Ants, the other bugs are all more in the late afternoon to evening slot. Cooler days will see the evening bugs start & end earlier, warmer days will see the bugs start later and go right up to darkness and beyond.
The MDC stocked the upper river in Riverton 2 weeks ago (9/17), and on 9/9 CT fisheries stocked from Satan's Kingdom down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, as well as below that too. There are also plenty of holdovers and some wild trout throughout the river, so don't limit yourself to only the recently stocked areas. But, if you are looking for some easier targets, head to the recent stocking locations and "educate" them- it's your "civic duty" haha. Woolly Buggers, various "Junk Flies" (eggs, Mops, worms, Green Weenies), and wet flies/soft-hackles should work well on them. The holdover & wild fish will be more keyed into natural bugs. Isonychia nymphs, Caddis Pupa, Stonefly nymphs, and various small nymphs are all working well subsurface. Fall streamer action is picking up to, so make sure to try them at some point- read a few paragraphs down for some Fall streamer advice & tips.
If you want a really sweet streamer specific rod, check out the T&T Exocett SS series, they are grain rated at 160, 200 & 250, and are all great Farmington River streamer rods and come with Recoil guides (click this to go to the T&T Exocett SS page).
The low light periods of dawn & dusk are typically the best streamer bites, but overcast days are good and as we move more towards October the bite can often be good all day as trout aggression ramps up. Try different size flies. Yes, on average, bigger flies will catch bigger fish, but some days the trout (even the bigger ones) don't want big flies. Or try a two-fly rig, with either a smaller, unweighted streamer or a nymph behind a weight streamer- this will get you some of those trout that move for your bigger streamer but won't eat it. In lower flows a floating line with a weighted streamer will get you deep enough, but if flows are medium to high you may want to use some sort of sinking line or leader to get your fly deeper. Use heavy enough tippets so that you don't break off fish on the strike- I typically go 0x on my bigger streamers (you can go even heavier with really big flies), and even on average sized ones I wouldn't go below about 2x as trout hit streamers HARD. You can fish average sized streamers on your #4-5 rods for sure, but.... a #6-7 rod with a medium-fast to fast action will do a better job casting, setting the hook, playing bigger fish, and throwing bigger flies.
As of September 1st, the entire Farmington River from the dam in Riverton for 21 miles downstream to the Rt 179 bridge in Unionville is now Catch & Release until Opening Day in April 2020. If you see anybody keeping fish in this section, please call the CT DEEP at 1-800-824-HELP and report the violation. Even if they are not able to respond to it on time, the info goes into their database and helps to create better/more policing of the area in the future.
We have a pile of Solarez colored UV Resin in stock now- 9 colors. The first batch went in a blink so I ordered a bunch this time, and expanded the color range out. Now they are doing black, so I loaded up on that color, it's the classic one to do a wingcase on a Perdigon nymph. Also traditional is to use black nail polish, but then you have to wait for it to dry before you can coat it with clear UV Resin. This UV Resin speeds up the process and is more durable than nail polish. Got a bunch of other colors too, including various shades of fluorescent colors such as orange, pink, chartreuse, red (fire orange really), etc, and other non-fluorescent colors like brown, grape, and shimmer copper. All these colors make a good wingcase, or in the case of the fluorescent ones, a good hotspot. We also have the ultra thin Bone Dry formulation in black now. Solarez is hands-down the best UV Resin on the market: cures the fastest, cures rock hard/durable, and it's not tacky. It's also way less expensive than the other brands, despite it's superior performance.
Dry/Dropper can be a fun way to fish: use a bigger buoyant dry (like a Mini Chernobyl, Chubby 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/hatches 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 6-7.5' leader (0x) with a deer hair mouse pattern- make sure to bring a BIG landing net with you...:)
Now is still a great time to fish 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. Try soft hackles with Hare's Ear bodies, Partridge & Orange/Yellow/Green/Olive, Isonychia Soft Hackles, Leadwing Coachman, etc. 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"). We have a great assortment of custom tied soft-hackles in our bins by Dick Sablitz, they are both fun & deadly to fish. Don't just swing them, also dead-drift & twitch them, animate them and give your flies the illusion of life.
Zach St. Amand, one of the top local guides and frequent flyer in our big fish pictures, is leading a trip with Andes Drifters to Patagonia for big wild trout, February 8-15th 2019. He still has some availability, call him at 646-641-5618 to find out more or to get onboard.
FYI we are still in our extended hours: 8am-6pm weekdays, and 6am-5pm on weekends. Typically we go back to 8am-5pm 7 days a week starting about in November.
From April through October we are open 7 days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends.
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)