Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday 9/9/19 Farmington River Report: Beautiful Fall-ish Weather

Pictured is April Shaw with a very nice Bow landed this weekend on a dry fly.

Just another day in paradise with a nice cool morning in the mid 50s. The state is reportedly stocking the Farmington today with some nice trout they have been holding back for the cooler weather.  With summer almost over and the approach of Fall, the river is fishable from the dam in Riverton right down to Unionville, so don't just limit yourself to the upper river (61 degrees in Riverton at 8am this morning). Anglers are finding success on dries, wets/soft-hackles & nymphs.  Early & late are still peak times (especially for dry flies), but trout can be caught throughout the day using various tactics and flies. Ants and beetles have been great for searching out big trout during the day. Remember to be stealthy in your approach in these lower flows, think about using a longer leader, and match the natural bugs in size.....large or small. Don't rule out streamers either, primarily at dusk & dawn.

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.

Not a lot has changed since the last report. Water temps have been in the 60s on the entire river due to the cooler weather & lower sun angle. Water temps have been fine even in the Canton/Unionville area. Despite lower flows, we are still getting some good fishing reports from those adapting to the conditions (always the #1 key to success in any kind of fishing). Remember that lower flows generally equates to rising trout when there is a hatch, and it condenses the trout to the deeper spots, especially those with broken water & current. Find the faster water and fish small nymphs when they aren't rising, or fish wet flies, soft hackles, or small streamers. Most of the biggest trout are getting caught at dusk, after dark, or at first light.  Yellow Sallies & "Hebes" have joined the hatches mix. Hebes look like a pale colored Sulfur in the #16-18 range and are also common on the Housatonic & Delaware. September is the month I see the most Yellow Sally activity- look on the downstream edge of rocks in the fast water, and you will sometimes see dozens of shucks of what appear to be miniature Golden Stoneflies in the #14-20 range. A Sulfur nymph doubles well as a Yellow Sally nymph and work for the Hebes too.
Pictured above is a solid dry fly brown by John Bye from last night, he had to work hard to fool this fish. In lower flows I like to look for deeper water, current, and structure- find those together, and you will find trout. Cherry pick and only fish the best spots, and unless you see rising trout, eliminate the water that is shallow and/or has little current, unless you see rising trout. Look for the darker water that indicates depth, look for riffly, broken water that has some current speed & structure (downed trees, undercut banks, big rocks) . Trout feel vulnerable in shallow, slow water and will seek out water they feel more comfortable. Choppy/broken water helps hide them from predators, plus it's where many of the bugs live. Midday also look for shade.  For dries, if there's a hatch, match it in size/shape/color. Wet flies/soft-hackles are very effective in low water, and easy to fish because unlike nymphs, they don't get hung up on the bottom a lot. It allows you to target some thin lies when needed.

A nice Bow from Sunday by customer Damir, one of a dozen trout landed, and some more hooked & lost. Nice catches are still coming from the permanent Catch & Release area, the upper river (Riverton), and now also downriver into Canton/Unionville: Trico Spinners (#22-26) are falling in the mid morning (stay up closer to Riverton to catch this hatch), and the early morning has been bringing Winter/Summer Caddis (#18-24) up & down the river. From late morning through the afternoon, Blue Wing Olive (#20-24), Ants (#14-18), Beetles (#14-16), Chernobyl Ants (#12-14) have been good. Evenings are bringing  Isonychia (#10-14) and Cream Cahills (#14), as well as Summer Stenos (#18-20). You may also see some assorted Caddis ((#14-20). Midday is terrestrials (ants, beetles, hoppers), dry/dropper, wet flies/soft hackles, and nymphing (mostly smaller assorted #18-20 nymphs & #16 Caddis Pupa).

Flows: We are currently at a low but very fishable 87cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (55cfs in Riverton, 32cfs from the Still River).  Morning water temp in Riverton is 61 degrees today.

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 color 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 now in lower flows: 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/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 experiment with fishing a pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-hackles/wet flies, it is both fun & very effective, and deadly in lower flows. 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 Hachles, 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. We have flies to imitate all the current hatches, the most effective way to fish them is 2-3 at a time on tag-end droppers. 
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 now in our extended hours: 8am-6pm weekdays, and 6am-5pm on weekends.

We have Devin Olsen's hot book "Tactical Fly Fishing", and it's really good. Its 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.
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) 
-Tricos #22-26: early/mid morns (near the end, now up in Riverton, from Campground to dam)
-Isonychia #10-14 late afternoon thru dusk in faster water (6pm'ish to dark, hatch is light)
-Hebes/Fall Sulfurs: #16-18 Sulfur patterns work for them, evening hatch
-Yellow Sally #14-20 (afternoons/eves)
-Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-20: eves (various cream colored mayflies)
-Caddis #14-20 (tan, olive/green): AM hatch, evening/dusk egg-laying
-Ants & Beetles #14-20: anytime, esp. late morning thru early eve during non-hatch periods
-Midges #20-32: anytime
-Blue Wing Olives #20-24 (afternoon/eve, esp. cloudy days)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20
-Hare's Ear #16-18
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green)
-Isonychia #10-14 (can also use bigger Pheasant Tail/Prince/ZugBug nymph to imitate)
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black)
-Frenchy #16-18
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Assorted Blue Wing Olive Nymphs #18-20
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14   
-"Junk Flies" #8-14 (Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies)   
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #16-20
-Zebra Midge #18-20 (assorted colors)

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear/March Brown, Partridge & Green/Orange/Yellow, Sulfur, Isonychia, Pheasant Tail, Starling & Herl, etc. 
   -most effective fished 2-3 at a time on tag-end droppers

-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)

Click this Thomas & Thomas blog link for a review I wrote about their awesome Contact 10' 8" #6 rod for Steelhead & Lake Run Trout/Landlocks:

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, and sometimes "lightly edited" by Grady Allen