Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Wednesday 9/3/19 Farmington River Update: cooler temps, improved flow

Big nighttime brown on a streamer by Andrew Kerilla.

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 received a decent shot of much needed rain Monday, but we still could use a good amount more, just like the rest of the northeast USA. The dam release remains low, but is augmented by the Still River which swells from the rains as it comes. Starting Thursday the highs will consistently be in the low/mid 70s with nights down in the low/mid 50s, this is a good thing! I got a water temp yesterday at 4pm of 64 degrees in the upper end of the permanent Catch & Release/TMA, not bad at all.  Bigger trout are still getting caught in the dark by those mousing, fishing big streamers, or going old school and swinging big wet flies.

I managed to sneak out after work Monday and picked up a handful of trout.The best one I hooked
ran into a snag and busted me of on 6x. Still getting plenty of good dry fly reports, the lower flows have the trout looking to the surface to do a lot of their feeding. I saw a few Yellow Sally Stoneflies just before dark. I think I also saw a few "Hebes"- they 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. FYI a Sulfur nymph will double as a Yellow Sally nymph.

Good reports are still coming from the permanent Catch & Release area and upstream: Trico Spinners (#22-26) are falling in the mid morning, and the early morning has been bringing Winter/Summer Caddis (#18-24). 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, and nymphing (mostly smaller assorted #18-20 nymphs & #16 Caddis Pupa).

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. Look for the darker water that indicates depth, and look for riffly, broken water that has some current speed. 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.

Steve Hogan's client Jack was all smiles with a handful of pretty brown trout.

Flows: We are currently at 90cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release.  The rains this week should bring it up for the weekend. We will be updating as things change.

George Daniel is once again doing two Nymphing Workshops for us on October 5th & 6th, 2019, 9am-2pm. Both clinics are now full, but you can get your name on a waiting list for 2020. Cost is $175, 6P max per class. Call 860-379-1952 to sign up, they fill up very fast. Click on Classes page for details.

Mark Swenson's next "Fly Fishing 101" beginner class will be on August 15th, 2019, click on Classes link for more information, and call store at 860-379-1952 to sign up. Class is full now, but you can put your name on a waiting list for the next one.

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 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/wetflies, 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 new 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.

-Tricos #22-26: early/mid morns (upstream now, from Campground to dam)
-Isonychia #10-14 late afternoon thru dark in faster water (6 or 7pm to dark, hatch is light)
-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)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20
-Hare's Ear #16-18
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green)
-Isonychia #10-14
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black)
-Frenchy #16-18
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Assorted 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.

-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: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/cortland-top-secret-ultra-premium-fluorocarbon/

     -Report by Torrey Collins, and sometimes "lightly edited" by Grady Allen