If you are into Euro Nymphing, check out the new Rio Tactical Euro Nymph Leader. Picture below on the left is their original/standard Euro Leader (we sell an obscene amount of these), and on the right is the brand new Tactical one. Two main differences: the Tactical version is both significantly thinner, as well as longer. (14 feet versus 11-12 feet). The Tactical has a very thin butt diameter of .012" tapered down to 2x (.009"), tied to a 4x (.007") Sighter (indicator) colored line section. Their standard Euro leader has a thicker butt (I'd guess around .018"?) down to 0x (.011"), tied to a 2x (.009") Sighter. What does this all translate too? Thinner leaders promote a better drift by giving you less sag/bow, more sensitivity, letting you fish further away, and are better with lighter nymphs. Longer leaders are also stealthier and let you fish further away. The downside? Thinner butt sections are harder to cast/turn over, a bit less accurate, and thinner Sighters are a bit harder to see (but better if you need to dunk them in deep water). If you are not very experienced with the Euro techniques and/or have difficulty casting, stick with the original standard Euro leader, but if you are fairly accomplished and looking to up your game try the thinner/longer Tactical version. FYI both leaders end with a tippet ring at the end of the Sighter, and then you build them out with the proper length of approporiate sized tippet to match the conditions & flies (4x-6x for standard leader, and 5x-7x for the Tactical).
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.
The MDC stocked the upper river in Riverton on 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 & more abundant 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, but you may want to pair them up with a drabber/natural looking nymph now that they've been fished over and are learning what real bugs look like. Plus, 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 below for some Fall streamer advice & tips.
The low light periods of dawn & dusk are typically the best streamer bites, but overcast days are good and as we get further into Fall 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 like we've been having 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 2-3x 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.
Dry/Dropper can be a fun way to fish as long as water temps are in the 50s-60s and there are decent hatches: 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...:)
Try fishing a pair (or 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 and especially 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.
From April through October we are open 7 days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends (this will be pared back to 8am-5pm 7 days a week in November).