Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday 4/15/19 Farmington River Report: big trout over the weekend

Zach's regular client Randy Coons with a 21" inch beauty from Sat morning
Derrick's client Matt Allen with a beauty from Saturday
Reports for Opening Day weekend were all over the place. Heavy rain Friday night and into Saturday mornng eventually pushed the flow up downstream of the Still River, but the morning reports from fly fishermen were very good, with both Zach's & Derrick's (CT Fish Guides) clients landing a bunch of nice holdover/wild browns up to 21". Fishing reports were mixed from spin anglers, with some doing quite well, and others struggling. The Riverton Derby produced a lot of big trout, with the top 2 fish weighing in at over 8 pounds. I managed to sneak out after work and caught a 7# rainbow, it taped out at only 22", but had a 15 1/2" girth!!! Normally a fish that length would be 3 1/2 to 4 pounds FYI. It was stocked Friday at that size, so not the same accomplishment as catching a big holdover or wild brown in my opinion, but.... it was still a lot of fun! 

Obese 7# Bow I got after work on Saturday! 22" x 15.5"
Long range highs average in the 60s, with nights in the 40's/50s- this will ultimately raise water temps in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release into the low 50s in the near future. It's been running mid/upper 40s most days, and in Riverton the temps are low/mid 40s. Hatches are Blue Wing Olives/Baetis, Early Black Stones, Winter Caddis (early AM), Paraleps/Blue Quills, and Midges. It won't be long at all before we see Hendricksons, they will start downriver and work there way upstream (downstream water warms up first). Generally a few days cracking 50 degrees water temps and you start seeing them. Flow is higher today due to rain Sunday night, but it will go back down over the next couple days, and it certainly isn't unfishable- think medium/large streamers and Junk Flies (Squirmy Worms, Egg flies, Mops, Green Weenies), and look for softer water off the current edges. Remember also the flow is normally controlled in Riverton in the upper 2 miles above the Still River, and is only 279 cfs as I write this.   

Nymphs & streamers continue to catch most of the trout, especially the bigger fish. If you are targetting freshly stocked trout, make sure if you are nymphing that one of your flies is a "Junk Fly"- Mop, Squirmy Worm, Egg Fly or Green Weenie. Pair it up with a more regular, natural looking fly (Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail, etc.). Small to medium streamers such as Woolly Buggers can be lethal on fresh stockers too, make sure to play with colors (Rainbows usually LOVE black FYI).

FYI we went to our extended summer hours starting 4/1: 8am-6pm weekdays, and 6am-5pm on weekends.
Customer Drew Sommo with a solid brown from last week

Local guide Mark Swenson is doing a FREE intro to fly fishing for beginnners class, click link to

Fishing reports continue to pick up, Early Stoneflies #14-16, Baetis/Blue Wing Olives #18-20, and Paraleps/Blue Quill #16-18 are popping in the afternoons. You may see some risers, but expect to go subsurface if not. Most of the big trout you've been seeing posted on here were caught on nymphs or streamers. You still want to get your nymphs & streamers deep, but with rising water temps you can definitely start fishing your streamers faster, and look for big trout feeding on nymphs in some faster water now too.

We have Devin Olsen's hot new book "Tactical Fly Fishing", and it looks really, really good- second batch just arrived this week
Covers Euro style 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. 

Early Black Stones (and Early Brown too) have been active for a while now, and the holdover & wild trout are definitely taking notice. The recently stocked trout (above and below the permanent Catch & Release/TMA) will be receptive to a variety of flies, especially things like Woolly Buggers and "Junk Flies" (Eggs, Mops, Worms, Green Weenies), but they are also getting dialed into more natural, imitative flies now. Look also at moments for trout rising to Winter Caddis
(early/mid morns),  small Blue Wing Olives #20 (afternoons), Paraleps/Blue Quills #16-18 (afternoons), Midges (late AM & afternoons), and Black Stones (afternoons). Hope for dries, but expect to fish subsurface with nymphs & streamer. Remember that highest water temps occur in mid/late afternoon, and sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases.
Another view of my big Opening Day Rainbow

Streamers have picked up less but bigger fish. If you wanna throw 4-6" streamers for trophies, you are swinging for the fence and may strike out, but some days you will hit a home run and catch a
giant. Be patient and cover lots of water. Look to softer/slower water for dry fly fishing, but be prepared to go subsurface if needed. Sometime they will eat the Black Stones on the surface, but it's very hit or miss. Junk Flies and various streamers fished slow & deep are the ticket sometimes. Experiment and the trout will tell you what they want. It can vary from day to day, and even during the same day as water temps, trout metabolism, insect activity, and light levels all change as the day progresses.

Some of the better fish are moving into the faster water to feed, espeically in the afternoons. As water temps rise in the afternoon most days, trout often get more active and feed, and may move more into the current if there are bugs in the drift. When trout are less active due to cold water temps, it typically pushes them into the softer water of pools, deeper runs, and gentle/deeper riffles. But they (and especially bigger fish) will often slide up into the heads of pools/riffles/runs into the somewhat faster water to actively feed. This is most common later in the day (afternoons) when water temps are highest and light levels diminish. It's a combination of rising water temps, bug activity, and light levels that gets the trout feeding.
Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Eggs, etc.) should all continue to have their moments, but also try pairing then up with some regular nymphs. Early/Winter Stones (black, brown), Midge patterns, Caddis Larva, Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ears, etc. all could be good flies to pair up with a Junk Fly. Bigger Stonefly nymphs are still on the menu and make an excellent anchor fly when you need something heavy, and just might net you a bigger fish too. If you are fishing pools that get hit hard (like Church Pool or Hitchcock), make sure to fish some drab/natural flies (no bead, no flash, no hotspot) and/or patterns that are unusual and the fish haven't seen before. Heavy pressure can make specific patterns less effective, and sometimes shiny metallic beadheads and make trout shy away, so try some nymphs with no beads or black beads. And sometimes regular beadheads work way better than unbeaded patterns, you have to experiment if you know you are over fish but aren't doing well. Of course it goes without saying that a good dead-drift is critical (but let it swing out at the drift's end, strikes often occur at that moment, especially during insect activity). Slowly/deeply fished streamers are still connecting up with big trout, and some mornings have seen trout rising to Winter Caddis in early/mid mornings, and Midges after that. 

Nymphing is the #1 producer most days, as there are lots of nymphs in the drift now, but browns are hungry and sometimes want a big bite like a streamer. Many days Church Pool has been offering up morning dry fly fishing in the slower water (some days great, and some slow)- look for mornings that are not windy, preferably following a cold night. I usually target the late morning to late afternoon period for the most comfortable temps & best fishing (higher water temps = more active bugs & trout). The low light and higher water temps of the last couple hours often brings bigger browns out of hiding too.

Flow update as of 8am Monday 4/15/19:
Total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release according to USGS gauge is in great shape-  currently high at 723cfs (the Still River is 444cfs), and in Riverton above the Still River the Farmington is medium at 279cfs. Normal median total flow for today would be 557cfs. The Still River joins the Farmington River about 1/4 mile below Riverton Rt 20 bridge, roughly 2 miles below the dam. East Branch release was 150cfs last I knew, it joins the West Branch about 3/8 mile below UpCountry near condos & sewage plant.

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

Check out this link to my blog post on 10 of my favorite books on a variety of subjects: I'll be doing more blog posts on recommended books in the future, there are many great books out there.
A favorite image of mine Matt Supinski used in "Nexus"

We will be open 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends.

Water Temps: 
Look for water temps to be somewhere in the mid/upper 40s (colder in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location. Long range highs average in the 50s and 60s, so this could push water temps up to 50 on warmer, sunny days. Highest temps will occur in mid/late afternoon, with sunny days seeing the biggest temperature increases- this often activates both the aquatic insects & trout. After colder nights, it may be wise to wait until late morning, thereby giving water temps a chance to rise a degree or two, which will get the trout (and bugs) more active- streamer fishing can be an exception to this, as it's not hatch-related, as can nymphing with egg patterns or other "Junk Flies" like worm patterns & Mop flies, or flashy attractor-type nymphs that stimulate a reaction bite.

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 (mostly underneath, but sometimes gets fish on the surface)
-Blue Wing Olives #18-20 (afternoon)
-Paraleps/Blue Quill/Mahogany Dun #16-18 (afternoon)
-Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)
-Midges #20-28 (late morns through afternoons)

-Black Stone/Black Nymphs #14-18 
-Brown Stone/Brown Nymphs #14-16
-Derrick's Heavy Hitter #16 
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12- gold/yellow, brown, black
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Mop Flies #8-12 (various colors, especially cream/tan)  
-Egg Flies #10-18 (various colors: yellow, pink, orange, etc.)
-Blue Lightning Bugs/Copper Johns #14-16
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Cased Caddis #8-16 
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-18
-Attractor/Hot-Spot nymphs #14-18 (Haast Haze, Pineapple Express, Frenchy, Triple Threat, Pink   Soft Spot Jigs, Carotene Jigs, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow Warrior, Prince, etc.).

"Junk Flies": nymphs for high/dirty water, freshly stocked trout, cold water, or when there is no hatch and standard nymphs aren't working:
-Squirmies/San Juan Worms/G-String Worms #10-14 (pink, red, worm brown)
-Egg Flies #10-18
-Mops #8-12
-Green Weenies #10-14

-Dude Friendly #8 (white, yellow, natural)
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (olive, black, white, brown)
-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-Strolis Laser Muddler #6 (olive, tan, brown)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown)

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