Monday, June 3, 2019

Monday 6/3/19 Farmington River Report: big flow cut & great weekend

21" brown by Zach's client John on Friday 5/31
The big news is MDC just did a big flow cut (222cfs reduction) at the dam this morning, going from a 445cfs release down to 233cfs by 9am, East Branch is still 50cfs. This will bring us from 554cfs total flow at 8am down to about 330cfs total flow in permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA. What does this translate to? Improved wading/access, more rising trout/dry fly fishing, increased water temps (below Still River) which will lead to improved hatching (especially in the permanent Catch & Release/TMA). And the fishing was already excellent over the weekend, with some anglers catching a lot of trout, and more big trout landed.

We have 2 classes coming up soon
-"Wet Flies & Soft-Hackles with Pat Torrey" on Saturday, June 15th from 10am-4pm 
-"Fly Fishing 101 with Mark Swenson" on Sunday, June 16th from 9am-4pm
Go to our Classes/Events page to see the details of either class, and call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up- each class is filling up but both still have limited availability.

FYI, while I would currently rate the fishing as excellent, anglers reports vary markedly, with some
Maddie McFarland with a stud Bow
anglers stuggling just to get a few, and others losing count and catching an obscene number of fish and some truly big ones. Those doing the best have been the expert nymphers, and overall subsurface flies have produced the vast majority of the fish and 90-95% of the big ones pictured. The flow cut today combined with dry weather in the future should increase the dry fly fishing a lot now. But if you want to catch numbers of trout and/or big ones, be willing to go subsurface with nymphs, streamers, and soft-hackles/wet flies- the vast majority of big trout pictured in the reports came to underwater flies & tactics. Expect to cover a lot of water, and change flies/tactics as needed. That's how you find success, and that's how you catch big fish. However, with the reduced flow now, during good hatches you should see more rising trout, and if you have a good eye you may be able to pick out the bigger fish and specifically target them.

Lane Finley with a 20" 2 Year Old from the weekend
The weather this week totally cooperates, with no significant rain and starting Wednesday we will see highs in the mid/upper 70s, lows mid/upper 50s, wow. Vitreus/Pink Lady #14-16 are now up into the middle TMA/C&R (about up to Church Pool/Mathies Grove/ School Bus/Spring Hole), Invaria Sulfurs #14-16 are now a legit hatch below the TMA/C&R in New Hartford/Canton/Collinsville/Unionville. Expect these bugs to advance upriver rapidly now, moving up every day. Caddis are already heavy and up to the Still River (Pipeline/Lyman Rock). March Browns #10-12 are hatching downriver in Collinsville/Unionville. Water temps have been averaging mid/upper 50s most days in
the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA, and in Riverton the temps have been in the mid/upper 40s. Downriver temps have been mid/upper
Derrick's client Karl with an 18" beauty on a dry fly
50s and will rise even more now as warmer weather moves in starting midweek.

Despite above average (but very fishable) weekend flows, some trout have been rising to hatching Caddis in the afternoons, and again near dusk (they egg-lay then)- rising activity/dry fly fishing should only improved & increase with the flow reduction taking place today (Monday 6/3). Vitreus are typically late afternoon/early eve to dusk/dark. It it's hot & sunny, the Vitreus will hatch at dusk, if it's cool & cloudy they can start in early/mid afternoon. Caddis pupa & larva are working well in the mornings & afternoons. Nymphs #14-16 that could imitate Sulfurs & Vitreus (Pheasant Tails, Frenchies, Sulfurs, Hare's Ears, etc.) are catching in late afternoons through eves. Streamers are pulling some big trout, especially early & late in the day, overcast days, and in shady/snaggy spots (downed trees, undercut banks, big boulders, etc.). The few people fishing soft-hackles & wet flies are giving me some excellent reports, try soft hackles with Hare's Ear bodies, as well as Partridge & Orange/Yellow/Green- these flies will cover your Caddis, Vitreus & Sulfurs. I recommend fishing 2-3
Sean Monghan (top) and Johnny D (bottom) with some recent big butter
at a time, on tag end droppers, spaced about 24-30" apart. 

Vitreus (aka the "Pink Lady") are in the Epeorus family and close cousins to the Quill Gordon, I would call them a "pseudo Sulfur"- the "true" Sulfurs are the Invaria & Dorothea, but some peeps call the Vitreus a Sulfur. Like the Quill Gordon, they are two tailed and the winged dun emerges from the nymph on the stream bottom, and then the winged dun rises to the surface. They tend to emerge/hatch in faster broken water, with riffles & pocket water being typical habitat. They are normally creamish yellow in color, but the females (Pink Ladies) have a pinky/orange cast to them.

A big Nature's Spirit order arrived recently, and it includes new colored Solarez resin (fl. orange/pink/chartreuse, etc.). It also restocks us on competition style barbless hooks, including the best-selling Hanak 450 Jig Superb hook. FYI we received & put away almost $15,000 (our cost) worth of fly tying materials from Wapsi & Hareline recently. We have tippet rings in stock again, Squirmy Worms, and lots of fly boxes. Tacky boxes are also back in stock, and we now have their new breathable fly box! No more
Dan Phelan with a handful of brown goodness
rusty flies... 

FYI we have a KILLER 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 droppers.

The Two Year Old Survivor Strain browns the state recently stocked in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) are extra big this year, quite obese with a good number in the 18" plus range and some even bigger in the 20-21" range. They are putting smiles on a lot of angler's faces . Some big holdovers & wild fish are mixing in with the stockers. The biggest problem is getting past the recent stockers to get to them. That can be a fun problem though.

If you are nymphing, think about fishing a #14-16 olive/green to tan Caddis Pupa or Larva, a
Zach's client John with a double from Friday!
brownish #14-16 Mayfly type nymph (can be a Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, Frenchy, Sulfur Nymph, etc.), or something smaller & olive in the #16-18 range to imitate the Baetis/Olives. The Pheasant Tail is a very effective imitation of Olives and many other mayflies. Also #10-12 Fox Squirrel Nymphs & big Hare's Ears do a great job imitating March Brown nymphs, they get very active subsurface starting 1-2 week before they hatch, they migrate from faster water into the shallower stream edges. If you are targeting the fresh stockers, I'd try pairing a natural looking nymph with a Junk Fly like a Mop or Squirmy Worm, or maybe a flashy/gaudy hotspot nymph- deadly combo! Streamers continue to be productive, and give you a shot at some of the bigger trout. Play around with size, color & style of streamers, and experiment with your retrieve until you find the winning combo for that day. Be aware that color preferences for streamers can change throughout the day as light conditions change.

Wanna catch trout? Obey the following  4 rules, laid out to me years ago by Jack Gartside:
-Rule #1 is find the fish and fish where they are
-Rule #2 is don't spook them!  (FYI big wild trout spook easily)
-Rule #3 is fish something they want to eat
-Rule #4 is present it in such a way they they will eat it (dry fly guys take note: this may mean you 
                                                                                          have to fish subsurface! haha) 
I would add Rule #5 fish when the fish are feeding, with hatches being prime-time, especially when they intersect with low-light periods (big browns love to feed in low light). 

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 looks really, really good- second batch arrived recently. It cover 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.

Flow as of 8am Monday 6/3/19:
Currently the 8am total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release per the USGS gauge is medium high, very fishable & dropping at 554cfs (the Still River is 94cfs & dropping), and in Riverton the in the 2 miles above the Still River the Farmington is medium-high at 460cfs. USGS average historical total flow for today is 364cfs. The MDC is making 2 flow cuts this morning at 8am & 9am, this will reduce the total flow by 222cfs and bring us down to about 340cfs total flow. 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 is 50cfs, it joins the West Branch about 3/8 mile below UpCountry near condos & sewage plant. The Still River drops every day we don't get significant rain.

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

Water Temps: 
Look for water temps to average in the mid/upper 50s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (mid/upper 40s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location.  Long range highs are in the mid/upper 70s, with lows in the mid/upper 50s. Warmer, sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases. The exception to this will be during high water releases from the dam, as the colder water from deep in the reservoir chills down the river. Highest water temps will occur in mid/late afternoon, with sunny days seeing the biggest temperature increases- this often activates both the aquatic insects & trout. Typically the best bug activity (and fishing) correlates to the most pleasant time of the day for us humans.

-Vitreus #14-16 (downriver & up into middle of TMA/Catch &  Release)
-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan)- all the way up to Pipeline/Lyman's Rock
-Sulfurs (Invaria) #14-16 (below C&R/TMA in New Hartford/Collinsville/Unionville)
-Blue Wing Olives #18-22 (afternoons on cloudy days)
-March Browns #10-12 (lower river only, Collinsville/Unionville, just starting)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #14-20
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-16
-Caddis Pupa #14-16 (olive/green, tan)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #10-14  
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black) 

-Mop Flies #8-14 (various colors, especially cream/tan)   
-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.).

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Green/Orange/Yellow, 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

-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)
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown, yellow)

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