Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday 6/7/19 Farmington River Report- normal flows, good hatches

Tommy Baranowski with a giant Bow he caught recently on a streamer
I guess the reports of midweek rain (which never materialized) scared many people away, as the river wasn't as busy as usual on Wednesday/Thursday, but fishing continues to be excellent for many anglers. It feels like summer now with highs just barely cracking 80 degrees through the weekend, and then back into the 70s after that- no rain in sight for the weekend. This should make for some good evening "match the hatch" fishing now that flows are medium and normal again (upper 300cfs range). Sulfurs, assorted Caddis, and Vitreus are now all throughout the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), and the improved water levels means you should start to see more rising fish. The lower the water, the more trout rise when there is a hatch. It's also easier wading now, with almost all the river accessible to wading anglers. Dries, streamers, wets/soft-hackles & nymphs are all possibilities right now. This is a great time to experiment with fishing a pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-
A beauty by Sean Monaghan
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.

We have 2 classes coming up next weekend
-"Intro to 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.

I would currently rate the fishing as excellent with some anglers catching a lot of trout. Those doing the best have been the expert nymphers, and overall subsurface flies have produced the majority of the fish and most of the big ones pictured. The normal flows combined with dry weather in the future
Ivan Ramos with a solid 2 Year Old from this week
should increase the dry fly fishing as we head into summer. But be willing to go subsurface with nymphs, streamers, and soft-hackles/wet flies to add to your success. Cover a lot of water, and change flies/tactics as needed.

Vitreus #14-16 & Sulfurs #14-16 are both now all the way to the top of the TMA/C&R. Caddis are already heavy throughout the TMA/C&R and up to the Still River. March Browns #10-12 are hatching downriver in Collinsville/Unionville and should be up in the permanent TMA/C&R soon.  

Sulfurs are typically an evening hatch so don't leave early! Vitreus are typically late afternoon/early eve to dusk/dark. If it's cool & cloudy they can start in early/mid afternoon, but on hot sunny days they will hatch in the evening. 

If you are nymphing, think about fishing a #14-16 olive/green to tan Caddis Pupa or Larva, a brownish #14-16 Mayfly type nymph (can be a Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, Frenchy, Sulfur Nymph, etc.), or something smaller & olive in the #16-20 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/Gray Fox 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!
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 & Yellow these flies will cover your Caddis, Vitreus & Sulfurs. I recommend fishing 2-3at a time, on
tag end droppers, spaced about 24-30" apart.   

19" wild female brown I deceived in late May with a Caddis Pupa
Vitreus 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. 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 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
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 stocked in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) this spring are extra big, 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.

Wanna catch trout? Obey the following  4 rules, laid out 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!) 
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). Fishing subsurface a couple hours before a hatch with the matching nymphs/pupa can also be deadly.

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 9am Monday 6/7/19:
Currently the 8am total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release per the USGS gauge is normal & medium at 398cfs (the Still River is 56cfs & dropping), and in Riverton the in the 2 miles above the Still River the Farmington is medium/medium-high at 342cfs. USGS average historical total flow for today is 379cfs. 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 50cfs, MDC said they were going to reduce it to zero this week, 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 average 70s to low 80s, with lows in the 50s to low 60s. 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. Typically the best bug activity (and fishing) correlates to the most pleasant time of the day for us humans.

-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan)- all the way up to Pipeline/Lyman's Rock
-Vitreus #14-16 (in entire TMA/C&R now)
-Sulfurs (Invaria) #14-16 (in entire TMA/C&R now)
-Blue Wing Olives #18-22 (afternoons on cloudy days)
-March Browns #10-12 (lower river only, Collinsville/Unionville, should see in TMA/C&R soon)
-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