|Shop guy Brayson with a perfect Farmington July brown trout|
|Gorgeous brown by customer Dave Moranino|
Water temps are mostly in the 50s to 60s (all great trout temps), depending upon how close to the dam you are and the time of day- closer to the dam is colder, and temps also rise as the day progresses (especially on bright sunny days, less so on cloudy ones). At some point waaay downstream you will find the river getting too hot in the afternoon on hot/sunny day. The summer weather here lately means that generally the best hatches (and fishing) is early and late in the day, when it's most comfortable to be out. You can catch fish at anytime during the day, but by far the best dry fly fishing is dusk to dark and beyond. Don't leave early or you will miss out on the best dry fly fishing of the day, stay until dark if you can!!! On hot days the evening fishing may not really kick off until 8pm, earlier on cloudy/cooler eves.
|19" brown on a Stonefly nymph by outdoor writer Will Ryan|
Isos are one of the bugs that will hatch in the earlier part of the evening, remember that they are BIG bugs that live and hatch in fast water, so don't look for them in the slower pool water (think pool heads, riffles, pocket water, faster runs). Sulfurs continue to be the heaviest hatch (think dusk, but sometimes we get a secondary hatch of them in late morning), make sure to have several different imitations, and in more than one size (#16-18, maybe even #20). Also seeing plenty of cream mayflies (Light Cahills/Summer Stenos) at dusk in the #12-16 range, standard Cahills & Usuals work well. We are also seeing Attenuata #18-20, they are a small evening Mayfly that are often confused with Sulfurs. Attenuata are a bright greenish-yellow, almost light chartreuse color. Make sure you have some spinner patterns for sipping fish that refuse
|Zach St. Amand's son got this on a dry fly all by himself!|
In July/August/September flows are normally medium to low, and many of the bigger nymphs/larva have hatched, leaving the majority of bugs at #18 and smaller (exception: Isonychia & big Stonefly nymphs). Often I find the difference between a slow day of nymphing and a double-digit outing in July is using nymphs #18 or even smaller. It can be a game changer. In general the small size is much more important than the exact fly pattern, but I'd still have several options from drab to gaudy, and in different styles/shapes/colors. You can pair them up with a bigger fly. Stoneflies #4-12 emerge in the early to mid mornings, you will see them on the rocks in the fast
|Brayson getting "Suckered"...|
While the focus for the majority of our customers seems to have shifted to dry flies, the subsurface angling with nymphs, wet flies & soft-hackles remains consistent and is often better than the dry fly fishing, especially when the trout aren't rising and/or when they are refusing your dries/emergers/spinners/terrestrials. The key is to focus on the faster/broken water (poolheads, riffles, runs, pocket water, etc.), get your flies down, get a dead-drift, and cover lots of water. Experiment with your flies, as the better producing flies may change as the bug activity changes throughout the day. Don't rule out Junk Flies like Squirmy Worms & Mops, they are still having their moments here & there when it's slower on the imitative patterns. At the end of the day the goal is to get the trout to open their mouth and eat your fly, and sometimes attractor/Junk Flies work better than the imitative ones- you have to experiment to find out.
|Another beauty by Brayson|
Multiple hatches are occuring throughout the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), as well as above it, and also downstream for quite a few miles (more elbow room down there FYI, but access gets trickier). Hot weather can push the evening activity closer to dusk/dark (that's been the case during the hot summer weather of late), and conversely cool/cloudy days can make it happen earlier. Nymphing with Caddis pupa (and Larva) is very effective from about mid morning through late afternoon. Mayfly nymphs are at their best from mid/late afternoons through evenings. Non of these hatch times are set in stone, so be sure to be observant & experiment. Streamers tend to be most effective during low light (early & late in the day), and on overcast or rainy days, and also in higher, off-color water. If you fish them on a bright sunny day, look for structure (downed trees, big rocks, undercut banks, overhanging bushes) in the shade. Wet flies & soft-hackles can be effective any time of day, but especially when the nymphs, pupa & egg-laying bugs are active/hatching.
|New Fulling Mill streamers|
If you are nymphing, think about fishing a #14-16 Caddis Pupa (olive/green & tan) or Larva (olive/green), #14-20 Mayfly type nymphs (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 (especially think Olives on cloudy days). The Pheasant Tail is a very effective imitation of Olives and many, many other mayflies. If the more traditional/natural stuff isn't working, 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!
FYI we have a KILLER assortment of custom tied soft-hackles in our bins by Dick Sablitz, they are
-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 good. 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 Friday morning 7/5/19:
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: https://thomasandthomas.com/blogs/news/torrey-collins-contact-1086
Check out this link to my blog post on 10 of my favorite books on a variety of subjects:
http://www.farmingtonriver.com/classes-news-reviews/10-of-torreys-favorite-books-december-2018/ 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.
Look for water temps to average in the upper 50s/low 60s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (low/mid 50s in Riverton above the Still River), but will vary depending upon the weather, time of day, and specific location. Downriver in Collinsville/Unionville will be slightly warmer, probably low to high 60s and into the low 70s if you venture far enough downstream on hotter/sunny days. Long range highs average in the mid/upper 80s, with lows in the 60s. Warmer, sunny days will see the biggest water temp increases. The exception to this will be during periods of high water releases from the dam, as the colder water from deep in the reservoir chills down the river for quite a ways downstream. Highest water temps will occur in 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, which in the summer is normally early & late.
-Sulfurs #16-18: eves, sometimes late morn/noonish too