Friday, August 23, 2019

Friday 8/23/19 Farmington River Report: much cooler weather!

Check out this big brown Mark Swenson's client Nick Maggi caught on a dry fly Wednesday 8/21. Wow, this week flew by, the weekend is almost at hand. Long range weather looks fantastic, with high averaging in the mid 70s, and lows in the low/mid 50s. Love it!!! This will help keep water temps down during this period of low flows. Tricos in the morning are still the glamour hatch, and evenings are offering up good dry fly action to various bugs in the evenings.

Those of you watching the USGS flow gauges probably noticed all sorts of ups & downs with the flow from both the dam and the Still River. The Still River increase is due to 1" plus of rain on Wednesday/Thursday- we needed it and could use a lot more. The low & dropping release from the dam is due to low reservoir levels due to drought, plus a downward adjustment due to more water temporarily coming in from the Still. They are trying to conserve water as the reservoirs are low, well below normal. The MDC is shooting for a combined total flow of 120-130cfs for the next few days, we are a low (but fishable) 127cfs total flow this morning (83cfs from the dam, 44cfs from the Still River). 8am water temp was 62 degrees at the Rt 20 bridge (Hitchcock) in Riverton, water temps will rise as you venture downstream and also as the day progresses (peak water temps are in late afternoon).

Mornings you can start somewhere in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, then work your way upriver as the day progresses to stay in colder water, and that will give you better fishing and be easier on the trout. By afternoon, I'd be somewhere upstream of Church Pool, and the closer to the dam- the cooler the water, the more active the trout will be. 

We have a pile of Solarez colored UV Resin in stock now. The first batch went in a blink so I ordered a bunch this time, and expanded the color range out. Now they are doing black, so I loaded up on that color, it's the classic color to do a wingcase on a Perdigon nymph. Also traditional is to use black nail polish, but then you have to wait for it to dry before you can coat it with clear UV Resin. This UV Resin speeds up the process and is more durable. Got a bunch of other colors too, including various shades of fluorescent colors such as orange, pink, chartreuse, red, etc, and other colors like brown, grape, and shimmer copper. All these colors make a good wingcase, or in the case of the fluorescent ones, a good hotspot. We also have the ultra thin Bone Dry formulation in black now. Solarez is hands-down the best UV Resin on the market: cures the fastest, cures rock hard/durable, and it's not tacky. It's also way less expensive than the other brands, despite it's superior performance. 

The upside to low flows is more dry fly fishing, easier wading/access, and it pushes many fish into the faster water. The fast water both gives them cover from predators, as well as more oxygen. Warmer water doesn't bother the trout per se, but rather it's the lower oxygen content as water temps rise. So faster water is win-win for the trout. It's also easier to approach the trout is broken/faster water. Think about lengthening your leader (12' instead of 9') in low water to help prevent spooking the trout, especially when fishing flatter pool water. Lengthening the tippet section to 4' will also help get a drag-free presentation with your dries (as long as it's not windy and you're not throwing a big/wind-resistant dry). In general lower water = smaller flies, exceptions for nymphing would be bigger Stoneflies in the early/mid morns, and Isonychia type nymphs later in the day.

Good reports are coming from the Catch & Release area and upstream: Trico Spinners (#22-26) are falling in the mid morning, the early morning has been bringing Winter/Summer Caddis (#18-24). From late morning through the afternoon, Blue Wing Olive (#20-24), Ants (#14-18), Beetles (#14-16), Chernobyl Ants (#12-14) have been good. Evenings are bringing  Isonychia (#10-14) and Cream Cahills (#14), as well as Summer Stenos (#18-20). You may also see some assorted Caddis ((#14-20).

Early to mid mornings & eves remain the peak fishing times, with dry fly fishing arguably better/easier in the evenings (more & bigger bugs), however water temps are coolest in the mornings and it's a great time to nymph the fast water then. Although Isonychia hatches are light now, you can blind fish them in the riffles in late afternoon/evening and bring trout up to them, even if you don't see them on the water. They are a big bug that hatch all summer long here, and the trout get used to them and anticipate the hatch. And BIG trout love them.

Tricos will be with us for the next couple of weeks. They are tiny and will average a #24, give or take
a hook size. Tricos are normally an early to mid morning hatch/spinner fall.  FYI with Tricos, the spinner fall is normally the main event. According to the books, the spinners fall to the water at an air temp of approximately 68 degrees.

Fishing broken water (riffles, pocket water, faster runs, etc.) with some current speed gives you an edge because you can approach the trout closer, they don't get as good a look at your fly, and they have to make a quick decision before your fly "gets away". You can also go with flies a bit bigger than you can in flat water pools. Fast/broken water is also more oxygenated in the summertime. A lot of small brown trout (many appear wild) are showing up in angler catches, especially when you are nymphing the faster water. As I've mentioned before, a good summer strategy when putting in a 1/2 to full day is to start first in your most downriver planned location, and then move upriver as the day progresses and water temps increase. This will help keep you in optimum water temps all day long, and you will have better fishing. If you have a thermometer, look for water temps under 68 degrees, and optimally 65 or less. Currently you should find these temps in the mornings from about Church Pool & upstream, by the afternoon I'd be working my way up closer to Riverton.

The dry fly fishing on the flat pools can be very technical this time of year: most of the bugs are small, and the fish have been worked over hard for months, so bring your "A" game, a bunch of tiny flies, and a long leader with a long/light tippet. Fishing terrestrials like #14-18 beetles & ants before you tie on the tiny stuff,  means sometimes you won't have to go super small. Fishing riffly water in the eves can give you an edge, as the trout have to make a quick decision, the bugs are bigger in the faster water, and the trout don't get to inspect your fly with a magnifying glass there. It's also the same water both Mayfly spinners & egg-laying Caddis are active in. Win-win. 6x will suffice for most of the evening bugs. Think 7x on the smaller dries.

Dry/Dropper can be a fun way to fish now: use a bigger buoyant dry (like a Mini Chernobyl, Chubby Chernybol 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 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...:)

While the focus for many of our customers seems is 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 when nymphing is to focus on the faster/broken water (pool heads, 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. 
Now is still a great time to experiment with fishing a pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-hackles/wetflies, 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. The people fishing soft-hackles & wet flies are giving me some excellent reports, try soft hackles with Hare's Ear bodies, Partridge & Orange/Yellow/Green/olive, etc.- these flies will cover your various Caddis, Sulfurs, and Cahills/Summer Stenos. 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 2-3 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. We have flies to imitate all the current hatches, the most effective way to fish them is 2-3 at a time on tag-end droppers. 
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.

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's really good. Its 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.
From April through October we are open 7 days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 6am-5pm on weekends.

-Tricos #22-26: early/mid morns, strong hatch in permanent TMA/Catch & Release
-Isonychia #10-14 late afternoon thru dark in faster water (7pm to dark lately, hatch is light)
-Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-16: eves (various cream colored mayflies)
-Caddis #14-20 (tan, olive/green): AM hatch, evening/dusk egg-laying
-Ants & Beetles #14-20: anytime, esp. late morning thru early eve during non-hatch periods
-Midges #20-32: anytime
-Blue Wing Olives #22-24 (afternoon/eve, esp. cloudy days)
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)

-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #12-20
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green)
-Isonychia #10-12
-Large Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black)
-Yellow Sally Nymphs #16-18 (FYI Sulfur nymphs double for this)
-Frenchy #16-18
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Assorted Olive Nymphs #18-20
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #10-14   
-"Junk Flies" #8-14 (Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies)   
-Antoine's Perdigons (various colors) #12-18
-Zebra Midge #18-20 (assorted colors)

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear/March Brown, Partridge & Green/Orange/Yellow, Sulfur, 
     Pheasant Tail, Starling & Herl, etc.

-Complex Twist Bugger #2- assorted colors
-Sculp Snack #8 (George Daniel pattern)
-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, tan)
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown, yellow)

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

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