48 degree air temp at 8am this morning, definitely feels like fall. Saturday will be warm with a high of 79, Sunday with a more typical high of 72. I see nights down into the 30s in the 10 Day Forecast. Dropping temps & shorter days are not only triggering some pretty fall foliage, but those same 2 factors also make the trout go on the feed & get more aggressive- don't forget about those streamers, Fall is prime time for them. Trout are getting caught on a mix of dries, streamers, nymphs, and wets/soft-hackles. Water temps are averaging low/mid 60s on most of the river.
Check out local guide/writer/blogger Steve Culton's article on the Farmington River in the latest issue of Eastern Fly Fishing- there's even a big picture of yours truly in the article, but check it out anyway...
Mark Swenson's next Fly Fishing 101 Class will on Sunday October 20th, call the store at 860-379-1952, cost is $150.
Flow is normal for late September and moderately low, so be stealthy in you approach and it will pay off with more fish hooked. Stay back a little, use longer leaders, and consider downsizing some of your flies. Other than the Isonychia & bigger Cahills/Summer Stenos, most of the bugs are smaller this time of year. I did see a lone Giant October Caddis (Pycnopsyche) last week, such a cool looking big bug. Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is 130cfs this morning (120cfs from the dam, 10cfs from the Still River), 8am water temp was 64 degrees in Riverton.
On warmer/sunny days like this Saturday you may see Flying Ants- they typically hit the water during mating swarms in late summer/early fall on warm, humid, sunny days. Make sure to have a few with you in the #20-24 range. Still seeing #12-14 Isonychia, assorted Caddis, various Cream mayflies, Hebes/Fall Sulfurs, Blue Wing Olives, Summer/Winter Caddis, etc. Other than the Summer/Winter Caddis in the early/mid mornings and the afternoon Flying Ants, the other bugs are all more in the late afternoon to evening slot. Cooler days will see the evening bugs start & end earlier, warmer days will see the bugs start later and go right up to darkness and beyond.
The MDC stocked the upper river in Riverton last week (9/17), and on 9/9 CT fisheries stocked from Satan's Kingdom down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, as well as below that too. There are also plenty of holdovers and some wild trout throughout the river, so don't limit yourself to only the recently stocked areas. But, if you are looking for some easier targets, head to the recent stocking locations and "educate" them. Woolly Buggers, various "Junk Flies" (eggs, Mops, worms, Green Weenies), and wet flies/soft-hackles should work well on them for the next week or two. The holdover & wild fish will be more keyed into natural bugs. Isonychia nymphs, Caddis Pupa, Stonefly nymphs, and various small nymphs are all working well subsurface. Fall streamer action is picking up to, so make sure to try them at some point- read 2 paragraphs down for some Fall streamer advice & tips.
If you want a really sweet streamer specific rod, check out the T&T Exocett SS series, the grain rated 160, 200 & 250 rods are all great Farmington River streamer rods and come with Recoil guides (click this to go to the T&T Exocett SS page).
The low light periods of dawn & dusk are typically the best streamer bites, but overcast days are good and as we move more towards October the bite can often be good all day as trout aggression ramps up. Try different size flies. Yes, on average, bigger flies will catch bigger fish, but some days the trout (even the bigger ones) don't want big flies. Or try a two-fly rig, with either a smaller, unweighted streamer or a nymph behind a weight streamer- this will get you some of those trout that move for your bigger streamer but won't eat it. In lower flows a floating line with a weighted streamer will get you deep enough, but if flows are medium to high you may want to use some sort of sinking line or leader to get your fly deeper. Use heavy enough tippets so that you don't break off fish on the strike- I typically go 0x on my bigger streamers (you can go even heavier with really big flies), and even on average sized ones I wouldn't go below about 2x as trout hit streamers HARD. You can fish average sized streamers on your #4-5 rods for sure, but.... a #6-7 rod with a medium-fast to fast action will do a better job casting, setting the hook, playing bigger fish, and throwing bigger flies.
As of September 1st, the entire Farmington River from the dam in Riverton for 21 miles downstream to the Rt 179 bridge in Unionville is now Catch & Release until Opening Day in April 2020. If you see anybody keeping fish in this section, please call the CT DEEP at 1-800-824-HELP and report the violation. Even if they are not able to respond to it on time, the info goes into their database and helps to create better/more policing of the area in the future.
We have a pile of Solarez colored UV Resin in stock now- 9 colors. 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 one 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 than nail polish. Got a bunch of other colors too, including various shades of fluorescent colors such as orange, pink, chartreuse, red (fire orange really), etc, and other non-fluorescent 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.
Dry/Dropper can be a fun way to fish: use a bigger buoyant dry (like a Mini Chernobyl, Chubby Chernobyl, 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/hatches 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...:)
Now is still a great time to experiment with fishing a pair (or even better yet a trio) of soft-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. 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. Try soft hackles with Hare's Ear bodies, Partridge & Orange/Yellow/Green/Olive, Isonychia Soft Hackles, Leadwing Coachman, etc. 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 still in our extended hours: 8am-6pm weekdays, and 6am-5pm on weekends. Typically we go back to 8am-5pm 7 days a week starting about in November.
We have Devin Olsen's hot 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.
-Summer/Winter Caddis: #18-24 pupa & adults (early/mid AM)