Fall/Winter Store Hours:
8am-5pm 7 days a week
, starting today (Monday 10/28).
The drought is definitely over, and after Sunday's rain we are currently in great shape with a nice medium flow of 357cfs, clarity is surprisingly excellent despite substantial rain yesterday. MDC is bumping the flow up by about 100cfs at 9am, that will take about 4 hours to reach UpCountry and will bring the total flow up to a still very fishable mid 400cfs level & dropping. Still River is dropping at a good clip. Riverton is low & fishable at 113cfs as I write this (add 100cfs to this after the 9am flow bump), and the Still River is 244cfs & dropping. 8am water temp in Riverton was 53 degrees.
Lots of good fishing reports over the weekend, most peeps went out Saturday to avoid the rain on Sunday. As you can see in the pictures, more really nice trout are getting caught regularly. Egg flies continue to be hot, but with more rain in the forecast Wednesday through Friday I'd expect "Junk Flies" like Mops & Squirmies to remain solid choices. We have very good streamer conditions currently, and it should be overcast all week. Caddis & Blue Wing Olive
dries, Caddis Pupa, Stonefly
nymphs & small olive nymphs have all also had their moments lately.
Top fish pic is the biggest of several big browns that Rich Baker caught on Friday during a great outing. 2nd down is Derrick Kirkpatrick's (CT Fishguides) client Michael with a quality brown he landed this weekend, and below that is a 20" wild brown Mina Vilades picked nymphing up on Thursday. 4th pic is Zach St. Amand's son with a big brown he got all by himself. Final pic is a foliage shot from out back this morning- lots of leaves are gone now, but it was still a very pretty & colorful drive to work this morning.
The entire river from Riverton to
Unionville continues to fish
well with water temps averaging low/mid 50s, so don't limit yourself to
section or pool, it's literally all good. Long range temps are mild through Friday, and then it looks like Mother Nature finally realizes it's mid Fall and highs drop to upper 40s/low 50s, with nights in the 30s. They will be doing maintenance work on the dam for the next 3
months and doing a minimal water release from the dam, so regular shots of rain are what we need to keep water in
the Still River, which will augment the flows (in a good way). So far
the long range forecast looks great in that regard.
Successful flies & tactics include quite a variety: streamers,
nymphs, "Junk Flies" (eggs/Mops/worms), dries, and wets/soft hackles.
Junk Flies have been working well during non-hatch times & moments
when flows bumps up due to rain. Streamers can work anytime
day in the Fall, especially early & late in the day during low
light. Trout, especially browns, get extra aggressive toward streamers
this time of year. Go with bigger streamers for less but bigger trout,
or small to medium for better numbers but smaller trout- 3" long (give or take) would
be the in-between size choice for the best of both worlds. Main hatches
are Tan Caddis (mostly #16-18), Blue Wing Olives (averaging #22 of
late), and Isonychia #12-16 (light hatch, near the end). Overall the best insect activity is in the
afternoon to dusk period when air temps are more pleasant. Cold nights mean that early morning can be slow due to big water temp drops
overnight, so if you start early try bugs & techniques that are not
hatch dependent during that time slot: streamers, or Junk Flies (Mops,
Squirmy Worms, and especially Egg Flies). As water temps rise in the
afternoons, both bugs & trout get more active. Soft Hackles
sometimes work quite well when Caddis are hatching.
Trout are just starting to spawn now, so watch out for redds (light
colored patches of gravel in riffly areas where the female browns dig a
depression in the gravel to lay their eggs). Several points: 1) please
leave the spawning trout alone so they can make more wild trout, 2)
spawning is very stressful, so don't add to their stress by catching
them, and 3) don't walk on the redds or you will crush the eggs and kill
them- some eggs end up in the light colored redd, but many end up slightly below
them, maybe 3-10 feet or so. Fish in the darker/deeper water downstream
redds and there will likely be hungry, egg-eating non-spawning trout there . An egg fly can be absolutely lethal as they are a calorie-dense high-value food item for trout, they cannot escape/swim away, and bigger trout love them.
FYI we now carry Fasna Jig hooks, we have the F-415 in stock in sizes
#14-20 (we will expand out all the way up to #10 in the future). They
are high quality, stronger than average, come 30 to a pack, and similar
in shape/design to the ever popular Hanak 450 (which is wide gap/short shank/curled in point). Be aware they run about a
size smaller than marked compared to the Hanak 450
(i.e. the #16 is more like a #18, and so on)- compared to a standard
jig hook they are a full TWO
sizes smaller FYI.
Check 'em out if you are looking for a smaller jig hook with a wide gap,
shorter shank with a turned in barbless point. These hooks won't
bend out when you are playing a bigger trout- many comp style hooks are
medium wire, and when you combine that with a wide hook gap (especially
on the smaller hook sizes) and a big trout, the result can be a lost
fish when the hook bends.
Dropping temps & shorter days 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
streamers, nymphs, and wets/soft-hackles. Be flexible in your approach,
cover water, experiment and you should be successful. Or conversely be a
stick-in-the-mud one-trick pony, and you may get skunked if you try to
force feed unwilling trout the flies & techniques they have zero
interest in- the choice is yours. Being adaptable/flexible
is a major key to success, especially if the water is high, low, cold or dirty.
Check out local guide/writer/blogger Steve Culton's article on the
Farmington River in the latest issue of Eastern Fly Fishing
even a big picture of yours truly in the article, but check it out
The MDC stocked the upper river in Riverton on 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.
you want a really sweet streamer specific rod, check out the T&T
Exocett SS series, they are grain rated at 160, 200 & 250, and are all great
Farmington River streamer rods and come with Recoil guides (click this
to go to the T&T Exocett SS page).
Dropping water temps
& shorter days has the Fall streamer bite in full swing.
Trout get more aggressive in the this time of year due to spawning,
plus it seems like Mother Nature programs them to eat more in
for leaner times in the Winter. Some keys to successful streamer
fishing: change pattern styles & fly color until you figure what
turns the trout on. Historically good
fall colors include yellow, brown, white, and olive. An all yellow
streamer, or yellow as a
secondary color paired with a predominately different color fly (such as
brown) can be lethal in the Fall. Try different casting angles, it's
not always down & across- frequently across & up is a better
angle. Experiment with your retrieves, although more often than not a
faster retrieve is better in the Fall until the water temps get really
cold, then you typically slow it down. Cover lots of water, you are
looking for the aggressive fish- at any given moment, only a percentage
of the fish are willing to eat a streamer, and you need to present your
fly to those fish. The more trout you show your flies, the more you will
be a stick-in-the-mud or your catch will be severely limited.
The low light periods of dawn & dusk are typically the best
streamer bites, but overcast days are good and as we get further into
Fall the bite can often be good all day as trout aggression ramps up.
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 weighted 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 (#6-8) I wouldn't go below about 2-3x as trout hit
streamers HARD. You can fish normal ize streamers on your #4-5 rods
for sure, but.... if you want dedicated streamer stick 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
If you are into Euro Nymphing, check out the new Rio Tactical Euro Nymph
Leader. Rio still offers their original/standard Euro
Leader (we sell an obscene
amount of these). Two main differences between them: the Tactical
version is both significantly thinner, as well as longer. (14 feet
versus 11-12 feet). The Tactical has a very thin butt diameter of .012" (that's 1 size bigger than 0x)
down to 2x (.009"), tied to a 4x (.007") Sighter (indicator) colored
line section. Their standard Euro leader has a thicker butt (I'd guess
around .018"?) down to 0x (.011"), tied to a 2x (.009") Sighter. What
does this all translate too? Thinner leaders promote a better drift by
giving you less sag/bow, more sensitivity, letting you fish further
away, and are better with lighter nymphs. Longer leaders are also
stealthier and let you fish further away. The downside? Thinner butt
sections are harder to cast/turn over, a bit less accurate, and thinner
Sighters are a bit harder to see (but better if you need to dunk them in
deep water because they create less drag). If you are not very experienced with the Euro techniques
and/or have difficulty casting, stick with the original standard Euro
leader, but if you are fairly accomplished and looking to up your game
try the thinner/longer Tactical version. FYI both leaders end with a
tippet ring at the end of the Sighter, and then you build them out with
the proper length of approporiate sized tippet to match the conditions
& flies (4x-6x for standard leader, and 5x-7x for the Tactical).
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.
f 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.
Try fishing a pair (or 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
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 and especially 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. Don't just swing them, also dead-drift, twitch them, retrieve slowly with a hand-twist/Figure 8 retrieve: animate them and give your flies the illusion of
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.
8am-5pm, 7 days a week through March.