Don't forget to get a new 2020 CT fishing license & Trout/Salmon stamp so you are legal! We sell them here at UpCountry, or you can purchase online by clicking here.
Just another day in paradise. Getting an extremely light dusting of snow this morning as I write this (Monday), just enough to make the ground white (Rt 44 is bare asphalt though). A predicted high of 40 degrees will undoubtedly have this all gone by the end of today. Normal winter weather through Thursday, then highs go into the 40s & 50s with a chance of showers/light rain for Friday through Sunday, and above average temps overall for the 15 Day Forecast. Total flow is medium-high and dropping, in the mid 500cfs level. Morning water temps in Riverton are in the mid 30s, typically rising at least a degree in the afternoons (sunny days can see even bigger temperature jumps as you go further downstream). Trout are still getting caught on a mix of nymphs, streamers & dries, with nymphs the most consistent producer- no surprises there. Winter Caddis normally hatch in early to mid mornings, and typically Midges are on the water in the afternoons. Streamers fished slow & deep continue to produce some above average fish. Best nymphs remain the same: "Junk Flies" (especially eggs, but also Mops & worms), small nymphs (Midges & small Mayfly patterns such as Pheasant Tails/Frenchies), Stoneflies, Caddis Larva (both regular & cased), and Attractor Nymphs (flashy/gaudy and/or with hot-spots). The trout are mostly holding in the slow to moderate speed water with some depth to it, but may move into the riffles to feed in the afternoons when water temps rise. Winter trout often pod up in the pools and deeper runs, so where you catch one, there may be a bunch more close by.
Anglers venturing out over this past weekend and last week caught some quality browns, as you can see in the photos. Biggest fish was the 22" brown that is the first fish pic in this report, caught over the weekend by customer Greg Hallam on a tight-lined nymph- Greg has paid his dues on this river and nymphs up a lot of big fish. 2nd & 4th fish pics are Darren Yoos with his 2 best fish from this past Saturday & Sunday, and the 3rd fish pic is guide Steve Hogan's finger pointing at the first trout of 2020 to grace his landing net.
We do a lot of trade-ins of used equipment, as many of you know. Please call and schedule an appointment before you bring your gear in to trade- you need to make sure Grady or I (Torrey) are here to do the trade, and you also need to make sure it's stuff we will be interested in so you don't drive here for nothing. If your trade-in is relatively small/simple and you want store credit (that's what 90% of people do it for), I (Torrey) can generally do it. However, if it's multiple items or you want us to purchase it, Grady needs to be here. He can do big trades quickly, plus he's the only one with check writing privileges (if we purchase your equipment we pay with a check, not cash). We generally give you roughly full current market value if you opt for store credit, and if you want us to purchase it we knock roughly 1/3 off what we plan to sell it for.
Guide & fly tyer Mark Swenson is doing a 2nd beginner fly tying class February 9th & 16th, 2020, a two day class, click the link below to go to that page:
Cortland's brand spankin' new Nymph Series Rods for Euro Nymphing have arrived at UpCountry- this first batch is already almost sold out. This series is all in a 10.5' length and three line weights: #2, #3, and #4, and retails at $299.99. These replace the extremely popular Competition Nymph Series. We have fished the new version in the 10.5' #3 model, and they are a noticeable improvement with a crisper action, faster recovery, more sensitivity, a downlocking reel seat for better rod/reel balance, and improved guide spacing to minimize line sag between the reel and the stripping (first) guide. The new construction also significantly improves the durability, and they maintained the stealthy matte finish to minimize rod flash on sunny days. You won't need a heavy reel to balance these either. I'm sure the #3 will be the best seller, but the 2 weight is sweet with a soft tip that will protect 6x-7x tippet on big fish, and the #4 has the power to handle heavier tippets with bigger flies on bigger fish. This series looks like a real winner to us, and the best under $300 Euro rod on the market hands-down.
Subsurface is the mainstay, just make sure to fish slow & deep, target the softer/moderate water, and expect strikes to be subtle/gentle. Nymphwise, Midges, egg flies, small Mayfly nymphs, big Stoneflies, Caddis Larva & Attractor Nymphs have all had their moments. Junk Flies like eggs/Mops/worms have been good in the mornings, and more imitative bugs like Midges, Stones, and Mayflies have generally been better in the afternoons- makes sense because as the water temps rise the bugs get more active. Streamers are another good choice in the mornings before the bugs get moving, and also great again at the day's end when light levels drop and the bigger brown trout come out to play.
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.
Check out the new T&T rods that recently debuted: the new Contact 10' #3, the Zone mid-priced 10' #4, and the Paradigm dry fly series. All are in stock except the Zone 10' #4. Read several paragraphs down to find out more about them.
Less hatches this time of year and dropping water temps means the trout won't normally be in the faster water, however they may move into the heads of runs/pools/riffles as water temps rise in the afternoon, so keep that in mind. In the mid afternoons look for rising trout in the softer pool water where the riffles slow down and below that- same in early/mid AM when the Winter/Summer Caddis are popping.
Streamers can work anytime of day currently, but especially during low light. Trout, especially browns, get extra aggressive toward streamers this time of year- most are post spawn & hungry, looking to pack in some calories and put weight back on. Go with bigger streamers for less but bigger trout, or small to medium for better numbers but smaller trout- 3" long (give or take a half inch) would be the in-between size choice for the best of both worlds.
Fall/Winter Store Hours:
8am-5pm 7 days a week
We've received a veritable pile of used rods & reels as trade-ins. Some are listed on our website, but many of the least expensive used rods & reels are for in store purchase only and are not listed up and can only be found by looking on our racks. Stop in the store and check it out for yourself, there are some really good deals!
Thomas & Thomas has debuted their Paradigm series of moderate action, dry fly type rods, along with a new Contact 10' #3, and a Zone 10' #4. Zach St. Amand beat up the new 10' #3 Contact and loves it. Grady & I were impressed with the Paradigms, they are on the moderate action/somewhat softer side, but they cast beautifully from up close to far out and will protect lighter tippet. FYI the Paradigm series won "Best New Dry Fly Rod" in the 2020 Fly Fisherman magazine Gear Guide! The Contact 10' #3 feels awesome in the hand, and it's a more portable length than it's longer brothers. Due to it being shorter than the 10' 8" & 11' 3" models, it has a crisper action that would make it a very good choice for someone who likes to tight-line/Euro nymph, but also likes to throw fly line with dries, wets, and small/medium streamers.
Total 8am flow today (Monday) in the permanent Catch & Release is medium-high and very fishable at 539cfs (246cfs from the dam, and 293cfs & dropping from the Still River). Morning slush is currently non-existent. 8am water temp in Riverton was 35.5 degrees, typically you will see water temps bump up at least a degree most afternoons in Riverton. Downstream further on sunny/mild days you may see an even bigger increase, as long as there isn't much snow on the ground (lotta snow + warm weather + sunshine = snowmelt, which drops afternoon water temps). Currently trout are most active when water temps are at their highest and/or moving upward, the early to mid morning period has typically been slow (exception: Winter Caddis hatch), fishing picks up as the day progresses and water temps rise- sometimes all it takes is a 1 degree increase to get the trout feeding. On days preceded by milder nights, sometimes the morning subsurface can be good (because you don't get a significant overnight water temp drop in that situation)
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.
The most consistent action for bigger fish has been subsurface with nymphs & streamers. Makes sense, as that's when most of the real insects are active. With streamers, experiment with colors & retrieves, and make sure to get them deep. Cold water in the 30s normally means slower retrieves/swinging presentations will generally outfish a faster strip when it comes to streamers- but there will still be occasional moments the trout want a faster strip, so make sure to experiment and see what gets you strikes.