Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday 5/22/20 Farmington RIver Memorial Day weekend report

As of this Wednesday May 20th, CT guidelines for "non essential businesses" like us changed to once again allow customers in the store. Per new CT rules, you must wear a mask/face covering of some sort inside the store- no exceptions.

Monday 5/25 Memorial Day our store hours will be 8am-3pm.

If possible please purchase your CT fishing license in advance online by clicking on this link. FYI if you don't have a printer, it's perfectly acceptable to keep your license on your mobile/smart phone nowadays.

Website and Phone Orders get free shipping at $50. Please take advantage, we typically ship the same day if you call by 3pm.

Your continued support has kept our store open so we can keep supplying you with the best fly fishing stuff, fly tying materials & flies. A big "Thank You" to each and every one of our customers.
     -Grady & Torrey

Farmington River Report

The Farmington has been stocked about 7 times now since February outside the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (including again this week before Memorial Day weekend), and in mid April the CT DEEP heavily stocked the Permanent TMA/C&R. They stock this 6.2 mile section once per year in April with approximately 10,000 brown trout (mostly, but sometimes a smaller amount of rainbows too) of various sizes including 1,000 large two year olds which average a fat 14-18" and 2+ pounds. Lots of them hold over from year to year and get bigger, and there is also an increasing wild brown trout population. Electrofishing in September 2019 put the estimated trout population at just under 2,000 trout per mile in this section, with many of those being wild & holdover trout, mostly browns, and a smaller number of rainbows. The recent stocking should temporarily put the population of this section at 3,500+ trout per mile!! And that doesn't even include other stocked trout that have wandered in from above and below the C&R section.

The holiday weekend is finally at hand, and now you can all come in the store and do some real browsing & shopping! Nice to go back to semi-normal in the fly shop. We continue to get quite a few good to excellent fishing reports on a daily basis from our customers. Trout are getting caught on nymphs, dries, streamers and wet flies/soft-hackles- a mix of 2020 stockers, plenty of bigger holdovers, and some really beautiful wild trout. Mostly Brown & Bows, with an occasional nice Brook Trout in the mix. The stocking trucks were seen rolling on the river again this week (outside of the permanent TMA/C&R), the Farmington is literally loaded with trout right now (I think this is 7x they stocked in 2020!!!). The weather for the weekend looks nice: highs 68-78, mostly sun & clouds (Saturday dsy has 70% chance of 1/4" rain from about first light to late afternoon, this should not affect the flows much at all), and not windy. Flow is near perfect- medium at 317cfs (240cfs from the dam, additional 77cfs from the Still River), Riverton water temps have been upper 40s, and below that in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) it's been pushing up well into the mid 50s & rising- these increasing water temps are getting both the bugs & trout more active.

Top pic is a stunner wild brown by Chester Cheung on a Caddis pupa this week- this is the kind of fish people go to Montana to catch, but it's right here in CT! 2nd fish pic is an absolute beauty caught by Daniel Girardi while being guided by Zach St. Amand Thursday and working on his Euro nymphing- he started at 10am and landed 30+ fish by 2pm, wow.

Vitreus have joined the fray, they are at least as far upstream as New Hartford (likely up even further now). Assorted Caddis are all over the river, upstream to the Pipeline/Lyman Rock/Still River junction. Be aware that during the Caddis emergence/hatch, trout often feed subsurface on the pupa and you may not see many rises, so try a pupa in your nymph rig, or swing some soft-hackles in Caddis-y colors (green, olive, Hare's Ear, etc.). When they come back and egg-lay (often in the low light of evening), you often find rising trout them. You also may need to twitch your fly as they are an active bug. Rises to Caddis are splashy more often than not. The Hendrickson hatch is mostly just in Riverton above the Still River (Rt 20 bridge up to the dam), but you will probably continue to see spinner falls downstream of that this weekend, they typically last for about a week after the hatch ends. Try Don Butler's deadly Hendrickson Parachute Egg Sack Spinner pictured in this report if trout are refusing standard rusty spinners. The yellow foam egg sack also aids to the pattern's floatability.
Remember the beloved Grey's Streamflex rods? If you liked them, you will love what I'm about to tell you: Pure Fishing has released an updated version of the Streamflex series under the Fenwick name, using the latest materials that give the rods even improved rod recovery and durability. These rods feel fantastic in the hand. We have these in the Euro specific models, The 11' #3 & #4 Streamflex have an MSRP of $349.95- we are selling them for $265. The also do a Streamflex Plus that goes from 10' to 10' 6"- a six inch extension piece hides in the handle and can be put in or out in seconds. We have the 10' #3 Streamflex Plus (goes up to 10.5')- MSRP is $379.95, we are selling it for $285.

Recently stocked trout sometimes prefer gaudy flies that don't match the hatch, and "Junk Flies" (Mops, Eggs, Worms, and Green Weenies) often reign supreme and outfish normal drabber, more imitative nymphs that we fish most of the time. They will also often prefer a fly that moves or drags in the current, not a dead-dirft presentation, so let your nymphs, streamers & wets swing out at the end of each drift & try twitching them. Once the trout have been in the river for 3-4 weeks they become attuned to natural food and will start to prefer drabber flies fished on a dead-drift (mostly, with plenty of exceptions). Fishing pressure will also teach them to be suspicious of commonly fished flies. Buggers can be deadly on recently stocked trout- start with olive or black and go from there if you don't get a positive reaction. Also experiment with your retrieve, and try a plain swing with no added action if stripping it in doesn't get a response, and also try dead-drifting them like a nymph. 


Nymphs #12-18 imitating or suggesting Caddis Pupa, Caddis Larva (olive/green #14-16), Hendrickson nymphs (Riverton only), Blue Wing Olives/Baetis #16-20, and larger Stoneflies #6-12 (golden, brown, black) have all had their moments. Also try attractor patterns (gaudy flies with hot spots, flash, UV materials, or unusual colors), sometimes they will outfish the usual drabber flies for reasons only know to the trout. It can be worth trying bigger #6-10 nymphs such as Stoneflies & Mops- larger nymphs sometimes interest larger trout (more calories in a single bite, just like with streamers). Bigger nymphs can also be better in higher and/or off-color flows.  Remember that GISS (general impression of size & shape) is far more important than having an exact imitation, and sometimes exaggerated features like a hot spot or flash gets their attention better than a "perfect" drabber imitation. Trout perceive our imitations differently than us humans do, so what looks good to YOU isn't necessarily what the trout prefer. We'd be lucky to catch any trout at all if our flies truly had to look exactly like the natural insects. If your fly size & shape/profile are close to the natural bugs, and the color is ballpark, all you then need is to put it in front of a willing trout with a good presentation. I've caught more trout than I can count during Hendrickson hatches on #12-14 Pheasant Tails, Frenchies & Hare's Ears. The shape (tails, slimmer abdomen, thicker thorax), color (brown) and size match up to the real bug. I've caught many a rising trout during a Hendrickson hatch on a #12-14 Parachute Adams after they refused a dozen different dun, emerger, cripple & spinner patterns.

Don's deadly Hendrickson Parachute Egg Sack Spinner
For streamer fishing black, olive, brown and white are great starting colors, but make sure to experiment and let the trout tell you what they want. Other often good colors are yellow and tan. Two tone streamers such a brown/yellow, olive/yellow, etc. can sometimes be the ticket. Try the following hybrid rig: a weighted streamer such as a conehead Bugger, Complex Twist Bugger, Zuddler, Slumpbuster, etc. with a #14-16 soft-hackle, wet fly or nymph trailed 14-18" of the hook bend- the streamer often functions as the attractor, and then the trout eat the trailing smaller fly. This helps turn some of those chases, rolls & flashes into a solid hook-up.

We got in a pile of flies from Fulling Mill (and their full line of excellent jig hooks too) & Umpqua recently, including some cool streamers we haven't carried before, check out Tommy Lynch's deadly D&D that swims like a Flatfish lure- fish it on a sink-tip/sinking leader/sinking line to get this unweighted pattern to the proper depth, the action/movement on this fly is INSANE. Weighted streamers like Woolly Buggers, Zuddlers, Slumpbusters, and Complex Twist Buggers all continue to produce fish if fished down deep. Try also streamers with Sculpin Helmets, bounced & twitched along the bottom on a floating line- deadly on bigger trout. Play with colors, fly size, pattern style, retrieve, depth, and cover lots of water and you should be able to find success.

If you are fishing wets/soft-hackles (and you should be!), try a 2-3 fly rig, on tag end droppers about 24-30" apart, and use a lightly to moderately weighted soft-hackle or nymph on the point position to get your rig down deeper where the trout are. During hatching activity where you see bugs and occasional rising trout, keep all your flies unweighted and fish near the surface. Throw across & slightly upstream and make an upstream mend to sink your flies, let them dead-drift (watch your fly line tip for subtle strikes), and then let them do the traditional wet fly swing- expect strikes especially at the 3/4 downstream point when your flies rise toward the surface. At the end of the drift let them dangle for several seconds, then twitch them up & down a couple of times. Add some slight rod tip twitches during some drifts, and on others just let them drift. Keep your rod tip up around 10 o'clock during the entire drift for tippet protection, and better hook-ups- this creates very slight controlled slack you need so trout can inhale your fly and not short strike it. This technique is great for covering riffle & pool water where the trout are spread out and can be anywhere, the kind of water that can be difficult/challenging to nymph.

We've recently received BIG orders of assorted hooks from Umqua/Tiemco, Fulling Mill jig hooks, huge Wapsi  & Hareline tying material orders, lots more books including the hot new streamer book from Kelly Galloup "Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout II", a definitive new book on Brook Trout by Bob Mallard "Squaretail" (autographed copies), and lots of spin tackle. We are happy to mail order over the phone for you, or prepare a goody bag for curbside pick-up. Thank you all for the support you've shown our business since the CT shutdown of non-essential businesses, we appreciate every single sale/order you give us! Let's all stick together & stay safe as best we can.

Current Store Hours:
8am-5pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-5pm on weekends.

The Farmington is currently an excellent 368cfs & droppng steadily through the Catch & Release (C&R) area and averaging in the low/mid 50s for water temperature in the afternoon- USGS historical normal combined flow for today is 391cfs. Riverton is 246cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 122cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. 8am Riverton water temp was 46.5 degrees this morning- downstream water temps in the C&R will be significantly higher (low/mid 50s) than this due to the Still River running warmer than the colder water from the dam.

Cortland's brand new 2020 Nymph Series Rods for Euro Nymphing are in stock. 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 and it is the most versatile for all around Euro Nymphing, 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 and can cross over as an Indicator nymphing rod too. This series looks like a real winner to us, and the best under $300 Euro rod on the market hands-down.

Thomas & Thomas's new 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 its 10' 8" & 11' 3" cousins, it has a crisper action that make it a very good choice for someone who likes to Euro nymph, but also likes to cross over and throw fly line with dries, wets, and small/medium streamers. Also good on smaller waters where the casting is restricted. Zach St. Amand gave it a big 2 Thumbs Up after fishing it for a week straight.

-Caddis #14-18: (olive green body mainly, some tan) all over the river from waaay downstream and as far upstream as the junction with the Still River
-Vitreus #14-16: New Hartford & downstream, not sure if they are up in the permanent TMA/C&R yet but they will be any day now (if not already in lower end of it)
-Hendrickson #12-14: hatch is only upstream in Riverton now, think Hitchcock to the dam, you may see a very light hatch downstream of that. FYI the spinners (rusty) go a good week past the hatch and you should see some still in the permanent TMA/C&R
-Rusty Spinner #12-14   
-Blue Wing Olives #18-20 (cloudy, cooler days) 
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults (light hatch, early/mid AM, sometimes afternoons) 
-Midges #20-32 (late morn thru dusk) 

-Olive/green Caddis Pupa #14-16
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16 
-Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Hendrickson Nymph #12-14 (hatch is only in Riverton now, Rt 20 bridge to the dam) 
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodos/Frenchies #12-18 (various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like BWOs, Hendricksons, Vitreus, Sulfurs and many others)
-Prince Nymph #12-16
-Perdigons #14-16 (black, brown, olive, yellow)
-"Junk Flies" #8-16 (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Green Weenies- great for fresh stockies and/or high dirty water)
-Zebra Midge #18-22 (black, red, olive)
-Attractor Nymphs #14-18 (Haast Haze, Rainbow Warrior, Blue Lightning Bug, Miller's Victim, 
   Triple Threat, Princes, etc.)- anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot   
-Bigger Stoneflies/Pat's Rubber Legs #6-12 (golden/yellow, brown, black)       

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, Partridge & Pheasant Tail, etc. 
   -best fished 2-3 at a time, on tag-end droppers 24-30" apart (keep droppers short at 4-6" in length to
    minimize tangles)

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
-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
-Dude Friendly #8 (white, yellow, natural)
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (black, olive, white, brown, tan)
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor/Tequeely #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (olive, brown, yellow)