Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday 6/5/20 Farmington River Report: Sulfur time

As of 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.

We are now open Monday through Friday 8am-6pm, and Saturday/Sunday 8am-5pm.

You can 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 right 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.

Last Sunday night (5/31) FYI I (Torrey) lost my big wooden Broding Pere Marquette net (33" x 20" x 15" with a deep black mesh bag) off the top of my car, somewhere between UpCountry and the Satan's Kingdom tubing parking lot- 5 mins later it was already gone. If you know anybody who might have found a net in that vicinity, I'd be much obliged as that net has strong sentimental value and has netted more big fish than I can count.

I've been out of town the past few days, but here is the latest scoop. Flows are medium-low (about 250cfs total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release), very wadeable, water temps are in the 50s. Sulfurs (Invaria) are the latest glamour hatch, they are showing up throughout the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), they are about a #16 and an evening hatch. Lots of assorted Caddis, still are Vitreus hatching from New Hartford (getting lighter down this end) & upstream, and some March Browns are also at least as far upstream as the permanent TMA/C&R. Should be some #14 Light Cahills in the mix too. Evenings are the peak dry fly time, think 7pm to dark and even beyond. Don't leave early, or you may miss the main event! The hotter weather here now often pushes the best evening bug activity until well after 8pm and into the darkness. Nymphing the faster water & shaded areas can be good anytime, with mornings & eves being the peak times most day. We are starting to see big Stonefly nymph shucks on the rocks in fast water, and not surprisingly the matching nymphs in #6-10 are working well in the mornings (the big Stones crawl out to hatch overnight and in the low light of mornings). Wet flies & soft hackles are good choices too, they allow you to fish some of the "thin stuff" that can be hard to nymph, and often do a much better job imitating insects hatching & egg-laying (Caddis) just below the surface (especially in the evenings). See a few paragraphs down for wet fly/soft hackle rigging & fishing advice. FYI, the same rods you Euro Nymph with (10-11' #2-4 rods with soft tips) make fantastic wet fly rods, just make sure to have a spool with a regular fly line on it. And if you really wanna get serious about it, have an additional spool with an intermediate line on it...

More big trout pics than I can post on here, but here are some of them: 1st is Derrick's client Ross Hart with a 21" holdover Survivor Strain brown in a "secret" spot- not! Haha. 2nd pic is Eric Juhasz again with a beauty, this time with a soft hackle (hint hint). 3rd pic is Lane Finley with a C&R success story: the same fish 1 year apart, and 1" longer now. 4th pic is Dave Fitton with a nice brown he missed on a Vitreus, and then got 'em on a Caddis. Last but not least, the 5th fish pic is CT Fish Guide's Derrick with a big dry fly brown, boom!

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. 

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. 


Nymphs #12-18 imitating or suggesting Caddis Pupa & Caddis Larva (olive/green #14-16), Sulfurs #16, Vitreus #12-14, March Brown #10-12, 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 on Pheasant Tails, Frenchies & Hare's Ears. The shape (tails, slimmer abdomen, thicker thorax), color (brown) and size match up to the real Mayflies. I've caught many a rising trout during various Mayfly, Caddis & Midge hatches on a Parachute Adams after they refused a dozen different dun, emerger, cripple & spinner patterns.

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.

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.

Current Store Hours:
8am-6pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-5pm on weekends.

The Farmington is currently medium-low at a very wadeable 251cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area and averaging in the low to high 50s for water temperature in the afternoon- USGS historical normal combined flow for today is 356cfs. Riverton is 218cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 33cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. 10am Riverton water temp was 48 degrees this morning- downstream water temps in the C&R will be significantly higher (low to high 50s depending upon weather, time of day, distance from dam) than this due to the Still River running warmer than the colder water from the dam, and also the river warming as you progressively move further below 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 newer Contact 10' #3  (came out Fall 2019) 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 and also being made from newer materials, 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.

-Sulfur (Invaria) #16- evenings, light hatch in permanent TMA/C&R, heavier downriver. Hatch should intensify in TMA/C&R this weekend
-Caddis #14-18: (olive green body is most commmon, but some are tan & other colors) all over the river from waaay downstream and at least as far upstream as the junction with the Still River 
-March Brown #10-12: at least as far upstream as permanent TMA/C&R
-Vitreus #12-16: from Still River downstream to New Hartford, eves
-Light Cahill #14: eves
-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) 

-Caddis Pupa #14-16 in olive/green & tan (such as BMAR Pupa & Wade's Pupa)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Sulfur Nymph #16- can be a specific imitation or a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy
-March Brown #10-12: use specific imitation, a big Fox Squirrel nymph, or Hare's Ear 
-Olive Nymphs #16-20
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodos/Frenchies #12-18 (various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like BWOs,  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)

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: