Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tuesday 8/4/20 Farmington River Report

We are open for business: Monday through Friday 8am-6pm, and Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm. When entering the store please maintain a 6ft distance from other customers and per the governor's decree, and you must wear a mask/face covering of some sort inside the store (both your mouth AND nose must be covered). We are happy to deliver curbside if you are uncomfortable shopping inside. Just give us a call.

As you can see in the pics, plenty more quality trout are showing up in angler catches on a mix of dries, nymphs & streamers. Top pic is a beauty by customer Michael Lemieux. 2nd down is Steve Hogan's client Connor Wogan with a really nice fish from late July, 3rd pic is Zach's regular client Randy with a big brown fooled by a big articulated streamer right after the T-Storms rolled through Sunday afternoon. 4th pic is DJ Clement with a pretty fish, and the 5th pic is a handful of beautiful future trophy brown trout by Alain Barrthelemy.

We've received a literal pile of inventory items recently, our leader/tippet wall is virtually full and no longer looks like a checkerboard. The counter fishbowls are once again full with economical hemostats & nippers. We have 5+ Lamson Liquid reels (the #5/6 size, and perfect for most Euro rods) in stock now, and a bunch more fly lines. Flyagra floatant is back in stock, as are Fishpond Net Magnets. We have virtually all sizes of Maxima Chameleon.
FYI we have plenty of the hard to find "magic" UTC Sculpin Olive wire in the ever popular Brassie size (for Lance Egan's "Thread Frenchy" nymph), as well as size Small.

Hot New Rods:
The brand new T&T Contact II series (10' #2, 10' #3, 10' 9" #3, and 10' 9" #4) is all here, and as of Friday 7/31 we have a couple (we had three) of the 11' 2" #3 in stock (I think we were literally the 1st shop in the USA to receive them!). New improved materials, new guide spacing , downlock reel seats are standard now (to better balance), and a new fighting butt design that is more comfortable. Recovery is noticeably better/crisper, and the actions "tweaked" for more big fish playing power. The blanks are incredibly strong and much much harder to break. These rods are easy to cast, will give you more distance, and they deliver with improved accuracy. Retail is $825.

The Farmington is medium low at 275cfs total flow this morning. The water coming out of the dam was 53 degrees in Riverton at 8am this morning, with the rest of the river averaging mid 50s to mid 60s in mid to late afternoons. Water temps start to cool in the upper river as soon as the sun goes off the water in late afternoon/early eve, but it takes longer to cool off downriver (happens after dark). You can still fish for about 15 miles below the dam (low/mid 50s) all the way down to Canton (upper 50s to mid 60s), but I wouldn't go further down than that now. 8am water temp in Burlington was 69 degrees per Steve Hogan, and temps only rise during the day. By late morning I'd be working my way upriver for cooler water temps as things warm up, that way you are always in optimal water temps for good fishing.
Storm forecasts for today (Tuesday 8/4) have once again been downgraded from 2-3" total down to 1/2-3/4" at the last update. So you won't likely see any major flow changes, just maybe a modest bump for the inflow from the Still River later today. Too bad as we could use the rain, just like the rest of the Northeast. Fortunately due to a bottom release dam, we are still in good shape do to about 250cfs of cold water coming from the dam. We are still seeing lots of good dry fly fishing. A few anglers are singing the blues, but 90% are saying the dry fly fishing is as good or better than they have ever seen it here. It's technical though, as the trout have been seeing lots of artificial flies on a daily basis for a long time now. You could probably fish dries all day long and catch fish right now, at moments matching the hatch with rising trout, and at other moments fishing them blind over likely looking water. Peak hatch times are generally morns & eves, but trout can be caught on the surface in midday too.

Dry/Dropper is also very effective with a small weighted nymph trailed 18-30" below a larger buoyant dry fly. Nymphing the fast water, either Euro or with an Indy, is almost always effective. Just make sure to fish a pair of nymphs, and make sure one of them is small (as in a #18 or so, give or take). Dominant hatches include Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 (mid/late morns) & Needhami #20-26 (have duns & spinners), assorted Blue Winged Olives #18-26 at various times during the day, and #10-12 Isonychia (later in the day, faster water only). Still seeing Attenuata #18-20 (eves, hatch is near the end and has mainly moved upriver to Riverton), assorted Caddis #14-22 (tan, brown, black, olive/green), various Cahills/Summer Stenos (eves), assorted spinners (especially Rusty), and the big Varia/Potamanthus #8-12 (eves, slow water). Beetles & Ants are great midday choices when hatches are sparse- you can blind fish them over likely water, or fish them to sporadic risers.

Their first nymphing clinic filled up in 2-3 days, so Antoine Bissieux & DJ Clement are put on a second Advanced Modern Euro Nymphing clinic on Saturday August 29nd from 9am-5pm- both clinics are now FULL, but we are taking down names for waiting list & future clinics. The above link is clickable and will take you to the page with all the details about this class. Learn what the top competitive anglers from France, Spain, Czech Repbulic & Poland are doing to outfish everybody else. This is an intermediate level class (no Euro Nymphing beginners!!!), make sure you have a good grasp of euro nymphing techniques and suitable tackle (as in Euro rod) & flies before signing up.

If you are subsurface, smaller nymphs #16-20 predominate, but... big Stoneflies can pull big trout in the early/mid morns, and later in the day big Isonychia nymphs can catch big fish too. Just make sure one of your two nymphs (assuming a double rig) is a smaller one (as in #18 or even smaller), some days it makes all the difference. Trout are eating plenty of Caddis Pupa in the first half of the day FYI. A small Mayfly type nymph is a good choice with all the Blue Winged Olives hatching lately, but small gaudy/flashy attractor style nymphs can be very good too. In the early to mid AM, streamers, nymphs and dries are all possibilities. Match the hatch if you have risers, chuck streamers for big fish, blind fish big Stoneflies in the fast water, or try a Dry/Dropper rig.

A lot of anglers are reporting big creamish yellow #8-12 Mayflies in the evenings in the slow water (prob mainly Varia, aka the "Yellow Drake", maybe some Potamanthus mixed in too, and I've even seen a few pics of what I suspect may be a Hexagenia or "Hex", the biggest of all Mayflies) all over the river. You may not see Isonychia hatching in big numbers, but despite that trout are always on the lookout for that big #10-12 bug, both the dry and the nymph. The bugs you will see hatching will depend upon which section of the river you are in, and the water type (fast, medium, or slow)

FYI many of you are telling me you are seeing small Sulfurs hatching all over the river in the evenings. The actual Sulfurs (Dorothea) are just about done and only up in Riverton now, close to the dam in coldest water. Just like every other hatch, they start downriver and work their way upriver. Many of these reports are actually Attenuata, which would more accurately be lumped in with Blue Wing Olives. If you grab one in hand however, they are a bright greenish yellow, verging on chartreuse, and their wings & legs are cream colored. They run #18-20, and most commonly hatching in the evenings, although you may see them in mid/late afternoon when you are upriver closer to Riverton. FYI the winged Dun emerges from the nymph on the stream bottom, and then rises/swims to the surface, and then the Dun rides the surface like a typical mayfly.

All methods are currently producing well: Dry Flies, Dry/Dropper, Nymphing (both Euro & Indicator), Streamers, and Wet Flies/Soft Hackles. If you haven't yet tried it, Dry/Dropper with a buoyant dry like a terrestrial (Beetles, big Ants), Isonychia, Stimulator, or other attractor dry, and a small weighted nymph (#16-18) dropped underneath it, is both very fun and quite effective. 18-24" is a good starting distance between flies, but go longer if you aren't catching fish or you are in deeper water. FYI the bug activity has many quality trout holding in shallower, broken water. Don't limit yourself to only waiting for bugs and rising trout, as some days you won't be in the right spot, or maybe you don't want to brave the often crowded conditions in the popular, known "dry fly" pools. Dry/Dropper lets you have the pleasure of fishing a dry, and some fish WILL eat the dry. You can also blind fish the same type dries with no trailing nymph.

If you are dry fly fishing to rising trout during a hatch, match the bugs as closely as you can, paying close attention to fly profile & stage (Mayfly, Caddis, emerger, dun/adult, spinner, etc.), the size, and the approximate color. Doesn't matter if you cannot ID the bug or know the Latin name, just match what it looks like, paying close attention to the size and making an accurate, drag-free drift. At this point in the season, all the trout have seen a ton of fake flies and real bugs, so you need to be on your "A" game to fool them. Get as close to the as you can, and use a long tippet (3-4' or even longer if it's not windy) to help get a drag-free float. If you get a few accurate natural presentations with no takers or you get a visible refusal, either change flies or move to another fish. A refusal means you are close, but something isn't quite right (size is slightly off, color isn't right, they want an emerger, etc.). As a last resort, sometimes a gentle twitch when the fly is a couple of feet above the trout will seal the deal. But sometimes it will spook them, so do that judiciously. Caddis dries fished in riffly water often fish better when you twitch & skate them, they are a very active insect.

Streamer fishing is an option if you want a change from dries & nymphs, especially on overcast days. Low light conditions and increased flows make for a better streamer bite- the biggest trout will often be near structure like big rocks, undercut banks, downed trees, etc. Olive is a good starting color for streamers, but it's important to change colors (black, brown, tan, yellow, two-tone, etc.), fly size, fly type, retrieve, depth fished, etc.
Be aware that bug activity varies from day to day and section to section, but also depending upon water type. Don't look for Isonychia 200 yards down a pool in the flat water, as they are a fast water insect and that's where you will normally find them, at the pool heads and in pocket water/faster water. I hear customers tell me there were "no bugs", but then I find out they were fishing early afternoon in flat/slow water on a bright sunny day and expecting to see Iso's. Do your homework and learn at least a little about major hatches (e.g. Iso's, Sulfurs) that are common and last a while. Sulfurs typically are seen in medium-slow to medium-fast water. Mayfly Spinner falls occur over riffles & pocket water. Caddis most commonly hatch & egg-lay in riffles and faster water. Big trout will often drop into the tails of pools in the evenings to feed. Bottom line is that if you aren't seeing bugs, move around to different water types, and move up & down the river.

There are truly no secret "hot spots". The entire stretch of river from the dam in Riverton down to Unionville (20+ miles), has trout spread throughout it in very good numbers. Big trout are scattered throughout the entire river. This is not a river where you have to be in one of only a handful of spots to do well. The trout are truly everywhere, a mix of 2020 stockers, multi-year holdovers, and plenty of wild fish too. Excellent habitat and many miles of cold water means the trout exist in good numbers all over the river. Yes, the 6.2 mile permanent TMA/C&R (catch & release) likely has the highest density of trout, but.... the rest of the river holds a lot of trout too, and some really good ones. Most years I catch my biggest trout outside of the permanent TMA/C&R. Go out of your way to explore new water on the Farmington, drive until you see some juicy looking new water unoccupied by other anglers and explore it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised

If you are fishing wets/soft-hackles (and you should be sometimes), try a 2-3 fly rig, on tag end droppers about 24-30" apart. During hatching activity where you see bugs and occasional rising trout, keep all your flies unweighted and fish near the surface. If it's slow and trout don't seem willing to move to your wets, use a lightly to moderately weighted soft-hackle or nymph on the point position to get your rig down deeper where the trout are. 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, better fly animation, 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. 


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

The Farmington is currently medium-low at a nice total flow of 275cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area, and averaging in the mid 50s to mid 60s for water temps on most of the river, depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Riverton is 256cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 19cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. 6am Riverton water temp was 53 degrees this morning, downstream water temps are higher (50s-60s), temps will rise during the day.Water temps are trout-friendly down to Canton, but I would not go further downriver (Collinsville/Unionville) than that. Work your way upriver on hot/sunny days as the day progresses, that way you will stay in cooler water.

-Blue Winged Olives/BWOs/Olives #18-26: anytime from mornings thru eves
-Needhami #22-26: mid to late mornings, at least as far upstream as Church Pool  
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults (typically early/mid AM)
-Isonychia #10-12 ("Iso's"): fast water hatch, late afternoon thru dark
-Caddis #14-20: (tan & olive green bodies most common, but other colors & sizes too) anytime, but especially morns & eves
-Attenuata #18-20- eves, often confused with/called a "Sulfur", but it's more of a bright greenish yellow body (hatch is moving upriver and near the end, mainly Riverton now)
-Light Cahill/Summer Stenos #12-20: eves, FYI Cream Usuals works great
-Ants & Beetles #12-20- anytime, especially midday 
-Potamanthus & Varia #10-12: eves, slow water
-Midges #20-32: anytime, try Griffith's Gnats
-Parachute Adams #10-24 (diff sizes can imitate Isonychia, BWOs, Midges and much more)
-Rusty Spinners #12-26 (imitates the spinner stage of 60-70% of Mayflies)

-Olive Nymphs/BWOs #16-20
-Caddis Pupa #14-16 in olive/green & tan (such as BMAR Pupa, Wade's Pupa & others)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-16
-Sulfur/Yellow Sally Nymph #16-18 - can be a specific imitation or a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy
-Isonychia Nymph #10-12 (can also use bigger Princes, Zug Bugs & larger Pheasant Tails) 
-Stoneflies #6-12 (golden/yellow, brown, black)- best in early/mid morns
-Frenchies/Pheasant Tails #12-20 (various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like BWOs, Sulfurs, Cahills, Iso's and many others)
-Prince Nymph #10-16 (bigger ones make a good Isonychia)
-Perdigons #16-20 (black, brown, olive, yellow)
-Zebra Midge #18-22 (black, red, olive)
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20 (Haast Haze, Rainbow Warrior, Blue Lightning Bug, Miller's Victim, 
   Triple Threat, Princes, etc.)- anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot   
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, don't go to light on your tippet as strikes can sometimes be very hard)

-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)

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: http://www.farmingtonriver.com/cortland-top-secret-ultra-premium-fluorocarbon/