First pic is a holdover Bow & Brown by my girlfriend Mandy after work Wednesday evening. 2nd fish pic is Zach's client Brett with a beautiful holdover brown (clipped adipose fin) he caught at 10am this morning as I'm writing this report haha. 3rd down is once again "Mr Consistent" John Holt with 3 18-20"beauties he got a few days ago, wow. 4th & 5th pics are a really cool Rainbow with leopard spotting that I caught yesterday. All the trout pictured were caught on nymphs or streamers.
The vast majority of fish catching has been done by those fishing subsurface, and almost all the big trout pics you see in recent report have been on nymphs & streamers. Best nymphs are typically in the #12-16 range and include brown and also black patterns that can imitate the Early Stones (both black & brown) & immature Hendrickson nymphs, as well as Caddis (both the olive/green net spinners & Cased Caddis too), as well as smaller #16-20 patterns that could imitate Midges, immature Baetis/Olives, and immature Paraleps/Blue Quills. Black or olive continue to be top streamer colors, experiment to see what works best any given day, and other colors such as brown or white can be very good also. With water temps mostly in the 40s, make sure to fish your streamers slow & deep (weighted streamers and/or split shot or sinking leaders/lines). Dries remain a mix of Winter Caddis #18-24, Early Stones #14-16 & Midges #20-28. The adult Stonelfy & Caddis dries can be quite active, so try twitching them, it often works much better than a dead-drift. Dry fly action is limited and typically occurs in big, flat, wide pools such as Church, Greenwoods & Beaver. Winter Caddis hatch in the mornings, with the other bugs in the afternoons (this is not set in stone).
Current Store Hours:
8am-5pm 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm.
Guide Mark Swenson's "Fly Fishing 101" classes resume next month, the first one will be held on Sunday April 5th, running from 9am-4pm, cost is $150- call the store at 860-379-1952 to sign up. Click this link to be taken to that page for more details:
Don't be afraid to get away from the crowds and explore new water, there are trout throughout the 21 miles of currently open water. You'd be hard pressed to find a section that doesn't hold some nice holdover & wild trout. Doesn't mean they will be easy to catch, but they are there and CAN be caught if you show the trout what they want (typically a dead-drifted nymph, or a dead-drifted/stripped/swung streamer). If you are stubborn and only want to fish one method or fly, you may be in for a loooong, fishless day. Or you can be flexible, work hard, and catch some trout- the choice is yours.
Nymphs from Early Black & Early Brown Stones are definitely in the drift, as are plenty of immature Hendrickson nymphs, and the trout are taking notice. Smaller #16-20 nymphs imitating immature Baetis/Blue Wing Olives & immature Paraleps are also available subsurface. Caddis Larva too (both the regular olive/green larva, and also Cased). If you are over recently stocked trout, continue to play with Junk Flies (Eggs, Worms, Mops, Green Weenies) paired up with a 2nd drabber/more imitative pattern (Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, etc.). Stockers usually love small to medium sized Woolly Buggers, especially in black or olive.
Streamer fishing is picking up, and lately black or olive have been top colors, but I'm also a fan of brown this time of year (anytime for that matter!), and white can be good too- experiment! Try also the following hybrid rig: a weight streamer such as a conehead Bugger, Zuddler, Slumpbuster, etc. with a #14-16 soft-hackle 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 & flashed into a solid hook-up.
Total 8am flow today (Friday) in the permanent Catch & Release is medium-high and dropping at 324cfs (198cfs from the dam, plus 126cfs from the Still River), normal historical flow for today is 418cfs. Riverton water temps have been starting in the upper 30s and bumping into the low 40s most afternoons. Further downstream on sunny/mild days you may see an even bigger increase (mid to even upper 40s on mild/sunny day), and sometimes all it takes is a 1-2 degree increase to get the trout feeding.
Currently you have the option of targeting holdover & wild trout in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release section, or going outside of it and targetting freshly stocked trout (and of course there are also holdover & wild trout throughout the river also). The recently stocked fish are starting to get dialed into natural food sources and learn about avoiding artificial flies- on average it takes about 3 weeks for trout to get in tune with feeding naturally.
They started stocking the Farmington River in early February, due to the nice weather and lack of snow allowing them to easily access the river in their stocking trucks. The DEEP stocked the river two times now from the dam in Riverton down to the Rt 177 Bridge in Unionville, EXCEPT FOR the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (Bridge abutment from tail of Whittemore downstream 6.2 miles to the 219 bridge in New Hartford, that gets stocked once a year in April, and as of the September 2019 electroshocking had an estimated population at just under 2,000 trout per mile in that section!!!). Remember that the entire river from the dam in Riverton down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville is 100% catch & release.
experiment with colors as sometimes it can make a big difference in getting solid strikes, and color preference can change during the day as light conditions change. Cold water 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. Some days the streamer fishing is dead, and other days it will produce some big fish. Be willing to switch methods when it makes sense. Olive, black, and white are good streamer colors to start with right now, but try other colors like brown, yellow or tan if those first 3 don't excite the trout. Also flies with a primary color such as brown and a secondary color like yellow can be the ticket.
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 about 1/3 off what we plan to sell it for.
Cortland's brand spankin' new Nymph Series Rods for Euro Nymphing are in stock now. 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 and can cross over as an Indy 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 debuted their Paradigm series of moderate action, dry fly type rods in late 2019, 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 cross over and throw fly line with dries, wets, and small/medium streamers.
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.
Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week through March.