-We cannot have customers in the store (with one exception detailed below), so we will be operating with the doors locked, and we will offer phone/website orders, as well as "curbside pick-up". This last service will entail you calling us on the phone at 860-379-1952 (either before arrival, or from the parking lot), telling us what you want, we will bag up your order, take a credit card payment over the phone, and then put your bag outside before you arrive at the door. There will be a $20 minimum purchase amount on phone & pick-up orders. All payments have to be over the phone via credit/debit cards.
-We are also offering limited daily appointments from 3pm to 5pm daily, 7 days a week, where one customer at a time is allowed in the store for 1/2 hour at a time. In order to do this under the new regulations, we are limited to one employee in the store. These appointments are for those intending to make $200+ purchases, and this will also be the procedure for trade-ins. Walk-ins are not allowed, call in advance at 860-379-1952.
-We will not be issuing fishing licenses during the closure to comply with the new rules, so make sure to purchase one in advance online by clicking on this link. If you don't have a printer, it's perfectly acceptable to keep your license on your mobile/smart phone.
-This is uncharted territory for all of us, so please be patient as we figure this out and evolve. We are bound by a whole new set of rules & restrictions that is making it much tougher to do business. We will do our absolute best to accommodate all our loyal customers, we appreciate every one of you. Your continued support keeps our store open so we can have jobs and keep supplying you with the best fly fishing stuff, fly tying materials & flies.
-Grady, Torrey & Jake
As some of you are aware, the CT trout season opened early this year, per an Executive Order by the CANNOT keep trout until the traditional Opening Day date of 6am April 11th. And you can never keep trout in the Permanent TMA/C&R that goes from the bridge abutment at tail of Whitemore (just above the Campground on East River Rd) down to the Rt 219 bridge (about 1 mile upstream of UpCountry, by the Dunkin' Donuts. The stocking trucks continue to roll on a daily basis all over the state, and all the local smaller trout streams are open to fishing now if you are looking for other options. We've been stocked at least 3x at the Farmington so far, with plenty of more trout coming this Spring. And there were already a pile of holdover & wild trout in the river before all of this. As temps rise, the trout and the insects are both getting more active, and fishing will only get better.
The river is being stocked today as I write this, which makes at least 3x since February (all outside the permanent TMA/Catch & Release/C&R, but the Permanent TMA stocking is coming sometime in the next week per DEEP). Catch rates in the stocked sections are finally starting to jump up now (due to fish numbers, rising water temps, and increasing bug activity), with some customers reporting catching a bunch. The average size stocked trout in 2020 is big (lots of fat 14-16" fish) due to the incredibly mild Winter (better growth rates), and they also dump in quite a few very large broodstock fish. In the Permanent TMA/C&R, it hasn't been stocked yet so it's still mostly holdover & wild fish, but some stockers have infiltrated it, especially at the upper and lower ends. The holdover & wilds are more challenging to catch and are more dialed into natural food sources- they are averaging big, in the mid/upper teens. You will work harder to catch them than the 2020 stockers, but they are the real deal and you can pat yourself on the back each time you deceive one.
FYI we just got in another batch of barbless tungsten #14 Strolis Infant Stones in brown and in black, they imitate the Early Brown & Early Black Stones, as well as immature Hendrickson nymphs. Killer pattern with lots of wiggly appendages, get 'em before they sell out again.
Brett is back in the top pic again, this time with a 21" wild on a guide trip with Zach, wow. 2nd pic is Chelsea Kasali with her new PB wild Farmington brown, way to go! 3rd pic is Zach & sons, doing what they do best- that's some good parenting right there. 4th pic is Jeff Flemming with with a very nice recent 19" holdover brown laid on his landing net. 5th pic is a solid brown on Steve Hogan's camo Fishpond net. And the last fish pic is head shot of yet another 20"+ fish by John Holt, this one clocking in at 21.5". Those are just some of the big trout landed recently.
We got in a pile of flies from Fulling Mill & Umpqua this past week, including some cool streamers we haven't carried before, including 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. Weighted streamers like Woolly Buggers, Zuddlers, Slumpbusters, and Complex Twist Buggers all continue to produce fish if fished down deep. You can turn some of those follows & short strikes into hooked trout by trailing a #14-16 nymph/soft-hackle/wet fly about 14-18" off the hook bend of a weighted streamer (or an unweighted streamer fished on a sink-tip/sinking line). They are attracted to the streamer, but then they often choose the smaller trailing fly that is more typical of what they are used to eating on a daily basis. Try also streamers with Sculpin Helmets, bounced 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. Or stick in one spot and try only one or two presentations, and go home empty-handed, the choice is yours.... FYI black or olive continue to be top streamer colors, but you need to play around because it can change (even during the same day, especially as light conditions change), white and brown are also top choices, and don't forget about streamers with multiple colors in them (i.e. brown/yellow, olive/white, olive/yellow, tan/yellow, etc).
The 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 have averaged in the #12-16 range and include brown and also black patterns that can imitate the Early Stones (both black & brown) & immature Hendrickson nymphs, Caddis (both the olive/green net spinners & Cased Caddis too), and now think add in some smaller #16-20 patterns that could imitate Baetis/Blue Wing Olives (hatching well now), Midges, and Paraleps/Blue Quills (should start hatching anytime now, they are in the drift). 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 that are mostly in the 40s, you still want to mostly fish your streamers on the slower side and down deeper (weighted streamers and/or split shot or sinking leaders/lines)- however experiment with retrieves as there will still be moments they want the fly moved faster. Listen to the trout and they will tell you what they want.
Current Store Hours:
8am-5pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-5pm on weekends, "curbside pick up" only- we will be going to 8am-6pm on weekdays soon and will announce that on here. Call 860-379-1952 to place orders or have us put together your order for pick-up. No walk-ins allowed, per new CT regulations, credit card sales only.
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 long, slow day. Or you can be flexible, work hard, and catch some trout- the choice is yours.
Move around, cover water, and look for some less fished sections for your best result. Some of the better holdover & wild trout are transitioning into somewhat faster water now, afternoon water temps have ranged from lower to upper 40s in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and this is putting trout on the feed and increasing bug activity subsurface. Especially as water temps rise during the day, in the late morning and afternoon look for better fish in the pool heads, deeper riffles, heads of runs, and even in the slower/deeper lies in pocket water. The water doesn't have to be very deep either, many of the fish in the pics are getting caught in knee to mid-thigh deep water. The recently stocked trout will tend more to pod up in softer slow to moderate speed water in pools, slower runs, and gentle riffles with some depth (2-4').
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 weighted 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 4/3 ) in the permanent Catch & Release is medium at 361cfs (167cfs from the dam, plus 194cfs from the Still River), normal historical flow for today is 497cfs. Riverton water temps have typically been starting in low 40s and bumping up a degree or two on warmer/sunny afternoons. Further downstream in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) 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 small bump-up 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.
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. 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 Catch & Release until April 11th, 2020 at 6am. 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 6.2 mile Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA section always remains C&R and barbless, the rest of the river reverts to a 2 fish limit with a 12" minimum size. Below Rt 177 in Unionville the limit is 5 fish at 9" minimum size.