Friday, April 10, 2020

Friday 4/10/20 Farmington River Report: good fishing continues & Easter hours

On Easter Sunday 4/12 we will be open from 8am-1pm.
Our fishing report follows this important message.

We are open 8-5pm daily for curbside pick-up. Call us on the phone at 860-379-1952 before arrival or from the parking lot, tell us what you want and we will take a credit card payment over the phone.

We are also offering limited 1/2 hour shopping appointments in the store from 3pm to 4:30 pm daily, In order to do this under the new regulations, we are limiting to one employee and one customer in the store. These appointments are for those intending to make $200+ purchases, and this will also be the procedure for trades. Call in advance at 860-379-1952.

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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 keep supplying you with the best fly fishing stuff, fly tying materials & flies.
     -Grady, Torrey & Jake

Farmington River Report

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. The Farmington has been stocked four times so far and will receive more trout in the coming week. This is in addition to the pile of holdover & wild trout in the river already. As temps rise, the trout and the insects are both getting more active, and the fishing improves by the week.

Despite rain Thursday, we remain in great shape: medium flow of just over 400cfs & dropping (167cfs in Riverton, plus 238cfs & dropping from the Still River).  On  the windy days, skip the euro nymphing and focus on indicator nymphing & streamer fishing. Wet flies/Soft-hackles could be a good option also. Wind is your biggest enemy when Euro Nymphing because you have to hold your line up in the air, off the water. A downstream wind will tend to either pull your flies up near the surface and create drag, or if it's blowing upstream it will put you out of touch with your flies and make it hard to detect strikes. Fishing close with a low rod tip and heavier flies will help, but if it's really windy an Indicator works much better, as the fly line & strike indicator on the water anchors your rig there so the wind cannot blow it around. Streamers are an excellent choice on windy days, and are definitely picking up some nice fish recently.

Top pic is two beauties caught by Darren Yoos on Thursday. 2nd double pic is Zach with two really nice browns from the same day this week, caught while exploring water he hadn't hit yet in 2020. 3rd pic is Steve Culton with a big grin and a fat brown. 4th pic is Drew Sommo with a nice fish from an "epic day" he had this week.

If you are fishing wets/soft-hackles, 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.

Nymphs #12-18 imitating or suggesting Early Stones (black, brown), Hendrickson nymphs, Blue Wing Olives/Baetis, and Caddis Larva (regular olive/green #14-16 & cased #10-14) are all having their moments, as are attractor patterns (gaudy flies with hot spots, flash, UV materials, or unusual colors). It can be worth trying bigger #6-10 nymphs such as Stoneflies & Mops too- bigger nymphs sometimes interest bigger trout (more calories in a single bite, just like with streamers).  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. Trout perceive our imitations differently than us humans do (thank goodness), 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 just 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 (PTs) & Frenchies (nothing more than a hot spot PT). The shape (tails, slimmer abdomen, thicker thorax), color (brown) and size match up to the real bug. And 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. Go figure.

The Hendrickson hatch isn't going yet, but should start up any day now
. Water temps are reaching 50+ degrees in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release on milder, sunny afternoons. With water temps like that, we should see a few Hendricksons in the Permanent TMA/C&R area soon. Warmer, sunny weather with milder nights is what we are looking for to get this hatch started. Blue Wing Olives have been the glamour hatch of late, with Winter Caddis, Early Stones & Midges also mixing in. The Farmington has been stocked 4x since February, and this combined with great water temps & more insect activity is making for some good fishing. More trout rising over the past week, especially in big/wide/flat pools like Church, Greenwoods, Boneyard, and School Bus. Streamer fishing is now putting up numbers, the trout have the feedbag on, both recent stockers AND holdovers/wilds. 

We are seeing good hatches of the #16-18 Blue Wing Olives (BWOs)/Baetis in the afternoons in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, so in addition to dries think about fishing a smaller nymph that looks like them (#16-18, slim, olive to olive-brown). They are also rising to them now in some spots in the afternoons, so have the matching dries/emergers. If you see splashy rises though, that is probably either Caddis or Stoneflies. Gentle sips are more typical of trout feeding on BWOs & Midges. 

Streamer fishing has picked up noticeably, and lately black or olive have been top colors, but I'm also a fan of brown this time of year, and white can be very good also- experiment! Two tone streamers such a brown/yellow, olive/yellow, etc. can sometimes be the ticket. Try also the following hybrid rig: a weighted streamer such as a conehead Bugger, Complex Twist 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 & flashes into a solid hook-up.

We got in a pile of flies from Fulling Mill & 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

We've recently received BIG orders of assorted hooks from Umqua/Tiemco, Fulling Mill jig hooks, a huge Wapsi tying material order, 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, "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.

Total 8am flow today (Friday 4/10) in the permanent Catch & Release is medium and receding at 405cfs (167cfs from the dam, plus 238cfs & dropping from the Still River), normal historical flow for today is 649cfs. Riverton water temps have typically been starting in low 40s and bumping up a degree a bit on warmer/sunny afternoons. Further downstream in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) on sunny/mild days you may see water temps crack 50 degrees now- sometimes all it takes is a small bump-up to get the trout feeding.

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 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 would 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.

-Blue Wing Olives #16-18 (aka Olives, Baetis, BWOs, etc.)- good hatch, afternoons 
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & adults (early/mid AM, but sometimes afternoons also)
-Early Stones #14-16 (both Black and Brown, in the afternoons, esp. on milder days) 
-Midges #20-32 (late morn thru afternoon) 
-Hendricksons #12-14 are NOT hatching yet but should be anytime now- water temps are hiting 50+ degrees on warmer, sunny days already. Look for them first downriver in Collinsville/Unionville due to slightly warmer water downstream, and then up in the Permanent TMA/C&R a little after that.

-Olive Nymphs #16-18
-Pheasant Tail/Quasimodos/Frenchies #12-18 (in #12-16 imitates Early Brown Stones/Hendricksons, smaller ones imitate smaller/immature Mayfly nymphs like BWOs & Paraleps)
-Prince Nymph #12-16 (imitates Early Black Stones)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16 
-Cased Caddis #12-14

-Perdigons #12-16 in black, brown, and olive (imitates the Early Stones, Hendricksons & Olives)
-"Junk Flies" #8-16 (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Green Weenies- great for fresh stockies)
-Zebra Midge #18-22 (black, red, olive)
-Attractor Nymphs #12-18 (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 (gold/yellow, brown, black)       

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-16: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Pheasant Tail, Partridge & Orange, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, etc.

-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: