The water may be lower now, but the fishing remains good- first 2 pics are only two of many above average browns landed in one day on a very successful guide trip led by Antoine Bissieux, aka "The French Flyfisher". The 3rd pic is what appears to be a wild brown caught by a client of Dave Machowski recently- it jumped out of his hand before they good get a really good pic, this one taped out at 18", a nice trout just about anywhere.
It's full on Summertime, and that generally means it's also time to fish smaller flies. Most of the nymphs & dries the trout predominately feed upon are #18 or smaller in August, often much smaller. There are a few exceptions, notably Isonychia #10-14, big Stoneflies #6-12, and some of the Cahills/Summer Stenos & Caddis are a bit bigger too. I've turned around many a day of late Summer nymphing by downsizing #14-16 nymphs to #18 or even 20s. The morning dry fly hatch on pools & slower riffles is currently Summer/Winter Caddis #20-24, Needhami #22-26, and the "Glamour Hatch" of Tricos #22-26. All these tiny dries are best fished on longer leaders with 7x tippets, and for smaller nymphs it's a good idea to downsize your tippet to 6x to give them a more natural presentation & drift. Thinner tippets will also sink lighter weighed nymphs to the bottom quickly. In the faster water you will find some bigger assorted Caddis hatching in the AM, as well as big Stonefly nymphs crawling out. The midday exception (from late morning until early evening) would mainly be fishing terrestrials, in particular Ants & Beetles, #12-18 are very effective sizes that can be blind fished, or targeted to trout you see rising. Isonychia, being a big #10-14 mayfly, are another good bug to blind fish/prospect water with, just remember they are a fast water bug, so fish them there.
Water coming out of the dam is still plenty cold (50s) but warms slightly each week now, it was 54.5 degrees at 6am this morning at the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton, and rose to about 59-60 degrees in mid/late afternoon yesterday on a hot & sunny day in Riverton. As you go downriver, temps slowly rise, and during the day the temps increase and peak in mid/late afternoon- especially on hotter, sunny days. Cloudy days see much lower water temps increases. In early to mid mornings, you can currently safely fish probably as far downstream as New Hartford (where we are) & Canton, but by late morning I'd be moving upstream at least several miles to the mid permanent TMA/Catch & Release (Greenwoods, Church, Mathie's Grove, etc.) and upstream to stay in trout-friendly water temps. It hit about 69-70 degrees at 3pm by the shop in New Hartford during the 90 degree sunny day yesterday, yet if you were in the upper part of the C&R/TMA (say Campground) it never exceeded the low 60s (optimum trout water temps are low 50s to mid 60s). So start further downriver in the AM move upstream as the day warms, and ideally carry a thermometer if you aren't sure about the water temps. Air temps stay hot through Thursday, then Friday/Saturday/Sunday average a more comfortable low 80s.
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.
The brand new T&T Contact II series (10' #2, 10' #3, 10' 9" #3, 10' 9" #4 & 10' 8" #6) are now available, and now the 11' 2" #3 has joined the lineup- Zach & I (Torrey) were closely involved with the prototype development of this last rod, and on version 7 of the prototype they absolutely nailed it. 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, plus the newer materials they use to make the rods inherently store more energy and give the rod more 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 low water and summer conditions makes early & late in the day the best times to be out, midday with bright sun and low water can be a tough combo (secrets are look for shade, faster riffly or choppy water, and/or structure such as big rocks, downed trees, undercut banks). Prospecting with terrestrials such as beetles & ants, attractor dries, and Dry/Dropper rigs are all good strategies when there is no hatch. Dry/Dropper bridges combines dry fly fishing & nymphing, a hybrid technique you could say. Low water also makes for spookier trout and more technical fishing. For general dry fly fishing I'd recommend longer leaders (12' or even longer) with long and relatively light tippets. FYI you can take a 9' leader that is slightly heavier than what you want for a final tippet (say 4x or 5x), and then add 3-4' of tippet to make it a better dry fly leader. Longer leaders with longer tippets give you a more stealthy separation between your fly line and your fly, and they also make it easier to get a drag-free float. A #2-4 fly rod is preferable to a #5 or 6 rod as the fly line lands more gently, thinner fly lines are more flexible which helps make a drag-free presentation, and the more flexible lighter rods give you more tippet protection.
Tricos have joined the other small bug morning hatches (Needhami #22-26 & Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24). They are at least as far upstream as the lower permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and moving further upstream every day. They run #22-26, and the spinner fall is the main event. They form balls of spinners in the air, and allegedly hit the water when the air is about 68 degrees. Typically they are an early to mid morning event, but that all depends upon air temps. They start earlier on warmer mornings, and later during cool ones.
Dry/Dropper is very effective, especially now with the lower water. This technique will let you fish slower and shallower water that can be tough to fish with Euro Nymphing or Indicators, and it lets you stay further away so you don't spook the trout. Try a small weighted nymph 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 #18-20, give or take), and use much lighter flies than you would in the Spring. Dominant hatches include Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 (early/mid morns), Needhami #20-26 (/late morns, have duns & spinners), and also Tricos in the moringing (#22-26, spinners are the main event, they hit the water at about 68 degrees air temp), and then assorted Blue Winged Olives #18-26 at various times during the day, and #10-14 Isonychia (later in the day, faster water only). Attenuata are about done, they are a light hatch and limited to just Riverton in the upper 2 miles and a light hatch now- you may still see a few (hatch is only in Riverton and almost done) possibly a few small Dorothea Sulfurs (that hatch is just about done also) up in Riverton too, usually no bigger than #18. There are also 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 late morning to early evening 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.
All methods are producing at moments: 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.
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The Farmington is currently low and at a total flow of 166cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area, and averaging in the mid 50s to upper 60s for water temps on most of the river, depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Riverton is 152cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 14cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. 6am Riverton water temp was 54.5 degrees this morning (it hit 59-60 yesterday in mid/late afternoon), downstream water temps are higher (mid 50s to mid/upper 60s), temps will rise during the day. Most mornings (assuming a relatively cool night) water temps are trout-friendly as far down to Canton/New Hartford, but I would not go further downriver (Collinsville/Unionville) than that, and by late morning I'd be at least several miles upstream in order to stay in trout-friendly water temps (mid permanent TMA/C&R and upstream). The further upstream you go right now, the colder the water.