Mikey Andrew making the report 2x today: up top with a beauty of an August holdover Farmington River Survivor Strain Brown Trout, and 3rd pic down with a stunning wild brown out of inches of water, caught in late July. 2nd pic is a recent moused up brown by Zach St. Amand, doing what he does best.
One last day of truly hot weather (88 degrees today), and then starting tonight the hot weather mostly breaks. Lows in the 50s the next 2 nights, and a high of 75 degrees for tomorrow (Wednesday), and in the 70s this upcoming weekend. The 10 Day Forecast averages in the upper 70s, with nights in the 50s to low 60s- much better! The MDC reduced the dam release by 25cfs Monday morning, due to extreme lack of rainfall, they are now releasing 125cfs from the dam (150cfs before that), the USGS streamflow gauge is reading 129cfs 2 miles below the dam, with an additional 9cfs coming in from the very low & warm Still River. This is a low flow (normal for now is about 225cfs total flow), but still very much fishable as long as you are stealthy and adapt to the conditions (mostly smaller flies, fish early & late, longer/lighter leaders, lighter nymph rigs, look for deeper water & shade, fish broken water/riffles/pockets, target structure, etc.).
While many of the tiny hatch-matching dries require 12' or longer 6x-7x leaders, trying to throw a Dry/Dropper rig on that is a recipe for disaster. Think more like 9', and no lighter than 5x, and big air resistant dries may require heavier (3x-4x) and sometimes even shorter (7.5') leaders. You have to be able to accurately turn over that rig, if you cannot, go shorter & heavier. Attach your nymph to 18-24" of 6x fluoro tippet for starters. Shallow runs and surface feeding trout may mean running it 12" below, and deeper/faster runs may require up to 30-36". Most people tie the nymph off the hook bend of the dry, but if you want the best rig of all, create a tag end dropper for your dry fly (just like you would in a Euro nymphing rig) above your nymph. Flows are currently low and most of the bugs are small, so think #16-22 nymphs. This is a shallow nymphing rig, so don't worry about dredging near the bottom, there are different rigs for that (Euro or Indicator nymphing). For those of you doing a Dry/Dropper rig on a Euro rod with a Mono rig, it's totally doable if you have a thicker mono set up. 15-20# Mono is optimal, but you can go a little thinner if the dries aren't too big and bushy. If you go too thin, there's not enough mass in the mono to turn the flies over. The weight of the dropper nymph actually helps you make the cast with a Mono rig, just make sure it's not too heavy for your dry fly to support. It becomes more critical to balance out your flies with a Mono rig though- bigger dries need heaver flies to be able to cast them, and smaller dries balance with lighter nymphs. That is not necessary with a traditional fly line and tapered leader. But the advantage to a Mono rig is that for short to moderate range work you can high-stick it and keep all the line off the water, up to maybe 25' or so.
While most customers are rightfully focusing mainly on dry flies & dry/dropper (because both are fun and very effective right now), Euro nymphing can still be very effective, especially when not much is going on with hatches or rising trout. Just make sure to use much lighter and mostly smaller flies. My last outing I used a 2.5mm tungsten flies for anchors (mostly #16s), and my top dropper was a small & light 2mm bead- the top dropper saw 90% of the action for me, even in the dark. A pair of 2.5mm flies was actually too heavy for where I was fishing in this low water. Typically #18-20 nymphs are the more effective sizes this time of year in these conditions. And as I've mentioned before, when you have optimal water temps (low 50s to mid 60s) and bugs hatching, you DO NOT need to be on the bottom with your nymphs. In fact the trout are doing much of their feeding on active bugs that are in the mid to even upper water column, plus they are willing to move a bit to eat right now. Trout are set up to feed at their level & above them, so don't drift your flies underneath them. The cool part about this is you will snag bottom far less, and have less false hook-sets due to constantly touching bottom (because most of the time you will be above the bottom with lighter flies). FYI if you normally fish 5x, you may find better success nymphing with 6x in low water with smaller nymphs- it's help sink light flies quicker, plus the greater flexibility allows more natural movement of the flies. In really skinny water, sometimes only fishing one nymph works better than two
Peak fishing times remain mornings & evenings, midday is slower/tougher with very few bugs. The morning match-the-hatch dry fly game is mostly of the technical flat water variety, with small dry flies, long leaders & light tippets. Midday is slow on hatches, so try blind fishing terrestrials (Ants, Beetles), attractor dries, Dry/Dropper, or do some Euro or Indicator nymphing in the faster broken/riffly water- look for shade if possible, and fish tight to structure (rocks, fallen trees, undercut banks, etc.). Look for deeper water, indicated by darker water, but don't ignore the knee deep & shallower stuff, mamy Evenings sees some bigger size bugs hatching in riffly water, you can find success with #10-18 flies and slightly heavier tippets. 6x is about "average" right now, but the tiny dries all but require 7x tippet, and some of the bigger evening bugs like Isonychia can be fished on 5x. It's all about getting an accurate, drag-free float, which is easier to do with lighter tippet. Most leaders come with two feet or less of tippet built is, but I find 3-4' (or even more) gives me much better drag-free presentations, so I inevitably lengthen out my tippet when I fish dries. This will often also you to fish heavier tippet.
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.
Tricos have joined the other small bug morning hatches (Needhami #22-26 & Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24). 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, plus or minus a little. 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 in low 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). 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 a 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. FYI Antoine is always available for 1-on-1 guided trips.
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.
Current Store Hours:
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The Farmington is currently low and at a total flow of 138cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area, and averaging in the upper 50s to upper 60s for water temps on most of the river, depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Riverton is 129cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 9cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. 6am Riverton water temp was 58 degrees this morning (it hit 62.5 yesterday in mid/late afternoon), downstream water temps are higher (low 60s to upper 60s/low 70s later in the day), 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 closer to the dam, the colder the water.