Cover boy is smiling customer Jeffrey Weisman with a beautiful Farmington River brown trout, I'd be grinning too, nice job! 2nd fish pic is a great image with John Isola holding a really nice male brown. 3rd fish pic is Grant Magee's hand holding a nice sized brown he fooled at the edge of darkness, with a #14 Rusty Spinner (probably imitates Iso spinners)- he said the bugs & fishing picked up right as it got dark, that wasn't the only nice fish he caught.
It's feels like Fall has moved in, including some splashes of foliage color here & there. Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) remains very low but fishable, the dam is releasing 75cfs, and reading 84cfs at the USGS flow gauge 2 miles downriver. Riverton AM water temp at the same gauge is 61 degrees this morning, peaked at 67 yesterday in late afternoon. 10 Day Forecast highs are low/mid 60s to mid 70s, with night mostly low 40s to low 50s. This should keep water temps good on virtually the entire river despite the low water. Ironically after a cooler day and a cold night down into the 40s, in the mornings the water will be cooler the further you go downstream, as it's coming out of the dam somewhere near 60 degrees at the moment (give or take a couple of degrees).
Trico spinner falls are still going well, albeit with the colder nights here now they will happen later in the morning, so you don't need to be here at the crack of dawn to hit it- the spinners normally fall when air temps are 65-70 degrees (68 is supposedly the "magic" temp). They are getting lighter as you move downriver, best Trico reports of late are above Boneyard now, with Campground & up seeing the best action for that bug. It's technical fishing, so make sure to bring your tiny flies, long leaders, and light tippets (7x), and expect to work for each and every fish. Flying Ants have also been a major player some days, September is typically a big month for them- look for warmer sunny days ideally, Wednesday & Thursday this week (highs mid/upper 70s) may see them doing their mating swarms. When they are on the water, the trout rise like crazy, so make sure to have a few winged ants on you to imitate them. FYI they are typically small, as in #20-24, but can sometimes be bigger.
Our most popular jig hook, the Hanak 450 Jig Superb, is now finally available in #18, and we have a pile of them in stock. Just in time for tying late Summer/early Fall small low water nymphs. The hook design is excellent: ultra wide gap for better hooking, and a slight short shank to tie smaller bugs. Ends up being more like a #20, but with the gap of at least a true #16 hooks (maybe even bigger). If you want a similar hook with heavier wire, also check out the Fasna F-415, it goes all the way down to #20, and runs smaller than the Hanak (as in the #16 Fasna is the same size as the #18 Hanak).
As of September 1st, virtually the entire river went Catch & Release (C&R) (21 miles from the dam in Riverton down to the Unionville Rt 177 bridge) until 6am on Opening Day in April 2021. If you see anybody keeping trout, don't confront them, instead call the CT DEEP TIPS hotline at 800-842-TIPS(4357) and report them. Even if they are unable to come & ticket or arrest them, it gets logged into the system and can help us get more future DEEP enforcement on the river when they analyze their call logs data. I recommend programming that phone # into your cell phone. Please don't ask us to call them for you, it carries more weight when lots of different individuals are calling in violations, rather than coming mostly from UpCountry.
Euro Nymphing Clinic is full too.
Although low water makes for tougher and more technical fishing, we continue to get good customer reports from some customers (not all!), and pictures of big trout landed. Many customers are working hard for only an occasional hook up. Don't feel bad if you are working your ass off for each fish you catch, you need to be on your "A" game in these late Summer/early Fall conditions. Don't beat yourself up if you aren't catching big trout like you see us post in this report, you are seeing fish that represent only a very small percentage of the fish caught by most anglers. You have to adapt to the low water conditions, time of year, and the current bugs. If you do what you were doing to be successful in June, and fish only the same spots, you will struggle. Be flexible where you fish, try new spots, experiment with your flies & tactics. If you move around & look, fish can be found of the surface most of the day, with mornings & late afternoon through evenings the peak hatch times.
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/or 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.
Peak fishing times are mornings & late afternoon/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, many big trout come out of surprisingly shallow, fast ripply water this time of year. Evenings sees some bigger size bugs hatching in riffly water, and 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 18-24" of tippet built in, 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. However, big bushy dries will require shorter/heavier tippets to properly turn your leader over.
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.
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 morning hatches include Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 (early/mid morns) and Tricos (#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), and assorted spinners (especially Rusty). 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.
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:
8am-6pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-5pm on weekends.
The Farmington is currently still very low at a total flow of 84cfs total flow through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area, and averaging upper 50s to upper 60s for water temps on most of the upper river, depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Riverton is a very low 76cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in an additional 8cfs below it's junction with the West Branch. Early morning Riverton water temp was 61 degrees this morning, peaked out at 67 in late afternoon. Downstream water temps can be lower or higher than this, depending upon night time lows, daytime highs, and sunshine (or lack thereof).