Friday, March 19, 2021

Friday 3/19/21 Farmington River Report: warm weekend weather

Our store hours through March:Monday through Sunday, 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. When entering the store please try to maintain a 6ft distance from other customers if possible, and as per the governor's decree you must wear a mask/face covering of some sort inside the store. We are happy to deliver curbside if you are uncomfortable shopping inside. Just give us a call.

Some fish pics for you today: lead pic is a quality brown from way downriver by Steve Hogan, looks wild to me. Second is one of several I caught on Thursday- went 4/4 in the first spot, then zeroed in the next 3 locations haha. Third pic is a nice one by Derrick Kirkpatrick, looks like another wild brown with fantastic colors & spotting.

Opening Day update:
As of March 4th, Governor Lamont announced the early opening of trout fishing season to help alleviate overcrowding during COVIDWhat does this mean for us on the Farmington River? It’s business as usual here, as we were already open to Catch & Release (C&R) from the dam in Riverton 21 miles downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, and that section remains C&R until the traditional Opening Day date of April 10 at 6am. All trout streams with TMAs remain Catch & Releaseuntil April 10 this year, and on all trout streams that are not TMAs and fall under general regulation you are now allowed to keep a daily limit of trout.

The river was stocked 3weeks ago, both upstream & downstream of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), and the lower river in Collinsville/Unionville was stocked in the past week- the upper stocking section is the 4 miles from Whittemore up to the dam in Riverton, and the lower section is from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford downstream through Canton, Collinsville and Unionville.

Two things of note: Devin Olsen (he wrote “Tactical Fly Fishing” and is one of the stars along with Lance Egan in the “Modern Nymphing” & “Adaptive Fly Fishing” videos, he is also a long time member of Fly Fishing Team USA and an individual medalist in the competitive fly fishing world championships) will be doing a Zoom presentation for the FRAA on Wednesday March 24 at 7pm- we will post a clickable link to this next week. It is open to everyone and it’s free, we will post a link to this shortly. Number two is that the annual Farmington River Cleanup is on Saturday April 24, 9am - 3pm and there will be a team competition with awards for the most trash, strangest, biggest pile, shopping carts, and most fishing line. Everyone participating will be automatically entered into a free raffle for a T&T rod, and Simms G3 waders- click here to sign up. 

Although temps cooled off and we got some rain, very mild weather returns this weekend and the river is dropping fast. Currently we are mid 600cfs range total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), most of that is from the Still River but it is going down rapidly. I’d expect weekend flows to be more like 400-500cfs. You always have the option of going up to Riverton above the Still River and fishing the upper 2 miles where the flow is under 200cfs. Downstream of that it’s still very fishable, especially with nymphs & streamers- fish the edges out of the heavier current, and go bigger on your flies. If nymphing, this is a great time to fish “Junk Flies”- Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Egg Flies, and Green Weenies. Before this flow bump fishing was overall slower with anglers working for their fish, and there was some limited dry fly action with fish rising to Stones at moments. When flows come back to normal next week you should see some more of this rising activity. Warm weather moving in starting Saturday and here to stay should improve the fishing- all Ten Day highs starting then are in the 50s & 60s. Expect to currently work for your fish (unless you find a pod of recent stockers outside of the permanent TMA/C&R section), but the average size is excellent right now. It’s the usual March quality over quantity deal. 

Early Stones, most black, some brown, are the current glamour hatch.Warmer, sunny days will see good Early Stonefly activity. Try also Caddis Larva (both regular olive/green as well as Cased), Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, and egg flies. Streamers can be effective too if you get them deep and fish them s-l-o-w-l-y. Having said that, experiment with retrieves because even in cold water there will still be days when the trout prefer a faster moving streamer. Top March streamer colors would include olive, brown, and white, and don’t overlook ones with a little yellow mixed in (olive/yellow, brown yellow, etc.). Streamer action has varied considerably from day to day, with nymphsgenerally being moreconsistent. But…. streamers will often move the biggest fish. Early Black Stones have been out & about, some trout are rising to them at moments if you are in the right place at the right timeSubsurface is generally the way to go in March, it can be a tough month for dries.Most(but not all) bugs that are currently hatching remain small: Early Black Stones #12-16, Winter/Summer Caddis #20-24, Midges #20-28, and Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies #18-24.

Wrecently received a batch of the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, I got to wiggle them and they feel amazingand I’m predicting they will be big sellers in 2021. Euro specific rods received: Ultralite LL series10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2. 9’ 9” #3, and 10’ 8” #3. In the standard Ultralite the 9’ #4, 9’ #6, 9’ #7, 10’ #4, and 10’ #5- we already hathe 9’ #5s in the rack. Big orders of Simms, Korkers, Fishpond, Scott, Ross, Lamson arrived this week.We have also received large orders of Nature’s Spirit, Wapsi, and Hareline fly tying material orders recently. 

The new T&T Contact II series (10' #2, 10' #3, 10' 9" #3, 11' 2" #3, 10' 9" #4 & 10' 8" #6) is a home run, arguably the best Euro rods currently on the market. New improved materials, new guide spacing, down-locking reel seats are standard now, plus a new fighting butt design that is more comfortable. Recovery is noticeably better/crisper, 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 for casting and playing big trout. The blanks are incredibly strong and much much harder to break, even when you do something stupid. These rods are easier to cast, will give you more distance, and they deliver with improved accuracy. Retail is $825. FYI demand is often exceeding supply with these rods, so if we don’t have what you want in stock get your name on a waiting list.

The Farmington is currently high but fishable, and dropping at a total flow of 641cfs through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area (historical normal total flow for today is 409cfs), and has averaged in the mid/upper 30s for water temps lately in Riverton- depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day, downriver temps have been hitting the low 40s or so most days. Riverton is medium/medium-low at 184cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in another 457cfs and dropping fast below it’s junction. AM Riverton water temp was 35 degrees this morning, water temps usually rise on sunny or mild afternoons- it hit 38 yesterday afternoon. Downstream water temps can be higher or lower than this depending upon lows, highs, sunshine, and time of day. East Branch is currently releasing 75cfs as of 10am todays. 

Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: afternoons
Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults, typically early/mid AM
-Midges #20-32: anytime (365 days a year)
-Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies (Capnia) #18-24: afternoons
-Parachute Adams #1
2-24: different sizes imitate many different bugs including Midges & BWOs

Darker Nymphs in brown or black #14-18
Early Stoneflies #14: brown, black- most active in afternoons
-Egg Flies #10-18: assorted colors (yellow, pinks, oranges or mixed colors)
Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies/San Juan Worms, Green Weenies)
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: black, olive, red
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Cased Caddis #10-14
-Blue Wing Olive #16-2
0: various patterns with & without hot spots/flash
Bigger Stoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- oftenworks when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like Blue Wing Olives, 
Hendricksons, Paraleps, etc.
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot 
such asRainbow Warriors, Blue Lightning, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats,etc.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, Partridge & Pheasant Tail
this time of year due to cold water temps you need to fish them deep & slow

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
-Zuddler #4-8: olive, yellow, white, brown, black
-Complex Twist Bugger & Mini version #2-6: assorted colors 
-Sculp Snack #8 (George Daniel pattern) 
-Home Invader #2-6- tan, black, white, yellow 
-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 (yellow, olive, brown)

Report by Torrey Collins