Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday 4/20/21 Farmington River Report: Hendo/flow update & big trout

Our store hours through MarchMonday through Friday, 8am-6pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm. We are now open until 6pm on weekdays (not weekends) and will be on that schedule through October. 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. 

The big trout keep appearing. Here’s just a few of many: up top Steve Kukta with a real beauty he nymphed up in some slower frog water. Next is Mike Andrews with a slammer, he truly had a “Day for Kings” with multiple large to very large holdovers & wilds. Third pic is customer Paul Akerlind with a really nice brown.

Farmington River Cleanup
The annual Farmington River Cleanup on 
this Saturday April 24 9am-3pm will be a team competition this year 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

Flows are PERFECT, medium at about 300cfs (historical USGS normal flow is 500+ bfs for today's date). Everyone is asking about the Hendrickson hatch, so here’s what I know. We haven’t had a major legit hatch of them yet, but have been seeing light number from downstream in Unionville/Collinsville up to as high as New Hartford & low/mid TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). The further upstream, the lighter the numbers. It’s still been mainly a nymph & streamer game, and the subsurface catching has been good to excellent for many, and not just on fresh stockers! Plenty of holdovers & wilds mixing in. I expect to see the hatch start to pick up today (Tuesday), with some sunshine and a high near 70 degrees it should really help get the hatch going hopefully. If you really want to try catch it, go downriver in the afternoons- think Unionville, Collinsville, and Canton, no higher up than New Hartford.Warmer water temps downriver means the hatch starts there and works it’s way upriver. We’re still seeing more Early Stones #14-16 & Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #16-20 than anything else, but that will change ASAP. Expect to nymph & fish streamers, but hope for a good hatch, it could happen today with the warm weather. Forsythia are in full bloom, and that normally correlates with the Hendrickson hatch.All three hatches are afternoon deals: BWOs like crappy, overcast cooler days, Stones like warmer/sunny days, so it's usually one hatch or the other, but not both. Hendricksons are usually a mid afternoon deal, but can start as early as noonish sometimes here. It’s not uncommon for the spinners to mix with the duns on the Farmington. Being a tailwater, all the hatch timing“rules” are off.

Subsurface with nymphs, wets/soft hackles & streamers is by far the most consistent currently, with some big fish getting caught. Try various #12-16 brown, black and darker nymphs (such as Pheasant Tails, Princes, etc.) that can imitate Early Stones, BMAR Hendrickson nymphs, #16-18 olive to olive brown nymphs for the Baetis/BWOs, and assorted Caddis Larva (regular & cased). Also fish the Hendrickson Soft Hackles Dick Sablitz tied for us: #12-14 Dark Hendrickson & Red Quill patterns, deadly! Higher flows dislodge lots of cased Caddis in the Spring, so nymph with those too. The streamer bite has been solid lately, so don’t be shy about throwing some bigger ones to hopefully connect with some of the bigger trout. Play with retrieves, fly size, and fly color until you hit on what works for that particular moment.

Stocking Update: The entire river has been heavily stocked recently, including the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA. Hard to go wrong with Woolly Buggers (black, olive) & Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies, Green Weenies) it you are fishing for fresh stockers. #14-1Hare's Ears typically work well too. 

We recently received a batch of the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, they feel amazingin handand 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 had the 9’ #5s in the rack. 

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 
medium at a total flow of 311cfs this morning through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area (historical normal total flow for today is 510cfs), and has averaged in the low to high 40s for water temps lately at the USGS temperature gauge in Riverton- depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day, look now for downriver temps to hit the mid/upper 40s and up to the low 50s or so on warmer, sunny afternoons. Riverton is low at 137cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in another 174cfs below it’s junction and it’s dropping fast. AM Riverton water temp was 4degrees this morning, water temps usually rise on sunny or mild afternoons- it hit 45.5 yesterday afternoon there. Downstream water temps can be higher than this in the afternoons, especially on mild sunny days. East Branch is currently releasing 150cfs (last I knew) about 3/8 mile below UpCountry. 

-Hendrickson #12-14- light so far, afternoon hatch. Should be a legit hatch any day
-Blue Winged Olives (BWO/Baetis/Olives) #16-20 (afternoons, esp. cloudy/
-Early Stoneflies #14-16: afternoons (especially sunny/mild days)
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults, typically early/mid AM
-Midges #20-32: anytime (365 days a year)
-Parachute Adams #12-24: different sizes imitate many bugs including 
Hendricksons,Midges & BWOs

-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #12
-Olive Nymphs #16-18
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #1
2-20: various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like Blue Wing Olives, Hendricksons, Paraleps, etc.
-Darker Nymphs in brown, black, 
peacock#12-18(such as Prince Nymph)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Cased Caddis #10-14
-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
-Bigger Stoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- often works when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Blue Lightning, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:

-Hendrickson Soft Hackles #12-14- Dark Hendrickson & Red Quill (tied by Dick Sablitz- deadly)

-Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, Partridge & Pheasant Tail
-best fished 2-3 at a time, on tag end droppers

-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