Zach’s client knocked it outta the park on his first day tight-lining nymphs- 21” brown! Next down is Derrick’s guide partner Matt holding his client’s 22” bow. Third pic is Jill and her son Kade- parenting done right! Fourth pic is customer Chris Wahl with a big brown deceived by a tight-lined jig streamer.
FYI some of you have been asking for Sighter Wax- it’s a neon fluorescent paste you can apply to your leader while Euro nymphing, and it gives you a super visible section to focus on, and it can be wiped off and put wherever you want.
Cannot believe Memorial Day weekend is already at hand. Much cooler (highs 40s-60s) and somewhat wet for this holiday weekend- bring your raincoat! Also keep an eye on flows with the rain forecasted, that may affect where you choose to fish (lower flows upriver). I fished downriver Thursday from about 1pm until dark. A light trickle of Caddis all afternoon, and then after that a bunch of egg-laying Caddis appeared around 8pm, and a little after that I saw my first Sulfur hatch, about a #16. Not heavy, but certainly enough to call it a hatch. Don’t know how far upriver that hatch is yet, but I’d stay down in Collinsville, Unionville & below if you are looking for Sulfurs, and make sure you stay late or you won’t see it. Look for that hatch to move upstream in the near future. I think I saw a few big March Browns downriver too. New Hartford & up it’ s mostly Vitreus and assorted Caddis. Nymphing remains the most consistent method, no surprise there. Pupa & other nympsh fished in the faster water can catch fish all day long. Dries, streamers, and wet flies/soft-hackles are all having their moments too. Depending upon the day, the weather/temps, and river section fished, hatches can be at just about any time of day, so be flexible. And just because there is a hatch doesn’t mean that the trout will rise, so be flexible in your approach, because you may need to fish subsurface with nymphs or soft-hackles. Dry/Dropper rigs are also a good choice during hatches as they cover 2 bases at the same time- read the paragraphs below for more detailed advice.
Caddis currently come in avariety of sizes & colors, from #14 tans down to #20 greens, and everything in between (grays, browns, black). They have been active on & off all day long, with peak hatching mornings through afternoons, and egg-laying during the lower light of evenings. Most of the best Caddis action is in the faster choppy water with some current. The morning/afternoon hatch is often more of a subsurface deal with pupa, and there are more rising trout in the evenings when they egg-lay. Assorted Caddis are all over the river, with the exception of Riverton- colder water temps delay hatches in the upper 2 miles above the Still River. Vitreus #12-16 are a legit hatch on most of the river now, but again not up in Riverton yet.
A great rig during morning/afternoon Caddis hatches is a buoyant/visible dry such as an Elk Hair Caddis with a weighted pupa trailed 10-24” below that. During evening egg-laying, try a Caddis dry with a soft hackle trailed 1 foot below (imitates diving egg-layers). During the hatch, if they are eating on top, make sure to fish a pupa/emerger pattern that floats low in the film, preferably with a trailing shuck. But often they don’t rise during the emergence, instead choosing to stay deep and let the current deliver the food right to them. In that case, nymphing the faster water with the appropriate pupa patterns can be lethal. Dead-drift your pupa, but always allow them to go downstream & swing below you. Caddis are above average swimmers and sometimes a swinging pupa outfishes a dead-drifted one.
Vitreus are in the Epeorus family and close cousins to the Quill Gordon. They have 2 tails, and the duns emerge from the nymphal shuck on the stream bottom and swim to the surface (just like the Quill Gordon). We normally see them sometime between late afternoon & dark, the last 2 hours of daylight are normally the peak. A swung soft hackle or wet fly in yellow or orange can do a good job imitating these swimming/hatching duns. The females are full of eggs and they show through their abdomen, giving them a creamy color with a pink/orange cast to them. Many people consider them a Sulfur of sorts, as the males are pale yellow/creamy in color and hatch at “Sulfur Time”, but usually the “true Sulfurs” are considered to be the Invaria & the Dorothea. June is the peak InvariaSulfur month on the Farmington, but the smaller Dorothea can linger in the colder waters of Riverton as late as early/mid August some years. Invaria run #12-16 (typically #16 here), and Dorothea are #16-20.
Seeing both olive/green & tan Caddis. The pupa are doing very well fished in mornings & afternoons in the faster water, and will vastly outfish dries during this phase of the hatch as trout typically feed on the pupa subsurface- wets & dries will work well during the evening egg-laying, and I often continue to do well on pupa in the eves too (imitating diving egg layers maybe?). I would say there are currently at least 4-5 different Caddis hatching, maybe more- from a #14 down to a #20 in assorted colors. Dead-drift the pupa, but then let them swing up at the end. Strikes can come at any point. If you have some #14-16 pupa in tan and olive/green colors that will cover a lot of bases. Wet flies & soft hackles in Caddis colors can be very effective when they are hatching or egg-laying. On the Farmington, mid to late SpringCaddis hatches typically occur in the late morning to mid afternoon time slot, and egg-laying (which generally creates most of the Caddis dry fly action) is typically in the evening when the light levels drop. FYI weather affects things and insect hatching time slots are not set in stone- heat, cold, cloud cover, sunshine and rain all can change this. Medium to fast choppy water is generally where the Caddis both hatch & egg lay.
We have the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, they feel amazing in hand, and I’m predicting they will be big sellers in 2021. Euro specific rods received: in the Ultralite LL series the10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2. 9’ 9” #3, 10’ 8” #3, and 9’ 9” #4. In the standard Ultralite the 9’ #4, 9’ #5, 9’ #6, 9’ #7, 10’ #4, and 10’ #5.
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, the best Euro rods currently on the market according to many experienced Euro nymphers. 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 running medium and clear at a total flow of 417cfs this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). It is 335cfs below the dam in Riverton, and the Still River is adding in 82cfs – it dumps in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton. Weekend rain predictions (1-2” Friday night) will likely raise flows. The Still River runs warmer than the water from the dam (mid/upper 40s) this time of year, and so currently it has a positive affect on water temps (raises them). Last I knew the East Branch was releasing an additional 50cfs about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Unionville USGS gauge is cfs this morning, a very fishable/wadeable medium flow. Riverton water temp was 46.5 degrees at 8am, yesterday afternoon it reached 49 degrees at the Riverton gauge (water temps are higher downriver, and can reach mid/upper 50s currently).
-Assorted Caddis #14-20 (mostly tans & olive/greens): morning to afternoon hatch, evening
-Vitreus #12-16: late afternoon to evening hatch, faster water
-Sulfur (Invaria) #16: late evenings, lower river only (Collinsville, Unionville & below)
-March Brown #10-12: maybe a few downriver (Collinsville, Unionville)- late afternoon/eves
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually
-Midges #20-28: anytime, all year
-Parachute Adams #12-24: imitates many, many different bugs
-Caddis Pupa #14-16- tan, olive/green
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-16
-March Brown Nymph #10-12
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs
-Cased Caddis #10-14 (especially after flow bumps)
-Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies/SJWorms, Green Weenies) for higher or off-color flows & fresh stockers
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: olive, black
-Bigger Stoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- often works when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive, yellow
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.
-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