Our store hours through October: Monday 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. Per the latest CDC guidelines, in Connecticut now you do NOT have to wear a mask/face covering anymore IF you are vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you need to continue to wear a mask, and please try to maintain a 6ft distance from other customers if possible. We are happy to deliver curbside if you are uncomfortable shopping inside. Just give us a call.
We have some availability for our awesome upstairs apartment rental- go to our Lodging page to check availability. Great place to stay riverside, completely furnished with a kitchen, and a deck that gives you a view of the river out back. All that and very reasonably priced.
Zach’s client Tim worked on this exceptional brown in the top pic for hours, and finally got it on a dry. Sometimes hard work pays off big time. Our customer Phil took the flawless wild brown you see in the second pic down. Third up is CTFlyGuyz, they had a good day Monday. Fourth pic is once again our own Joey Takeman with a handful of brown trout perfection he nymphed up.
New product is arriving daily, make sure to check around the store when you come in. Sage ESN Euro reels are in stock again, in the chipotle color- butter smooth drag, full cage to keep thin Euro lines & mono rigs from slipping out of the reel, plus counterweights to help you balance out longer rods. Large diameter (3 7/8”), narrow spool, and a BIG arbor give you a great retrieve rate, less line coiling, plus you don’t need to put 200+ yards of 30# backing to fill up your reel. I’ve been fishing this reel since Summer 2020, and it’s now my favorite reel. If the $425 price tag is too much, the Redington TILT reel is also a Euro specific design at only $250, fully machined, full cage, smooth drag, and also with counterweights.
Some of you have been asking for Sighter Wax, and we now have it in 3 colors- 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. You can even apply it over your Sighter to further enhance visibility.
Couple more days of hot weather, and then things start to cool off Thursday, and then bigtime on Friday with highs in the mid 60s. How has the heat affect the river & hatches? Well the Farmington stays ice cold for many miles below the dam, it’s still coming out of the dam well down into the 40s, and then slowly warms up as you venture downstream of the dam. Unlike bigger northeast freestone rivers like the Housatonic that will see water temps pushing way up into the 70s this week (too hot to trout fish) until cooler weather chills them back down. Even in Collinsville/Unionville the water is still currently cold enough to trout fish in the Farmington River. The hot air temps do tend to push some of the bug activity early & later in the day. Especially evening egg-laying activity (May fly spinners & Caddis egg-layers), as it is triggered by a combination of lower light levels & air temps. The further you venture upstream, the more apt you are to see “evening” bug activity happen earlier. Down by us in New Hartford the best evening bugs have been around 8:30pm until full dark, so stay late. Upriver we’ve been seeing afternoon Sulfurs some days, and the evening bug activity will often begin earlier.
MDC increased the dam release in Riverton by about 80cfs Monday morning, and simultaneously decreased the East Branch release from 100 down to 25cfs. Current flow in the permanent C&R (catch & release)/TMA is 419cfs (355cfs from the dam, plus 64cfs from the Still River). Normal total flow for today would be about 350cfs, so we are only about 70cfs above that. All things being equal, the lower the flow, the more dry fly fishing there is. Most of the day nymphing has been a lot more productive than dries, but during bug activity, especially in the eves, you can find some risers. Make sure to be flexible in your approach or you can have a rough day. Getting some great reports from the nymphers, but some of the “dry fly only” guys have had a tough time when they cannot find risers. Trout are eating subsurface all day long right now. Focus on the choppy water with some current if you are nymphing. If you cover water and change flies as needed, you should be able to find some good fishing. Or you can be stubborn and inflexible and have a rough day, it’s all your choice...
We are getting into “Crazy Time” now, that period where tons of different bugs are all hatching at various momentson the same days. Doesn’t alwaysmean that the trout will be rising when you want them too, so be prepared to go subsurface with soft hackles/wet flies & nymphs.
Hatch times can be different than what the books say, due to the Farmington being a cold tailwater. As such we often see Sulfurs hatching in the afternoons. Further downriver, the farther you get from the dam the more the river acts like a normal freestone, rain-fed river, and the Sulfurs emerge later in the day like the books say. March Brown/Gray Fox like to hatch in faster water in the late afternoons through evenings, and are a sporadic hatch- one here, one there. They don’t normally hatch in concentrated quantities for an hour or two like the Sulfurs often do. However, on milder evenings you will sometimes see a good spinner fall of them. The duns tend to emerge near the stream edges, as the nymphs migrate there 1-2 weeks before they hatch- this nymphs migration can also create some good nymphing. Large Stoneflies averaging #6-10 are starting to emerge/crawl out in the early to mid mornings now- you will see their empty shucks on the rocks in the fast water. That is also the water type you want to focus on when nymphing imitations of them in the mornings-this can produce some BIG fish. Pair them up with a Caddis Pupa or a smaller Pheasant Tail/Mayfly nymph.
Nymphing remains the most consistent method, no surprise there. Caddis pupa & Mayfly nymphs fished in the faster water can catch fish all day long, and you can add big Stonefly nymphs to the roster now. 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 a variety 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, and you may start to see them in the colder waters of Riverton below the dam now. Vitreus #12-16 are a legit hatch on most of the river now.
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 about 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.
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 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 419cfs this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). It is 355cfs below the dam in Riverton, and the Still River is adding in 63.5cfs and dropping – it dumps in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton. The Still River runs warmer (60s) 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). The East Branch is releasing an additional 25cfs about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Unionville USGS gauge is 508cfs this morning- that’s a medium and historically normal flow for that section this time of year. Riverton water temp was 47.5 degrees at 8am, yesterday afternoon it reached 50.5 degrees at the Riverton gauge (water temps are higher downriver, and can reach mid/upper 50s currently, low 60s in Collinsville/Unionville during hot sunny afternoons).
-Sulfur (Invaria) #14-16: from downstream to upstream just below the junction with the Still River
-Assorted Caddis #14-20 (mostly tans & olive/greens): morning to afternoon hatch, evening
-Vitreus #12-16: late afternoon to evening hatch, faster water
-March Brown/Gray Fox#10-14: from downriver up through the permanent TMA/C&R- late afternoon/eves, sporadic hatch in faster water, especially along the edges
-Big Stoneflies #6-12: don’t create a lot of dry fly fishing, but the nymphs crawl out/emerge in the low
light of early/mid mornings in faster water. Golden Yellow, Brown, and Black.
-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
-Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black- early/mid AM nymphs emerge/crawl out June thru Oct
-March Brown Nymph #10-14
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift (first & last light)
-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
-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, spaced 20-30” apart
-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