Thursday, July 1, 2021

Thursday 7/1/21 Farmington River Report: Holiday hours & Sun 7/4 flow update

Holiday Hours:

We will be open from 8am-3pm on Sunday 7/4 and Monday 7/5- back to the normal hours stated below after that. Please come in well before 3pm if you need to do a lot of shopping, get an outfit set up, or have a bunch of questions, as we are locking up at 3pm sharp. 

Flow Update Sunday 7/4

The river popped up to about 600cfs total flow after the brunt of the rain on Thursday & Friday, but it’s been steadily dropping and down in the mid 400cfs range (medium-high) and receding as I write this at 11am, Riverton remains at 240cfs above the Still River, virtually unaffected by the rain. Clarity is markedly improved below that with just a slight stain. We are getting good reports with fish on nymphs, streamers, wets/soft hackles and dries. If you want to fish dries on a cloudy day like today, look for the bigger/wider pools that have slower water in them, the overcast weather has been producing good hatches of small Blue Winged Olives (BWOs) in the #20-22 range this weekend. BWOs hatch best during cloudy, cooler weather.

Our store hours through OctoberMonday 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 vaccinatedIf 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.  

Up top is local guide Derrick Kirkpatrick again, with a 20”+ repeat offender that one of his clients caught in 2020- C&R works! Next down is Chris Chase with a very nice recent dry fly brown. Last pic is Jay Kvarnstrom with a big Bow he got this week on a dry fly. Some bigger trout have fallen to dries the past few weeks, it’s not always nymphs & streamers for better fish.

We have some summertime availability for our awesome upstairs apartment rental- go to our Lodging page to check if it’s available. Great place to stay riverside, completely furnished with a kitchen, big flat screen TV, and a deck that gives you a view of the river out back. All that and very reasonably priced. 

New products are arriving daily, including the long awaited brand new Hatch Iconic reels-fantastic drag on them.Check the bins for new fly patterns, they change frequently. 

Holiday Weekend Hours: Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 8am-5pm. Check with us about Sunday & Monday- we will open on 8am both days but will likely close 2-3 hours early on one or both days, so please plan on coming in by early afternoon if you need anything. 

What will this 4th of July holiday weekend bring us? Well the brutal heat wave broke today (high of only 75 & overcast), Friday to Sunday will see highs ranging from the low 60s to the mid 70s, mid 80s on Monday- rain is in the forecast on & off through Saturday.Water level is medium-low and typical for early July at 257cfs total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R)-historical median USGS total flow for today is 289cfsRain in the forecast will likely raise the Still River somewhat and increase the flow- check the flow gauges on our website under “Local Conditions”. Think streamers & maybe Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) during rainy weather. 

Evenings are prime time for dries, but if you look around you can often find some risers at other times. Not unusual to see some of our “evening bugs” sometimes hatching in the mornings or afternoons, I guess the cold water bottomreleasefrom the dammesses with the hatch times. Don’t get hung up on just fishing the flat water in the pools, as lots of nice fish are in the riffles and faster water. Bugs such as Isonychia and most Caddis also live/hatch/egg-lay in faster water, while other bugs like Sulfurs & Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) are more in slow to medium speed water.FYI on wet, overcast days keep your eyes out for small BWO’s, typically #20-22. 

Hatchwise #10-12 Isonychia are upstream now throughout the permanent Catch & Release (C&R), and likely up to Whittemore/Robert’s/Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock now. Sulfurs #16-18 have moved upriver (Attenuata too), if you want to catch them I’d be upstream about from about Mathie’s Grove & Campground all the way up to the dam. In the mornings, Needhami #22-26 have joined the Summer/Winter Caddis recently, make sure to have Needhami duns & spinners if you are dry fly fishing the pools in the AM. Typically the spinners fall first, and then the duns hatch (just a general rules with plenty of exceptions). Caddis in various sizes & colors are all over the entire river now- don’t neglect them for the more “glamorous” Mayflies. Ttrout will eat Caddis on the surface (especially in the eves), and the pupa fished subsurface can be effective all day long in the faster water. Swung wets & soft hackles can do a great job imitating hatching pupa & egg-laying adults. 

Definitely into that time of year when dries imitating terrestrial insects can be VERY effective, especially midday when insect hatches are slow. You can blind fish them in likely water, or target sporadic risers when you don’t see many bugs on the water. Ants & Beetles are the main players, anywhere from #12-24. Bigger foam terrestrials such as Mini Chernobyls #12-14 and #10 Monster Beetles are great for blind fishing likely water, and or Dry/Dropper fishing with a small weighted nymph 1-2 feet below them.

Current main hatches are big Isonychia #10-12, Sulfurs averaging #16-18 (upriver now from upper TMA/C&R up to the dam)and assorted Caddis #14-18- other bugs are in the mix too, but those are the main players. 

Dries, wets/soft-hackles, nymphs & streamers are all having their moments lately, the trout are definitely on the feed, including some truly big wild browns. If undisturbed, many bigger trout (especially wild browns) are feeding in 6-18” of water during insect emergences and can be caught with a stealthy approach (early & late in the day are peak times for this). The fishing is good from the dam in Riverton, down through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), and all the way downstream at least down to Unionville. If you move around, experiment with flies & tactics, and remain flexible in your approach, you should find success. If however you try to ram a particular method down the trout’s throat when it’s not the proper choice, you are heading for poor results and frustration. Let the trout tell you how to catch them. A highly underutilized but very effective method is wet fly/soft-hackle fishing, and it’s an efficient way to cover a lot of water thoroughly. Ideally fish 3 different patterns (minimum of 2) on tag end droppers, 20-30” apart, and experiment with dead-drifttwitching, swinging, retrieving, and even bouncing/dancing the top dropper fly. The trout will tell you how they want it by their response. This is a relaxing way to fish, and a good break from technical flat water dry fly fishing and the intense concentration of nymphing. Read further down in this report for more suggestions on wet fly fishing. 

Be aware that hatches vary from day to day and respond to water & air temps changes, variations in flow levels, and also light conditions. Be prepared to fish wet flies, nymph, or dry/dropper if they aren’t rising. First & last light are also prime streamer times, and also rainy/overcast days- if flows rise & discolor, even better for streamer fishing. The same spot on 2 consecutive night can see a great hatch one evening, followed by a poor hatch the next. This time of year, a mild cloudy day will often produce some of the better fishing, but even in bright sun the Farmington stays cool and there are often hatches. Due to the release of icy cold water, hatch time can be all over the place on this river. Sulfurs often hatch in the afternoons, and Isonychia can start in the mornings. Overall the best hatching most days has been in the evenings. The hotter and sunnier it is, the more the evening bugs will get pushed off closer to darkness- the further you get away from the dam, the more true this is. Closer to the dam the evening hatches often happen earlier, likely due to the colder water I presume. 

It pays to know your bugs, their habitat, and their hatching behavior. What you see for bugs and when they hatch will totally depend upon the time of day and how far below the dam you are. If you are on the water during hatching activity, expect to see some risers if you look around. Remember that many bugs ONLY hatch in water with some good current, but others like slower water- it pays to look online or in the books and do your homework. Big Stoneflies, March Browns and Isonychia live in fast water broken with rocks (pocket water), and most Caddis hatch & egg-lay in faster water. Sulfurs like medium-slow to medium-fast water, and Blue Winged Olives like medium to slow with gravel. Mayfly spinners usually do their thing over riffles. 

Various assorted Caddis (#12-22, averaging #14-18) remain a staple bug, with #14-16 pupa consistently producing subsurface- the adults come back in the evenings to egg-lay in faster water. Tans & olive/green are common colors, but also gray, brown & black. Keep your eyes out for spinner falls of Mayflies like Sulfurs in the eves as this can bring some large trout to the surface. Caddis are a possibility at any time. They tend to hatch here in the mornings/afternoons in riffles & faster water, and then come back at dusk and egg-lay/dive in the riffles & faster water. A Caddis pupa is a great choice for nymphing any time of day, but especially during emerge, and even during egg-laying, just be sure to let them swing out a the end of each drift. Large Stoneflies averaging #6-10 are emerging/crawling 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/Frenchy/Mayfly nymph.  

Terrestrials such as regular Ants & Beetles are both good options this time of year during non-hatch times as the milder weather has them active. If it ain’t happening on the surface, the nymph fishing underneath has been good. Imitations of all the bugs mentioned above are good choices. And if you are out in early to mid morning, try a big Stonefly nymph #6-10, as they are active and hatching/crawling out on the rocks now. 

Water temps remain cold to cool on the first 20+ miles of river below the dam in Riverton. Water being released is still in the upper 40s/low 50s, averages in the 50s for most of the river, and will get into the 60s in Collinsville/Unionville- all very trout-friendly water temps. The books say that 50-65 degrees is optimal for trout. 

Wet Fly Tips: this is a great time of year to fish wet flies & soft hackles. Fish them 2-3 at a time, on short tag end droppers, spaced 20-30” apart. Use 3x-5x fluoro tippet (depending upon fly size), and keep your rod tip up. The elevated rod tip prevents break-offs, gives you strike detection (watch the bow and look for changes), helps to better animate the flies, and allows a better hook-up percentage (creates just enough slack to allow the trout to suck your fly into their mouth). Riffly water 3 feet and shallower is prime for this, but it can catch trout on a variety of water types.

Nymphing remains a very consistent method, no surprise there. Caddis pupa, Mayfly nymphs, and Stonefly nymphs fished in the faster water can catch fish all day long- don’t neglect gaudy/flashy attractor nymphs, they can be surprisingly deadly sometimes. 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/wet flies. Dry/Dropper rigs are also a good choice as they cover 2 bases at the same time- read the paragraph below for more detailed advice.  

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 often 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 handand I’m predicting they will be big sellers in 2021. Customers who have bought & fished them tell me they are fantastic. Euro specific rods in the Ultralite LL series include the10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2, 10’ 8” #3, 9’ 2” & 9’ 9” #3 & #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. I’ve fished mine for almost a year now, and it’s amazing. 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 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 medium-low at 257cfs at 8am in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). The Still River is running 27cfs – it dumps in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton. Total flow will likely increase due to rain predicted for Thursday/Friday/Saturday (it will bring the Still River flow up). The Still River currently runs warmer (60s and well into the 70s on hot sunny days) than the water from the dam (upper 40s/low 50s) this time of year, and so right now it has a positive affect on water temps (raises them). The East Branch is releasing no water last I knew- it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Riverton water temp was 51 degrees at 8am, yesterday afternoon it reached 55.5 degrees at the Riverton gauge during a 94 degree sunny afternoon (water temps are higher downriver, and can reach mid/upper 50s currently on the middle to upper river, and into the low/mid 60s in Collinsville/Unionville during hot sunny afternoons).

*Isonychia #10-12: typically late afternoon through dusk, fast water, in TMA/C&R now
*Sulfur #16-18: afternoons/eves, spinner fall at dusk- upriver in upper TMA/C&R to the dam
*Assorted Caddis #14-20 (especially tans & olive/greens): morning to afternoon hatch, evening 
-Needhami #22-26: mornings, duns & spinners, starting up
-Attenuata #18-20: evening hatch, often confused with Sulfurs but smaller & bright greenish yellow- near the end, best hatching is upper TMA/C&R to the dam in Riverton  
*Terrestrials #12-24: Beetles & Ants: great in afternoons & non-hatch times
-Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) #20-22- on cloudy/overcast cooler days
-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, sometimes go later
-Midges #20-28: anytime, all year
-Parachute Adams #12-24: imitates many, many different bugs from Iso’s to Olives

-Caddis Pupa #14-16- tan, olive/green
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-18
-Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black- early/mid AM nymphs emerge/crawl out June thru Oct
-Isonychia Nymph #10-14: fast water, can also use big Princes & Pheasant Tails
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift (first & last light) & rainy days
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14 (can imitate March Browns)
-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 #12-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, Princes, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, DW Catchall, 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
-dead drift them, swing them, twitch them, bounce them- let the trout tell you how they want them

-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