Our NEW store hours as of 9/7/21:
Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm. We are now open only until 5pm every day and will be on that schedule through March. Per 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.
Top pic is CTFlyGuyz (Instagram) with a really nice brown from the weekend. Check out the pretty foliage pic by them also, this is probably the peak color week. Third pic is Steve Hogan’s client August, all smiles with a handful of Farmington rainbow trout.
We have a lot of used fly reels in the case here at Upcountry. Many are listed online and can be purchased through our website or over the phone, but we also have more that are NOT listed online and are for purchase in-store ONLY. Make sure to take a peek in the used reel case when you stop in next time.
Bunch of cool Rich Strolis streamers (tied personally by the man himself) arrived recently: 8 different sets of articulated streamers (4 patterns, 2 color variations in each) to cover a variety of Fall conditions. Come check ‘em out before they are all gone, his flies always sell outfast. Medium to large streamers (3-5”) fished properly, especially in the Fall, can result in hooking some of the largest trout in any river. Browns & Brookies get extra aggressive due to the impending spawn. Even after they spawn, they are hungry due to spawning weight loss, and continue to be aggressive towards streamers.
Antoine’s Perdigon nymphs in a wide variety of colors, weights & sizes are ALL back in stock. They are custom ties, and there was a major delay in getting them restocked from our supplier. Ahhh, 2021...
Just what we need… more rain. Ughhh. We already received about 1/2-1” of rain last night, and they are predicting about 1.5” inches today, dry on Wednesday/Thursday, and then about 1.25” Friday/Saturday- this is still way less than the 5-6” they were predicting before, but it will push the flow up over 1,000cfs in the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA. Flow is high & rising (due mainly to the Still River) at just under 800cfs but going up as I write this Tuesday morning. Going to make for some rough conditions this week, although Riverton should stay fishable above the Still River unless the MDC decides to bump up the flow (quite possible). Looks like a high water Fall for 2021.
The spawn is late and has not yet started, but the trout are on the cusp of spawning, literally any day. They are paring up, nipping at each other, swimming around, and have moved into spawning areas. They will dig redds (light colored circular depressions) in shallower gravelly areas such as side channels, pool tailouts & riffles, and then the males & females will pair up and lay eggs there. Please don’t fish to actively spawning trout on redds, just let them do their thing and make more wild trout. Plus it’s not really sporting or ethical, and the spawning trout are already stressed due to the whole spawning process. And even more important, don’t step on the redds, or the first 10 or so feet downstream from them- many of the eggs drift downstream of the redds. If you step on the eggs, you crush them and kill future wild trout. They won’t hatch out until roughly February, so watch where you step! In deeper water well downstream of the redds, there will be non-spawning trout feeding on the loose eggs drifting downstream.
The fishing for the stocked ‘Bows in New Hartford between the Rt 219 bridge and the Rt 44 Satan’s Kingdom bridge has been productive prior to this high water, with anglers landing some big fat fish. Anglers in other river sections have worked harder to catch holdover & wild fish, but the fishing is slowly improving, and typically best early & late in the day and during brief random bite windows that are hard to predict. Due to above average flows and moderate insect activity, it has been predominately a subsurface deal this Fall with a few exceptions. Olives & Caddis are the main bugs/hatches. Browns are aggressive due to the impending spawn. Streamers, big Stones & Junk Flies are doing most of the damage on the browns. The reservoirs haven’t turned over yet (soon), but water temps are good, mostly averaging in the upper 50s to low 60s depending upon the section and time of day. Downstream water temps are cooler due to water chilling overnight, combined with cooler water coming in from the tributaries. This is probably peak week for foliage, but I suspect the rain/wind will knock a lot of leaves down.
Fishing is slowly improving, and most anglers are still working for a few bites unless they are over recent stockers. The exception has been when anglers encounter a “bite window” and the fish mysteriously turn on for a brief period of time. The FRAA stocking last Thursday has certainly improved the fishing in the 2 miles New Hartford Rt 219 Bridge downstream to Rt 44 Satan’s Kingdom bridge section- they stocked a good number of 12-16” Bows, and each spot got 5-10 bigger ones in the 18”+ range. In late September CT Fisheries stocked the lower river, and I heard a report that the MDC stocked in Riverton in October. FYI the permanent Catch & Release (C&R) only gets stocked once a year in April, and always has a high density of trout (even when you aren’t catching them haha). As the water temps continue to drop and the trout start spawning, I expect the fishing for holdover & wild trout to pick up. Spawning creates a very good egg bite. Eggs are currently catching some trout, but when the trout actually start spawning and dropping eggs (any day now), then the egg bite gets hot for a while. And recently stocked trout love egg flies & Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Worms) in general. The bigger trout of late are mostly coming on streamers fished slow & deep. In terms of catching the recently stocked trout, think small to medium size streamers like Woolly Bugger & Zuddlers, and also Junk Flies, Hare’s Ears, and Frenchies (and other nymphs with florescent hot spots).
Unless you have rising trout, stick subsurface with nymphs & streamers. When total flows get down to 300cfs & less (will they ever?? haha) you will be more apt to see rising trout. In fact in general the lower a river is, the more likely you are to see dry fly action. And of course you need hatches to get the fish looking up. Some of the bigger, wider, slower pools like Church Pool can be the exception where fish will rise at almost any flow. The best bug activity overall has been the last 1-2 hours of daylight, mostly #16-18 tan/brown Caddis with a few #8-12 Giant October Caddis mixed in. You may have Caddis in the late morning/early afternoon too. We’re also seeing #18-24 Blue Winged Olives andsporadic#12-14 Isonychiasome days. Midges are a possibility 365 days a year.
The water is coming out of the dam in the low/mid 60s and then cools as it flows downriver depending upon air temps and sunshine (or lack thereof). The USGS flow & temps gauges are 2 miles below the dam at the Rt 20 Riverton bridge. Ithas been mostly cooler downstream (as much as 4-5 degrees lower) away from the dam due to overnight cooling (nights averaging in the 40s and soon in the 30s) and the tributaries running cooler than the Farmington River.
Overall the most successful flies lately have been various streamers, big Stoneflies, “Junk Flies” (Mops, Squirmies, Eggs), or hot-spot nymphs in the #14-18 range (Frenchies, Sexy Waltz, etc.). For streamers you can do standard single hook patterns such as Woolly Buggers, Zuddlers, Zonkers, etc., just play around with colors & retrieves until you crack the code for that day. Use bigger articulated patterns to catch less but potentially bigger trout, it’s definitely that time of year. Spawning gets the big trout very aggressive toward larger streamers.
Insect activity is modest and seems to be mid/late afternoon through dusk most days, but every day is different. Be aware that the October Iso’s are smaller, in the #12-14 range. Subsurface is typically the way to go, unless you see rising trout. Splashy more aggressive rises in faster water likely indicate Caddis or Isonychia, subtle/gentle rises in softer water probably mean Blue Winged Olives. Nymphs & streamers will be the most consistent in October if fish aren’t rising (which is most of the time, especially when flows are up). The upcoming spawn will make the brown trout & brook trout more aggressive toward streamers, especially early and late in the day during lower light. Play with colors, retrieves, presentation angles, etc.
When the surface of the reservoir gets down into the low/mid 50s, the upper layer becomes denser and as it sinks to the bottom the lake will flip/turn-over and the water will start coming out of the dam in the 50s. Expect to work hard for your fish currently, but also expect the fishing & hatches to improve every week. There are definitely bite windows when the fish turn on for brief periods, and if you fish then with the correct flies & tactics you will catch a few fish. If they aren’t rising, fish subsurface!
Some yellow in your Fall streamers can be very effective, whether they are all yellow or two-tone (brown/yellow, olive/yellow, etc.). Also make sure to try some flashy streamers, some days they are the ticket (think about how effective flashy spoons & spinners are for spin fishermen).
If you are using wet flies/soft hackles, use 2-3 at a time, fished on tag-end droppers, 20-30” apart. Mix up the patterns& sizesto give the trout a choice, and try different angles & presentations (dead-drift, swung, twitched, dangled, danced on the surface, etc.)- the trout will tell you what they prefer IFyou actually listen. If the trout seem to be plastered to the bottom, use a weighted point fly on the end to get your rig down- a tungsten soft hackle Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear works well for this. For wets I recommend tippet around 4x (5x at the lightest), as the hits can be HARD. Also, keep your rod tip up to help prevent break-offs, give you a higher hooking percentage, and animate your flies better.
We have some limited 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. We rent it through the end of October, and then we close it up until April.
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, nymphs, 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 days can see a great hatch one day, followed by a poor hatch the next.
We have the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, they feel amazing in hand. Those who have fished them have given great reviews to us, these rods are giving the T&T Contact II’s some competition. 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 a while 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.
Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is high and rising at795cfs this morning- 440cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 355cfs and rising fast from the Still River. The East Branch was 25cfs last I knew, but they may bump it up- it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Riverton water temp at the Rt 20 bridge was 60 degrees this morning, it peaked at 61 yesterday afternoon. Riverton temps will rise a little during the day, and be lowest in the early mornings. The Still River becomes a cooling influence in October and water temps are typically as much as 4-5 degrees cooler downriver of the Still, especially after a cold night.
-Isonychia #12-14: typically mid afternoon through dusk, fast water, light/sporadic hatch
*Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) #18-24: especially on cloudy/overcast cooler days
*Assorted Caddis #14-22 (especially tans/browns #16-18)
-Giant October Caddis (Pycnopsyche) #8-12: a few (sparsehatch), later in the day
-Flying Ants #18-24: look for milder/sunny days, especially the day after some rain
-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: Iso’s, Olives, Midges, Caddis
-Caddis Pupa #14-16 (tan mostly)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs from Isonychia to BWOs, and also smaller Stoneflies
-Antoine's Perdigons #12-20: black, brown, olive, yellow, etc.- back in stock finally!!!
-Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black- early/mid AM nymphs emerge/crawl out June thru Oct
-Isonychia Nymph #12-14: fast water, can use Princes & Pheasant Tails to imitate them too
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift (first & last light) & rainy days
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14
-Cased Caddis #10-14 (especially high water & after flow bumps)
-Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies/SJWorms, Green Weenies) for higher or off-color flows & fresh stockers, or just as a change-up to natural/imitative flies after you fish through
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: olive, black, red
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, Princes, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.
-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
-if fishing is slow, use a weighted fly (e.g. Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear/Pheasant Tail) on the end to get your flies deeper
*Rich Strolis articulated streamers: Headbanger, Masked Avenger, Alter Ego & Dumpster Diver
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-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)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor/Tequeely #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (yellow, olive, brown)
Report by Torrey Collins