Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tuesday 3/16/21 Farmington River Report: back to normal

Our store hours through MarchMonday through Sunday, 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. 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.

Opening Day update:
As of Thursday March 4th, Governor Lamont announced the early opening of trout fishing season to help alleviate overcrowding during COVIDWhat does this mean for us on the Farmington River? It’s business as usual here, as we were already open to Catch & Release (C&R)from the dam in Riverton 21 miles downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, and that section remains C&R until the traditional Opening Day date of April 10that 6am. All trout streams with TMAs remain Catch & Release until April 10th this year, and on all trout streams that are not TMAs and fall under general regulation you are now allowed to keep a daily limit of trout.

The river was stocked roughly weeks ago, both upstream & downstream of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R)- the upper stocking section is the 4 miles from Whittemore up to the dam in Riverton, and the lower section is from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford downstream through Canton to the Collinsville.

More pretty fish for ya: lead pic is once again our local superstar guide Zach with a big one from the other

day when it was gusting at 40+ mph- it took him a total of 11.5mm of tungsten to get the flies down in a deeper/faster run and keep them there in the brutal wind (two 4mm bead nymphs + a third at 3.5mm!). You do what you need to do to suit the conditions, normally you would only need a fraction of that weight- everything is situational. Next down is local artist Jim DeCesares with a hefty brown he fooled with a nymph under an indicator- a great way to nymph on a windy day FYI. Third pic is a beautiful rainbow with a mouthful of Stonefly nymph by Derrick Kirkpatrick of CT Fish Guides. Holdover rainbow trout color up this time of year due to spawning. 

After several consecutive windy to extremely windy days, weather is back to normal and far more pleasant with overall milder temps and much less windy. Despite the windy weekend we just had, quite a few anglers ventured out- some struggled, but some found success. Expect to currently work for your fish (unless you find a pod of recent stockers outside of the permanent TMA/C&R section), but the average size is excellent right now. It’s the usual March quality over quantity deal. Flows are back down around 300cfs, a very nice medium angler-friendly level. This combined with milder temps should improve the fishing to some degree. 

Early Stones, most black, some brown, are the current glamour hatch. Warmer, sunny days will see good Early Stonefly activity. Try also Cadddis Larva (both regular olive/green as well as Cased),Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, and egg flies. Streamers can be effective too if you get them deep and fish them s-l-o-w-l-y. Having said that, experiment with retrieves because even in cold water there will still be days when the trout prefer a faster moving streamer. Top March streamer colors would include olive, brown, and white, and don’t overlook ones with a little yellow mixed in (olive/yellow, brown yellow, etc.). Streamer action has varied considerably from day to day, with nymphs generally being more consistent. But…. streamers will often move the biggest fish. Early Black Stones have been out & about, some trout are rising to them at moments if you are in the right place at the right timeSubsurface is generally the way to go in March, it can be a tough month for driesMost(but not all) bugs that are currently hatching remain small: Early Black Stones #12-16, Winter/Summer Caddis #20-24, Midges #20-28, and Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies #18-24.

We just received a batch of the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have notyet personally fished them, I got to wiggle them and they feel amazingand 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 Ultralitethe 9’ #4, 9’ #6, 9’ #7, 10’ #4, and 10’ #5- we already hathe 9’ #5s in the rack. Big orders of Simms, Korkers, Fishpond, Scott, Ross, Lamson arrived this week. We have also received large orders of Nature’s Spirit, Wapsi, and Hareline fly tying material orders recently. 

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 305cfs through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area (historical normal total flow for today is 411cfs), and has averaged in the mid/upper 30s for water temps lately- depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Riverton is medium-low at 142cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in another 163cfs below it’s junction. AM Riverton water temp was 35 degrees this morning, water temps usually rise on sunny or mild afternoons- it hit 39 yesterday afternoon. Downstream water temps can be higher or lower than this depending upon lows, highs, sunshine, and time of day. East Branch is currently releasing no water into the river. 

Early Black Stoneflies #12-16: afternoons
Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults, typically early/mid AM
-Midges #20-32: anytime (365 days a year)
-Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies (Capnia) #18-24: afternoons
-Parachute Adams #1
2-24: different sizes imitate many different bugs including Midges & BWOs

Darker Nymphs in brown or black #12-16 (imitates Stone & immature Hendricksons)
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
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Cased Caddis #10-14
-Blue Wing Olive #16-2
0: various patterns with & without hot spots/flash
BiggerStoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- oftenworks when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like Blue Wing Olives, 
Hendricksons, Paraleps, etc.
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot 
such asRainbow Warriors, Blue Lightning, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats,etc.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, Partridge & Pheasant Tail
this time of year due to cold water temps you need to fish them deep & slow with sinking leaders, sinking lines, split shot, or add a weight fly as your point fly

-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