Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Tuesday 3/23/21 Farmington River Report: FREE Devin Olsen FRAA Zoom presentation 3/24 at 7pm

Our store hours through MarchMonday through Sunday, 8am-5pm, 7 days a weekWe will start staying open until 6pm on weekdays (not weekends, they will remain 8am-5pm) starting in April. 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.

Two things of note:
Devin Olsen will be doing a Zoom presentation for the FRAA on this Wednesday March 24 at 7pm-he wrote “Tactical Fly Fishing” and is one of the stars along with Lance Egan in the “Modern Nymphing” & “Adaptive Fly Fishing” videos, he is also a long time member of Fly Fishing Team USA and an individual medalist in the competitive fly fishing world championships. It is open to everyone and it’s free, click on this ZOOM link to take you thereMeeting ID: 875 5607 2432, Passcode: 192242

Number two is that the annual Farmington River Cleanup on Saturday April 24 9am-3pm will be a team competition this year with awards for the most trash, strangest, biggest pile, shopping carts, and most fishing line. Everyone participating will be automatically entered into a free raffle for a T&T rod, and Simms G3 waders- click here to sign up

Today’s fish pics: first up is an absolute beauty by customer Brad Holenstein- FYI that is a big Fishpond landing net (El Jefe) with a big opening. Next down is customer Jeff Bridgman with 18.5” of brown trout goodness. Pay your dues and you will sometimes catch nice trout like these. Those working the hardest and fishing smart are having the best success, especially on bigger, tougher trout.

Opening Day update:
As of Thursday March 4th, Governor Lamont announced the early opening of trout fishing season to help alleviate overcrowding during COVID.What 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 10 at 6am. All trout streams with TMAs remain Catch & Releaseuntil April 10 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 about 4 weeks ago upstream & downstream of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), and the lower river was recently stocked in Collinsville/Unionville all the way down to Tariffville Gorge. 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, Collinsville and Unionvilleall the way downstream to Tariffville.

We got in a batch of 200 #14 tungsten beaded Early Stonefly Nymphs in both black & brown from Wade, and Rich Strolis is dropping off 400 of his #14 tungsten Early Stones (the “Infant Stone”)in both black & brown. The black ones imitate the black stones obviously, and the brown ones cross over to imitate both the Early Brown Stones as well as immature Hendrickson nymphs (which although not hatching yet get active and end up in the drift at moments). 

Well the next several days are going to feel more like May/June than March with highs pushing into the 70s on Thursday. Flows have quickly come down to a very nice level of about 400cfs & slowly dropping. Most are still working hard for their fish unless they find a pod of stockers, but with reduced flows & rising water temps I would expect the fishing to gradually pick up now, even for the holdover & wild fish. Riverton water temps have been running anywhere from 36/37 to as high as 42 degrees, and downstream of that it’s getting into the mid 40s on warmer/sunny days. Water coming out of the dam is released from deep in the reservoir, and although it warms during the day with the mild weather and sunshine of late, because it is coming out of the dam steadily in the mid 30s currently it does not get as warm as the water further downriver. Mild weather here to stay now means that in the afternoons, the water temps below the Still River will be warmer than the upper river below the dam. And further downriver it can get even higher. Higher water temps in March = more active trout & bugs and better fishing. Expect to currently work for your fish, but the average size is excellent right now. It’s still the usual March quality over quantity deal. 

Early Stones, most black, some brown, are the current glamour hatch.Warmer, sunny days will see the best Early Stonefly activity. Try also Caddis 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 that may or may not eat a nymph. 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.

Wrecently received a batch of the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, I got to wiggle them and they feel amazing,and 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 hadthe 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/normal and dropping at a total flow of 408cfs through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area (historical normal total flow for today is 477cfs), and has averaged in the upper 30s to low 40s for water temps lately at the USGS temperature gauge in Riverton- depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day, downriver temps have been hitting the low/mid 40s or so most days. Riverton is medium/medium-low at 178cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in another 230cfs and dropping below it’s junction. AM Riverton water temp was 3degrees this morning, water temps usually rise on sunny or mild afternoons- it hit 42 yesterday afternoon. Downstream water temps can be higher than this in the afternoons, especially on mild sunny day. East Branch is currently releasing 125cfs about 3/8 mile below UpCountry.

Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: afternoons (especially sunny/mild days)
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 #14-18
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

-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