Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday 5/7/21 Farmington River Report: big flow cut, Hendricksons are moving upstream

Our store hours through MarchMonday 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. 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. 

A few fish pics for you: Mandy and I fished yesterday afternoon in the higher flows, and after a painfully slow start we dialed into fish on Junk Flies when the bite seemed to turn on in the late afternoon, and Many got her first Golden Rainbow just before dark. The second pic down is a nice holdover I got on a dry (notice the clipped adipose), one of the only risers in the section where I was. Third down is Brett, a regular client of Zach, with an absolute beauty he got on a streamer earlier this week. 

The Hendrickson hatch continues to move upstream, if you are a hatch chaser I’d stay from mid permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and upstream. The hatch has been generally light to moderate most daysand as short as 15-30 minutes in duration, with other days going 1-2 hours. I saw a light hatch in the middle TMA/C&R Thursday from about 2:30-4pm, but with the higher flows (800+ cfs) not much was rising where we were. Ended up doing well on Junk Flies: Mops, Squirmies, Eggs. Prior to that we struggled to get into fish, but around late afternoon the fish seemed to turn on as the sunshine bumped up water tempsI did manage to find and fool one nice Hendrickson riser on a dry.The flow bump on 5/5 meant that sub 45 degree water was pouring into the river from the dam, lowering water temps. Just got an email from the MDC about 10amthey lowered the release from 400cfs to 300cfs at 9am, and at 11am they are dropping it to 146cfs, the required minimum release. This will bring the flows back to normal for the weekend, and will make for easier wading and better fishing. Should put the total flow in the mid 400cfs range, and will also move water temps back to normal. For all you Hendrickson seekers, start working your way upriver now. Hard to say where the exact bottom hatch boundary is, but it’s heavier upriver. I wouldn’t go much below Church Pool, and it’s heavier as you go upstream from that. We should see fishable afternoon Hendrickson hatches in Riverton above the Still River this weekend. You will continue to see spinner falls for a good week after the hatch is done in downriver sections FYI. 

The books say the Hendrickson spinner fall happenin evenings, but on the Farmington I’ve seen them mid to late morning, at lunchtime, mixed with the mid afternoon hatch, and also in the evenings. Look for mild days with minimal wind and no rain- if conditions are not right, the spinners mass over the riffles, but instead of mating in the air and dropping spent onthe water, they go back into the trees and wait for better conditions. But when a spinner fall does happen, it often brings some of the biggest trout to the surface. Where riffles dump into pools is a spinner fall hotspot, but pool tails often also are great in the evenings for big trout. Make sure to bring your “A” game for the pool tails: long leaders, stealthy wading, and delicate drag-free presentations. 

Don ties a cool Parachute Egg Sack Spinner for UpCountry, and don’t forget to grab some Dick Sablitz Hendrickson/ Red Quill Soft Hackles, and some of Bruce’s BMAR Hendrickson nymphs.

Stocking Update: The entire river has been heavily stocked several times including fairly recently, the permanent Catch & Release (C&R)/TMA was stocked in mid April. Hard to go wrong with Woolly Buggers (black, olive) & Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies, Green Weenies) it you are fishing for fresh stockers. #14-18 Hare's Ears typically work well too. 

We received a batch of 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. 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 Ultralite the 9’ #4, 9’ #5, 9’ #6, 9’ #7, 10’ #4, and 10’ #5. 

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, the best Euro rods currently on the market according to most serious 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 has been high the past two days due to a big release from the dam, but as of 11am today (Friday) they are cutting it back to 146cfs, plus the water from the Still River. As of 8am we were at 723cfs total flow, but this will go down to about mid 400cfs total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R after the 11am flow reduction, and the Still River will continue to drop. Water temps had dropped well down into the 40s due to the large volume of cold water released from deep in the reservoir, but look for afternoon water temps to get back into the 50s with the flow reduction. The Still River runs warmer than the water from the dam this time of year. The East Branch was releasing and additional 200cfs about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry as of 5/5. 

-Hendrickson #12-14- mid afternoon hatch, moving upstream from about mid permanent TMA/C&R (about Church Pool) up into Riverton now
-Rusty Spinner #12-14: imitates Hendrickson spinners, try Don’s Parachute Egg Sack Spinner
-Blue Winged Olives (BWO/Baetis/Olives) #16-20 (
near the end, afternoonsoncloudy/crappy days)
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults, typically early/mid AM
-Midges #20-32: anytime (365 days a year)
-Parachute Adams #12-24: different sizes imitate many bugs including Hendricksons, Midges & BWOs

-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #12
-Olive Nymphs #16-18
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like Blue Wing Olives, Hendricksons, Paraleps, etc.
-Darker Nymphs in brown, black, peacock#12-18 (such as Prince Nymph)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Cased Caddis #10-14
-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
-Bigger Stoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- often works when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Blue Lightning, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Hendrickson Soft Hackles #12-14- Dark Hendrickson & Red Quill (tied by Dick Sablitz- deadly)
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

-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