Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday 5/21/21 Farmington River Report: Caddis Central

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. 

This weekend we will have tables outside with a big collection of fly tying materials we purchased, along with some other sale items.  

As you can see from the pics, the better trout are quite active now. Up top is A client of Zach with a beauty of a brown. Second pic is Derrick with an awesome fish. Third pic is Zach with a flawless brown, fourth & fifth pics are Derrick’s clients with a couple of impressive holdover browns. 

Still Caddis Central on the Farmington, this warm weather really has them hatching & very active, and the trout are taking notice (mid to upper 80s forecasted for this weekend). A variety of sizes & colors, from #14 tan down to #20 green, and everything in between. This weather has them active on & off all day long, with peak hatching late mornings through afternoons, and egg-laying during the lower light of evenings. Most of the best Caddis action is in the choppy water with some current. The morning/afternoon hatches usually is more of a subsurface deal with pupa, and there are a lot more rising trout in the evenings when they egg-lay.Assorted Caddis are all over the river, with the exception of Riverton- colder water temps delay hatches in the upper 2 miles above the Still River. Vitreus are becoming a legit hatch, mostly from New Hartford & downriver, they should move up into the TMA/Catch & Release sometime in this upcoming week. Fishing has picked up a lot over the past week or so, way more insect activity & active trout.

Vitreus are in the Epeorus family and close cousins to the Quill Gordon. They have 2 tails, and the duns emerge from the nymphal shuck on the stream bottom and swim to the surface (just like the Quill Gordon).We normally see them sometime between late afternoon & dark, the last 2 hours of daylight are normally the peak.A swung soft hackle or wet fly in yellow or orange can do a good job imitating these swimming/hatching duns.The females are full of eggs and they show through their abdomen, giving them a creamy color with a pink/orange cast to them and are often called “Pink Ladies”. Many people consider them a Sulfur of sorts, as the males are pale yellow/creamy in color and hatch at “Sulfur Time”, but usually the “true Sulfurs” are considered to be the Invaria & the Dorothea. June is the peak Sulfur month on the Farmington, but the Dorothea can linger in the colder waters of Riverton as late as early/mid August some years. Invaria run #12-16 (typically #16 here), and Dorothea are #16-20. 

I’m guessing we should start seeing a few#16 Invaria Sulfurs & big #10-12 March Browns in the lower river (Collinsville/Unionville) anytime now, but I haven’t had any reports of them as yet. All hatches start first in the lower river and work their way upstream. The Hendrickson hatch is definitely over, although you might see a few stragglers in Riverton, along with some lingering light spinner falls (rusty spinner #12-14). Overall however the best bug activity will be from below the Still River, and downstream to as far down as you want to go (Farmington, Avon, Simmsbury).

Seeing both olive/green & tan Caddis now, probably more olive/green than the other colors, but plenty of tan ones too. The pupa are doing very well fished in mornings & afternoons in the faster water, and will vastly outfish dries during this phase of the hatch as trout typically feed on the pupa subsurface- wets & dries will work well during the evening egg-laying, and I often continue to do well on pupa in the eves too (imitating diving egg layers maybe?). I would say there are currently at least 3-4 different Caddis hatching, maybe more- from a #14 down to a #20 in assorted colors. Dead-drift the pupa, but then let them swing up at the end. Strikes can come at any point. If you have some #14-16 pupa in tan and olive/green colors that will cover a lot of bases. Wet flies & soft hackles in Caddis colors can be very effective when they are hatching or egg-laying. On the Farmington, mid to late SpringCaddis hatches typically occur in the late morning to mid afternoon time slot, and egg-laying (which generally creates most of the Caddis dry fly action) is typically in the evening when the light levels drop. FYI weather affects things and insect hatching time slots are not set in stone- heat, cold, cloud cover, sunshine and rain all can change this.Medium to fast choppy water is generally where the Caddis both hatch & egg lay. 

Caddis tip: try a Dry/Dropper rig during the late morning/afternoon hatch of a buoyant/visible Caddis dry such as an Elk Hair Caddis, and drop a beadhead pupa 10-24” below that. In the eves use a Caddis dry with a soft hackle dropped one foot below your dry (imitates egg layers & pupa). 

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. Euro specific rods received: in the Ultralite LL series the10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2. 9’ 9” #3, 10’ 8” #3, and 9’ 9” #4. 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 is running medium and clear at a total flow of 405cfs this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). The dam is releasing 331cfs, and the Still River is adding in 74cfs – it dumps in a littlebelow the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton. The Still River runs warmer (50s/60s currently) than the water from the dam (mid 40s) this time of year, and so currently it has a positive affect on water temps (raises them). Last I knew the East Branch is releasing an additional 50cfs about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Unionville USGS gauge is 493cfs this morning, a very fishable/wadeable medium flow. Riverton water temp was 46.5 degrees at 8am, yesterday afternoon it reached 49 degrees at the Riverton gauge (water temps are higher downriver, and can reach mid/upper 50s currently).

-Assorted Caddis #14-20(tan, olive/green)- good hatches on most of the river, but NOT in Riverton yet
-evening egg-laying creates much of the dry fly action, morning/afternoon hatching usually involves
more subsurface feeding on the pupa (nymph and/or swing the pupa for that)
-Vitreus #12-16: just starting, light hatch, New Hartford & downstream, late afternoon/eves, faster water
-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 assorted bugs

-Caddis Pupa #14-16- tan, olive/green
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift
-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
-Bigger Stoneflies #6-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- often works when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive, yellow
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, 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
-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