Friday, June 4, 2021

Friday 6/4/21 Farmington River Report: Crazy Time is here

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.  

Check out the beauty up top that UpCountry’s own Joey caught this week- one of several high quality browns he landed Thursday while out nymphing. Next down is a beautiful brown by Stuart, a client of guide Steve Hogan. Third fish pic is Nathan Mumford with a big one fooled by a Vitreus dry. Last pic is Lane Finley with a very photogenic brown.

We have some availability for our awesome upstairs apartment rental for the next fewweeks- go to our Lodging page to check availability. Great place to stay riverside, completely furnished with a kitchen, and a deck that gives you a view of the river out back. All that and very reasonably priced. 

New product is arriving daily, make sure to check around the store when you come in. Sage ESN Euro reels are in stock again, in the chipotle color- butter smooth drag, full cage to keep thin Euro lines & mono rigs from slipping out of the reel, plus counterweights to help you balance out longer rods. Large diameter (3 7/8”), narrow spool, and a BIG arbor give you a great retrieve rate, less line coiling, plus you don’t need to put 200+ yards of 30# backing to fill up your reel. I’ve been fishing this reel since Summer 2020, and it’s now my favorite reel. If the $425 price tag is too much, the Redington TILT reel is also a Euro specific design at only $250, fully machined, full cage, smooth drag, and also with counterweights. 

Some of you have been asking for Sighter Wax, and we now have it in 3 colors- it’s a neon fluorescent paste you can apply to your leader while Euro nymphing, and it gives you a super visible section to focus on, and it can be wiped off and put wherever you want. You can even apply it over your Sighter to further enhance visibility. 

Once again the weekend is at hand. While I’m personally not a fan of hot weather (kinda hate it!), this upcoming weekend is the weather many of you would have like to have seen for Memorial Day weekend- hot & dry, from Saturday through Wednesday, upper 80s/low 90s for highs, with nights in the upper 60s. 15 Day Forecast goes back to normal after tha(highs upper 70s, lows in the mid/upper 50s). So what does this mean? Being a bottom release tailwater with ice cold water released from the dam, our water temps will remain nice & cool from about the low 50s and into the 60s, unlike bigger northeast freestone rivers like the Housatonic that will see water temps pushing well into the 70s (too hot to trout fish). The warmer air temps will also mean that you will likely see more insect activity here- look especially for heavy Caddis egg-laying in the eves & various mayfly spinner falls. You will likely see Sulfurs (Invaria) averaging #16 (with some 14s too) hatching all the way up to about where the Still River dumps in, and #10-12 March Browns/Gray Fox should be at least up to the middle of the permanent TMA/C&R now, maybe further. We are still seeing Vitreus. Evenings will be peak dry fly time most days, stay till dark if you can! We are getting into “Crazy Time” now, that period where tons of different bugs are all hatching on the same days. Doesn’t necessarily mean that the trout will be rising when you want them too, so be prepared to go subsurface with soft hackles/wet flies & nymphs.

Hatch times can be different than what the books say, due to the Farmington being a cold tailwater. As such we often see Sulfurs hatching in the afternoons. Further downriver, the farther you get from the dam the more the river acts like a normal freestone, rain-fed river, and the Sulfurs emerge later in the day like the books say. March Brown/Gray Fox likelike to hatch in faster water in the late afternoons through evenings, and are a sporadic hatch- one here, one there. They don’t normally hatch in concentrated quantities for an hour or two like the Sulfurs often do. However, on milder evenings you will sometimes see a good spinner fall of them. The duns tend to emerge near the stream edges, as the nymphs migrate there 1-2 weeks before they hatch- this nymphs migration can also create some good nymphing. Large Stoneflies averaging #6-10 are starting to emerge/crawl out in the early to mid mornings now- you will see their empty shucks on the rocks in the fast water. That is also the water type you want to focus on when nymphing imitations of them in the mornings-this can produce some BIG fish.Pair them up with a Caddis Pupa or a smaller Pheasant Tail/Mayfly nymph. 

Nymphing remains the most consistent method, no surprise there. Caddis pupa & Mayfly nymphs fished in the faster water can catch fish all day long, and you can add big Stonefly nymphs to the roster now. Dries, streamers, and wet flies/soft-hackles are all having their moments too. Depending upon the day, the weather/temps, and river section fished, hatches can be at just about any time of day, so be flexible. And just because there is a hatch doesn’t mean that the trout will rise, so be flexible in your approach, because you may need to fish subsurface with nymphs or soft-hackles. Dry/Dropper rigs are also a good choice during hatches as they cover 2 bases at the same time- read the paragraphs below for more detailed advice. 

Caddis currently come in a variety of sizes & colors, from #14 tans down to #20 greens, and everything in between (grays, browns, black). They have been active on & off all day long, with peak hatching mornings through afternoons, and egg-laying during the lower light of evenings. Most of the best Caddis action is in the faster choppy water with some current. The morning/afternoon hatch is often more of a subsurface deal with pupa, and there are more rising trout in the evenings when they egg-lay. Assorted Caddis are all over the river, and you may start to see them in the colder waters of Riverton below the dam now. Vitreus #12-16 are a legit hatch on most of the river now.

A great rig during morning/afternoon Caddis hatches is a buoyant/visible dry such as an Elk Hair Caddis with a weighted pupa trailed 10-24” below that. During evening egg-laying, try a Caddis dry with a soft hackle trailed about 1 foot below (imitates diving egg-layers). During the hatch, if they are eating on top, make sure to fish a pupa/emerger pattern that floats low in the film, preferably with a trailing shuck. But often they don’t rise during the emergence, instead choosing to stay deep and let the current deliver the food right to them. In that case, nymphing the faster water with the appropriate pupa patterns can be lethal. Dead-drift your pupa, but always allow them to go downstream & swing below you. Caddis are above average swimmers and sometimes a swinging pupa outfishes a dead-drifted one.

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. 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 Invaria Sulfur month on the Farmington, but the smaller Dorothea can linger in the colder waters of Riverton as late as early/mid August some years. Invaria run #12-16 (typically #14-16 here), and Dorothea are #16-20. 

Seeing both olive/green & tan Caddis. The pupa are still doing well, especiallyin the mornings & afternoons in 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 4-5 different Caddis hatching, maybe more- from a #14 down to a #20/22 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 Spring Caddis hatches typically occur in the mid/late morning to mid afternoon time slot (can be earlier in the morning when air temps are higher), 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. 

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 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. 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 dropping, clear at a total flow of 446cfs this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). It is 283cfs below the dam in Riverton, and the Still River is adding in 163cfs and dropping – it dumps in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton. The Still River runs warmer (60s) than the water from the dam (mid/upper 40s) this time of year, and so currently it has a positive affect on water temps (raises them). As of Monday the East Branch was releasing an additional 150cfs about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry, and as far as I know it still is. Unionville USGS gauge is 729cfs and dropping this morning- that’s a medium & very fishable flow for that section. Riverton water temp was 47.5 degrees at 8am, yesterday afternoon it reached 48.5 degrees at the Riverton gauge (water temps are higher downriver, and can reach mid/upper 50s currently).

-Assorted Caddis #14-20 (mostly tans & olive/greens): morning to afternoon hatch, evening 
-Vitreus #12-16: late afternoon to evening hatch, faster water
-Sulfur (Invaria) #
14-16: upstream to just below the junction with the Still River 
-March Brown #10-12: from downriver up 
through thepermanent TMA/C&R- late afternoon/eves,
faster water, especially along the edges

Big Stoneflies #6-12: don’t create a lot of dry fly fishing, but the nymphs crawl out/emerge in the low
light of early/mid mornings in faster water. Golden Yellow, Brown, and Black.

-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually
-Midges #20-28: anytime, all year
-Parachute Adams #12-24: imitates many, many different bugs

-Caddis Pupa #14-16- tan, olive/green
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Sulfur Nymphs #14-16
-Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black- 
early/mid AM nymphs emerge/crawl out June thru Oct
-March Brown Nymph #10-12
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift (first & last light)
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14
-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
-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, 
spaced 20-30” apart

-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