Our NEW store hours as of 9/7/21:
Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm. We are now open only until 5pm every dayand will be on that schedule through March. Per CDC guidelines, in Connecticut now you do NOT have to wear a mask/face covering anymore IF you are vaccinated. If 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.
Despite overall tougher fishing, I’ve gotten some good reports mixed in lately. Up top is a nice Bow by Mike Andrews, and below that is a brown by Lane Finley.
We have two upcoming clinics/classes this October:
First is an “Advanced Modern Euro Nymphing” clinic with Antoine Bissieux & Mark Swenson on October 16thfrom 9am-5pm, and Mark is doing a beginner fly tying class on October 24thfrom 9:30am to 4pm. Go to our “Classes” page on the website for detailed information. These classes typically fill fast so sign up ASAP if you are interested.
We have a lot of used fly reels in the case here at Upcountry. Many are listed online and can be purchased through our website or over the phone, but we also have more that are NOT listed online and are for purchase in-store ONLY. Make sure to take a peek in the used reel case when you stop in next time.
Recently we received big fly tying material orders from Wapsi&Hareline, including a PILE of Coq de Leon (CDL) for doing tails, especially on Euro style nymphs. It’s been in short supply in 2021 but we are in great shape with 5 different CDL colors/variations.
As of 9/1/21, the entire upper 21 miles of the Farmington River is Catch & Release until Opening Day in April 2022. This covers from the dam in Riverton, downstream to the Rt 177bridge in the center of Unionville. Below the Rt 177 Unionville Bridge it isfivefish, 9”. If you see anyone keeping fish illegally,don’t confront them, just call 1-800-842-HELP and report the violation to the CT DEEP.
Bunch of cool Rich Strolis streamers (tied personally by the man himself) arrived recently: 8 different sets of articulated streamers (4 patterns, 2 color variations in each)to cover a variety of Fall conditions. Come check ‘em out before they are all gone, his flies always sell out fast. Medium to large streamers (3-5”) fished properly, especially in the Fall, can result in hooking some of the largest trout in any river. Browns & Brookies get extra aggressive due to the impending spawn. Even after they spawn, they are hungry due to spawning weight loss, and continue to be aggressive towards streamers.
Antoine’s Perdigon nymphs in a wide variety of colors, weights & sizes are ALL back in stock. They are custom ties, and there was a major delay in getting them restocked from our supplier. Ahhh, 2021...
How did it get to be the second week of October already?? Time really does fly. Last week there were hints of foliage color, this week it really started to pop. We are still probably about 2 weeks from peak color, but it’s starting to get very colorful on my daily drive to work. The rain earlier this week bumped up the flow, and the MDC had to increase the dam release on Wednesday by 200cfs to lower the reservoirs. Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) is currently 638cfs, clear & dropping- 444cfs is from the dam in Riverton, plus an additional 194cfs from the Still River. I would call this moderately high and 100% fishable. Bigger fish are often more active when the water is up FYI. At some point soon, they will likely cut the flow back. Don’t let a 600cfs flow scare you off, it just means you will most likely be fishing subsurface with nymphs, streamers, and maybe wet flies/soft-hackles. Lower flows are more conducive to rising trout and dry fly fishing. Church Pool can be the one exception where fish will rise at almost any flow.
Elevated flows typically mean bigger nymphs & streamers. If you are nymphing pair either a bigger nymph (Stonefly, Isonychia, Prince, etc.) or a Junk Fly (Mop, Squirmy, Egg, Green Weenie, etc.) with something drabber and more imitative in the #14-18 range (Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, Hare’s Ears, Caddis Pupa, Blue Winged Olive nymphs, etc.). Typically egg patterns get red hot starting around mid October on the Farmington River. For streamers you can do standard single hook patterns such as Woolly Buggers, Zuddlers, Zonkers, etc., just play around with colors & retrieves until you crack the code for that day. Use bigger articulated patterns to catch less but potentiallybigger trout, it’s definitely that time of year. Spawning gets the big trout very aggressive toward larger streamers.
Extra water in the river usually pushes fish out of the heavier main current and closer to the softer/slower edges. Look for the current seems off the edges of the faster water, or further down the pools/runs/riffles where the current lessens. As the flows drop, be aware that the state recently stocked the river from below the 219 bridge in New Hartford down to well below the Rt 177 Unionville bridge and into Avon.
While the water coming out of the dam has only slightly cooled down, you should see that change as October progresses. Fishing is overall slowly improving as things cool down, not great yet but getting better. The best insect activity seems to be mid/late afternoon through dusk most days, but every day is different. Bugs have picked up a little with the cooler October temps, the main insects are Caddis, Blue Winged Olives & a few Isonychia. Be aware that the October Iso’s are smaller, in the #12-14 range. Subsurface is typically the way to go, unless you see rising trout. Splashy more aggressive rises in faster water likely indicate Caddis or Isonychia, subtle/gentle rises in softer water probably mean Blue Winged Olives. Nymphs & streamers will be the most consistent in October if fish aren’t rising (which is most of the time, especially when flows are up). The upcoming spawn will make the brown trout & brook trout more aggressive toward streamers, especially early and late in the day during lower light. Play with colors, retrieves, presentation angles, etc.
Due to the cooler nights nights overall, it’s cooler downriver than it is upriver, by as much as 4-5 degrees. The tributaries have cooled down, and the river cools overnight as it flows away from the dam. When the surface of the reservoir gets down into the 50s this month, the upper layer becomes denser and as it sinks to the bottom the lake will flip/turn-over and the water will start coming out of the dam in the 50s. Expect to work hard for your fish currently, but also expect the fishing & hatches to improve every week. There are definitely bite windows when the fish turn on for brief periods, and if you fish then with the correct flies & tactics you will catch some fish. If they aren’t rising, fish subsurface!
Some yellow in your Fall streamers can be very effective, whether they are all yellow or two-tone (brown/yellow, olive/yellow, etc.). Also make sure to try some flashy streamers, some days they are the ticket (think about how effective flashy spoons & spinners are for spin fishermen).
If you are using wet flies/soft hackles, use 2-3 at a time, fished on tag-end droppers, 20-30” apart. Mix up the patterns& sizesto give the trout a choice, and try different angles & presentations (dead-drift, swung, twitched, dangled, danced on the surface, etc.)- the trout will tell you what they prefer IF you actually listen. If the trout seem to be plastered to the bottom, use a weighted point fly on the end to get your rig down- a tungsten soft hackle Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear works well for this. For wets I recommend tippet around 4x (5x at the lightest), as the hits can be HARD. Also, keep your rod tip up to help prevent break-offs, give you a higher hooking percentage, and animate your flies better.
We have some limited availability for our awesome upstairs apartment rental- go to our Lodging page to check if it’s available. Great place to stay riverside, completely furnished with a kitchen, big flat screen TV, and a deck that gives you a view of the river out back. All that and very reasonably priced. We rent it through the end of October, and then we close it up until April.
Be aware that hatches vary from day to day and respond to water & air temps changes, variations in flow levels, and also light conditions. Be prepared to fish wet flies, nymphs, or dry/dropper if they aren’t rising. First & last light are also prime streamer times, and also rainy/overcast days- if flows rise & discolor, even better for streamer fishing. The same spot on 2 consecutive days can see a great hatch one day, followed by a poor hatch the next.
We have the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have not yet personally fished them, they feel amazing in hand. Those who have fished them have given great reviews to us, these rods are giving the T&T Contact II’s some competition. Euro specific rods in the Ultralite LL series include the10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2, 10’ 8” #3, 9’ 2” & 9’ 9” #3 & #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. I’ve fished mine for a while now, and it’s amazing. 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 exceeding supply with these rods, so if we don’t have what you want in stock get your name on a waiting list.
Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is moderately high at 638cfs this morning- 444cfs from the dam in Riverton, and 194cfs and dropping from the Still River. Not sure about the East Branch, it was 50cfs before the rain but I’m sure it’s higher than that now (Unionville USGS flow is 955cfs & dropping), it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Riverton water temp at the Rt 20 bridge was 64 degrees this morning. Riverton temps will rise a little during the day, and be lowest in the early mornings. As long as temps stay cooler (and they are), the Still River becomes a cooling influence in early Fall and water temps are typically as much as 4-5 degrees cooler downriver of the Still, especially after a cold night.
*Isonychia #12-14: typically afternoon through dusk, fast water, light hatch
*Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) #18-24: especially on cloudy/overcast cooler days
*Assorted Caddis #14-22 (especially tans/browns #16-18)
-Giant October Caddis (Pycnopsyche) #8-12: a few (light hatch), later in the day
-Flying Ants #18-24: look for milder/sunny days, especially the day after some rain
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually, sometimes go later
-Midges #20-28: anytime, all year
-Parachute Adams #12-24: imitates many, many different bugs from Iso’s to Olives
-Caddis Pupa #14-16 (tan mostly)
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs from Isonychia to BWOs, and also smaller Stoneflies
-Antoine's Perdigons #12-20: black, brown, olive, yellow, etc.- back in stock finally!!!
-Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black- early/mid AM nymphs emerge/crawl out June thru Oct
-Isonychia Nymph #12-14: fast water, can use Princes & Pheasant Tails to imitate them too
-Olive Nymphs #16-20: anytime, common bug during Behavioral Drift (first & last light) & rainy days
-Fox Squirrel Nymph #12-14
-Cased Caddis #10-14 (especially high water & after flow bumps)
-Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies/SJWorms, Green Weenies) for higher or off-color flows & fresh stockers, or just as a change-up to natural/imitative flies after you fish through
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: olive, black, red
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, Princes, Miller's Victim, Triple Threats, etc.
-Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, DW Catchall, 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
-dead drift them, swing them, twitch them, bounce them- let the trout tell you how they want them
-if fishing is slow, use a weighted fly (e.g. Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear/Pheasant Tail) on the end to get your flies deeper
*Rich Strolis articulated streamers: Headbanger, Masked Avenger, Alter Ego & Dumpster Diver
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-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)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor/Tequeely #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (yellow, olive, brown)
Report by Torrey Collins