Friday, November 5, 2021

Friday 11/5/21 Farmington River Report: Flow reduction!

Our NEW store hours as of 9/7/21:

Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pmWe are now open only until 5pm every day and will be on that schedule through March. Per CDC guidelines, in Connecticut now you do NOThave 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. 

Posted 2 pics as examples of what a trout redd looks like (it’s where they lay there eggs)- please avoid fishing these areas, and definitely don’t walk on them or you will destroy the eggs. Read down below a ways for a PSA on redds, spawning, and ethics. 

Farmington guide Mark Swenson is doing a Beginner Fly Tying course on Sunday 11/21 from 9:30am-4pm. Class is limited to 4P, so call Mark directly at 203-586-8007to sign up. For details on the class go to our “Classes, News & Reviews” page on our website.

Big T&T order arrived last week, now we are well stocked in Contact II’s in all the 3 weights (10’, 10’ 9”, and 11’ 2”, but still waiting on the #2s & #4s), and have some Paradigms, a better selection of Zones, and the Exocett SS streamer rods from 160 grain (5/6) all the way up to 350 grain (9/10)- they are excellent for tossing meat! 

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 177 bridge in the center of Unionville. Below the Rt 177 Unionville Bridge it is five fish, 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.

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...

Good news: the MDC finally cut the flow back Thursday, and there is virtually zero rain in the 10 Day Forecast. This weekend will be mostly sunny with highs in the low 50s, and nights down around freezingNo need to start early when the nights are cold like this, let the water temps rise a little for the best fishing/catching. Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) of 692cfs (it was well over 1,000 prior to this) this morningtheUSGS gauge in Riverton 2 miles below the dam is readin486cfs, and the Still River is adding in another 206cfs and dropping.The East Brach was reduced from 300cfs to 150cfs on Thursday.AM Riverton water temp today was 5degrees, it peaked at 56.5 degrees yesterday afternoon- looks like the lakes finally turned overThis flow makes the river moderately high but quite fishable. Still need to go subsurface with streamers, Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Worms), and big Stoneflies with the current water levelTry also nymphs with hot spots (Frenchies, Sexy Waltz, etc.). If you simply have to throw a dry, check out Church Pool, seems like there’s always a few risers there almost no matter what the conditions are. Small Olives #24-28 are the November glamour hatch, although you may still see a few tan/brown Caddis #16-18 during the warmest part of the day.

In higher flows, look for areas where trout can get out of the current: the inside of river bends, spots where the river gets wider (creates soft edges where it widens), and behind bankside obstructions. Elevated flows usually push the trout near the banks, out of the heavier flowAlmost every big trout you’ve seen posted here the past 2 months has been caught on one of those flies. With the spawn here now, if you are nymphing with a pair of nymphs in the near future, make sure one of them is an egg! Don’t walk out knee or crotch deep and start fishing, because if you do that you likely just spooked all the catchable trout hanging near the bank to get out of the heavier currents. 

PSA on trout spawning, Redds & ethics:

We are finally into that spawning time of year for brown trout, they were about 2 weeks lateTrout will dig redds (light colored circular depressions) in shallower gravelly areas with suitable current such as side channels, pool tailouts & riffles, and then the males & females will pair up and lay eggs there. Please don’t fish to actively spawning trout on redds, just let them do their thing and make more wild trout. Plus it’s not really sporting or ethical, and the spawning trout are already stressed due to the whole spawning process (migrating, fighting, digging, etc.). And most important of all, don’t step on the redds, or the first 10 or so feet downstream from them- many of the eggs drift downstream of the redds. If you step on the eggs, you crush them and kill future wild trout. Fishing to actively spawning trout sitting on redds, isn’t cool, but stepping on the eggs is far worse because it isfatal to future wild trout.The eggs won’t hatch out until roughly February (give or take), so watch where you step! In deeper water well downstream of the redds, there will be non-spawning trout feeding on the loose eggs drifting downstream. Ethics is a personal thing that’s nearly impossible to regulate, so at the end of the day it’s up to you. If you are unsure if what you’re doing is unsporting, err on the side of letting the spawning trout do there thing and stay away from them. Certain areas with ideal spawning gravel & flows have large concentrations of spawning trout in them right now, I would encourage you to give these areas a wide berth until they are done doing their thing. By late November/early December, 90%+ of the browns will have spawned and you can go back to fishing these areas- just make sure you aren’t wading through redds and crushing eggs.

The fishing for the stocked ‘Bows in New Hartford between the Rt 219 bridge and the Rt 44 Satan’s Kingdom bridge hadbeen productive prior to this high water,with anglers landing some big fat fish. Anglers in other river sections worked harder to catch holdover & wild fish, but the fishing is slowly improving every weekand typically best later in the day and during brief random bite windows that are hard to predict. Due to above average flows and moderate insect activity, it has been predominately a subsurface deal this Fallwith a few exceptions. Tiny Olives are the main hatch. Browns are aggressive due to the Fall spawn. Streamers, big Stones& Junk Flies are doing most of the damage on the browns. Water temps are averaging in the low to high 50s depending upon the section and time of day. Downstream water temps are cooler due to water chilling overnight, combined with cooler water coming in from the tributaries. 

Fishing is slowly improving, and most anglers are still working for a few bites unless they are over recent stockersThe exception has been when anglers encounter a“bite window” and the fish mysteriously turn on for a brief period of timeThe FRAA recent stocking has certainly improved the fishing in the 2 miles New Hartford Rt 219 Bridge downstream to Rt 44 Satan’s Kingdom bridge section- they stocked a good number of 12-16” Bows, and each spot got 5-10 bigger ones in the 18”+ range. In late September CT Fisheries stocked the lower river, and I heard a report that the MDC stocked in Riverton in October. FYI the permanent Catch & Release (C&R) only gets stocked once a year in April, and always has a high density of trout (even when you aren’t catching them haha). As the water temps continue to drop and the trout  spawn, I expect the fishing for holdover & wild trout to pick up. Spawning creates a very good egg bite once the trout start spawning. And recently stocked trout love egg flies & Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Worms) in general. The bigger trout of late are mostly coming on streamers fished slow & deep. In terms of catching the recently stocked trout, think small to medium size streamers like Woolly Bugger & Zuddlers, and also Junk Flies, Hare’s Ears, and Frenchies (and other nymphs with florescent hot spots).

The water is coming out of the dam in thmid/upper 50s and then cools more as it flows downriver depending upon air temps and sunshine (or lack thereof). The USGS flow & temps gauges are 2 miles below the dam at the Rt 20 Riverton bridge. It has been cooler downstream (as much as 3-5 degrees lower)away from the dam due to overnight cooling (nights averaging low/mid 30s this weekend) and the tributaries running colder than the Farmington River.

Effective streamers include 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 potentially bigger trout, it’s definitely that time of year. Spawning gets the big trout very aggressive toward larger streamers. 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).

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 handThose 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.


Flow& Temps:
Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is moderately high at 692cfs this morning- 486cfs below the dam in Riverton, and 206cfs (and dropping) from the Still River. The East Branch was reduced from 300 to 150cfs- it comes in about 3/8 of a mile below UpCountry. Riverton water temp at the Rt 20 bridge was 55 degrees this morning, it peaked at 56.5 yesterday afternoon. Water temps will rise a little during the day, and be lowest in the early mornings. The Still River becomes a cooling influence in the Fall and water temps are typically as much as 3-5 degrees cooler downriver of the Still, especially in the mornings.

*Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) #18-24: especially on cloudy/overcast days
*Tan/Brown Caddis #16-18: a few, near the end
-Giant October Caddis (Pycnopsyche) #8-12: a few (sparse hatch), later in the day

-Isonychia #14-16: typically later in the day, fast water, almost done
-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: Iso’s, Olives, Midges, Caddis

-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.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-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/pointto get your flies deeper, and/or fish your rig on an intermediate line or sink-tip/sinking leader.

*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