Our current store hours:
Monday through Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm.
We recently bought a huge collection of tying material from the same person in several batches over the past few weeks. It includes a massive collection of quality hackle feathers (Whiting, Hoffman, Metz, Keogh, and more), and a pile of hooks, dubbing, and other assorted tying materials.
We literally have dozens & dozens of new-in-the-box fly lines a customer traded in, all priced to sell! Anywhere from 40-80% off original retail, most priced from $15-30. All different brands, all different types & weights, including quite a few Spey & Skagit lines. These lines are for in store purchase only, so please don’t call on the phone about them.
Derrick with a handful of exceptional wild brown trout- he is totally dialed at catching large Farmington River wild & holdover brown troutand getting clients into them.Second down Antoine’s client was all smiles with this big wild brown, caught on a dry fly. Customer Alexis in the third pic with a really nice brown. Fourth pic is Steve Hogan’s client with a big rainbow, a lot have been showing up lately. Firth is customer Lane Finley with a net-filling brown trout- he hooked it twice before recently, and finally landed it on his third time this week. Last but not least, one of several very nice browns Trevor recently landed.
The new T&T Contact II 10’ 9” #2 rods arrived in March. The extra 9” is perfect for bigger water like the Farmington (allows you to fish & cast further away, make longer drifts,casts easier/further, and cushions your tippet more), and the soft tip will protect 6x-7x tippet against big trout. Plenty of power in the butt section to handle bigger trout, and the extra flex in the tip is better for casting micro leaders (very thin butt sections) and lighter flies. I think this is going to be a very popular rod, and a good compliment to your arsenal if you already have a #3 Euro rod, which has been the “all around” weight for Euro Nymphing. The trend over time seems to be lighter & thinner in everything including rods,especially as thinner leader butts (6-10# test) have become popular to reduce sag, along with thinner tippet (5.5x-7x) that allows you to use lighter nymphs & get them to the bottom faster with more natural drifts.
We’re excited to announce the recent launch of Sage’s new flagship line of fast action rods: the Sage R8 Core, using their new Revolution 8 tech and axial fiber formulation. This is the first time in 20+ years that Sage has debuted an entirely new graphite composition. Available to see in person and purchase finally, we have the entire line-up from the lightest to the heaviest (3wt up to 9wt). We were able to cast the line-up with our Sage rep recently, and we were all surprised & impressed. While modern fast action rods have become very stiff and tippy over the years, this new series has loads of feel and casts easily. The flex is closer to the older popular Z-Axis & XP’s, and refreshingly closer in the trout sizes to a true line weight rating. The R8 Core flexes further down into the blank, but still has a crisp recovery and plenty of line speed. Sage says they are “Made to fish, not just to cast”, with “Effortless energy transfer and more connected feel”. These are real fishing rods, not rods just meant to win parking lot casting competitions, but break tippets and don’t fish comfortably up close. Kudos to Sage.
Try the BMAR Mud Puppy Sculpin Streamer- limited quantities in stock, $5.99 each, get ‘em while they last.
MDC made a slight flow bump Monday with a very modest 26cfs increase, going from 111cfs dam release to 137cfs (the USGS Riverton gauge is 2 miles below the dam and will read a little higher than this). Normally they would be doing 200-250cfs, even 300cfs. The reservoir is full, so I’m surprised they aren’t releasing more. Adding in the Still River at 61cfs to the 162cfs reading at the Rt 20 Riverton bridge gives you a total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R of 223cfs & slowly dropping (median/normal total flow for today’s date per USGS would be 397cfs. East Branch release (comes in a little below our store) remains at 50cfs. Unionville USGS gauge is reading
Flows remain below average and very fishing/wading friendly. When bugs are hatching, lower flows are more conducive to having rising trout- it becomes more energetically efficient for the trout to do some surface feeding when there is a heavy concentration of bugs on/in the surface. During higher flows they will often stay subsurface and just feed on nymphs/pupa during a hatch. We are back to normal late May weather, with highs averaging in the low/mid 70’s through the weekend, with nice cool nights ranging from high 40’s to low 60’s. This should put the insect hatches (Vitreus & assorted Caddis) back on schedule. Despite the extremely hot weekend we just had (sunny and well over 90 degrees), the reports from last Saturday were very good, with many larger trout both landed & lost on the surface, on nymphs & wets, and even some good mousing reports. Sunday was a bit slower after 2 consecutive days of extremely high air temps. I for one hate hot weather and I’m glad to see normal temps & cooler nights here again.
The Vitreus hatch (Epeorus Vitreus for you Latinizers) is going least as far upstream as the upper end of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). Caddis are still the major hatch, and they come back in the evenings to egg-lay. Vitreus average a #14, tend to hatch in the evenings until darkness (sometimes starting in late afternoon), are a fast water Mayfly with two tails, and are a close cousin to the Quill Gordon (Epeorus Pleuralis). The males are a dull yellow with light gray wings, and the females have a pinky/orange cast to their abdomens due to the eggs showing through- sometimes they are referred to as Pink Ladies, Pale Evenings Duns, and Pink Cahills. The dun emerges from the nymphal shuck near the river bottom, and then rises/swims to the surface (just like the Quill Gordon), making wet flies & soft hackles good choices during their evening emergence- try something with a yellow or orange body. The trout will also eat the duns on the surface when they are hatching. The best number of bugs will be in riffly water, which is the habitat the nymphs live in.
Those being flexible on their fishing method & location are catching plenty of trout, and those who try to force it or sit in one spot all day are struggling- let the fish tell you ho, where, and what they want. Or get skunked, it’s your choice. Other than Caddis pupa #14-18, the other nymphing standby has been #14-20 Mayfly type nymphs (Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, BWO/Olives, etc.). Attractor nymphs (flashy/gaudy, hot spots/fluorescence, etc.) & suggestive nymphs (Hare’s Ears, Walt’s Worms, Fox Squirrel, etc.) are worth trying too.
Caddis are mostly averaging #14-18 (olive/green & tan are the most common colors) but running anywhere from #12-22 (also in brown, black, gray, etc.), and hatch mid/late morns through early/mid afternoons. You can try a dry/dropper rig during the hatch with a buoyant dry and a beadhead pupa 12-24” below the dry. The adult Caddis will come back in the lower light of evenings and lay their eggs in riffle areas- dries can be effective for egg laying (try twitching/skating them), but often swinging wets/soft hackles or pupa just under the surface is the way to go. Nymphing with Caddis pupa can be VERY effective both before & during the hatch, and even during evening egg-laying. Regular & Frenchy style Pheasant Tails in #14-20 will cover a lot of bases with the Mayfly nymphs that are currently active.
If the trout are rising, look carefully, as you can often pick out the biggest trout and target them specifically, especially in the evenings when the big browns come out to play. Depending upon the time of day, weather conditions, and the river section you are fishing, be prepared with Caddis dries & pupa #14-18, Vitreus #12-16, and Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s/Olives) #18-22. Caddis hatches are more mid/late morns through early/mid afternoon (and egg-laying in the evenings), Vitreus is more of an evening deal but can start as early as late afternoon (heaviest in riffly water), BWO’s are afternoons (on cloudy/cooler days). Caddis pupa are very active in the faster water, making that water type ideal to nymph in, hint hint. The East Branch was bumped up from zero to 50cfs last week and remains at that level. Unionville/Collinsville is medium-low and very wadeable at 449cfs (USGS median/normal flow for today is 589cfs).
The state heavily stocked the permanent TMA/Catch & Release in April, including the bigger 14-18”+ 2 Year Olds (a few were 20”+), it’s LOADED, plenty of good to excellent catch reports. For the recently stocked trout try Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy Worms, Egg Flies, Green Weenies), Hare’s Ears/Walt’s Worms/Sexy Waltz, nymphs with hot spots, and Woolly Buggers in black, olive. The entire river outside of the permanent TMA/C&R has been stocked a whole bunch of times. No matter where you end up, you will be fishing over trout, so no excuses!
Caddis hatches will be on the menu straight through the Fall, so don’t neglect to nymph with the pupa in the fast water, especially in the mornings & early/mid afternoons when they are most active and hatching- can be effective in the evenings too. BWO (Olive) nymphs #16-22 and Caddis larva #12-18 are very common drift items too, and especially good choices for targeting holdover/wild trout that are more familiar with real bugs than the recently stocked trout. Adult Caddis return in the eves to egg-lay, and depending upon egg-laying behavior (various according to species) can be matched with dries, wet flies, soft-hackles, or pupa. Pheasant Tails/Frenchies & Hare’s Ears in #14-20 will imitate a lot of the different Mayfly nymphs common in the subsurface drift this time of year.
If you are targeting recent stockers, they may prefer somewhat different flies. Gaudier flies (with flash, hotspots, unnatural color schemes), “Junk Flies” (Mops, Squirmies, Egg Flies, Green Weenies) and small to medium streamers (especially in black, olive, white) will often outfish drabber more imitative flies- although any nymph tied with Hare’s Ear (like a Walt’s Worm) is often good for fresh stockers (might look like a food pellet once it gets wet, and can definitely pass as a Caddis imitation). It takes hatchery trout about 3 weeks to learn how to effectively feed on natural aquatic food according to what I’ve read. About the only aquatic bug trout raised in concrete raceways are familiar with is Midges, they can literally live almost anywhere, even a concrete hatchery raceway. Sometime a #16-20 Zebra Midge gets it done on fresh stockers when they ignore bigger and/or gaudier flies, especially when they are getting pressured hard. That said, normally it’s hard to beat Woolly Buggers & Junk Flies on freshly stocked trout. Until they get “educated” by angling pressure and start to avoid those flies and learn to key in on natural bugs.
Nymph Color Selection Tip:
Quick tip for selecting nymph colors from late Fall through mid Spring: overall the cooler weather nymphs tend toward darker colors such as medium to dark brown, black, and medium to dark olive/olive-brown. When the hatches get cranking during milder weather and the leaves come out in the mid to late Spring (and going well into the Fall), many of the nymphs/pupa/larva are light to medium colored: tan, light/medium brown, amber/ginger, light/medium olive. This is a general rule, but probably about 80-90% true. Gives you a starting point, adjust from there- flip rocks to see exactly what the nymphs/larva look like.
Various single-hook & articulated streamers are having their moments, experiment with colors and retrieves. Early & late in the day during lower light is a particularly good time to fish them. Jigged streamers fished on a Euro leader/tight-line rig have been deadly many days when other presentations & flies have failed. Bigger browns are usually looking for big bites to eat. Some of the better colors have been olive, brown and tan- make sure to have a good assortment of colors, it can make a big difference. Streamer retrieve speed can be important, try slower & deeper as well as some faster retrieves too, cuz ya never know. The trout will always tell you water they prefer, but only if you experiment and see what they prefer.
A quick note on water temps. Water temps moving TOWARD 60 degrees tends to turn trout on, and as temps move AWAY from 60 degrees it tends to shut feeding down. Even though 50-65 degrees water temps are “optimal” for trout, the direction of temp changes has more to do with creating a good bite than the actual absolute temp. Having said that, there can be a first light bite, even when air & water temps are cold. Typically late morning through late afternoon is overall the best time to be on the water this time of year due to the rising/higher water temps. Positive water temperature movements (toward 60 degrees)tend to make bugs hatch and get trout feeding too. Temp drops can shut the bite off like somebody flipped a switch.
Dick Sablitz whipped up some “Heavy Hare’s Ear Soft Hackles” with tungsten beads for us. Great point fly to use in a multi wet fly rig to get your other wets/soft hackles down deep, or use in a tandem Euro Nymphing rig. This is an all purpose fly that can pass as many different food items, and makes a great Caddis pupa too. The soft hackle gives it movement, just like a real bug. Dead-drift it and then let it swing at the end of the drift.
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. The old school Muddler Minnow is an underutilized but still deadly fly that somehow got replaced by the Woolly Bugger and forgotten about by many. Smaller jigged streamers fished on a tight-line Euro rod/leader system can entice trout to eat even when they won’t hit a traditional streamer presentation (swung/stripped on a standard fly line)- this enables you to fish a streamer slow & deep, and put it right in the trout’s face so they don’t have to chase it. A little yellow mixed into in your streamers can be very effective some days, both two-tone (brown/yellow, olive/yellow, etc.) and all yellow. Olive, tan, and brownare all good starting colors for streamers this time of year. 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 streamers, wet flies, or nymphs (Euro or Indy) if they aren’t rising. The same spot on 2 consecutive days can see a good hatch one day, followed by a poor hatch the next due to the weather.
Check out the latest Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. Very impressive series of rods, especially the 10’ 8” #0/2 Euro rod- don’t let the line designation fool you, it fishes more like a #3 with a very light tip but fast recovery, with the lower 2/3 of the rod being surprisingly powerful and capable of landing very large trout. Still very light in the hand, sensitive, accurate, and well balanced. 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’ 9” #2, 10' #3, 10' 9" #3, 11' 2" #3, 10' 9" #4 & 10' 8" #6) is a home run, arguably the best Euro rods currently on the market in our opinion and according to many experienced Euro nymphers. I’ve fished them for quite a while now, and they are all amazing. Brand new as of March is the 10’ 9” #2, it’s REALLY nice and rounds out/completes their line-up: a great rod that will protect 6x-7x tippet but is still has the butt strength to land large trout. It is fantastic for casting/fishing micro leaders (thin butt sections in 6-10# range) that are popular now. The Contact II series features new improved materials, new guide spacing (stripping guide on butt section), 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 $855 and worth every penny.
*Vitreus #12-14: late afternoon/evening fast water hatch, at least as far upstream as middle/upper end of permanent TMA/C&R (Church Pool/Mathie’s Grove/Campground)
*Assorted Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan): mid/late mornings to early/mid afternoons, from the lower river and upstream to Still River (Pipeline, Lyman’s Rock, Whittemore)
-Baetis/BWOs/Blue Winged Olives #18-22: afternoons on cloudy/cooler days
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually, sometimes go later
-Midges #18-28: anytime
-Parachute Adams #12-24: imitates many, many different bugs: Olives, Midges, Caddis, etc.
*Caddis Pupa #14-18: tan, olive/green: a fast water go-to from now through the Fall
*Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs, and also smaller Stoneflies
-Olive/BWO Nymphs #16-20: various
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmies/SJ Worms, Green Weenies): good during non-hatch periods, and also for higher/off-color flows & fresh stockers, or just as a change-up to natural/imitative flies after you fish through a run
-Big Stoneflies #6-12: gold/yellow, brown, black
*Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, all year
-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns, we have a bunch of new ones
*Antoine's Perdigons #12-20: various colors & sizes
-Attractor Nymphs #12-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Haast Haze, Firestarter Perdigon, Sexy Waltz, Princes, Triple Threats, etc.
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: olive, black, red: Midges are a staple food item, esp. when there aren’t many other hatches, and even fresh hatchery trout know them as food
-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
-great when Caddis are active
-if wet fly fishing is slow, try using a weighted fly (e.g. Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear/Pheasant Tail) on the end/point to get your flies deeper, and/or fish your rig on an intermediate/sinking line or sink-tip/sinking leader.
*Rich Strolis articulated streamers: Headbanger, Masked Avenger, Alter Ego & Dumpster Diver are all once again back in stock- lethal flies!
*Jigged Streamers #8-12: various patterns/colors, deadly fished on a tight-line/Euro rig
*Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive, white)
*BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
*Zuddler #4-8: olive, yellow, white, brown, black
-Complex Twist Bugger & Mini version #2-6: assorted colors
*Muddler Minnow #6-10: old school, underfished, still lethal & veryversatile
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (black, olive, white, brown, tan)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor/Tequeely #4-8 (brown & yellow streamers)
-Matuka #4-8 (yellow, olive, brown)