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. 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.
We’ll be limiting the number of pics per report to about 2 or a max of 3 now, it’s just too time consuming to put lots of pics on here. I’ll be sharing additional pics on our Instagram stories, where they stay up for 24 hours- follow us on IG if you don’t already. Up stop is a real stunner by John Stratton, what a SLAB. Next down is the man himself Zach with a thick Boi, what a beautiful brown trout. And last but not least is an impressive dry fly brown by guide Steve Hogan, gettin’ it done every day on the river.
The new T&T Contact II 10’ 9” #2 rods are EXCELLENT. The extra 9” is perfect for bigger water like the Farmington (allows you to fish & cast further away, make longer drifts, casts easier/further, faster hook sets, 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/0x-4x) 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.
The brand new Diamondback range of Ideal Nymph rods have recently arrived! These are Euro nymphing rods in 10’ #1, 10’ #2, 10’ 10” #2, and 10’ 10” #3, with more models to come. Joe Goodspeed (formerly of Cortland and T&T) designed this series, and he did a great job. At $525-550, these rods are a great deal and easily the best Euro rods in the $500 range- they use the latest, state-of-the-art materials & construction. Light with excellent recovery & sensitivity, plenty of big fish playing power (even the #1 & #2), double rings on the downlocking reel seat, 3 snake guides on the rod tip for minimal line wrap when using micro leader butt sections, and 2 single foot ceramic stripping guides to reduce friction & improve line shoot. The 10’ 10” #2 is the big seller so far, with the 10’ #1 in the number two position. The 10’ 10” #2 seems like it will be the ideal all-around model for the Farmington River, especially for lighter tippets & Micro Leaders. We have demo models in the 10’ #1, and the 10’ 10” #2 & #3 if anyone wants to try them on the water. Joe will be adding more models to this line-up in the near future, including a 10’ #3, a 10’ 10” #4, and a 10’ 10” #6 (for Steelhead/Lake Run Browns). They will also be coming out with a high-end Euro reel this Summer in a #1/2 & #3/4 ($525-550)- Joe showed us a prototype, it has some unique features like an offset reel foot for better rod balance.
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.
Depending upon what section of the river you choose, you will see different hatches at different times of the day. Sulfurs were heavy in New Hartford last weekend, but they seem to be light near the shop now, with the best hatching in the upper part of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (Mathie’s Grove, Campground) up to the dam. It’s a mix of #16 Invaria, and #18 Dorothea. Mid to late afternoon is a common time to see the Sulfurs upriver, but they can be on the water in the mornings & evenings so be observant. We are seeing big Isonychia averaging #10 up & down the river currently, typically sometime between late afternoon & early evening, but like the Sulfurs can be other times of the day too. Remember that Iso’s are a fast water insect, so look for them there. Assorted Caddis throughout the day, especially mid morning through early afternoon, and again in the evenings- look for them in riffles. Attentuata #18-20 are still a legit evening hatch- don’t confuse them with a #16-18 Sulfur or you will get lots of refusals when the trout are on them. Some #14 Light Cahills too in the eves. Hatches are ahead of schedule this year because the lower water levels from the dam means the water is warmer on average. Riverton USGS gauge is reading 167cfs (normal would be 256cfs for today), and the Still is a low 32cfs (normal would be 50cfs today), giving us a lower than normal total flow of 199cfs from the Still River & below (includes permanent TMA/C&R)- normal total flow for today would be about 300cfs. Downriver the Unionville USGS gauge reads
The drier than normal weather and unusually low water release from the dam is making for flows 100+ cfs below average, and above average dry fly fishing & easy wading. It also means if you are dry fly fishing on flatter/slower water than you need to be on your “A” game: stealthy wading & longer leaders (12 foot plus) with longer/lighter tippets. There have been some good Sulfur spinner falls in the evenings, 8pm at the earliest, and usually starting later, more like 8:30-9pm, sometimes even later, don’t leave early!!!Spinner falls are best on dry (no rain), windless/low wind & mild eves. The lower flows equates to more rising trout, because during a hatch it becomes efficient for trout to target bugs on the surface due to the slower, shallower water. When flows are up, it’s not energetically efficient for them to feed on the surface in most spots so they stay deep and gorge on nymphs, rather than wasting energy swimming up through the current to feed on the surface. Of course certain select pools, like Church Pool, virtually always have some rising fish, seemingly regardless of the conditions. When flows are up (not now!), wider slower pools that spread out the current & slow it become the dry fly spots. Right now if you are on the water during a hatch, trout are rising almost everywhere.
Don’t neglect terrestrials like beetles & ants, both are catching trout, especially during lulls in insect activity on warm, sunny days. You can also blind fish likely water with Isonychia, Caddis & attractor dries (Mini Chernobyls, Mega Beetles, etc.). Nymphing & wet fly/soft hackle fishing is still good to excellent in the faster water, whether or not trout are rising. Many large trout are moving into shallow riffles when they want to feed, so don’t neglect that calf to knee deep riffle water. Stonefly shucks are all over the rocks in the fast water, they crawl out at night & early to mid mornings, so make sure to fish some big Stonefly nymphs in the AM! Sometimes wets/soft-hackles will outfish dries, even during a hatch with rising fish. Isonychia are a full blown hatch on the entire river. They typically hatch sometime between late afternoon and dark, normally peaking in early evenings, but you can see them anytime some days. They live & hatch in fast water, so look for them there, not on flat pool water. Sulfurs inhabit a wider variety of water types. The cold water tailwater effect from Hogback/Goodwin Dam in Riverton makes bugs hatch at times of the day and times of the year that contradict what all the bug books say, so keep your eyes open and match what you see. During the course of the day you may see assorted Caddis (#12-22, various colors), Attenuata #18-20, Sulfurs #16-18, Isonychia #8-12, Golden Stones #6-10, ssmall to super tiny Blue Winged Olives, Cahills #12-16, and tiny Midges. Pay close attention to the bugs, people often mistakenly think Attenuata are Sulfurs, but they are smaller (#18-20), and have a light lime green, almost chartreuse green when they first hatch, with cream wings & legs. They are a major evening hatch in June.
The further upstream you are, the more likely you will see “evening” hatches come off in the afternoons due to the cooler water temps. Downriver in Collinsville, Unionville, and Farmington the river behaves more like a freestone river and the warmer water temps means mornings & evenings will be the best fishing now- keep an eye on water temps downriver when temps start heating up again (soon). Sulfur spinners fall in the late evening no matter what section you are in. This time of year first light to 10am is a great time to be out nymphing no matter what section of the river you are fishing. The big trout are out feeding and Behavioral Nymph Drift is occuring, and big Stoneflies will be hatching/in the drift. Focus on riffles, pool heads, and pocket water. We’ve been seeing some good mid to late afternoon Sulfur hatches in the permanent TMA/C&R, and look for Isonychia in the faster water sometime between late afternoon & dusk.
Different river sections are seeing different bugs, so tell us how far up or down the river you plan to fish if you have us pick flies out for you. Time of day matters a lot too.
First light to mid morning is a great time to nymph the faster water with a #6-10 Stonefly nymph, they crawl out/emerge then- you will see their empty shucks on the rocks in pocket water sections (Stoneflies luvvv pocket water). After that if you are nymphing try Caddis pupa, Sulfur Nymphs, and smaller #16-20 general Mayfly nymphs (Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, Hare’s Ears, BWO nymphs, etc.). We’ve been seeing Sulfur hatches & rising trout anywhere from mid morning to evenings, and everything in between- mid to late afternoon/early evening has generally been the best time for that though. Hatch timing varies depending upon distance below the dam, and varies with daily weather. Sulfur spinners hit the water late in the day, sometime between 8pm and darkness- stay late or you will miss it. Mayfly spinners fall over riffly water.
Water released from the dam in Riverton is still about 45-46 degrees (Riverton gauge 2 miles below the dam is reading 46 degrees this morning, it reached 50 yesterday afternoon). Water temps have been anywhere from mid 40’s (mornings right below dam in Riverton) up to the upper 60’s (warm sunny afternoons downstream in Collinsville, Unionville, and Farmington). East Branch release (comes in a little below our store) was 0cfs last I knew.
If you are nymphing in early to mid mornings, make sure one of your flies is a #6-10 Stonefly nymph of some sort. Big Stoneflies are hatching now, they crawl out on rocks in faster water to emerge. This takes place at night and first light until about mid morning (about 10am, give or take), and then the Stonefly bite fizzles out and they switch to Caddis pupa & Sulfur nymphs. Big fish will key in on large Stoneflies.
Caddis are up & down the entire river. We are seeing a diverse mix of sizes & colors averaging #14-18 with tan the most common and olive/green common too, with some both bigger and smaller, and other colors too (black, brown, gray). Caddis will be a daily player straight through mid Fall. Pupa are a consistent producer most of the day if fished in a nymph rig in the faster water where they are most abundant. Make sure to have Caddis dries, but be aware pupa patterns & soft-hackles/wet flies will frequently outfish the dries during Caddis activity. You can blind fish Caddis dries in riffly water, with or without a pupa dropper.
Those being flexible on their fishing method & location are catching plenty of trout- let the fish tell you how, where, and what they want or you may fair poorly. Other than Caddis pupa #14-18, the other nymphing standbys have been #14-20 Mayfly type nymphs (Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, BWO/Olives, etc.), #16 Sulfur type nymphs, along with #10-12 Isonychia and #10-12 March Brown nymphs. March Brown nymphs can be imitated with a specific imitation, as well as bigger Hare’s Ear & Fox Squirrel nymphs. Bigger Prince nymphs work great when Isonychia are active. Attractor nymphs (flashy/gaudy, hot spots/fluorescence, etc.) & suggestive nymphs (Hare’s Ears, Walt’s Worms, Fox Squirrel, etc.) are definitely worth trying.
For Caddis 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 sometimes swinging wets/soft hackles or pupa just under the surface is better. Nymphing with Caddis pupa can be VERY effective both before & during the hatch, and even during evening egg-laying.
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. Caddis hatches are more mid/late morns through early/mid afternoon (and egg-laying in the evenings), Sulfurs can be anytime from mid morning to dusk, Isonychia are typically late afternoon/early to mid eves (fast water), March Browns are afternoons through eves in fast water, Attenuata are evenings, and 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 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. 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!
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 (now) 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-the amber/ginger color is very prevalent in June/July. 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 have their moments, experiment with colors and retrieves. Early & late in the day during lower light is a particularly good time to fish them, as are cloudy & rainy days (especially if the water comes up and/or gets off-color). 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- try also the Conehead White Marabou Muddler. 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 brown are 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 wet flies/soft hackles, nymphs (Euro or Indy), or streamers 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. Dry fly action is never a given, so be flexible!
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 powerful #3 with a very light tip but fast recovery, with the lower 2/3 of the rod being surprisingly strong and capable of landing very large trout. Still 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, our best selling premium Euro rods and 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 5-10#/0x-4x 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.
*Sulfurs #16-18: #16 Invaria  Dorothea, they are more upstream now (upper TMA/C&R, Mathie’s Grove/Campground to dam), anytime from mid morning to dark (timing varies, mid afternoons have been good lately)
*Isonychia #8-12: entire river (faster water, late afternoon/eves normally)
*Attenuata #18-20: eves, often mistaken for a Sulfur (light green/lime green almost chartreuse body, cream wings/legs)
-March Brown/Gray Fox #10-12: upper river only now, fast water afternoon to dark, mid to upper river
*Assorted Caddis averaging #14-18 (tan, olive/green and more): mid/late mornings to early/mid afternoons, come back in eves to egg-lay in riffly water
-Light Cahills #12-16: eves, normally #14
*Beetles & Ants #12-18
*Mini Chernobyls #12-16
-Baetis/BWOs/Blue Winged Olives #18-28: afternoons on cloudy/cooler days
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually, sometimes go later
-Midges #18-28: anytime
*Sulfur Nymph #16: all water types, upper permanent TMA/C&R to dam
*Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green): a fast water go-to from now through the Fall
*Big Stoneflies #6-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): fish in early/mid mornings
-March Brown #10-12: fast water, especially pocket water, upper river only
*Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs, and also smaller Stoneflies
-Olive/BWO Nymphs #16-20: various patterns, anytime
*Antoine's Perdigons #12-20: various colors & sizes
*Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, all year
-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
-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns, we have a bunch of new ones
-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. Beadhead 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- 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 & very versatile
*Conehead White Marabou Muddler #8: favorite Muddler variation, also underfished
-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)