Monday, October 31, 2022

Monday 10/31/22 Farmington River Report: Pat Torrey wake & funeral this week

Fall Store Hours: 7 days a week, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm.

We are sad to announce that longtime Farmington River guide and all-around loveable entertaining character Preston Torrey, better known as “Pat” Torrey, passed away last weekat age 81 after a bout with cancer. The wake & funeral/burial services will be this week. Wake/Calling hours will take place Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center, 301 Country Club Road, Avon, CT from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated thisThursday, November 3, 2022 at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 145 Main Street in Unionville, CT at 10 am, followed by burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Huckleberry Hill Road, Avon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Farmington River Watershed Association, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT 06070.

This past weekend another giant tying material collection walk through our doors. It includes are variety of items, including a ton of high quality bucktails(been harder to get quality bucktails in 2022), priced to sell at $7 each. Currently bucktail prices have gone up and average retail is$10 or more now from our suppliers, and that’s with us pricing them at a shorter than normal margin to keep them affordable.

Simms G4 Pro Waders are on sale for about $150 off at 
$650 (normal is $799.95). You can purchase these in-store or online, we expect these to sell out quickly, and once they are gone that’s it. Simms will only be doing the zipper G4Z version of these for 2023 at $999.95.

We will be limiting the pictures in the reports to 2 or 3 in total. Additional pics & videos will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram “Stories” (they stay up for 24 hours there). Up top is Richie Mendez with nice looong brown trout, well done! Second fish pic is Zach’s client with a colored up brown, and third pic is the man himself (Zach) with a big male.

I also posted a recent pic of an actual trout redd (courtesy of R.M. Lytle) from the Farmington River & wrote a Fall Spawning PSA below so that everyone knows 1) what they look like, 2) avoids fishing to trout spawning on them, and 3) avoids walking through them and the first 15 feet below them so as not to crush the eggs before they hatch out.

Purchase the best Euro rod on the market, the T&T Contact II from us this Fall, and we will throw in a free Euro Nymphing line of your choice from our wall plus free setup and advice. Call or stop by the shop for details.

Recently arrived, the brand new Diamondback Ideal Nymph Reels
These are the most well thought out & designed Euro nymphing reels out there, the product of Joe Goodspeed who designed the Diamondback Ideal Nymph Rods. It has a full cage which makes it unlikely for long/thin leaders or Mono Rigs to work their way outside the frame. The machined tolerances are also extra tight to help with this. It has removable weights so you can fine-tune the rod/reel balance. It has an ultra large arbor, large diameter, narrow spool which is ideal for Euro nymphing where you don’t want or need a ton of line capacity- this also gives you a faster retrieve rate and less line coiling. The drag is ultra smooth to protect light tippet. The most unique feature of all is the offset reel foot, which gives you the ability to put the mass of the reel even closer to the rod butt, improving rod balance. If you need to take up slack quickly the reel is designed so you can hit the spool with your palm to rapidly take up excess line. Anywhere the line/leader can rub against the reel when stripping line has been machined round to eliminate abrasion. The Ideal Nymph reel is unique, with all the features you wanted and clever ones you never even thought about. They use the latest 5D-5 Axis machining to make this unusual & beautiful fly reel. These reels have already become a hot seller.

The T&T Contact II 10’ 9 2wt rod is an excellent addition to the best line-up of euro rods . I absolutely love it- the perfect rod for the current conditions that dictate lighter tippets & smaller/lighter flies: casts great, very sensitive, and a blast to play the fish on. It might be my new favorite rod. The length is ideal for rivers like the Farmington, allowing you to fish & cast further away, make longer drifts, casts easier/further, faster hook sets, and the soft tip will protect light 5x-7x tippets against big trout. Plenty of power in the butt section to handle bigger trout, and a bit of extra flex in the tip for better for casting thinner leaders and lighter flies. The new 2wt is a great compliment to your arsenal, especially if you already have the 3wt, which has been the “all 'rounder” for Euro Nymphing. 

The new Diamondback range of Ideal Nymph rods are in stock. These fantastic Euro nymphing rods are available in 10’ 1wt, 10’ 2wt, 10’ 10” 2wt, 10’ 10” 3wt& 10’ 10” 4wt, 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 deal and easily the best Euro rods in the $500 range. Using the latest, state-of-the-art materials & construction, the rods are light with excellent recovery & sensitivity, plenty of big fish playing power, double rings on the downlocking reel seat, 3 snake guides on the rod tip for minimal line/leader wrap, and 2 single foot ceramic stripping guides to reduce friction & improve line shoot. The 10’ 10” #2 has been a best seller for the Farmington River, also the 10’ #1.


River Conditions:
The entire upper 21 miles of the Farmington River, from the dam in Riverton downstream to the Rt 177 Unionville bridge, is now Catch & Release from 9/1/22 until the second Saturday in April 2023at 6am. If you see people violating this and keeping fish, PLEASE make sure to call the DEEP hotline at 800-842-HELP (4357). Program the number into your cell phone, and call!! Even if they cannot respond fast enough, the call & location of the offense is logged. The DEEP field officers add the vehicle descriptions to their database and will catch repeat offenders, but ONLY if you call it in.

Received several orders of note last week: flies, hooks, fly boxes & beads from Fulling Mill (including lots of streamers, nymphs, jigged streamers), tying supplies from Hareline, and another big batch of the world’s best fluorocarbon tippet from Cortland, including 100 yard guide spools of it (we keep the guide spools behind the counter, just ask for them- they save you about $17 as compared to buying the 30 yard spools, we stock guide spools from 1x-7x, 30 yard spools from 0x-8x). 

Flow remains at the nice medium level it’s been at for over a week now-this morning it’s 222.5cfs total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (173cfs from the dam, 49.5 from the Still River). Due to rainfall the inflow to Colebrook Reservoir is up, so the MDC has to run that amount of water out of the dam (they are legally required to match the inflow up to 150cfs, beyond that it’s discretionary), plus an additional 30cfs being released from Otis Reservoir (comes in above Colebrook Reservoir) they are required to also add to this. Still River is adding about 50cfs to the dam release (comes in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton), and slightly below UpCountry the East Branch is adding in another 100cfs, putting the flow from there down to 300+ cfs. All this is setting the stage for better flows in November, beyond that I’m not sure so get out there while flows are optimal. 

The increased/normalflow puts the level in the medium range and is better for nymphs & streamer fishing. You can still find trout rising to dries in the afternoons, but you have to pick your spots. Main hatches are Blue Winged Olives #18-26 & Caddis #16-20 (mainly tan, but other colors too), and there are still a few #12-14 Isonychia around (almost done I’d say though). Late mornings through late afternoons are peak insect hatching times. With trout spawning now, make sure to try some egg flies if you are nymphing, and definitely streamers too (spawning ramps up brown trout aggression toward streamers). The wind last week knocked a lot of leaves down, but there is still some pretty/colorful foliage out there. You don’t need to start at the crack of dawn, fishing generally picks up as water temps rise throughout the day. If you have to start early, nymph with eggs & Junk Flies, or strip some streamers for a big trout. You can fish a streamer traditionally with fly line, or tight-line a smaller jigged streamer on a Euro rig/leader, both are currently effective. The Euro jigged streamer approach is good when trout aren’t aggressive enough to chase a stripped streamer, it fishes the fly slow & deep and puts it right in their face, making it easy for them to eat it. 

Brown trout are currently spawning, so don’t forget about eggs flies. DO NOT walk through redds (the circular/oval light colored patches in gravelly riffle water where the trout spawn & deposit their eggs), and DO NOT fish to fish sitting on the redds (they are spawning). There are plenty of non-spawning trout downstream of these areas eating eggs & bugs. FYI people are already unknowingly walking through redds, so please educate yourself & pay attention to where you walk. Best insect activity is still in the afternoon. If you must start early, use flies that are independent of hatching activity: streamers & “Junk Flies” (egg flies, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies). 

Water temp this morning is 50.5 degrees in Riverton, it reached 53degrees there yesterday afternoon. MDC has been holding back water in the West Branch (reservoirs are about 85% full FYI) since July and doing the bare minimum releases they are allowed to do- the low flows we’ve had this year are NOT due to the drought we had this Summer, but rather the MDC deciding to not release the water even though they have had plenty. Otis Reservoir is currently letting out 30cfs (comes in above Colebrook River Lake), and the MDC has to add this to their planned water release. And typically in November they lower Highland Lake, and that drains into the Still River (which dumps in a little below the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton). 

The best fishing & hatches are typically in the11am-5pm time slot. FYI the afternoon Fall Blue Winged Olive hatches occur whether it is cloudy out or sunny, they have been running anywhere from #18-26. The other main bug is Tan Caddis #16-18. Isonychia #12-14 are almost done but you may still see a few around. There are also some other assorted Caddis. Virtually all of those are hatching in the late mornings/afternoons/early eves, which fits the old rule about the best time to trout fish: during the most pleasant/comfortable time of the day. The one exception to this is the Winter/Summer Caddis#18-24, which normally hatch in early to mid mornings, even in the Winter. The adults will sometimes be on the water in the evenings to egg lay.

PSA regarding 
Fall trout spawning:
The brown trout spawn is currently underway. Typically on the Farmington River it occurs between mid/late October and late November, but I’ve seen spawning brown trout as late as mid January. Please leave spawning trout alone and let them do their thing. Spawning is very stressful on the trout and really depletes their bodies & energy stores, so don’t add to that. It’s okay to fish below spawning trout, usually the first deeper/darker water downstream of them finds other trout eating loose eggs. Trout spawn on what is called a redd, where the females dig circular/ovaldepressions in the shallow gravelly riffle water with good current (pool tailouts are common areas for this), and then they pair up with the males and deposit eggs there and cover them with gravel. Be aware that many eggs drift 5-15 downstream of the redds. Even after the trout are no longer spawning you want to make sure you don’t step on the redds or the water immediately below them, or you will crush/destroy the eggs & future wild trout. The trout fry hatch out & emerge from the gravel in late Winter, typically February or early March, so be careful where you tread during that time period. The redds appear as lighter colored circular/oval depressions in the darker gravel, commonly in the tail ends of the pools (can be in riffles at pool heads & side channels too). We consider it unsporting to fish for fish that are actively spawning/on the redds, plus it adds to their already high stress level (some trout die from spawning). There are always plenty of other trout to catch that are not on the redds that are pre-spawn, post-spawn, or non-spawning. Let the spawning trout do their thing unmolested and make more wild brown trout, and don’t walk on the eggs they deposited. Our river has a healthy wild brown trout population that seems to be increasing over time, and they have fantastic genetics- lets try to keep this trend going.

Riverton was stocked in early October by the MDC, from the dam going downstream about 4 miles to Whittemore (right above the Campground)- those recent intros should be eager to eat small to medium streamers like Woolly Buggers (especially black, olive), “Junk Flies” (egg flies, Squirmy Worms, Mops), and Walt’s Worms/Sexy Waltz. 


-Blue Winged Olives #18-26: afternoons
-Assorted Caddis averaging #16-20 (tan, brown, olive, black): hatch in late mornings & afternoons (tan are most common), come back later in the day to egg-lay in riffled water
-Isonychia #12-14: very light, almost done, afternoons in faster water
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching early to mid morning, sometimes go later, adults are present in the evenings
-Mole Fly #20-24 (olive, brown): deadly emerger that covers many small bugs & fools difficult trout, olive ones can imitate BWO’s
-Mini Chernobyl #12-16: very consistent foam bodied attractor dry, great to blind fish or rig up Dry/Dropper with a small weighted nymph under it
-Stimulator #10-14: great fast water attractor dry fly to blind fish, assorted colors
-Midges #18-28: anytime

-Small Nymphs #18-22: Assorted. In the Fall (especially during lower flows), often the secret is just going smaller, as most nymphs are small this time of year with a few exceptions. Experiment and try drab, flashy, and with & without hot-spots.
-BWO Nymphs #16-22: various patterns, anytime
-Caddis Pupa #16-18 (tan, olive/green): a fast water go-to straight into early/mid November
-Big Stoneflies #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): anytime
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs & smaller Stoneflies
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, all year, lots of these in the river
-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, Sexy Waltz, Prince, Triple Threats, etc.
-Midges/Zebra Midges #18-22: olive, black, red. Midges are a staple food item, especially when there aren’t many other hatches.

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Hare's Ear, Partridge & Flash, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown #12-16
*best fished 2-3 at a time, on 4-6” tag end droppers, spaced 20-30” apart
*dead drift them, swing them, twitch them, bounce them
*great for imitating Caddis and Isonychia this time of year

Fall is PRIME TIME to fish streamers, as brown trout spawning ramps up aggression
-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 #2-6: assorted colors
-Conehead White Marabou Muddler #8
-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)