Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Tuesday 10/18/22 Farmington River Report: Peak foliage week

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


We will be limiting the pictures in the reports to about 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 Zach’s client with a colored up Rainbow, looks like a mini Steelhead. Next down is a big beautiful brown by customer John Holt, and the third fish pic is an 18” dry fly brown by customer & friend Steve Katz. 

I also posted a pic of a trout redd & 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 abest seller for the Farmington River, alsothe 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 at 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.

I think this is the peak foliage week, from this past weekend through the upcoming weekend, although it should be quite colorful for another 2-3 weeks. Hard to beat the stunning scenery currently on the Wild & Scenic Farmington River. The fishing is pretty good too. Cold nights (30’s for the next 3 nights) and cooler days (50’s) means there is no need to start at the crack of dawn. Best insect activity is in the afternoons.If you must start early, use flies that are independent of hatching activity: streamers & “Junk Flies” (egg flies, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies). Spawning will get heavy any day now, a few redds have been spotted. Once that happens, the egg bite will light up. Please see my PSA down below about spawning & ethics: don’t fish to spawning trout on redds, and know what a redd looks like so you don’t step on them and crush the eggs deposited there. 

Total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release is 178cfs& slowly rising (87.5cfs from the dam, Still River is 90.5cfs & creeping up), probably will come up a little more but not much.This is a nice water level, and an improvement over the low flow we’ve had since July due to the MDC holding back water (reservoirs are about 85% full FYI) and doing the bare minimum releases they are allowed to do- it’s NOT due to the drought we had this Summer. Otis Reservoir will be letting water out soon (comes in above Colebrook River Lake), and the MDC will have to add this to their planned water release. And typically in November they lower Highland Lake, and that will drain 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 #18-26The other two main bugs are Tan Caddis #16-18, and Isonychia #12-14. Virtually all of those are hatching in the 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, 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.

Annual Fall PSA regarding trout spawning:
The male browns are starting to spar with one another, meaning the spawning is about to start up. Typically on the Farmington River it occurs between mid 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 othertrout eating loose eggs. Trout spawn on what is called a redd, where the females dig circular depressions 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 immediatelybelow them, or you will crush/destroythe 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 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. Our river has a healthy wild brown trout population that seems to be increasing over time, and they have fantastic genetics.

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

Fishing remains good with plenty of rising trout, and fish coming to small nymphs, wets/soft-hackles & streamers at moments. Trout will spawn here as early as mid October, so don’t be surprised if you see trout pairing up, or swimming around doing weird things, males may even spar with each other. Use streamers to piss off aggressive male browns. The entire river is in play you can fish as far downstream as you want, all the way down to Canton, Collinsville, Unionville, Farmington, and Avon. 


-Blue Winged Olives #18-24: afternoons/evenings
-Assorted Caddis averaging #16-20 (tan, brown, black): hatch in late mornings & afternoons, come back later in the day to egg-lay in riffled water
-Isonychia #12-14: faster water, afternoons/evenings
-Light Cahills/Summer Steno’s #14-18: afternoons/evenings, a few
-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
-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 low), 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 November
-Big Stoneflies #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): first light to mid mornings
-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)