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.
Jim DeCesare has really paid his dues, check out this exceptional 20” class wild brown up top, one helluva quality fish out of our hard-fished river. Put in the work and you will be rewarded. Next down is Brian Myer with a very pretty brown that looks wild, and third fish pic is Derrick’s client Greg Siever with a solid & colorful ‘Bow.
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.
The brand new Diamondback range of Ideal Nymph rods have finally arrived! These are Euro nymphing rods in 10’ #1, 10’ #2, 10’ 10” #2, and 10’ 10” #3. Joe Goodspeed designed this series, and he did a great job. At $525-550, these rods are a steal and easily the best rods by farin the $500 range, no contest- 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, and 3 snake guides on the rod tip for minimal line wrap when using micro leader butt sections. 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- Joe showed us a prototype, it has some unique features.
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.
Riverton gauge is reading 142cfs this morning (normal/median is 251cfs), Still River is 133cfs, putting total flow in permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) at a nice 275cfs (historical median/normal flow for today is 384cfs. The latest news is that the Vitreus hatch (Epeorus Vitreus for you Latinizers) is going and is at least as far upstream as New Hartford/bottom end of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). I was out last night in New Hartford, and I saw a lot of them in the evening, they love cooler overcast/wet conditions. Despite that, I caught almost all of my trout on #16 Caddis pupa- Caddis are still a 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.
Cool air temps this week will see a big spike, but just for the weekend: highs go from mostly 60’s this week, to 93-94 degrees (!) for Saturday & Sunday, then back to normal Monday (72). Crazy weather. What does this mean in terms of fishing & hatches? Unseasonably hot temps will likely push hatching to cooler times of the day, making early/mid mornings and late evenings until darkness & beyond the peak hatch times. Try to hit those time slots if you can. Mousing at night is an option. If you have to venture out between late morning & early evening this weekend, expect minimal bug activity and plan on nymphing the faster broken water, and look for shade. The coolest water by far will be in Riverton above the Still River, so that is another strategy as far as a place to be during the slower time of day. Caddis are lighter up in Riverton, but there are some. Vitreus are not that far up yet. You will likely see a few Hendricksons up there, as well as spinners.
Hendrickson hatch is basically done, Caddis are the dominant hatch in the permanent TMA/C&R. Tan Caddis are mixing in with the olive/green ones now, we are seeing a mix of sizes & colors, mostly in the #14-18 range. You will still continue to see some light spinner falls of the Hendricksons in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release though, at least through this weekend, and later than that upstream closer to the dam and colder water. Caddis are the main hatch now, and they will be a daily player straight through mid Fall. They are all over the river, albeit lighter in Riverton, and heavier as you go downstream of that. Pupa are a consistent producer 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 oftn outfish the dries during Caddis activity.
Those being flexible on their fishing method & location are catching plenty of trout, and those who try to force it are struggling- let the fish tell you how & what they want. Or get skunked, it’s your choice. Other than Caddis pupa #14-18, the other nymphing standby recently has been small nymphs in the #18-22 range, they were consistent producers- probably match the smaller BWO’s & Midges we’ve been seeing. Might also partly be due to the lower flows: lower water = smaller flies (usually).
Caddis are mostly running #14-18 (olive/green & tan are the 2 main colors), and hatch mid/late morns through early/mid afternoons. Look for more Caddis in other sizes/colors to mix in. 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 in the drift.
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 (especially 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 this morning. Unionville/Collinsville is medium-low and very wadeable at 449cfs (USGS median/normal flow for today is 589cfs).
Hendrickson spinners will NOT fall if it’s windy, cold (below about 60 degrees, give or take), or rainy. Look for spinner falls on milder, dry days that aren’t windy. The biggest trout will rise to the spinners because they are helpless, pinned to the surface film, and cannot escape. Plus in the evenings, the spinners are not competing for the trout’s attention with the hatching nymphs. Spinner falls will easily go at least a week after the Hendrickson hatch has ended in a given section.
The state heavily stocked the permanent TMA/Catch & Release in April, including the bigger 14-18”+ 2 Year Olds, 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, 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. 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.
If you are targeting recent stockers, they mayprefer 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 key in on natural bugs.
Nymph Color Selection Tip:
Quick tip for selecting nymph colors from late Fall through early/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 (which in early Spring would mean upward) 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. 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, white, and tan 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 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 serous 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 capable of landing large trout. It is fantastic for casting/fishing micro leaders (thin butt sections in 6-10# range) that are getting popular now. The Contact II series features 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 $855.
*Vitreus #12-14: just starting, late afternoon/evening fast water hatch, at least as far upstream as New Hartford/bottom end of permanent TMA/C&R
*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)
-Hendrickson #12-14: done in permanent TMA, hatch is light and only in Riverton now, above Still River (Rt 20 bridge to dam), you will still see light spinner falls in permanent TMA/C&R
-Baetis/BWOs/Blue Winged Olives #18-22: afternoons, esp. 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, Hendricksons, Caddis, etc.
*Caddis Pupa #14-18: olive/green, tan
-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #14: hatch near end, Riverton only (Rt 20 bridge to dam)
-Olive/BWO Nymphs #16-20: various
*Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs, and also smaller Stoneflies
-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, Princes, Miller's Victim, 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, 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, deadly fished on a tight-line/Euro rig
*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
-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)