Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday 7/22/22 Farmington River Report: 3pm flow update/increase!!!

Our current store hours:

Monday through Friday 8am-6pmSaturday & Sunday 8am-5pm.

Recently arrived, the brand new Diamondback Ideal Nymph Reels in #1/2 & #3/4.
Probably the most well thought out & designed Euro nymphing reels out there, the product of Joe Goodspeed who designed all the Diamondback Ideal Nymph Rods. Like some other Euro specific reels on the market it has a full cage which makes it unlikely for long/thin leaders or Mono Rigs to work their way outside the frame or get caught between the frame & spool- the machined tolerances are also extra narrow/tight to help with this. It has four 10 gram removable weights so you can fine-tune the rod/reel balance (28.3 grams = 1 ounce, so roughly 1/3 ounce per each weight). 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, and you can turn it up quite high if needed- this is a true high end drag system. 

Here’s where this Diamondback reel deviates from other Euro reels:
Joe designed a special handle: it is narrow at the base and flares out, and it has 3 silicon “O” rings, the two combined give you an unusually good grip on the reel (important when fighting big fish) and make it easier to grab the handle without looking. And the most unique feature of allIt has an offset reel foot, which gives you the ability to put the mass of the reel even closer to the rod butt (similar to a downlocking reel seat), improving rod balance by enabling you to use less weight and still achieve a proper rod balance (it can be easily switched around for R or L hand retrieve). A properly balanced reel makes your rod both more comfortable to fish, and even enhances your sensitivity. And if you need to take up slack quickly, you can hit the spool with your palm and spin it fast to rapidly take up excess line (similar to how Centerpinners do it). Anywhere your leader/line can rub against the reel when stripping line has been machined round so that you won’t abrade or cut your line. All in all a unique reel, with all the features you wanted and clever ones you never even thought about. I’d call this the ultimate reel for Euro Nymphing, the #1/2 is $525 (4.51oz, 3.4” diameter), and the #3/4 is $550 (4.79oz, 3.8” diameter)- not inexpensive, but worth every penny in my opinion. FYI the #3/4 is the most versatile of the 2 sizes with a quicker retrieve rate, plus it spins better when you want to retrieve slack line quickly. They use the latest 5D/5 Axis machining (most reels only use 3D/3 Axis) to make this unusual & beautiful fly reel. I expect this first batch to sell out fast, I bought 2 of the 3/4 and Joey bought 1 already.

Antoine Bissieux is flying world champion French competition angler 
Yannick Riviere from France to the USA to do some clinics in August in CT, PA & NY. Don’t miss out, call Antoine to sign up before the classes fill. Yannick will teach you dry fly & nymphing secrets that you’ve never seen before, definitely will increase your success, especially on tough pressured trout. French trout streams have some of the most difficult to catch wild brown trout in the world. It’s not uncommon for high level competitive fly fisherman like Yannick to catch 30+ trout during a 3 hour comp session during a tournament if they are fishing a higher trout density river like the Farmington, even 50+ on occasion. He is doing 2 separate clinic for UpCountry on August 9 & 10, contact Antoine directly at 860-759-4464 to reserve a spot (there will also be clinics in PA & NY if you cannot attend these ones). Go to the events/classes page on our website for a detailed description. 

We acquired a massive collection of assorted fly fishing & spinning gear, all sorts of things ranging from assorted tackle, lures, tons of rods (metal, fiberglass, bamboo, a few graphite, mix of spin & fly), bunch of reels, nets, knives, fishing vests (M & L mostly), lots of creels, fishing prints, mounted fish and much more. We have the collection inside, but will set up tables and put them outside and do a tag sale most days (especially weekends).

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 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 hooksdubbing, and other assorted tying materials.

Fish Pics:
We’ll be limiting the number of pics per report to about 2 (give or take), it’s just too time consuming to put lots of pics on here. I’ll be sharing lots of additional pics on our Instagram stories, where they stay up for 24 hours- please follow us on IG if you don’t already. Up top is Derrick, showing that in the Summer, sometimes night time is the right time, wow- this one was moused up. Next up is Zach’s client & UpCountry customer Mike Fitzgerald with a beautiful brown from his guide trip. And third fish pic is Mathew Burke with 2 hands full of big Farmington brown trout. 

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). 

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. 

River Conditions:

3pm 7/22/22 Flow Update:

The MDC just emailed us, the CT DEEP is providing another 25cfs from their bank of water, which means the dam release went up by another 25cfs (they were already adding an additional 25cfs to the minimum flow that MDC has been running this Summer, so now they are adding a total of 50cfs). They were releasing 96cfs (was reading 113cfs at the USGS gauge)- this morning, this increase brings the dam release up to 121cfs, and by the time it hits the Riverton gauge (about 2-2.5 miles downstream) it will read closer to 140cfs, and with about 20cfs additional water coming in from the Still River the total flow below that will be around 160cfs, putting us closer to a normal late August level (200+ cfs) this weekend. This flow bump is being done to help lower the water temps- predicted highs this weekend of 94 for Saturday, low of 72 Saturday night, 96 high for Sunday, and a low of 77 Sunday night- the heat wave breaks on Monday/Tuesday. A big kudos to the DEEP for taking this action, it will keep the entire river cooler, and especially help the downstream trout in Canton, Collinville, Unionville & below make it through this hot weather. I suspect the DEEP will drop their 50cfs contribution down to 25cfs sometime soon after the weekend, as they don’t have a very big “bank” of water to use.

9am Friday 7/22/22 River Report:

Yes, the river remains quite fishable as long as you don’t venture too far downriver, the water is still coming out of the dam in the 40’s and then temps slowly rise as the day progresses and/or you move downriver. Flow/water release is still lower then normal (despite PLENTY of water in the reservoirs…), but the release was bumped up by 20+ cfs on Monday due to increased inflow to Colebrook Reservoir, putting the total flow at 130+ cfs, an improvement over the sub 100cfs flows recently. The MDC (the organization that controls the reservoir system) has been running the absolute minimum flow that they are legally allowed to do this Summer, not sure why they are not letting at least 150-200cfs out (200cfs would be about normal for late July, and the reservoir storage capacity appears to be above normal for this time of year)- there IS enough water in the reservoirs that they could easily let more water out, but they are choosing not to for unknown reasonsSome people are still fishing too far downriver in the afternoons & eves in 70+ degree water and stressing the trout out. In the afternoons & eves if you’re anywhere from Church Pool downstream to New Hartford/Satan’s Kingdom or below, you’re fishing in 70 degree water and are part of the problem. However, if you play it smart, you can easilyfish in optimal water temps (50-65 degrees) all day long, have better fishing, stay cooler, and not unduly stress the trout out. 

Please be a good steward of our river. The best strategy is to start in the early AM at your downstream most point (not below New Hartford where we are located), and then by 10am you should be no lower than Church Pool, and by early/mid afternoon I’d be no lower than Mathie’s Grove & Campround, if not even further upstream- peak water temps occur in mid/late afternoons. Leave Canton, Collinsville, Unionville & below alone for the time being, period, even in the mornings. Riverton above the Still River stays ice cold 24/7, even on the hottest sunny days. The water temps rise during the daytime, and then drop at night. This nasty heat wave of six 90 degree plus days goes through Sunday (96 is the predicted high, yowza), and then breaks on Monday, and by Tuesday the highs drop into the mid 80’s with nights averaging mid 60’s.

The hot weather is making the good morning fishing both start & end earlier, and also pushing the evening fish later, closer to darkness & beyond. The exception would be the mid/late afternoon Sulfur hatch, located only in Riverton, basically from about the Rt 20 bridge (Hitchcock/Riverton Self Storage) up to the dam. Riverton stays the coldest, and with the high hillside on the west side of the river it goes into the shadows earlier.Morning dry fly fishing has been on tiny flies, both the Summer/Winter Caddis #20-24, and Needhami #22-26 (both spinners & duns/emergers- the spinners fall first in the AM, then the duns hatch after that), with long leaders and light 6x if not 7x long tippets.

You can also nymph the faster water, and also Dry/Dropper it with a buoyant visiable dry fly with a small (#18 or smaller) weighted nymph 1-2 feet below the dry. Just like with dries, for the most part the nymphing is #18 & smaller with a few exceptions (#8-10 Stonefly nymph from first light until about 10am, and #10-12 Isonychia nymphs in the late afternoons & eves). Frequently success with nymphing hinges upon just fishing a small enough fly, usually no bigger than #18 in the mid/late Summer when the bugs are mostly small and the water is low.

Antoine still has a few spots open in his clinics with Yannick Riviere, a multi time world champion French angler, see up top for info on that.

Despite the low water & hot air temps, the fishing remains good if you adapt to the conditions. Low flows make for easy wading, easy access, and more rising trout. Just make sure to be stealthy, use longer leaders with lighter/longer tippets, and use smaller flies (on average, a few exceptions). We’ve been seeing some good #18 Sulfur hatches upriver in the mid/late afternoon- stay above the Still River and you will likely see this hatch. Isonychia are a major fast water hatch on the entire river, typically sometime between late afternoon & dark, usually peaking in the early evening. Still seeing #20 Attenuata in the eves, don’t confuse them with the #18 Dorothea Sulfurs. Mornings are also now seeing #22-26 Needhami. Light Cahills/Summer Steno’s (all cream Mayflies) ranging from #12-18 are a common bug in the dusk to dark period.

This is a good time of year to carry a thermometer and actually use it, look for water 68 or colder, preferably 65 degrees or less. 
The absolute cutoff is don’t fish for trout in 70+ degree water, and I would recommend staying below 68 degrees. In the early to mid mornings, as long as we’ve had a relatively cool night, you can probably safely fish as far down as New Hartford, but by 10am I’d be moving well upriver in search of cooler water, more active trout, and better fishing.

Riverton USGS gauge (2 miles below the dam) is reading 133cfs, and the Still River is adding in an additional 20cfs, giving us a total flow in the TMA/permanent Catch & Release (C&R) of 133cfs. Morning water temp in Riverton was 47 degrees, it reached 54 degrees yesterday afternoon. Historical normal total flow for today would be 247cfs (212cfs from the dam, 35cfs from the Still River). Downstream water temps in the afternoons & evenings are cracking 70 degrees if you go too far downriver, read above in the river report for advice on how to stay in optimal 50-65 degree water temps.

There are some good strategies for dealing with low flows. As I’ve mentioned before, low flows = more rising trout (if there’s a hatch). It also means you need to be stealthy, use longer leader, lighter tippets, and smaller flies (with a few exceptions like Isonychia hatches & nymphing in the early to mid mornings with bigger Stonefly nymphs). If you scare the trout, you will not catch them. Mornings & evenings will be prime-time during the lower light conditions (although upriver in Riverton you will still see mid/late afternoon Sulfur hatches). Stay until full darkness if you can, often the Summer evening dry fly fishing happens late and on edge and even into the darkness. Make sure to have some bigger cream colored flies for the very end of the night (#10-14 cream Usuals, White Wulffs, etc.)- they may not eat them at 7pm, but usually they do the trick in the dusk to dark period. You also need to be smart when choosing where you fish. It will be easy to read the water, and you can eliminate most of the super shallow water, and water with little to no current. Obviously look for deeper water, but also troughs in sections of overall shallow water, structure (big rocks, undercut banks, downed trees), shade, and broken/ripply water. And then approach likely water slowly & carefully. Dry/Dropper with a buoyant visible dry fly combined with a small weighted nymph 1-2 feet below it is a fun & deadly method in lower flows.

The majority of dry flies are going to be in the #18-24 (or smaller!) range, and your smaller nymphs should average #18-22. When nymphing, the exact pattern is less important than just fishing something small to imitate the predominately smaller Summertime bugs. If you aren’t confident fishing small nymphs, pair a small one up with a slightly bigger one (#14-16). Except for Iso’s, your dry fly tippet should average 6x-7x, and nymphing 5x-6x. Leaders should be 12’ or longer, and I suggest adding tippet which makes it much easier to get a drag-free float. Most commercial leaders only come with 18-24 inches of tippet, which is too short for technical dry fly presentations on flat water. Longer tippets also sink nymphs faster, and with less weight.

As far as hatches, BE OBSERVANT and match closely what you see. There have been tiny Flying Ants on the water some days. We have a large diversity of insects on this river, and it varies quite a bit depending upon the day, the time of day, the river section and the weather. Sulfurs are only up in Riverton now (Lyman’s Rock up to the dam) and averaging a #18 (Dorothea). Isonychia #10-14 will remain a major hatch in July, occuring typically sometime between late afternoon & darkness- this bug brings some BIG trout to the surface. Remember Iso’s are a fast water insect, so look for them there, not in flat pool water. Needhami #22-26 spinners & duns are on the water in the mornings. Look for Light Cahills/Summer Steno’s #12-18 in the evenings. Midday & early eves beetles and ants can be quite effective. Still seeing #20 Attenuata in the evenings, and good Summer/Winter hatches in the early to mid mornings. Cream Usuals in assorted sizes are an invaluable evening dry fly.

We are still in the longer days of the year, but they are slowly shortening slightly every day now. On clear evenings you can dry fly fish until well past 8:30 or even later before it’s pitch dark. This is also a great time of year to night fish if you are into that. Don’t forget about terrestrials, especially midday and during non-hatch times, fish those Ants & Beetles. Also you can prospect with attractor dries like Mini Chernobyls, Mega Beetles, etc. Dry/Dropper, with a buoyant visible dry fly and a small weighted nymph 1-2’ below it is a very effective tactic during lower flows like this. You get the visual fun of dry fly fishing, combined with the effectiveness of nymphing, win-win.

Downriver the Unionville USGS gauge reads a very low 150cfs (historical normal flow for today is 320cfs)- DO NOT FISH DOWNRIVER IN CANTON, COLLINSVILLE, UNIONVILLE, FARMINGTON OR BELOW CURRENTLY, WATER TEMPS ARE GETTING WELL INTO THE 70’S IN THE AFTERNOONS. 8am Riverton water temp at the Rt 20 bridge was 47 degrees, it reached 54 degrees yesterday afternoon. 

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 move 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 all over the 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), Needhami #22-26 (AM, first the spinners, and then after that the duns), Attenuata #18-20 (eves mid/upper river), Sulfurs #18 (Riverton only), Isonychia #10-14, Golden Stones #6-10, small to super tiny Blue Winged Olives #18-28 , Cahills #12-18 (eves), and tiny Midges. Pay close attention to the bugs, people often mistakenly think Attenuata are Sulfurs, but they are smaller (#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 and into July.

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 & heat wave currently means you should leave that section alone for now as water temps down there will get well into the 70’s in the afternoons. 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. 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. 

Water released from the dam in Riverton is still about 46-47 degrees (Riverton gauge 2 miles below the dam is reading 47 degrees this morning, it rises during the day, peaking in the afternoons). Water temps have been anywhere from mid/upper 40’s (mornings right below dam in Riverton) up well into the 70’s (hot sunny afternoons downstream in Collinsville, Unionville, and Farmington). East Branch release (comes in a little below our store) is 0cfs. 

If you are nymphing in early to mid mornings, make sure one of your flies is a #6-10 Stonefly nymph of some sort. Focus on the faster water, especially pocket water & pool heads. 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, and other assorted small nymphs & larva in the #16-22 range. 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 #16-18 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 finding- 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 smaller #16-22 nymphs (Pheasant Tails/Frenchies, BWO/Olives, Hare’s Ears, Zebra Midge, etc.), #16 Sulfur nymphs, along with #10-12 Isonychia. Prince nymphs #10-14 and #12-14 Pheasant Tails work great when Isonychia are active, and often outproduce more exact imitations. 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 as many Caddis dive and/or crawl under water to lay their eggs. 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/late eves (fast water), Attenuata are evenings, and BWO’s are afternoons on cloudy/cooler or rainy 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 can be deadly on days when other presentations & flies fail. 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- think of them like a soft hackled Walt’s Worm. 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 balancedThese 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 #18: Dorothea Sulfurs, they are only upstream now (Riverton from Lyman Rock/Still River junction up to the dam), anytime from mid morning to dark (timing varies, mid/late afternoons have been good lately)
*Isonychia #10-14: 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), approximately Church Pool to the dam in Riverton
*Needhami #22-26: AM hatch, duns & spinners, also called Tiny Chocolate/Mahogany Dun
*Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: early/mid mornings usually, sometimes go later
*Assorted Caddis averaging #16-18 (tan, olive/green are common): mid/late mornings to early/mid afternoons, come back in eves to egg-lay in riffly water, ranging from #12-22 and also in black, brown, gray
-Light Cahills/Summer Steno’s #12-18: eves, #14 is most common
*Beetles & Ants #12-18
-Flying Ants #18-24: can be an ace-in-the-hole fly some days
-Mole Fly #20-24 (olive, brown): deadly emerger that covers many small bugs
*Mini Chernobyls #12-16: very consistent foam bodied attractor dry
-Baetis/BWOs/Blue Winged Olives #18-28: afternoons on cloudy/cooler or rainy days
-Midges #18-28: anytime

*Small Nymphs #18-22: Various. In the Summer, often the secret is just going smaller, the size of the nymph supersedes the exact pattern
*Sulfur Nymph #16: all water types, doubles as a Yellow Sally Stonefly imitation
*Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green): a fast water go-to straight through the Fall
*Big Stoneflies #6-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): fish first light to mid mornings
*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

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-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 4-6” 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)