Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday 7/29/22 Farmington River Report: Nice weekend to fish

Our current store hours:

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

Recently arrived, the brand new Diamondback Ideal Nymph Reels:
Probably 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 four 10 gram 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. 

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 and makes it easier to grab the handle without looking. 
But the most unique feature of all is the offset reel foot, which gives you the ability to put the mass ofthe reel even closer to the rod butt, 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. 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. They use the latest 5D - 5 Axis machining (most reels only use 3D - 3 Axis) to make this unusual & beautiful fly reel. These reels have already become a hot seller.

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 & NYThere are a fewspots still open on each day. 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 whatsoever for high level competitive fly fisherman like Yannick to catch 30+ trout during a 3 hour comp session in 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. Go to the events/classes page on our website for a detailed description. 

We will be limiting the pics in this report to about 2 
or 3 in total. It’s too time consuming to post a bunch of pics on here, but we will be posting additional pics & videos on our Instagram page story (which stays up for 24 hours and then automatically disappears), so follow us on IG if you don’t already. Up top is Trevor with a beautiful recent specimen of a brown trout, and the next fish pic down is frequent flyer Jim DeCesare with a big brown he rolled on a Dry/Dropper, and then came back later & nymphed her up.

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 has been a very popular rod, and a great compliment to your arsenal if you already have a 3 weight, which has been the “all 'rounder” 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  are now in stock. These are fantastic Euro nymphing rods in 10’ #1, 10’ #2, 10’ 10” #2, 10’ 10” #3 & 10’ 10” #4, 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- 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.

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, 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.

River Conditions:
Fairly normal weather this weekend for late July, highs in the low/mid 80’s, nights upper 50’s to mid 60’s. Weather gets really hot again starting Tuesday (89-96), so take advantage of current weather now through Monday if you can. River is still low at 107cfs (normal/median flow for today would be 261cfs) despite plenty of water in the reservoirs due to the MDC running the minimum mandated flows (which DEEP is augmenting with 25cfs), but it is fishing well for those who adapt to the conditions. The big upside to low flows is easy wading/access andlots of dry fly fishing, but it is more technical. If you can get in some riffly water that makes it easier to approach the trout closer, and they don’t get as good at look at your fly so are more apt to make a mistake and eat it. 12’ plus leaders will help your dry fly presentations, as will lengthening out your tippet sections. Pay close attention to what you observe hatching, and try to match it closely. For the fishing sipping gently in flat water, it often takes a #24 fly on a long 7x tippet with a precise drag-free float to fool them. The other gambit is try a #12-18 Ant or Beetle on a long 6x tippet, sometimes this does the trick without going to a tiny fly and super light tippet. 

Mornings are bringing Needhami & Summer/Winter Caddis hatches, all tiny flies #20-26, with smaller imitations generally better. No morning Trico’s yet in the mid to upper river, but any day now- August is usually the big month for that bug. Nymphing the fast water is always an option (mostly small nymphs though), as is Dry/Dropper- try a buoyant visible dry with a small weighted nymph 18-24” below the dryAfternoons see minimal bugs, with the exception being the mid/late afternoon #18 Sulfurs in Riverton only (Rt 20 bridge at Hitchcock/Riverton Self Storage up to the dam). Terrestrials are a great dry fly choice from late morning through early evening. Evenings are mostly Isonychia & Light Cahills/Summer Stenos, with some assorted Caddis in the mix (mostly egg-laying, not so much emerging, they mostly hatch in the mornings).

The MDC is releasing the minimum flow they are required to do, plus an additional 25cfs is being added in from the DEEP for a total of 
93cfs by the time it hits the USGS gauge in Riverton. The Still River is adding in another 14cfs, giving us a total combined low flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release of 107cfs this morning. This is low, but the water is still coming out of the dam ice cold (in the mid/upper 40’s still) and then gradually rising in temps as the day progresses and as you move further downstream away from the dam. With trout, it’s all about cold water and fortunately we still have that. You can stay in fishable cold water in the 50-68 degree range as long as you don’t venture too far downriver. Route 219 at the downstream end of the permanent TMA is a good place to call the bottom for safe temperatures for fishing, and by the afternoons I’d be Church Pool if not higher. Carry a thermometer and use it in the Summer, and if you aren’t sure about the temps, err on the side of fishing further upriver where you know the water s cold. DO NOT fish in water that is 70 degrees or above, it is stressful to the trout to C&R them at those temps, and can even be lethal.

Summer trout fishing is usually at it’s best early to mid mornings and in the evenings up to and beyond darkness. The exception would be the mid to late afternoon Sulfur hatch, located only in Riverton, from about the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton up to the dam.  Morning dry fly fishing has been on mostly tiny flies, both the Summer/Winter Caddis #20-24, and Needhami #22-26 (the Needhami spinners fall first in the AM, then the duns hatch in later morning), with long leaders and light 6x if not 7x long tippets. Long tippets create controlled slack, and that gives you a natural, drag-free presentation. Isonychia (#10-14) and Blue Wing Olives (#18-24) are appearing in the evening along with
assorted Caddis and a few different cream/yellowmayfly varieties.

You can also nymph the faster water, or Dry/Dropper it with a buoyant visible 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. 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. 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.


*Isonychia #10-14: entire river (faster water, late afternoon/eves normally)
*Light Cahills/Summer Steno’s #12-18: eves, #14 is most common
-Sulfurs #18: Dorothea Sulfurs, they are only upstream now (Riverton from about Lyman Rock/Still River junction up to the dam), anytime from mid morning to dark (timing varies, mid/late afternoons are typical)
*Needhami #22-26: AM hatch, duns & spinners, also called Tiny Chocolate/Mahogany Dun
*Summer/Winter Caddis #20-24: early/mid mornings usually, sometimes go later
-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
*Assorted Caddis averaging #16-18 (tan, olive/green are common): hatch in mornings, come back in eves to egg-lay in riffly water, ranging from #12-22 and also in black, brown, gray
*Beetles & Ants #12-18: great during non-hatch times (late morn thru early eves)
*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/eves on cloudy/cooler or rainy days
-Midges #18-28: anytime

*Small Nymphs #18-22: Assorted. 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 #16-18 (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 #18-22: 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)