Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday 4/14/23 Farmington River Report: Permanent TMA/C&R stocked, hatches/flow update

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


River Conditions:

We will be giving away FREE fly tying materials for FRAA members only for the next week. If you aren’t a member, you can join right here on the spot FYI, there’s a code you can scan right at the front counter. We received some large batches of tying materials from donors. Also if you join the FRAA now, your will automatically be entered into a drawing for a premium Orvis fly rod later this year.  

Got in a BIG order from Fulling Mill recently including new hooks (Grub Boss), new flies, a restock of streamers (including plenty of Woolly Buggers), a bunch of their excellent red (and blue) fly boxes, and filled in some holes in our tungsten beads. 

Pictured up top is is Zach St. Amand’s son Hunter with one of many big wilds he put in the landing net this week- he’s a total chip off the old block. Next own is yours truly (Torrey) with an upper teens wild brown decived by a small Perdigon. Third is our own Joey with a ridiculously fat wild brown he nymphed up in shallow water- the big wild are on the feed!

FYI the Riverton Derby was postponed from the traditional 2nd weekend in April due to Easter, it will be this Saturday 4/15 6am-10am.

Friday morning 4/14:
Lots to update. The Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) was stocked on Monday/Tuesday, and the MDC did a small flow cut yesterday (Thursday), going from a 200cfs release down to 150cfs. This puts the total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R at 262cfs & slowly going down. The heat wave that started yesterday, combined with highs in the 70’s on Tuesday/Wednesday has significantly raised the water temps- 2 weeks ago we were in the low/mid 40’s mostly, and now it’s 50’s to 60’s (except Riverton, water coming out of the dam is just over 40 degrees). Wednesday I got 51 degrees at 10am in the lower end of the Permanent C&R/TMA, and at 5pm in Collinsville it was 57 degrees. Yesterday (Thursday) I started in the afternoon and I got 62.5 in New Hartford near the shop at 5pm, and at 7:30pm I got 61 degrees in Canton. Weather goes back to normal for the weekend, after a scorcher today (Friday). 

So how has all the above affected the fishing & the hatches? Well there has been some good to excellent fishing this week, mostly subsurface with some limited dry fly activity. Hendricksons are just starting up this week, but it’s been a very light hatch so far with minimal surface feeding. Best bet to see Hendricksons are Canton, Collinsville, and Unionville- don’t expect to see a lot yet, but very soon. There was a light hatch of them yesterday in New Hartford, and I would guess you might see a few as far up as Church Pool. As I said above though, it’s been more of a subsurface deal so far, but that will change anytime now. FYI you’re more apt to see the better wilds & holdovers on the surface than the fresh stockers (takes them a few weeks to dial into real bugs).The lower flows here now make both for easier wading/access, as well as making it more likely you will see fish rise. They will start keying on the surface very soon, maybe this weekend, or maybe next week. The crazy weather & water fluctuations makes it hard to predict what’s going to happened based upon past experience when you have record setting hot weather and lots of flow changes. Upper & Middle river are still seeing Baetis/Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s)#16-18 & some Early Black Stones #12-16. They can both bring trout to the surface in the afternoons. If you are imitating those two bugs with nymphs, make sure to use slender flies like the naturals. Hendrickson nymphs are in the Clinger Mayfly family and have a somewhat blockier build to the nymphs. 

The river is currently stocked to the gills from top to bottom, so there are lots of willing unsophisticated trout, albeit they take about 3 weeks to really dial in on real bugs & hatches and start surface feeding. Mixed in with those fresh stockers are some very nice holdovers & wilds. When I was on the water Wednesday & Thursday mixed in with lots of stocked rainbows & browns (and a couple Brookies) the past 2 days were some very nice wild browns in the mid to upper teens. The fights from them were violent, with runs, hard head shakes, and a surprising number of jumps. I’ve had to change flies a lot to dial into what’s working for the better fish, and it changes as the day progresses due to water temps rising, bug activity, and light levels. Wednesday a pink bead fly was light outs in the morning in the Permanent TMA/C&R, but downriver in the afternoon they were all over a #14 brown Hendrickson type nymph.Thursday afternoon it was a Hednrickson nymph, and then that died out in late afternoon. I struggled for I bit, and then I got dialed in finally andmy better fish cameon jigged streamers & small Perdigons.FYI every time out I’m picking up some bigger wild browns fishing jigged streamers, and the other sleeper fly is an egg pattern. Suckers are spawning right now, so eggs are in the drift. Both flies have caught me fish every time out lately, with the jigged streamers often getting the biggest fish. 

The first few weeks fresh stocked trout will hit a variety of nymphs, wet flies & streamers, including some pretty gaudy stuff. Junk Flies (eggs, mops, worms, green weenies) can be very effective, frequently outproducing traditional drabber more imitative flies. Also small to medium Buggers & streamers in olive, black. A natural colored Walt’s Worm or a Sexy Waltz can work great, maybe because Hare’s Ear dubbing isthe color of a trout food pellet haha. Nymphs with hot spotstypicallywork great. Don’t forget about wet flies & soft-hackles, sometimes a swung fly is just what it takes for a trout to pull the trigger, freshly stocked trout often key on movement. FYI you can also swing and slightly jig your nymphs, sometimes that works better than a dead-drift, even more so when bugs are hatching (especially Caddis). 

You have to work and do everything right for the bigger holdover & wild brown trout, they don’t come easy- typical of pressured rivers. They are more dialed into natural food sources and imitative flies. 5x-6x tippet is about right for most nymphs, and you can go as heavy as 4x with bigger Stoneflies. Don’t neglect smaller jigged streamers on a Euro rig, if fished them slow & deep and can be deadly in the early season before all the major hatches get going. Olive, tan, and white are top streamer colors lately. 

Pro Tips: Caddis Larva (both regular & cased) will be an excellent nymphing choice for April, pair them up with a “Junk Fly”(Egg, Mop, Worm), #8-12 Stonefly, #14-18 Mayfly-type nymph (Pheasant Tail/Frenchy, Hare’s Ear, Hendrickson, etc.), or a #18-22 Zebra Midge (black, olive). When streamer fishing experiment with fly size/color/retrieve, it can make a BIG difference- make sure to also cover lots of water and show your fly to more fish. If standard streamer techniques/flies don’t work, try a tight-line smaller jigged streamer Euro approach with a mix of dead-drifts/twitches, as well as swinging & stripping.


-Hendricksons #12-14: very light hatch so far, better downriver in Canton, Collinsville, Unionville, with some up as far as New Hartford
*Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #16-18: afternoons, mid to upper river
*Early Black Stonefly #12-16: afternoons, especially on milder/sunny days, nymphs are active subsurface and in the drift, hatch is near the end, best in mid/upper river
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, often go later into the afternoons, adult egg-layers can also be present in the evenings
-Midges #20-28: afternoons, try a Midge Pupa subsurface
-Mole Fly #20-24 (olive, brown): deadly emerger that covers many small bugs & fools difficult trout in flat water

*BWO Nymphs #16-18: best in the afternoons, active in crappy weather
*Early Stonefly Nymph/Strolis Infant Stone #14-16 (black, brown)
*Hendrickson-type Nymphs: something brown about a #12-14, can use a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy or a BMAR Hendrickson
*Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere- try #12-14 to imitate Hendrickson nymphs
 *Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, especially early Spring, lots of these in the river
*Cased Caddis #12-14: abundant and an especially good choice in the early Spring, also during/after flow bumps (knocks larva into the drift) 
-Small Nymphs #18-22: Assorted. The Farmington River is LOADED with small bugs. Experiment and try drab, flashy, and with & without hot-spots. Good on pressured fish, even big fish.
*Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip
-Zebra Midge #18-22 (black, red, olive, brown)
-Big Stoneflies #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): anytime, esp. during higher flows
-Antoine’s Perdigons #12-20: various patterns, all year
*Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmies/SJ Worms, Green Weenies): good in cold water, during non-hatch periods, also for higher/off-color flows & fresh stockers, or just as a change-up to natural/imitative flies after you fish through a run with standard nymphs
*Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Rainbow Warriors, Sexy Waltz, Prince, Triple Threats, etc.- not uncommon for these to outfish drabber, more imitative flies

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
-Hare's Ear, Partridge & Flash, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, etc. #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
*especially good for imitating Caddis, Isonychia and other faster swimming/emerging bugs

Big trout are almost always on the lookout for bigger bites, especially early & late in the day.
-Don’s Peach Bugger #8
-Rich Strolis articulated streamers (assorted), tied by the man himself, restocked recently
-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 (peach, black, olive, white, brown, tan)


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 very unlikely for long/thin leaders or Mono Rigs to work their way outside the frame- a common problem with most modern reels (very few are full frame, 90% have a half 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. The ultra large arbor, large diameter, narrow spool 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 spin it rapidly and 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 conditions that dictate lighter tippets & smaller/lighter flies: casts great, very sensitive, very low swing weight, and a blast to play the fish on. It is my current favorite rod, it’s really fun to fish with. The length is ideal for good sized rivers like the Farmington, allowing you to fish & cast further away, make longer drifts, casts easier, gives you faster hook sets, and the soft tip will protect your tippet against big trout. Plenty of power in the butt section to handle bigger trout, and a bit of extra flex in the tip 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, the newer 10’ 10” #6, with more models to come in 2023. Joe Goodspeed, (formerly of Cortland and T&T) designed this new series in 2022, 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 with thinner/micro leaders, 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 (a unique & very fun rod). The 10’ 10” #3 has the backbone to handle larger trout & heavy jigged streamers. I’ve also noticed the 10’ #2 is popular with some top competition anglers.