Monday, May 15, 2023

Monday 5/15/23 Farmington River Report: Vitreus starting up, lots of Caddis

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


River Conditions:
We have the Diamondback Ideal Nymph 10’ #3 in stock, just got them in recently, they were unavailable for a long time.

Pictured up top is customer Kyle Gwin with a beautiful wild brown from Saturday. Second pic is Derrick’s client Mike Montague with the result of a very successful dry fly lesson. Third pic is local Debbie Simmons with her first trout ever, a hefty rainbow. 

Monday morning 5/1Report:
Flows, fishing & weather all remain very good. I was out in New Hartford last night and saw a legit hatch of Vitreus last night from about 6pm right up until dark (about 8:30pm), heaviest from 7pm and later. Assorted Caddis averaging #14-18 (mostly tan, some olive/green) are still the dominant hatch on the vast majority of the river (at least as far upstream as Campground and maybe even further upstream), anytime from mid/late mornings right up until dark. They tend to hatch in the mornings & afternoons, then come back and egg-lay in the evenings once the sun gets off the water. Vitreus are normally an evening hatch, more so in fast water. They run a #12-16. Hendrickson hatch is almost done, it’s a light hatch and confined almost exclusively to Riverton now, above the Still River up to the dam, but spinner falls can happen further downstream than that. 

Flow has been slowly dropping, and asof this morning we are sitting pretty at a total flow of 267cfs - a very nice medium level. 184cfs of that is from the dam in Riverton, and the Still River is adding in another 83cfs. East Branch was 50cfs last I heard. Water temp in Riverton this morning was 44 degrees, it reached about 50 yesterday afternoon, New Hartford (where UpCountry is) reached 58 degrees Sunday late afternoon. Unionville USGSgauge is reading a medium 502cfs, median/normal down there for today’s date would be 498cfs. FYI the entire Farmington River was stocked last week, except for the permanent TMA/Catch &Release which gets stocked once per year in April and has about 3,000 trout per mile- even more this time of year after multiple stockings, the trout from above & below migrate into there. 

Caddis are averaging #14-18, mostly tans & olive/greens, and some smaller #18-22 black ones in the mix too. Frequently trout don’t rise during Caddis hatches and eat the pupa subsurfaceinstead, so be prepared to nymph and/or swing pupa patterns- this is a fun time of year to swing soft-hackles & wet flies that imitate Caddis. Caddis come back in the hour or two before dark to egg-lay, and this can be dry fly fishing when they are bouncing on the surface to lay eggs, or it can mean swinging pupa or wets/soft-hackles to imitate the egg-layers that dive/swim underwater.

A LOT of anglers have been out and about when the weather & flows line up, so be flexible on where you fish and please don’t crowd other anglers- give them the room you would want somebody to give you. With the rise in water temps, the trout are spreading out and can be found in a variety of water types, including faster water now. Bigger holdover & wild trout will often move into the current during bug activity to feed on hatching nymphs & pupa, as well as the Behavioral Drift of nymphs & larvae. Behavioral Drift happens early and late in the day when the light is low, and creates a spike in subsurface bug activity. FYI many nymphs in the drift are smaller and in the #16-20 range. Quite a few big trout have been landed in May, with a mix of holdover browns, wild browns, and broodstock rainbows, browns & golden rainbows. The bigger wilds/holdovers have been in the 18-22’’ range, and some giant (24”+) stocked rainbows & golden rainbows were also landed. 

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 in general. Under normal flows, 5x-6x tippet is about right for most nymphs, and you can go as heavy as 4x with bigger Stoneflies & Mops. For dries, we recommend longer leaders (12 feet or longer) with added tippet in the 5x-7x range, matched to your fly size/wind resistance. Don’t neglect small, heavy jigged streamers on a Euro rig, if you fish them slow & deep, they can be deadly when trout aren’t eating bugs- especially bigger fish. Olive, tan, and white are top streamer colors lately, but always experiment. Try running a streamer through a run after you nymph it, sometimes you will pull a big trout that wouldn’t move to eat a nymph.

Pro Tips
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. Try stripping & swinging weighted streamers on floating lines, as well as unweighted & lightly weighted patterns on sink-tips/sinking lines. If standard streamer techniques/flies don’t work and fish don’t seem willing to chase, try a tight-line smaller jigged streamer Euro approach that fishes slower/deeper, with a mix of dead-drifts/twitches, as well as swinging & stripping.


-Assorted Caddis #14-18 (mostly tan or olive/green): Dominant hatch on most of the river now, at least as far up as Campground and moving upstream daily.
-Vitreus #12-16: starting up, evening hatch in faster water, at least as far upstream as New Hartford and possibly further up than that, moving further upstream every day
-Hendricksons #12-14: almost done, light hatch now, confined to Riverton mainly above the Still River, but you may see spinner falls further downriver than that
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #20-22: late afternoon & eves
-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


-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (mostly tan or olive/green): dead-drift & swing in medium to fast water, anytime
-Hendrickson-type Nymphs: Riverton only, something brown about a #12-14, can use a BMAR Hendrickson, or a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy- hatch is way upriver, try Riverton
*Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere- try #12-16 to imitate Vitreus nymphs
*BWO Nymphs #16-20: just about anytime
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, lots of these in the river
-Cased Caddis #12-14: abundant bug, very effective 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, with & without hot-spots. Good on pressured fish, even big fish.
-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip, best 
on a Euro rod & leader
-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, even on big wild browns

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 and during lulls in bug activity. Also a great choice anytime the flow is up or off-color. 
-Don’s Peach Bugger #8
-Rich Strolis articulated streamers (assorted), tied by the man himself, restocked recently 2 times
-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 debuted in the spring of 2022, and itis 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, and guides Zach St. Amand & Derrick Kirkpatrick are also big fans of it, as is shop employee/shop rat Joey. The length is ideal for rivers like the Farmington, allowing you to fish & cast further away, make longer drifts, cast easier, faster hook sets, and the soft tip will protect your tippet against big trout. Enough power in the butt section to handle bigger trout when necessary, 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 is the “all 'rounder” for Euro Nymphing. 

The new (as of 2022) 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’ #3, 10’ 10” 3wt, 10’ 10” 4wt, and 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 very popular with top competition anglers who have access to any rods they want.