Monday, May 8, 2023

Monday 5/8/18 Farmington River Report: Flow Cut & hatch updates

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 
Derrick’s client Luke with a multi year holdover Survivor Strain brown trout- pretty impressive looking for a stocked fish, this strain has fantastic genetics. Next down is regular customer Alexis with a looong brownie. Third pic is customer Arthur with a really nice wild brown he caught at dusk over the weekend on a Hendrickson spinner he purchased from us. Ignore spinner patterns at your peril, big trout love them.

Monday late morning 5/8 Flow & Hatch update:
Another flow cut this morning, and that’s a good thing. At 9am today (Monday 5/8) the MDC decreased the dam release by 179cfs, going from 554cfs to 375cfs, and the Still River is 207cfs and slowly dropping. We were at 799cfs total flow this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R), this will drop us down to about 620cfs there by early to mid afternoon, and Riverton will be low 400cfsWould not be surprised to see another flow cut this week (maybe Wednesday/Thursday?) when/if the Army Corps of Engineers tells MDC to drop the 200cfs portion of the release (that part of the current dam release is from them, to get the level at Colebrook Reservoir down for flood control). The East Branch was reduced from 400cfs down to 200cfs on Sunday 5/7 (it comes in about 1/2 mile below UpCountry)Water temp in Riverton this morning was 45 degrees, it reached about 47 yesterday afternoon there. I fished after work in New Hartford, and I got a water temp of 56 degrees just before dark. These conditions bode well for the Hendrickson hatch, and especially for spinner falls. Spinners don’t fall if it’s cold, wet, or windy, and the long range forecast is mild (60s/70s) air temps, sunny, and very dry- perfect for spinner falls!A flow cut from the dam means increased water temps, and that’s a good thing this time of year- it gets both the trout & bugs more activeLooks like everything is lining up this week.You will rapidly see Vitreus & Caddis hatches appear very soon, so keep your eyes out for them over the next week. All hatches start further downriver first (Unionville, Collinsville, Canton) due to higher water temps downstream, and then progress upriver. Riverton above the Still River sees each hatch last, due to the icy cold water (mid 40’s currently) up there. 

Hendrickson hatch is up at least as far as the junction with the Still River (much colder water upstream of the Still, hatch gets up there last and typically goes into late May in the upper river), up to Whittemore/Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock, and the bottom end of a fishable hatch would be about from about Boneyard/Greenwoods/Church Pool and above in the permanent TMA/C&R- you will see spinner falls further downstream than that thoughSpinner falls will often continue up to a week after the hatch is done in a particular section. Hatch times have varied, starting anywhere from early to late afternoon- milder weather here to stay now may put them back on the more normal mid to late afternoon time frameAlso, with nice seasonal weather/temps here now, keep your eyes out for Spinners in the air over the riffles. You will see the rusty brown female spinners with yellow egg sacks in the air, and if they hit the water it can be some fantastic dry fly fishing that will bring even the bigger fish to the surface. If they aren’t rising (frequently the case), go subsurface with nymphs & streamers. Make sure to have Hendrickson nymph, but also some smaller ones to imitate things like Blue Winged Olives/Baetis, Paraleps (Blue Quills), etc. Caddis larva can be good, especially in the mornings & evenings.

Make sure you have 
Hendrickson nymphs, emergers, and spinners. You can also fish wet flies/soft-hackles. Emergers typically outfish standard dry fly/dun patterns, because they are more vulnerable and easier for the trout to catch & eat, and can also pass as a cripple. And yes, we are seeing spinner falls now that it’s not cold, wet & windy. The bug books say Hendrickson spinner falls are an evening event, but on the Farmington we commonly see spinners on the water anytime from mid to late morning, during the hatch, and in the evenings. They require mild air temps, minimal wind, and no rain. The spinners gather and mate in the air above the riffles and then gradually descend in elevation until they hit the water, and then all hell breaks loose. The female spinners have very visible yellow egg sacks on them. Unlike the duns, the spinners cannot fly off the water, so they are very vulnerable and the big trout take notice- try one of Don’s Egg Sack Parachute Spinners. FYI the male & female Hendrickson duns are different colors: females are more of a tan, with hints of brown, olive, and pink. The males are more of a medium brown to rusty brown. The Spinners of both sexes molt, and their bodies all become rusty brown, and the wings change from gray to clear & glassy. 

Make sure to experiment with your flies when nymphing, the “hot” fly will vary, and it often is different in the morning, during the hatch, and after the hatch. During and just before the afternoon hatch it’s hard to go wrong with a #12-14 brown Hendrickson type nymph- can be a BMAR Hendrickson nymph, but can also be a Pheasant Tail (regular, flashback, hotspot, soft-hackle), brown Perdigon, brown dubbed nymph, etc. Some fish are sitting in quite fast water now. 

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. Some of the stocked trout are still podded up in groups. Quite a few big trout have been landed recently, 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”+)recently 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, heavyjigged streamers on a Euro rig, if youfish them slow & deep, theycan be deadly when trout aren’t eating bugs- especially bigger fish. Olive, tan, and white are top streamer colors lately, but always experiment.

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.


*Hendricksons #12-14: from about Boneyard/Greenwoods/Church Pool upstream to Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock. Can hatch anytime from early/mid afternoon through early evenings.
*Hendrickson Spinners #12-14: books say it’s an evening deal, and it often is, but on the Farmington is can happen mid to late morning & during the afternoon hatch too. Needs to be mild, not windy, with no rain for a spinner fall to happen. Brings BIG fish up.
-Baetis/Blue Winged Olives #16-18: afternoons, mid to upper river, near the end. Hatch
better during crappy weather (cooler, wet)
-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

*Hendrickson-type Nymphs: something brown about a #12-14, can use a BMAR Hendrickson, or a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy 
*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
*BWO Nymphs #16-18: best in the afternoons, most active in crappy weather
-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.