Friday, June 30, 2023

Friday 6/30/23 Farmington River Report: Flow increase & cold water!!!

Store Hours: 7 days a week, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. 


***We have 
FRAA sun shirts in both short & long sleeve in several colors, they came out really nice***

River Conditions

We are open until 6pm on weekdays now (probably through September), weekends will stay at 5pm. We open at 8am every day.

The FRAA stocked 57 large rainbow trout in New Hartford on June 8th from 19-24” and very fat, ranging from about 3-4# up to 7-8#. They were stocked from below the Rt 219 bridge (the Wall) down to Satan’s Kingdom. These fish are spreading out above & below that, and quite a few have been hooked, lost & landed since then. These are in the section where they can be harvested (2 fish 12”) through the end of August, but we would hope that people will just take a picture and release them so multiple anglers can have the thrill of hooking and hopefully catching a trophy trout. So far every one I’ve heard of being caught has been released. These are high quality Kamloops Rainbows that come from Harding Hatchery, a very tough strain of trout. They are quite fat with great coloration. If people release them they will hold over, and next year they will be even bigger.

Diamondback Ideal Nymph 10’ #3’s are in stock, they were unavailable for a long time.

***Check yourself for ticks after you walk through the woods, they have been very active lately***

Up top is yours truly (Torrey) with a handful of colorful rainbow trout that gave me a good scrap last night- if you look closely you can see the egg fly in it’s mouth. After flow bumps like yesterday, Junk Flies (Mops, Egg Flies, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenies) can be the ticket, and rainbow trout love eggs. Second pic is Colebrook River Lake on Wednesday right before they increased the dam release- as you can see it’s full, which is why they are releasing 400+ CFS.

Antoine still has some openings in his one day classes/clinics 7-17-7/19 with world champion French competition angler Yannick Riviere- contact Antoine directly at 860-759-4464, go to our “Classes” page on our website for detailed info.

Friday morning 6/30/23 Report:
Some major flow changes this week. Monday’s 2+ inches of rain has pushed Colebrook River Lake up to 100%+ capacity, so the Army Corps of Engineers is making the MDC dump water and add 340cfs to the release, for a total of 406cfs, until the reservoir level is down. Their reservoir system was 99.4% full as of May 31st, they should update that in the next 24 hours. The MDC is only legally required to release 50-150cfs, depending upon the inflow to Colebrook Reservoir, and if Otis Reservoir (comes in a little above Colebrook) is releasing, they have to add that also. The Riverton USGS gauge reads 419cfs this morning, and the Still River is adding in another 97cfs of water, for a total of 516cfs & dropping in the permanent TMA/C&R- I’d call this medium-high. Normal median total flow for today would be 312cfs. Water temps in the permanent TMA were reaching mid to upper 60’s, but with this influx of cold water it should keep it well down in the 50’s. I got just over 50 degrees in Riverton last night. It was 69 below Campground on Wednesday afternoon before the flow bump, so this flow increase is good news for water temps. It should keep things cold enough to fish as far down as Canton, Collinsville & Unionville. In the summertime you should definitely carry a thermometer with you! We have plenty of thermometers in stock, buy one and use it. 

While it disrupted fishing on Thursday, mostly due to the huge temp drop (15+ degrees reduction in the permanent TMA/C&R), now that the fish have had a day to settle in and acclimate, the weekend fishing should be good. It was nice to fish last night and walk out of the river cold and NOT sweaty. While I didn’t catch as many as I normally do, I was able to catch a reasonable number of trout by focusing on getting good drifts & strike detection, changing flies a lot, and just being persistent. Top 2 flies were Mops & Egg Flies, but I also caught fish on #18 Sulfur Nymphs, Walt’s Worms, and a jigged streamer. All stocked Rainbows and one stocked Brown.

With increased flows it means you can fish bigger flies and thicker tippet. Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy Worms, Eggs, and Green Weenies) are all back in play, and you can also fish bigger Stoneflies #8-10, Prince Nymph #10-14, etc. Flies with hot spots are good too. You will need to go with heavier flies and/or bigger split shot now that the river. Smaller droppers in the #16-20 range still make sense to imitate some of the bugs currently hatching (Sulfurs, Caddis, BWO’s, Midges, etc.). Streamers can produce, especially early & late in the day. We will have to see how this flow increase & water temperature drop affects hatches, I suspect it will be good for Sulfur hatches upriver (Campground & above). Hopefully it will ramp up the Isonychia hatches, which have been spotty up to this point- they hatch better when there is a good flow and water temps are cold (like now!). Blue Winged Olive (BWO’s/Olives) hatches remain good, especially on cloudy days, running anywhere from #16-26. The #16’s are probably Cornuta, typically on the water from mid/late morns through the afternoons, with #18 Cornutella (I think) more towards the evenings, and a spinner fall at dusk. Also on the water are some very small Olives averaging #22-24. Overcast weather = more BWO hatches. Cloudy weather will also help keep water temps down. FYI don’t forget about #16-20 BWO nymphs, the trout are very familiar with them. 

Two big bugs we get in the summertime: Isonychia (#8-12), and big Stoneflies (#6-10). FYI the big stones emerge/crawl out in low light, with the best time to fish nymphs imitating them being first light to about 9 or 10am- the cloudy weather every day in the forecast is better for bug activity, including the big stones. Iso’s normally emerge in fast water, sometime between late afternoon & dark. I caught my largest Farmington dry fly trout at almost 9pm in July one year, it was a female brown trout that taped 23”, on a #10 Iso emerger. 

This is a productive time of year to fish Ants and Beetles, both blind fishing them, as well as to spordically rising trout when insect activity is minimal. I’d rather fish a #14-16 Ant or Beetle on 6x than have to drop to 7x and a #24 dry. Sometimes you have to, but sometimes you don’t. Bigger foam patterns will also support a small weighted nymph if you want to do Dry/Dropper, a very effective tactic in low water. Normally I’d run the nymph 18-24” below the dry, but 10-12” if fish are feeding on the surface with some regularity. This is a shallow technique for fishing the upper to maybe mid water column, you are not and do not want to dredge the bottom with this method. It works best in riffly water or at least some current, with shorter 3-5 second drifts that present a sinking nymph to the trout. More frequent short drifts are more effective than making less but longer drifts. 

Over the past few weeks, quite a few of the big FRAA stocked rainbows have been landed in the New Hartford section- just about everyone thus far has taken a pic & released them, thank you all for doing that. 

Sulfurs are averaging #16-18 now, with the main hatch about from the upper permanent TMA/C&R (think Campground) up to the dam. The 16’s are Invaria, and the 18’s are Dorothea. Assorted Caddis running from #14-22 are on the water, averaging #16-18 with tan, gray, and olive green bodies the most common colors, but there are other colors too. #20 Attenuata are hatching & have replaced Sulfurs in the evenings on much of the river- see a couple paragraphs down for specific info on Attenuata. Big Isonychia averaging #10-12 are as far up as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock, but overall haven’t been a consistent dry fly hatch as yet, (with some exceptions)- you can however blind fish them successfully. July is typically the peak month in the permanent TMA/C&R for Isonychia. However, Iso nymphs are working subsurface. 

12’ plus leaders with long 3-6 foot 6x tippets are a good match for the majority of dry flies, but bigger flies (like Isonychia) will require 5x, and tiny stuff fishes better on 7x. With very low late summertime type conditions, think summer tactics. Smaller flies on average (unless you are matching the hatch of a bigger bug like Isonychia, Potamanthus, etc.), longer leaders, lighter tippet, longer tippets, try to stay a bit further away, dress in drab clothing, look for shade & structure, and emphasize fishing both early & late in the day. Caddis tend to hatch in the mornings, and come back in the lower light of evenings to egg lay, giving you 2 shots at them.

This is also a good time to fish wet flies, it’s an efficient way of systematically covering the water when nothing is happening, and will often outfish dry flies during hatches. A lot of the “surface activity” I’ve seen appears to be fish intercepting nymphs just below the surface, egg laying/diving Caddis, and Mayfly emergers in the film. Big trout will key on the easier to catch prey, and a classic Mayfly dun can fly off the water at any time, but a nymph or emerger cannot. Fishing wets is fun, productive, and relaxing. Fish them 2-3 at a time, on tag end droppers, 20-30” apart. Make sure not to use light tippet, and keep your rod tip up to cushion the strike- this also creates a slight bow which allows the trout to inhale your fly, you need some controlled slack or you will get a lot of hits that don’t convert into hooked fish. Dead-drift, swing, twitch, retrieve, skitter & bounce, the trout will tell you how they want them presented, and it will vary.

In their current paradigm, they typically adjust the flow on Monday to match the average inflow from the previous week, from a minimum of 50cfs to a maximum of 150cfs, and if Otis Reservoir is releasing, they have to also add that in. Unionville USGS gauge is reading 587cfscfs, historical median flow for today would be 387cfs. 

Sulfurs are are hatching sporadically from about about Campground and up to the dam in Riverton, averaging #16 (Invaria) and #18 (Dorothea). Check out the new Trigger Point Sulfur Emergers we have in the bins from #14-18, deadly! We are seeing a various Caddis averaging #16 to #18 in assorted colors (especially tan ones, but also olive, green, black, brown, and gray), and running all the way from #14’s down to #22-24’s. Attenuata in #20 are hatching in the evenings on most of the river.  Isonychia are making are at least as far up as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock now, averaging #10-12- but it’s been a spotty hatch thus far. Look for Iso’s in faster water sometime between late afternoon & dark, and you can even blind fish them if you don’t see rising fish. It’s a big bug that hatches for a long time period, and it brings big trout to the surface. July is normally the peak Iso month in the permanent TMA/C&R. Iso nymphs are fishing well now. We have a great new locally tied Iso dry pattern, the Trigger Point Iso Emerger, check it out. 

If you have been struggling to catch fish, the fish in the permanent TMA/C&R receive the most pressure and will be the most “educated”, and the rest of the river will see trout that are somewhat less pressured and more willing to eat on average. The stocked rainbows are easier to fool than the holdover & wild browns. As usual, fishing pressure has been high, so start early (and/or stay late), cover plenty of water, fish the “B” & “C” water, and experiment with fly patterns & presentations. Nymphing can catch trout all day if you know what you are doing, but trout are looking up now and there are rising trout if you you are there during a hatch. If you are out in the evenings, stay until dark! 

A LOT of anglers fish the Farmington River all year long, especially in May, June & July, 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. Ask people what direction they are working in (upstream, downstream), and if it’s okay if you jump in above or below them. Don’t jump ahead of people working upstream or downstream and high hole/low hole them, it’s bad etiquette and probably would upset you if another angler did it to you. If a spot is already crowded, don’t make it even more crowded- find some other water with less anglers in it. A little courtesy goes a long way. Trout have spread out and can be found in a variety of water types, including faster water. 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 (also at midnight) when the light is low, and creates a big spike in subsurface bug activity. FYI many nymphs in the drift are smaller and in the #18-22 range. 

You have to work and do everything right for the bigger holdover & wild brown trout, they don’t come easy- typical of pressured rivers. FYI big trout are everywhere on the river, even in the kill zones where bait guys routinely kill their limit (2 fish, 12”). Bigger fish that have been in the river for years are more dialed into natural food sources and imitative flies in general. Under current lower flows, 5-6x 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- 6x is good on average. Don’t neglect small, 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
Just because there is a hatch does not automatically mean dry flies. Look for risers, but often there are few if any fish feeding on top, and you are better off matching the hatch by fishing subsurface with nymphs, pupa, larva, wet flies, and soft hackles. Many bigger trout rarely feed on top, and only at very specific, brief moments. This time of year many trout have spread out into faster water in the riffles, runs & pocket water and it’s an ideal time and situation to fish wet flies & soft hackles. When the fishing is slow, you can often turn things around by focusing on drifting your flies near the rocks in sections of pocket water, and on bright sunny days look for shade. 


-Sulfur #16 (Invaria): from about Campground to the dam in Riverton, focus on water with some current, spinner falls at dusk. Hatching anytime from mid/late mornings until dark.
-Sulfur #18 (Dorothea): also from Campground to the dam, mostly in slower/moderate water
-Assorted Caddis #14-22 (tan, olive/green most common): hatching in early to mid AM, come back to egg lay at dusk
-Isonychia #10-12: at least as far upstream as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock, fast water insect, late afternoon through dark, spotty hatch so far. July is normally the big Iso month in the permanent TMA/C&R
-Blue Winged Olives #16-26: esp. cooler cloudy days
-Ants & Beetles #12-20: good choice late morning through early eves when bugs aren’t hatching but trout are sporadically sipping small stuff, you can also blind fish bigger ones
-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: mornings & eves, 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 #16-20: just about anytime & anywhere
-Sulfur Nymph #16-18: Fish from about Campground up to the dam
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (mostly tan or olive/green): dead-drift & swing in medium to fast water, especially early & late in the day, entire river
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Sulfur, Iso, etc.) & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere
-Isonychia Nymph #10-12: nymphs are working, fish in fast water, both dead-drift & swing them. As far upstream as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock.
-Antoine’s Perdigons #12-20: various patterns, all year
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, lots of these in the river
-Cased Caddis #12-14: abundant bug, 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. Especially good during low water conditions in the Summer.
-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): an often neglected bug to imitate
-Big Stoneflies #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): early to mid AM in fast water
-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, Vitreus, 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 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 soon. 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.