Friday, July 7, 2023

Friday 7/7/23 Farmington River Report: High Flow will be cut to 300cfs Saturday morning

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

River Conditions

We are open 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm Sat-Sun.

Picture up top is Ben Canino with an absolutely beautiful brown on a streamer from a high water float earlier this week. Second pic is guide Zach St. Amand with a long holdover brown trout in the high water.

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.

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, and go to the “Classes” page on our website for detailed info. Yannick is truly on another level, literally a world champion competition angler, and this is a do not miss event. He was on the French team for 8 years, competed in fly fishing for 15 years, and has medals in 6 European championships. The French do their fishing on highly pressured streams over spooky wild brown trout, and it has bred some of the best anglers in the world. This clinic is unlike any fly fishing class you will ever attend, and you will learn "secret"/advanced French nymph & dry fly techniques that you have not seen or heard of before. If you are looking to improve your catching, this class is for you.

Friday Afternoon 7/7 4:30pm Flow Update:

Just received an email from the MDC- while the flow will stay about the same for today, Friday 7/7, on Saturday morning 7/8 at 7am the dam release is being cut from 1,154cfs down to 300cfs for the weekend “in anticipation of precipitation events”. This will bring the total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R down near 400cfs after you add the Still River flow in. Remember it will take a little while for this flow drop to work it’s way downstream. 

Friday 7/7/23 Report:

The Farmington is currently very high in the permanent TMA/C&R at 1,347cfs, with 1,240cfs from the Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton to the confluence of the Still River, and the Still River adding in 107cfs below that. The higher water flow is in response to the significant rains that have been occurring recently, on top of a reservoir system that has stayed at near 100% all of 2023 (despite droughts) due to the MDC doing the legal bare minimum water releases (50 to 150cfs). 1,050cfs of the current release is from the Army Corps of Engineers to get Colebrook River Lake down below what they consider 100% capacity. AM water temp in Riverton (above the Still River) is 54 degrees, I got 61 degrees in New Hartford yesterday evening, and it was 58 degrees in New Hartford this morning.

If you do head out, be careful, as there is a lot of water moving through the system right now (historical normal median flow would be about 300cfs total in the permanent TMA/C&R). This pushes trout to the banks, out of the heavy current, and that is where you should focus on. Look for wider pools that can spread out and slow down the current, as well as inside turns where there is less current. For flies think subsurface & bigger/gaudier/darker. High water knocks bigger food items loose, plus it’s easier for trout to find bigger flies in the higher, stained, faster water. Medium to large streamers can move top end trout in high water, play with colors & retrieves- good colors right now are olive, yellow, black, or combinations of them (e.g. olive/yellow). Bump up your nymph sizes, fish heavier flies/bigger split shot, think about using flies with flash and/or hot spots, and also darker flies (black, brown, dark olive) that throw a more pronounced silhouette. You can bump up your tippet sizes, and also approach the trout closer. Don’t jump in the water and start fishing, the higher the water the closer the fish hold to the bank. If you do so, you will likely spook the fish that you could have potentially caught. Often in really high flows like this I start out fishing from the bank, and then work my way into the water. 

A good high water nymph rig is a Junk Fly (Mop, Squirmy Worm, Egg Fly, Green Weenie) or a jigged streamer paired with a regular nymph #12-18 (Pheasant Tail/Frenchy, Sulfur Nymph, Isonychia Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Caddis Larva/Pupa, Blue Winged Olive (BWO/Olive) Nymph, etc.). I noticed quite a few large Stonefly shucks on the river, making a #6-10 Stonefly Nymph an excellent choice currently- you can do golden, brown, or black. They are especially effective in the mornings, as they crawl out to emerge overnight and in the early/mid AM. Another big bug we get in the summertime: Isonychia (#8-12). 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. 

When flows are normal, this is a productive time of year to fish Ants and Beetles, blind fishing them, as well as to sporadically rising trout when insect activity is minimal. 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. This is a shallow technique for fishing the upper to maybe mid water column, you 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. 

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. Isonychia averaging #10-12 are as far up as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock, but overall haven’t been a consistent dry fly hatch so far, however you can blind fish them successfully

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. Seeing a few in Riverton now.
-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

-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
-Big Stoneflies #8-12 (gold/yellow, brown, black): early to mid AM in fast water, you will see the shucks on the rocks, as well as on cement bridge abutments
-Isonychia Nymph #10-12: nymphs are working, fish in fast water, both dead-drift & swing them. As far upstream as Pipeline/Lyman’s Rock.
-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
-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
-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.