Friday, October 27, 2023

Friday 10/27/23 Farmington River Report: Big afternoon Flow Cut, still very colorful

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We recently purchased another huge collection of quality fly tying materials. Stop by and check it out. Hooks, dryfly necks, streamer necks, dubbing, flash, squirrel, used vises, tying tools, fur, zonker strips, rubber legs, deer hair, foam, and LOTS more.

Additional 10% off used & clearance fly rods & reels over $500. Clothing is 20% off the marked price. All Landing Nets are 10% off the marked price. The sale merchandise is going fast as it's rare that we mark things down during the height of the season.... but we can use some income after the slow summer we had, and you, our loyal customers, should benefit.

UpCountry purchased a giant collection of Used graphite, bamboo & fiberglass fly rods, Used fly Reels & Classic fly reels. Most of this equipment is very affordably priced and will only be offered in store to our walk in customers. There are lots of classic Orvis, Hardy, Pfleuger, custom and much more. Come and take a look before someone gets there first. Most items are between $10 - $200 with a few higher end bamboo rods mixed in. If you have ever considered buying an affordable bamboo rod to fish with, this is the time, we have some great rods from $100-500 dollars and a few premium ones for the more experienced bamboo aficionado. 

Friday afternoon 10/27:
We didn't get an email, but the USGS graph is showing they cut the dam release in RIverton from 600cfs down to 335cfs, and below that the Still River is adding in an additional 128cfs, giving us an excellent total flow of 463cfs in the permanent TMA/C&R- I would call this a medium level. We are looking great for this weekend!

Friday morning 10/27:

Pictured up top is Zach St. Amand’s client Trevor, who picked up the tightline nymphing game fast and landed this gorgeous wild brown, well done!

The Farmington River is currently 600cfs from the Goodwin Dam in Riverton, 728cfs total flow through the year round Catch & Release area (Still River is 128cfs). Flows are higher to reduce the levels in Colebrook reservoir. Quite likely they will make a big flow cut at the dam today (Friday) for the weekend- check back this afternoon for a flow update when/if they do this. Last weekend was about the peak of Fall color, but it’s still stunningly beautiful out there and should be quite colorful for another week or two. Water temps peaked at 61 degrees Thursday afternoon, it was sunny and 80 degrees! Today & Saturday will be sunny and mid 70’s, then things cool off big time starting Sunday. No real spawning activity as yet, we are almost 2 weeks late now, I’m guessing due to the water temps. Photoperiod (amount of daylight) is the #1 trigger, but water temps are the #2 trigger. Educated guess: spawning will likely explode next week with highs in the 50’s and even 40’s, and nights down in the 30’s. The guides have seen a few trout on redds in the lower river, but not many, and it hasn’t really started in the permanent TMA/C&R.

Smaller wild browns 6-10” and 4-8” Atlantic Salmon Parr have been active all October and have been the most common catch, but bigger wild & holdover browns are getting caught in the past week or two, and a colored up 21" FRAA was landed on Tuesday by one of Derrick's clients. Very few rainbows this Fall, not sure why. When flows are up, the best flies have been Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy Worms), bigger Stonefly nymphs, Prince nymphs, and various streamers. If they cut the flow today, after that think smaller more imitative nymphs averaging #16-20, and that would also lead to more dry fly fishing on Caddis & small Blue Winged Olives. Streamers are always in play in the Fall, especially early and late in the day- play with colors & retrieves, it can make a big difference. Usually in October/November a fast strip is the way to go with streamers, but change it up if that isn't producing.

Medium to large streamers are a top choice if you are looking for bigger trout, and as soon as the trout start spawning & dropping eggs the egg fly bite will get hot, should be any day now, make sure you have some with you. Good egg colors include various shades of yellow, orange, pink, and combinations of those colors. Keep an eye out for redds, the oval light colored depressions in gravelly riffles where trout deposit their eggs. Avoid those areas and the first 10-15 feet below them, otherwise you may crush the eggs if you walk there. Also, don’t fish to actively spawning fish, they are already stressed out, so don’t add to it, just let them reproduce in peace.

For streamers, both conventionally fished bigger streamers (can be single hook or articulated) and jigged ones fished on Euro rig have been effective. Play with streamer color & retrieve, it can make a BIG difference. Good colors of late are olive, tan, yellow, and other colors paired with yellow such as brown/yellow, olive/yellow, and tan/yellow. There have been some trout rising to small olives #20-26 in the afternoons in the pools. The lower the flow, the more likely you are to have rising fish. Quite a few tan Caddis #16-18 some days, especially in the mornings & mid/late afternoons. Pupa fished subsurface have outfished the Caddis dries. Small Blue Winged Olive (BWO) nymphs #18-22 are working well in the afternoons Fish them paired up with another slightly bigger nymph to get the trout’s attention.

The state stocked the river on October 10th from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford all the way down to Collinsville & Uinionville. Please remember that as of 9/1, the entire river from the dam all the way down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville is strictly Catch & Release. I received word that MDC stocked the upper river a week or two ago, that would be from the dam down to Whittemore.

The three main October hatches are Tan Caddis #16-18, small Blue Winged Olives #22-26, and a few (not many) Isonychia (Iso’s) #12-14. You may see a few other bugs too, such as Giant October Caddis #6-10 or Light Cahills/Summer Stenos #12-14. Caddis hatch in the mornings and come back to egg-lay in the riffles mid/late afternoons, BWO’s hatch in slower/softer water in the afternoons (especially cloudy days), and Isonychia hatch in faster water in mid/late afternoons.



Hatches are improving, Tan Caddis & small Blue Winged Olives are the main two, and there are a few Isonychia around- we have been seeing more Caddis by far.

-Fall Caddis #16-18 (tan/light brown): hatching in early to mid AM, and returning to lay eggs in the riffles mid afternoon to dusk.

-Blue Winged Olives #22-26: afternoons, esp. on cooler/cloudy "crappy" days

-Isonychia #12-14: a few around, fast water insect, mid/late afternoon, almost done

-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

-Giant October Caddis #8-12: mid/late afternoons, sporadic/light hatch

-Midges #20-28: anytime, try a Midge Pupa subsurface


-Caddis Pupa #16-18 (mostly tan right now): dead-drift & swing in medium to fast water.

-Blue Winged Olives (BWO) #18-22: fish in afternoons

-Isonychia Nymph #12-14: a few around, fish in fast water mid/late afternoons, dead-drift & swing them. Prince nymphs & large Pheasant Tails work well to imitate them.

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Isonychia, Sulfur, Iso, etc.) & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere

-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, lots of these in the river

-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip, best on a Euro rod & leader, excellent choice to fish in September/October with aggressive pre-spawn brown trout

-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Prince, Triple Threats, etc

-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmies/SJ Worms, Green Weenies): especially good in high/stained water, or as a change-up fly after you have fished a good run with standard nymphs, also killer on recently stocked trout

-Wet Flies & Soft-Hackles #10-18: assorted patterns, Partridge & Orange is very good in the Fall


With Fall at hand and aggressive brown trout ready to spawn, now is prime time to fish the meat. Big trout are almost always on the lookout for bigger bites, especially early & late in the day (low light) and during lulls in bug activity. Also a great choice anytime the flow is up or off-color.

-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