Monday, October 30, 2023
Tuesday 10/30/23 Farmington River Update: Spawning is finally starting
We recently purchased another huge collection of quality fly tying materials. Stop by and check it out. Hooks, dry fly 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 (in store only). 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 has also 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.
Monday morning 10/30:
Pictured up top is Zach’s son Declan with part of the results of a streamer lesson on Sunday, one of two big browns he landed. This spawned out holdover female brown was caught well downstream of any spawning areas. Declan also landed a big hook-jawed male brown.
The Farmington River is currently 270cfs below Goodwin Dam in Riverton, 490cfs total flow through the year round Catch & Release area. Water temp is 57.5 degrees in Riverton this morning. The river is very fishable with good clarity. Things are looking good for the rest of this week, finally! Foliage is past peak, but it’s still colorful out there.
The big news is spawning has finally begun, albeit it’s not full blown yet. I imagine the cooler temps this week will get spawning fully ramped up. With trout spawning, eggs are now in the drift which means that egg flies are important to fish now, and they will be effective straight through the winter. (See down a few paragraphs for advice on properly handling fishing during the spawn.)
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 more regularly in the past 2 weeks, and two 21" FRAA bows were landed by Derrick’s clients on guide trips in the past week. When flows are up, the best flies have been Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms), bigger Stonefly nymphs, Prince nymphs, and various streamers. During normal flows, think smaller more imitative nymphs averaging #16-20, and that should 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.
Fishing Advice During the Spawn:
Keep an eye out for redds & spawning trout, the oval light colored depressions in gravel riffles where trout deposit their eggs. These are commonly located in riffly water in pool tailouts and in side channels, often in shallow water. Trout look to spawn where there is pea sized gravel with the right amount of current. Avoid those areas and the first 10-15 feet below them (many eggs drift downstream), otherwise you may crush the eggs if you walk there. The eggs don’t hatch out until about February/early March, so watch where you walk. Don’t fish to actively spawning fish, they are already stressed out, just let them reproduce in peace and make more wild trout. Fish the deeper, darker water downstream of the redds, there will be plenty of unseen non-spawning trout eating drifting eggs.
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 tan, white, yellow, olive, 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 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 in early/mid October, that would be from the dam down to Whittemore.
The two main hatches are Tan Caddis #16-18, and small Blue Winged Olives #22-26. Isonychia are about done, but you may see one here and there. 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, and BWO’s hatch in slower/softer water in the afternoons (especially cloudy days).
Hatches are improving, Tan Caddis & small Blue Winged Olives are the main two, with a few Isonychia around as well.
-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, especially on cooler/cloudy days
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning
-Giant October Caddis #8-12: mid/late afternoons, sporadic/light hatch
-Midges #18-24: anytime, try a Midge Pupa subsurface
-Egg Flies #12-16: spawn has begun, try shades of yellow, pink, orange
-Tan Caddis Pupa #16-18: dead-drift & swing in medium to fast water.
-Blue Winged Olives (BWO) #18-22: fish in afternoons
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Isonychia, Sulfur, Iso, etc.) & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere, all year long
-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 the Fall
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Frenchies, 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 brown trout spawning, trout are more aggressive and 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
Classic Streamers #6-10: Sometimes they work better than modern streamers. Try: Black Nosed Dace, Muddler Minnow, Marabou Muddler, Grey Ghost, Black Ghost, Baby Brown Trout, Mickey Finn, Hornberg, etc.