Friday, August 4, 2023

Friday 8/4/23 Farmington River Report: Good flows, but keep an eye on water temps

Store Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm & Sat-Sun 8am-5pm.

Pictured up top is customer Gordon Perkins with a quality brown trout from this week, he lost a much bigger one. Second pic is Steve Hogan’s client Marty with a good brown from his guide trip this week. Use your thermometer, find cooler water, and catch some fish!

Water levels are down to a very nice 376cfs total flow below the Still River in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R). It’s 320cfs in Riverton, with the Still adding in another 56cfs below that. You still need to keep an eye on water temps, as the water is coming out of the dam in the mid 60’s, and as the day goes on it rises as you move downriver. If it’s relatively cool at night, and it has been, you can safely fish down near us in New Hartford in the mornings, but by 10 am to noonish you need to migrate upriver to find cooler temps. In the afternoons/eves I’d be from about Mathie’s Grove/Campround upstream to the dam, the water temps should be doable there. Otherwise you will end up catching trout in 70 degree plus water- 2 customers admitted to not taking our advice and fishing in the afternoons/eves in New Hartford and they were unable to revive large trout after playing them to the landing net. Big rainbows are particularly susceptible to this, as they will still feed when the water is warm, and they will literally fight to the death. It was 65.5 degrees by the Riverton Rt 20 bridge this morning, it reached 67.5 degrees there yesterday afternoon. 

Due to relatively sparse hatches, nymphing has been the most productive technique. Also with rising water temps, trout like to hold in the faster water where there is more oxygen. In the early to mid mornings, make sure one of your nymphs is a larger Stonefly in the #8-10 range. Pair that with a smaller #18-20 nymph or a #16 Caddis pupa. From mid afternoon onward you can pair an Isonychia type nymph with a smaller nymph- Prince Nymphs & large Pheasant Tails also work well to imitate these. Mornings are a great time to get out there and nymph. 

Look for water temps 68 degrees or less, and definitely don’t fish in 70 degree plus water. Use your thermometer and move upstream until you find suitable water temps. We get pushback from some people who always fish downriver and don’t want to hear the truth. “Oh, your taking the SURFACE water temperature” is the reaction I often get when taking water temps in Church Pool, and a regular asks me what the water temp is and I give them a high number they don’t like. If you’re fishing Church Pool at 3pm on a warm, sunny day right now, you WILL be fishing in water that is 70+ degrees. Don’t be that person. In rivers there is not any significant degree of thermal stratification, so don’t tell us that the trout are sitting in cold water on the bottom, because it’s BS. In the deepest, slowest pools there is maybe 1 degree of temp difference between the surface and the bottom. Every time water moves through riffles, pocket water, and rapids, it all mixes together. And every trout you catch has to be pulled through the water at the surface anyway. Don’t rationalize unsporting behavior. 

Hatching activity has been sparse. The best dry fly reports has been from those fishing Beetles & Ants, as well as blind fishing the water with Isonychia & Attractor Dries (do Dry/Dropper to really up your odds). Stay until full darkness if you can, the dusk to dark window is normally the best window of summertime bug activity. The rising water temps have also slowed up bug activity. Normally we see Tricos in the mornings in August, the spinner fall is the main event, and the mating swarms fall to the water around 68 degrees air temps. Have not had any Trico reports as yet though, but there may be some. There should be some Isonychia #10-12 in the faster water between late afternoon & dark. At dusk there should be a few assorted Caddis, along with assorted #12-22 Cahills/Summer Stenos (cream Mayflies). There may or may not still be some small #18-20 Dorothea Sulfurs closer to the dam in Riverton, but they may also be done. Overall bug activity has been light though. 

Morning water temps will be the lowest, and the closer to the dam you get, the lower the water temps will be, especially on warmer, sunny days. If temps hit 70 degrees as the day progresses (and they can/will as you move downriver away from the dam), please move upriver until you find 68 degree or colder water. Carry a thermometer! It’s better for the trout, and it will lead to better fishing & catching. Please make sure to play your trout hard, land them quickly, keep them in the water when you are releasing them. Use a landing net to speed up the landing process, it’s a big help. Bigger landing nets make it easier & faster to land the fish. 

As an incentive to get some foot traffic, we are doing 20% off used & clearance fly rods & reels sale in store only. Most clothing, plus clearance packs, clearance vests, and clearance waders are on sale as well. The sale merchandise is going fast as it's rare that we have the opportunity to mark things down during the height of the season.... but because of the high water we can use some income and you, our loyal customers should benefit. 

Saltwater anglers take note, we have quite a few saltwater rods on sale or clearance, including models from both Sage & Hardy.

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 high quality Kamloops Rainbows that come from Harding Hatchery, a very tough strain of trout. They are quite fat with great coloration.


A good high water nymph rig is a Junk Fly (Mop, Squirmy Worm, Eggs, 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 a good choice in golden, brown, or black. They are especially effective in the mornings, as they crawl out to emerge overnight and in the early AM. Another big bug we get in the summertime: Isonychia (#8-12) normally emerge in fast water, sometime between late afternoon & dark.  

Hatches have been very light lately, with dusk to dark being the best window- don’t leave too early!
-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
-Summer Stenos/Cream Cahills #12-20: evenings at dusk
-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: fast water insect, late afternoon through dark, spotty hatch this year. July is normally the big Iso month in the permanent TMA/C&R
-Blue Winged Olives #20-26: esp. cooler cloudy days
-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.
-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) 
-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip, best 
on a Euro rod & leader
-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

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. 
-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 #2-8 (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 it is 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.