Friday, October 6, 2023

Friday 10/6/23 Farmington River Report: Big Flow Cut & Columbus Day store hours

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. 

Columbus Day, Monday 10/9, we will be open from 8am-3pm.

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 during this slower summer, and you, our loyal customers, should benefit. 

Derrick & Antoine were going to do a Casting Clinic on Saturday September 23rd,, but due to rain was been rescheduled to Saturday October 14th. Contact them directly to sign up for that. Better casting = better presentations, bigger fish. Call Antoine directly at 860-759-4464 to sign up.

Pictured up is a good sized rainbow by Jim DeCesare. Foliage is getting really pretty!

Trout move to the edges during higher flows, and often this means standing on the bank and fishing a mere rod’s length out. They move in close to the bank to escape the heavy current. Upsize your flies and think streamers, bigger nymphs & Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Egg Flies, Green Weenies). Bigger Stoneflies & Prince Nymphs are also good choices. As are nymphs with hotspots like Frenchies. Jigged Streamers fished tight-line on a Euro leader can be lethal. 

UpCountry recently purchased yet another 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 10/6 3pm Flow Reduction Update:
As I suspected they cut the dam release substantially, the Riverton USGS gauge has dropped from 1,080cfs down to 438fs. Still River is adding in 158cfs, giving us a very fishable total flow of under 600cfs in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release. On Saturday (probably in the morning) they will cut the release from 400cfs down to 200cfs. This is good news! It's still going straight down on the graph, so it will go even lower. Rain overnight & Saturday will increase the flow of the Still River, so keep an eye on the gauges. 

Friday morning 10/6:
How did it get to be Columbus Day weekend already? Foliage is really starting to pop in our area, it’s beautiful right now.I was driving around yesterday and I think we are close to a week ahead of normal. I’m guessing we will peak this year between the 10th& 15thof October (usually it’s the 15thto 20th). Flows still remain quite high, the total flow in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release this morning is 1,238cfs. Riverton gauge is reading 1,080cfs, and the Still River is adding in 158cfs. I would not be surprised if they make a big flow cut today, but we won’t know until after it does or doesn’t happen. I checked out Colebrook River Lake yesterday morning and it’s just about down to where it needs to be for them to go back to a normal dam release, fingers crossed.The other wildcard is rain for Friday evening through Saturday, with 1.5” plus predicted. So it’s hard to predict what is going to happen with the flows. For sure the rain will bring the Still River up to some degree. I will update this report as things change & develop.

As things stand now, the river is pretty high, but fishable in certain spotsif you are a diehard and know the river. Please be careful! No aggressive wading at these flows. Plus all the catchable trout are tucked in near the banks currently.You don’t have the option of getting above the high water by fishing Riverton, as it’s 1,000+ CFS there as I write this- that’s a lot of water for a narrow section of river. You’re actually better off downstream where the river is bigger & wider, as it makes it easier to find soft spots near the banks where trout can get out of the heavy current and you can fish for them. Areas where the river widens, inside bends, and below big bankside boulders all create current breaks the trout will hold in. Often your best bet is starting off standing on the bank and fishing a rod length out to start, trout will lay in shallow water near the bank when flows are high. If you immediately wade in, likely you will spook the trout you could have caught. 

An easy way to prospect a likely looking section of bank water is to fish a weighted streamer down & across, swinging it in towards the bank and then twitching/stripping it back upstream. Slowly work your way downstream, experimenting with fly colors & retrieves. Either stand on the bank, or take ONE step out into the river. Roll cast your streamer so you don’t hook bushes & trees behind you. Or tight-line a jigged streamer on a Euro rig. Junk Flies such as Squirmy Worms, Mops, Egg Flies, or Green Weenies are often at their best in high water. Pair them up with a more typical nymph, albeit you may want to upsize your flies a bit, and you can fish a heavier tippet. Stoneflies & Prnce Nymphs are both great high water nymphs, as are flies with hotspots or hot tag tails. 
Some good Fall streamer colors includeolive, white, brown, brown & yellow, olive & yellow, and all yellow. Browns react aggressively to the color yellow in the Fall due to spawning (yellow represents a heighted spawning color). 

The following applies when flows get back to normal:
Classic Ants & Beetles are a good choice from late morning to early evening. Look also for Summer/Winter Caddis in the early to mid mornings. There have been assorted Caddis hatches on mornings in riffly areas, running #16-18, tan/light brown is the most common color, they come back in the evenings to egg lay. Late afternoon to dark look for Isonychia averaging about a #12, they hatch in the faster water only. There have been light hatches of #24 Blue Winged Olives. Dusk to dark typically offers a better 30 minute window of bugs & rising trout. Light Cahills #12-14, assorted Summer Stenos, White Spinners, Fall Sulfurs, Isonychia, and #16-18 tan Caddis would be the main players. 

Don’t forget about streamers. I’d stick to small to medium size (1.5”-3”) if you’re looking for numbers, but you can go 4-6” if you want to head hunt for trophy trout and are willing to catch less fish. Tight-lining them on a Euro rig can be deadly and often outfishes conventional presentations because you are fishing them slower and down deep, making it easy for them to eat your fly and not have to chase it. Brown trout are pre-spawn and getting aggressive, and sometimes throwing the meat will aggravate them and draw a strike when the nymph fishing is slow. Play with colors & retrieves, fishing colors like olive, brown, tan, yellow &white. Don’t be afraid to strip them in fast, sometimes that is the trigger to get them to eat. Early & late in the day is prime time (low light), but midday can be good if you look for shade & structure. Cover as much water as possible when streamer fishing. You are looking for aggressive trout, which typically strike quickly, or not at all. 

The most consistent nymphing tactic has fishing the faster water & pockets. Overall you want to nymph with smaller flies averaging #16-20, because most of the nymphs are small to very small right now (except Isonychia & big Stoneflies). A favored AM nymph rig would be a bigger #8-12 Stonefly nymph paired up with a #16 Caddis Pupa or a #18-20 nymph like a Pheasant Tail/Frenchy, Walt’s Worm, or a Blue Winged Olive Nymph. From mid/late afternoon onward replace the big Stonefly with a #12-14 Isonychia. We are seeing Yellow Sally Stoneflies#14-16. August/September is peak time for them on the Farmington River. I find imitating them with nymphs more productive than dries, they look like a miniature Golden Stone and can be imitated with a #14-18 yellow brown Sulfur type nymph pattern- this will also imitate the Fall Sulfurs (Heptagenia Hebe).



Hatches have been light but improving, with later in the day being the best window (but brief), don’t leave too early! Caddis, small Blue Winged Olives, “Fall Sulfurs” (Hebe), Yellow Sallies, Light Cahills/Summer Stenos & Isonychia are all possibilities. Keep your eye out for Flying Ants #18-24 on milder sunny days in the afternoons/early eves.

-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

-”Fall Sulfur” (Heptagenia Hebe) #16-18: late afternoons & eves, use the same
flies you would use to match the Sulfurs in the spring 

-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning

-Summer Stenos/Cream Cahills #12-16: evenings at dusk

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

-Isonychia #12-14: fast water insect, late afternoon through dark

-Blue Winged Olives #22-26: esp. cooler cloudy days

-Midges #20-28: mornings & eves, try a Midge Pupa subsurface


-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 #12-14: nymphs are working, fish in fast water, dead-drift & swing them. Prince nymphs & large Pheasant Tails work well to imitate them.

-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (mostly tan right now): dead-drift & swing in medium to fast water.

-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 Rainbow Warriors, Sexy Waltz, 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


With Fall at hand, aggressive pre-spawn brown trout, and slow hatching activity, 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 and during lulls in bug activity. Also a great choice anytime the flow is up or off-color. 

-Rich Strolis articulated streamers (assorted)

-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)


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 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 micro 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 Diamondback range of Ideal Nymph rods are in stock. These excellent 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, Joe really nailed it on this particular length & line weight.