Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday 11/16/23 Farmington River Report: great conditions & Black Friday sale

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. 

Black Friday Sale:
Stop by for some bargains! Thomas & Thomas Avantt rods all 40% offHardy Ultralites(not the LL’s) also 40% off. Take an extra 10% off used rods over $500, and an extra 10% off used & clearance fly reels.

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. We can use some income after the slow summer we had, and you, our loyal customers, should benefit. 

UpCountry has also purchased a large 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. 

Flow Level:
The total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R is 391cfs. Riverton above the Still River is 264cfs. These are both great medium levels and quite normal for this time of year. Riverton water temps are in the low 50’s, and downstream is low to upper 40’s depending upon distance from dam, time of day, and weather. Mild weather through Sunday will bump the water temps up, especially downriver, and this should get the trout more active & feeding.

Friday morning 11/17:
Pictured up top is a colored up holdover rainbow by customer & friend Andrew Flores. Below that is a small but beautiful wild Brookie I got recently, I think they are the prettiest of all the trout. 

If you aren’t fishing here lately, you are truly missing out. It’s the best set of conditions we’ve had since June. Water levels are normal (medium), water temps are good (40’s to 50’s), and fish are getting caught on nymphs, streamers & dries. Mostly sunny for the weekend with highs around 50 degrees. As far as hatches, Winter Caddis in the early to mid mornings, and Blue Winged Olives in the afternoon, usually starting around 1-2pm, sometimes late mornings. Also seeing Midges in mid to late afternoons. Nymphing is very consistent, and a good bet for both numbers of fish as well as a shot at bigger fish. Streamer fishing at moments can be very good, and ups your odds to stick a trophy fish, especially bigger streamers . After I nymphed a run hard the other day and landed 8 fish, I went back through with a smaller olive streamer and caught another dozen. Go figure. Always pays to experiment. Spawning seems to be past peak and slowing up, but there will still be a smaller number of fish spawning right into December. 

The main hatch is Blue Winged Olives #22-28 in the afternoons with rising trout in the bigger, wider, slower pools. Midges are also hatching in the afternoons, as late as dusk. Subsurface egg flies & small nymphs #18-20 have been the ticket lately. Overall, afternoons have fished a lot better than mornings, probably due to rising water temps and increased insect activity/hatching. This is especially true after colder night- when you get a mild overnight the morning fishing can be good. Nymphing is the most consistent tactic, but streamers are also pulling some nice fish.

The brown trout will spawn throughout November (peak spawn month) and into December, so keep you eyes out for redds. People have been observed standing right in obvious redds and also wading through them- please don’t be that person! Walking on redds and just below them crushes the eggs. Redds are the light colored oval areas in gravelly riffles where the brown trout are currently spawning. By late November 90% of the browns will have completed spawning, we already past the peak of the spawn. Egg flies can be very effective, especially downstream of spawning areas in the first deeper water you can find. Eggs continue to work well straight through the Winter. Pair them up with a smaller nymph for best results.

The best flies lately have been Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms), smaller nymphs #16-22, and various streamers. If trout are rising, match the hatch- BWO’s are the current glamour hatch. With the normal flows here now, think smaller more imitative nymphs, and that should also lead to more dry fly fishing on small Blue Winged Olives & Midges. Look for bigger, wider, flatter pools to find rising trout. Streamers are always in play in the Fall, especially early & late in the day and on cloudy days- play with colors & retrieves, it can make a big difference. Usually in the Fall a fast strip is the way to go with streamers, but change it up if that isn't producing, especially after a colder night. 

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 riffle 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 will crush the eggs if you walk there. The eggs don’t hatch out until about February/early March, so watch where you walk or you will be crushing & killing future wild troutDo NOT fish to actively spawning fish on redds, they are already stressed out, just let them reproduce in peace and make more wild browns. Fish the deeper, darker water downstream of the redds, there will be plenty of unseen non-spawning trout gobling up drifting eggs.


For streamers, both conventionally fished bigger streamers (can be single hook or articulated) and jigged ones fished slower & deeper on Euro rig have been effective at moments. Play with streamer color & retrieve, it can make a BIG difference. More often than not in the Fall a faster retrieve is the ticket when doing conventional streamer fishing. Good colors of late are white, tan, 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 #22-28 in the afternoons in the pools. The lower the flow, the more likely you are to have rising fish. Small Blue Winged Olive (BWO) nymphs #18-22 are working in the afternoons- fish them paired up with another slightly bigger nymph (or an egg fly) to help get the trout’s attention. 

The state stocked the river in early October from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford all the way down to Collinsville & Unionville and below that too. 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. 



***Small Blue Winged Olives & Midges are the 2 main afternoon hatches***

-Blue Winged Olives #22-28: afternoons, especially on cooler/cloudy days- this

hatch will go all November and well into December

-Midges #22-28: afternoons up until dusk

-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long


-Egg Flies #12-18: some brown trout are still spawning, try shades of yellow, pink, orange. Eggs continue to work straight through the Winter, even after the spawn is over. 

-Blue Winged Olives (BWO) Nymphs #18-22, assorted patterns: fish in afternoons when they are active

-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red

-Assorted Small Nymphs #18-22: most of the bugs from late Fall through the Winter are small & skinny, and darker colors such as brown, black & dark olive are common. Try Zebra Midges (black, red, olive), Pheasant Tails (natural, Frenchies, olive, black, chocolate brown, etc.), BWO/Olive nymphs, etc. The size, shape & presentation are generally more important than exact fly pattern. Play with drab, flash, UV, hot-spots, and no hot spots to see what works best, because it can and will vary depending on the day, time of day, and light conditions.

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Isonychia, Sulfur, Iso, etc.) & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere, all year long. A small Pheasant Tail is almost never a bad choice on the Farmington River.

-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, lots of these in the river. Good choice when you aren’t sure what to fish.

-Cased Caddis #10-16: underfished pattern, there are tons 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 can be very good in the Fall


In the Fall and during brown trout spawning, trout are more aggressive and now is prime time to fish the meat. And after they spawn, trout have lost weight and are depleted and are looking to put weight back on, and to at trout a streamer represent a lot of potential calories. 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, deadlyfished on a tight-line/Euro rig

-Woolly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors

-White Zonker #4-6

-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 bulky modern streamers, maybe due to their mostly slimmer profiles & drabber designs. Or maybe it’s because not many people fish them anymore, who knows. 
Try: Black Nosed Dace, Muddler Minnow, Marabou Muddler, Grey Ghost, Black Ghost, Baby Brown Trout, Mickey Finn, Hornberg, etc.