Monday, November 20, 2023

Monday 11/20/23 Farmington River Report: Fishing is Good, Black Friday weekend sale

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. 

We will be closed on Thanksgiving, Thursday 11/23, and back to normal hours after that.

Black Friday Sale:
This sale goes straight through the weekend. 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 351cfs. Riverton above the Still River is 260cfs. These are both great medium levels and quite normal for this time of year. Monday is the day the MDC typically makes flow changes if needed, so you may see a small flow cut today, or no change at all. Riverton water temps are upper 40’s to low 50’s, and downstream is low to upper 40’s depending upon distance from dam, time of day, and weather. Sunny days will see the biggest water temperature increases.

Monday morning 11/20:
Pictured up top is Jim DeCesare with a handful of quality brown trout. The bulk of the brown trout spawn is behind us now, but there will still be a few late spawners.

I think the conditions the past couple of weeks are the best I’ve seen since June, and I’m surprised more anglers aren’t taking advantage of this- flows are finally normal & medium, just about perfect. Some people stop trout fishing in the late Fall as the air temps drop, others switch to deer/pheasant hunting, some go to the Great Lakes tributaries and fish for steelhead, some fish their local Fall stocked trout stream, and some target recently stocked Atlantic Salmon in the nearby Naugatuck River. All of which generally gives you more elbow room and good fishing on the Farmington River in November/December. The majority of browns that were going to spawn have done so, and that leaves a lot of spawned out & hungry browns. 10 Day Forecast looks quite normal for late November, with highs all in the 40’s and nights in the 20’s to 30’s. No need to start early now (due to colder water temps), unless you want to hit the early to mid morning Winter Caddis hatch (7am-10am is typical for that, but can be earlier or later). Lately the fishing just seems to improve as the day progresses and water temps rise, and morning Winter Caddis excepted, most of the hatching activity is all in the afternoons. Nymphs, dries & streamers are all possibilities right now. When water temps cool down in the late Fall, rising water temps during the day tends to get the trout active and feeding.

Nymphing is the most consistent tactic, 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 if you fish bigger streamers. Typically (but not always) smaller streamers will catch you more fish, and bigger ones will catch less but bigger. It always pays to experiment with different flies & methods. Spawning is past peak and slowing up, but there will still be a smaller number of fish spawning right into December. Be careful not to walk on or just below redds (where the trout deposit their eggs). 

The main dry fly hatch is Blue Winged Olives #22-28 in the afternoons with rising trout in the bigger, wider, slower pools. Tiny 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 early 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, and in the mornings Winter Caddis. 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 & After 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. 

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. The MDC stocked the upper river (above the permanent TMA/C&R up to the dam) in early/mid October with quite a few rainbows.



***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, Winter Caddis Larva, 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. Fishing pressure will also affect fly preferences.

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-22: 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 #16-20 is rarely 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, work well in the late Fall & Winter.

-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, before, during & after brown trout spawning, trout are more aggressive and it 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 a 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, deadly fished on a tight-line/Euro rig

-Woolly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors

-Zonker #4-6: white, natural

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6. Also standard Matuka in olive, brown

-Zuddler #4-8: olive, yellow, white, brown, black

-Complex & Mini 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.