Monday, March 18, 2024

Monday 3/18/24 Farmington River Report: Flow Cut, Nice Conditions & New Flies

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. 

Rich Strolis just dropped off a big batch of his streamers, check ‘em out. Bruce Marino’s Hendrickson Nymph is back in stock and ready for the upcoming hatch- also check out his new Early Black Stonefly nymph.

We have a new spot in the Book Room with some FREE Fly Tying Materials. We will be adding to it regularly, we have to thin out the three massive fly tying collections we bought in the last year. There will be some good stuff that will get snapped up quickly so make sure to check it out every time you come in.

Select T&T Zone rods are 40% off. 2023 Thomas & Thomas Avantt rods all 40% off. Hardy Ultralites also 40% off.

Pictured above is Hunter, son of guide Zach St. Amand, with a nice brown trout from a recent outing.

Current Conditions:
River is in great shape now, a huge improvement over last week. And as of 9am today (Monday 3/18), they are reducing the dam release by 120cfs. Total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R as I write this is 543cfs, this flow cut will drop it to about 420cfs. From the Goodwin (Hogback) Dam to the center of Riverton the flow is 337cfs, flow cut will drop this to about 215cfs. The Still River is adding 206cfs below that. Spring weather here now has the tributaries cracking into the mid/upper 40’s to low 50’s on sunny afternoons, and this will boost water temps as you go down river away from the dam. Looks like good fishing weather this week. 

Riverton was 39.5 degrees this morning at 8am, it reached 42 degrees Sunday afternoon. Downstream water temps, further from the dam, are higher. Sunny mild days will see the biggest water temperature increases, with peak water temps in the mid to late afternoons.

New Hardy Marksman rods arrived for 2024, this replaces the Ultralite series (not the Ultralite LL though). They are super nice with improved recovery and even better actions/flex patterns. We have the freshwater Marksman from #3-7, and the saltwater Marksman Z (replaces the Zane Pro) from #7-10.

BIG fly tying material orders from both Wapsi & Hareline recently arrived. Nature’s Spirit also arrived last week, with Hanak & Daiichi hooks, tying materials from Hends, Sybai, FNF, high quality deer & elk hair, dubbings, and lots of other natural materials. We received a big batch of natural colored CDC from Fulling Mill, and it looks fantastic.

A big Fishpond order arrived recently with lots of assorted packs (including chest packs), waterproof packs/bags, landing nets, and all sorts of accessories. The holes on the walls are getting filled daily, along with some cool new products in the mix.

I put literally hundreds of hooks on sale in the book room at about 40% off It’s a mix of overstocked hooks, ones we are no longer going to carry, and discontinued models from Hanak, Fasna, Tiemco, and Gamakatsu.

There have been plenty of recently stocked trout caught along with some bigger wild & holdover fish. The early season Blue Winged Olive hatch has begun, they run #16-18 and hatch in the afternoons. We are even seeing a few Blue Quills. The state stocked the lower river from the Collinsville dams down to the Rt 177 Unionville bridge, which means that other than the permanent C&R/TMA, the entire river from the dam in Riverton down to Unionville has been recently stocked. The freshly stocked trout compete with the resident & wild fish getting them feeding more aggressively. If you want to avoid the recent stockers and target mainly holdover & wild browns, then focus on the permanent TMA/C&R- expect to work a lot harder for each and every fish, but the average size will be larger (mid to upper teens browns with an occasional 20”+ fish).

Recently stocked trout don’t know how to feed naturally, so try things like Junk Flies (Squirmy Worms, Mops, Egg Flies, Green Weenies), Woolly Buggers, and smaller jigged streamers. Frenchies, Walt’s Worms & Sexy Waltz can also be very good. Nymphs with hot spots usually work well.

There has been some limited dry fly activity, both in the mornings to Winter/Summer Caddis, and in the afternoons to Blue Winged Olives/Baetis, Blue Quill, Midges, and Early Black Stones. Underwater, EarlyStoneflies are active andin the drift. If you are nymphing, I’d pair up something in the #12-16 range that could be imitative of an Early Stonefly (black, brown), or immatureHendrickson nymph (something Mayfly shaped & brown), with a slim #16-20 fly in a darker color that could imitate things like Baetis/BWO nymphs & Midges. Early to mid morning Winter Caddis hatch aside, the bug activity is confined to the afternoons when water temps rise a little. Blue Winged Olives favor cloudy afternoons, and the Stoneflies are most active on warm, sunny days. 

Effective nymphs lately include Junk Flies (especially Eggs & Mops), Winter Caddis Larva #18, and Mayfly Nymphs #14-20 such as Pheasant Tails & BWO’s (Blue Winged Olives). Also Olive/Green Caddis Larva #14-16, Cased Caddis #10-16, Walt’s Worms/Sexy Waltz #10-18, Attractor & Hot-Spot Nymphs #14-18 (Triple Threats, Frenchies, Perdigons, etc.). Nymphs with metallic pink beads can be above average producers in cold water on stocked trout, holdover trout, and even big wild brown trout. 

We have a good selection of the specialized Winter Caddis dry fly patterns from #18-24, it’s a unique hatch that you don’t normally find on other rivers  The Winter Caddis larva are about a #18 and yellowish in color, and are also worth imitating. That same fly imitates Black Caddis larva (also yellow & small), as well as some Midges- killing 3 birds with one stone.

The state has begun stocking the Farmington River, but not the permanent TMA/C&R which will be stocked sometime in April. Remember that from September 1, the entire river from the dam all the way down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville is strictly Catch & Release until the second Saturday in April.



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

-Blue Winged Olives #16-18: afternoons (especially cloudy days)

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: afternoons (especially sunny days)

-Early Brown Stonefly #14-16: afternoons (a few)

-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk

-Blue Quills/Mahogany Dun (Paraleptophlebia) #16-18: afternoons, a few


-Strolis Infant Stones #14 (black, brown): this popular pattern imitates the Early Brown & Early Black Stoneflies, with the brown version also passing for a Hendrickson nymph.

-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmies/SJ Worms, Green Weenies): killer on recently stocked trout, good in high/stained water, or as a change-up fly after you have fished a good run with standard nymphs. Good also when nothing seems to be working. 

-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs (BWO's/Olives) #16-18, hatching in afternoons

-Egg Flies #12-18: will continue to produce right through the early Spring, and are also very good on recently stocked trout- they will hammer an egg fly until they get dialed in on real nymphs, larva & pupa. Try shades of yellow, pink, orange. There will also be spawning Rainbows in March, and Suckers in April.  

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

-Winter Caddis Larva #18: surprisingly the larva are yellow, not brown.

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-22: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Isonychia, Sulfur, Isonychia, 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. Good choice when you aren’t sure what to fish

-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip, best on a Euro rod & leader, but can also be drifted under an indicator. Excellent choice to fish in March, especially for bigger trout, or after you have nymphed a run. Tan, olive, and white have been the best recently.

-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Frenchies, Prince, Triple Threats, etc. Great on recently stocked fish, but big holdovers & wilds eat them too. 

To a trout a streamer represents 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. Hot colors recently have been white, tan, and olive.

-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various patterns/colors, deadly fished on a tight-line/Euro rig, often sorts out bigger fish. Great to use as a clean-up fly after you nymph a run.

-Wooly 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