Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday 4/19/24 Farmington River Report: Flow Cut today & also Saturday morning

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week.

We just purchased yet another good sized fly tying collection, and it includes quite a few quality dry fly necks that are priced to go at $15-20- these are selling out fast.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods recently arrived, and they have really impressed us. Slightly more flex in the tips (which is good!), plenty of power in the mid & lower sections, with fantastic crisp recovery and a low swing weight. Also received a large Fulling Mill order with flies, tying materials, fly boxes, beads, and hooks.

Rich Strolis dropped off another batch of his streamers (3/22), including his single hook Ice Picks in several colors. These are a very good baitfish imitation, the tan ones can pass as a small Salmon Parr or Brown Trout. We also have a variety of his articulated patterns for targeting big fish. Don ties some great patterns for our bins such as his Peach Bugger, Green Weenie, Hendrickson emerger, Winter/Summer Caddis dries, and many more- ask us.Bruce Marino’s Hendrickson Nymph is back in stock and ready for the upcoming hatch- also check out his new Early Black Stonefly nymph.

Pictured up top is Andy A. from yesterday (Thursday), getting it done on a big, buttery brown in the super high water on a jigged streamer fished near the bank. Nice work bud!

We have a new spot in the book room with some FREE Fly Tying Materials. We will be adding to it regularly, as 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. 

Friday afternoon 4/19 3:30pm Flow Update:
Just got the MDC email, they are cutting the flow from Goodwin/Hogback Dam back today in stages from 1,500cfs down to 830cfs, with a further reduction to about 600cfs Saturday morning and remaining at that level through the weekend. It is very likely they will cut it down more on Monday morning. The Still River is currently adding in 353cfs and steadily dropping. The East Branch is adding in 250cfs about ½ mile downstream of UpCountry. 

Friday morning 4/19:
After 4 days of really big water out of the dam this week, it’s very likely they will make a big flow cut today. Won’t know until they do it, but I’m guessing they will reduce it to about 500cfs, give or take. This should set us up for a great weekend, mostly sunny & mild. Riverton from Goodwin/Hogback dam down to the Rt 20 bridge is reading 1,470cfs this morning, and combined with 389cfs from the Still River, this puts the total flow downstream of that in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release at 1,859cfs- FYI this is quite high. And high water from the dam drops water temps. But as I said above, I’m about 95% certain they will cut the dam way back today, probably this morning. After that it’s Game On! This will raise water temps, which is a good thing in mid April when water temps tend to be colder than optimal. Big dam releases dilute the 50+ degree Still River water with reservoir water that is closer to 40 degrees, so once the icy cold water drops from the flow cut, water temps go up. Keep your eyes out Saturday & Sunday for a possible Hendrickson hatch, it could happen. 

During big dam releases or after heavy rain, standard high water tactics apply: fish near the banks, out of the heavy current. Look for current breaks such as spots where the river goes from narrower to wider, the inside of spots where the river makes a bend, or behind big boulders tight to the bank. Often this means you will standing on the bank and fishing a rod’s length out. The biggest mistake is often wading into the water before you make a cast, this often spooks the catchable trout right out of where you should have been fishing. Slow & deep is the name of the game with nymphs & streamers. Good streamer colors include white, olive, black, tan. For nymphs think Junk Flies (Mops, Worms, Eggs, Green Weenies), bigger nymphs (#8-10 Stoneflies, Rubber Legs, etc.), and hot-spot patterns (Frenchies, Sexy Waltz, etc.) 

Plenty of stocked trout have been getting caught (as you can see in the photos this spring) when we aren’t flooded lol, along with some bigger wild & holdover fish for those putting in the work. The early season Blue Winged Olives #16-18 are still hatching in the afternoons (especially cloudy days) along with a few Blue Quills/Paraleptophlebia #16-18. Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 are near the end but still some around on milder, sunny afternoons. With the mild winter we had, the Hendrickson hatch should be soon. They always start downriver first (Farmington/Unionville/Collinsville) and work their way upstream.

Other than the year round Catch & Release/TMA, the entire Farmington has been stocked from top to bottom, most of it twice now. They stocked most of the river again for a second time last week, and the Permanent TMA/C&R usually gets it’s annual stocking in mid to late April. We don’t get advance notice of trout stocking, but we will let you know after they do it. The freshly planted trout compete with the resident wild & holdover fish and get them feeding more aggressively. If you want to avoid the recent stockers and target quality brown trout, then focus on the permanent TMA/C&R. Expect to work harder for your fish, but the average size will be larger- quite a few have been mid to upper teens lately.

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 Quills (a few), and Early Black Stones. Early Stoneflies are active and in 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 an immature Hendrickson nymph (something Mayfly shaped & brown about a #14), with a slim #16-20 fly in a darker color that could imitate things like Blue Wing Olive 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.

We have a good selection of the specialized Winter/Summer Caddis dry fly patterns from #18-24, it’s a unique hatch that you don’t normally find on other rivers, and it comes off all year long in the morning. 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 three birds with one stone.



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

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: near the end, afternoons (especially milder sunny days)

-Hendricksons #12-14: Anytime now, keep your eye out this weekend when/if they cut the flow back from the dam. Hatch starts downriver first and then works it’s way upstream.

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

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

-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk


-BMAR Early Black Stone #14: Bruce Marino’s new pattern

-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, Squirmy 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.

-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-18

-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. 

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

-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-22

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

-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. 


-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.

-Ice Picks (tan, gray, white, yellow): tied by Rich Strolis, a very nice single hook baitfish pattern

-Wooly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors, try also Don's Peach Bugger

-Zonker #4-6: a classic fish catcher! In white, natural

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6: deadly fly! Also standard Matuka in olive, brown

-Zuddler #4-8: one of our favorites, in olive, white, brown, black, yellow

-Complex & Mini Twist Bugger #2-6: assorted colors, very effective