Monday, April 8, 2024

Monday 4/8/24 Farmington River Report: 4/9 Update- Tuesday Afternoon Flow Increase

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 will sell out fast.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods recently arrived, and they are quite impressive. Slightly more flex in the tips (which is good!), 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. 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 John Antolini with a FAT brown trout, looks like she put the feedbag on! This is the time of year bug activity ramps up, along with trout feeding heavily subsurface. Next down is Derrick’s client Rob C. with the biggest of a successful outing during tough conditions (high water, cold day, very windy). Thanks goodness the mild weather comes back this week. 

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.

4/9/24 Afternoon Flow Update:
Received an email from the MDC, they raised the dam release by 400cfs today in two stages starting at 11:30pm. This reflects a combination of the current inflow to Colebrook River Lake, predicted rainfall (mainly Thursday), and the ability to cut the flow back for this Saturday (which is both the Riverton Derby and the unofficial “Opening Day”). I was expecting a flow cut yesterday or today, but I guess they are finally being proactive for the first time in a long while. They also raised it 100cfs on Monday. They will almost certainly cut it back on Friday for the weekend. Until then, you are looking at 900+ cfs in Riverton, and the Still River is adding in about another 300cfs below that. FYI the East Branch is adding in 250cfs about ½ mile below UpCountry. Until they cut the flow back (probably Friday), think standard high water tactics: fish close to the bank with streamers, medium to large nymphs (Princes, Stoneflies, etc.), Attractor Nymphs (hot spots, flash, or gaudy/bright colors), and Junk Flies (Mops, Squirmy/San Juan Worms, Egg Flies, and Green Weenies). 

Current Conditions Monday morning 4/8:
Conditions have improved every day, with the Still River steadily dropping. I would not be surprised to see a modest flow cut from the dam this morning or maybe Tuesday- even without a flow change, we are quite fishable from New Hartford up to the dam. Riverton is medium to medium-high or so at 451cfs from the Goodwin/Hogback dam to the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton, and the Still River is currently adding in 371cfs & dropping below that. This puts the total flow this morning in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) at 822cfs and dropping fast. We will update this report when is a flow change at the dam.

Plenty of stocked trout have been getting caught (as you can see in the photos), along with some bigger wild & holdover fish for those putting in the work. The early season Blue Winged Olives #16-18 are hatching in the afternoons (especially cloudy days) along with a few Blue Quills/Paraleptophlebia #16-18. Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 are active on milder, sunny afternoons. With the mild winter we had, the Hendrickson hatch should be early this year. They always start downriver first (Farmington/Unionville/Collinsville) and work their way upstream. With much milder weather moving in starting today, I would not be surprised to see them downriver in the very near future. 

Other than the year round Catch & Release/TMA, pretty much the entire trout section of the Farmington has been stocked from Goodwin/Hogback dam in Riverton downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville. They will almost certainly stock the Farmington again this week, and the Permanent TMA/C&R usually gets it’s annual stocking a little later this month. 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- mid to upper teens has been the norm there 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), 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: afternoons (especially milder sunny days)

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

-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

-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