Friday, May 17, 2024

Friday 5/17/24 Farmington River Report: Should be a good weekend

Store Hours

8am-6pm Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm on Saturday & Sunday.

We recently picked up a collection of inexpensive used fly rods, about 20 rods total ranging from 4 to12 weight, all $100 or less.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods arrived in March, and they have really impressed us. Slightly more flex in the tip, plenty of power in the mid & lower sections, with fantastic crisp recovery and a low swing weight.

Pictured up top is Mike Andrews with a really nice Farmington River brown trout, he had an epic few days this week catching big numbers of trout, doubles, big fish, even golden rainbows. His IG is @ct.trout.bum, check it out.

We are open until 6pm on weekdays now, still 5pm on weekends, opening at 8am every day. We are sitting pretty for the weekend. On & off light rain on Wednesday and Thursday bumped the Still River up a bit, but we are only about 100cfs higher than we were, and dropping at a good clip- leaves on the trees now suck the water up faster. Total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R is 550cfs and going down, Riverton is 315cfs and steady from Goodwin/Hogback Dam down to the Rt 20 bridge, and the Still River is adding in 235cfs & dropping slightly below that. Weekend weather looks great: 65-70, no rain, and not windy at all. Riverton water temps above the Still River have been ranging from mid to upper 40’s, and downstream has been averaging mid to upper 50’s during the afternoons- look for these temps to go up a bit next week when we get about 5 consecutive days from the upper 70’s to mid 80’s. This will be nothing but good for the hatches & the fishing.

The overcast & wet weather saw some good fishing on Wednesday & Thursday, more subsurface than on top. I did some big trout numbers on various nymphs, a mix of imitative & attractor type patterns in the #14-18 range that were suggestive of Caddis & Mayflies. Even managed to successfully sight fish a Golden Rainbow (stocked by the FRAA) on a Mop fly. They have done recent stockings up & down the river (I think we are up to 4x for 2024), the fish density is about as high as it gets here. They put in a lot of fat 14-16” rainbows, some are 17” and well over 2 pounds. Also caught brook trout each day, stocked browns, and some very nice wild browns. Quite a few trout are holding in faster water now. Now is a great time to swing wet flies & soft hackles in the riffles, they fish best 2-3 at a time, tied 20-30” apart on tag end droppers. Both Caddis & Vitreus are very active bugs, making wet fly fishing a great way to imitate them. It’s also a relaxing, super fun way to fish. Much less technical than nymphing & flat water dry fly fishing, and less tiring than streamer fishing.

Cooler crappy days have been seeing #18-20 Blue Winged Olives & Vitreus. Nicer weather here now should favor Caddis, along with Mayflies in the eves (6pm till dark). Caddis continue to be the bug du jour, the main ones are a mix of olive/green #16-18 and tan ones in #14-18, along with some other assorted Caddis. Vitreus mayflies (aka Pink Ladies) are gradually increasing, they average #12-14 currently and are active in the faster riffly water, hatching from the lower river (Collinsville, Unionville, Farmington) up to New Hartford and pushing up a ways into the Permanent TMA/C&R, not sure how far upstream the upper end of that hatch goes. Good numbers of Craneflies have been hatching most days, they are light colored and some people mistake them for a Sulfur. When trout aren’t rising (more often than not, especially lately), expect it to be more of a subsurface game with nymphs, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. The bigger, wider, slower pools have seen some limited dry fly action. There is a lull in bug activity after the Hendrickson hatch ends and the Caddis get cranking. You can work around that by going downstream and working your way upriver as the hatches move up. New hatches start downriver and progress upstream, so the better bug activity currently is about mid to lower river, and moving upstream every day.

Trout don’t always rise to hatches, so be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. Also try BWO nymphs #16-20 (especially on overcast days), #14-18 Pheasant Tails/Frenchies and other assorted nymphs. Cream Mops & Squirmy Worms (pink, red) are always worth a try, especially as a clean up fly after you nymph a run, or if trout are not responding to your usual patterns. They are also good in the early morning before the bugs get active.

Nymphing with Caddis Pupa can be deadly when they are hatching in the mornings & afternoons, target current breaks in faster water. When they come back to egg lay (typically later in the day), that’s when you are most apt to see trout rising to them. Swinging wet flies & soft hackles are often very effective when Caddis are hatching or egg-laying. Nymphing with a variety of different patterns is a consistent tactic. Try a pair of nymphs, with one attractor/gaudier type fly, and another that is more imitative. Streamers, especially jigged ones on a Euro rig, have been been catching some nice trout- try olive, tan, black, white. Experiment with how you present your streamer to the fish: dead-drift, twitched, swung, and various retrieves.

The Still River runs warmer (50’s currently), while the water from the dam is coming out in the mid 40’s. This makes hatches happen later in Riverton above the Still River. Hatches start in the lower river, move up into the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, and then up above the Still into Riverton.



-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan): hatching all the way up through the permanent TMA/C&R and right up to the dam in Riverton
-Blue Wing Olive #18-20: cloudy afternoons
-Craneflies #14-16: plenty around, often mistaken for Sulfurs
-Vitreus #12-16: starting up, from the lower river up into the Permanent TMA/C&R
-Summer/Winter Caddis#18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long
-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (olive/green, tan)
-Pheasant Tails/Frenchies#12-20
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles #12-16: assorted colors/patterns
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenie)
-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-20, good all year
-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red
-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18 (yellow): can also imitate Midge larva
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: lots of these in the river
-Cased Caddis #12-14: underfished pattern, abundant in the Farmington
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Frenchies, Prince, Triple Threats, Pink Bead Walt’s Worm, etc.


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