Friday, May 24, 2024

Friday 5/24/24 Farmington River Report: Sitting Pretty for Memorial Day Weekend

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

Free Fly Casting Clinic with local guide Mark Swenson on Sunday June 16th. Contact Mark directly at 203-586-8007 to sign up or get more details. Class is limited in size, and is for beginners only.

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 the result of a short fishing session with Mandy & me after work on Monday evening. I had to twist her arm to get her to go with me, but she was glad I did. A quick change to a jigged streamer produced this big wild female as the light dropped.

Total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R is medium & very nice at 301cfs, Riverton is 219cfs and from Goodwin/Hogback Dam down to the Rt 20 bridge, and the Still River is adding in 82cfs below that. 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. Unionville USGS gauge is reading a beautiful 502cfs this morning, a nice level for fishing the lower river. Fantastic water conditions for the holiday weekend.

They backed off on the hot weather predictions, looks like it will be warm and not hot, with highs 78-81 through Sunday, and then it gets cooler starting Monday. I didn’t get to fish the river on my days off (Wednesday/Thursday), the main hatch is still assorted Caddis, and we are seeing Vitreus in the early evenings. March Browns are about as far upstream as Church Pool/Mathie’s Grove- this is a sporadic day-long hatch, one here & one there in the pocket water & riffles. If you go to the lower river (Collinsville/Unionville) you should see some Sulfurs, and there may be a light hatch a bit further upstream than than. With the current water flow of about 300cfs in the Permanent TMA/C&R, this is a greatly improved level for dry fly fishing: the lower the flow, the more fish rise during a hatch.

Nymphing remains the most consistent producer, but there have been some risers to assorted Caddis, Vitreus, March Browns, on cloudy afternoons to Blue Winged Olives, and on the lower river to Sulfurs (Invaria). Wet fly guys & streamer fishermen are also putting fish in the net. Caddis typically come back later in the day to egg-lay in the riffles areas where they dump into the pools, and they typically hatch in the morning (can be afternoons up closer to the dam due to the colder water temps there). Trout normally feed on the pupa during the hatch, not the adult- this can mean anything from nymphing pupa near the bottom, to swing pupa/wet flies/soft-hackles mid column, or drifting pupa in the surface film. Dry/dropper with a Caddis dry and a pupa fished 6-12” below it can be effective during the hatch. You get more of the classic dry fly fishing with Caddis dries during the evening egg-laying events. Even then though it’s not a bad idea to drop a Caddisy soft-hackle off the back of your dry fly.

The state has done recent stockings up & down the river (I think we are up to 5x now for most of the river!), 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. Some of the FRAA rainbows are getting caught and mostly released, they literally have been averaging about 5-7#, a few quite a bit bigger than that too (up to 27”/12#). Many trout are holding in faster water now: riffles, faster runs, and pocket water. This 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- stop by the shop and we can explain how to set things up. Both Caddis & Vitreus are very active bugs, making wet fly fishing a great way to imitate them. Wet fly fishing is also a relaxing, super fun way to fish. Much less technical than nymphing & flat water dry fly fishing, and less tiring than streamer fishing. Also a very efficient way to cover a lot of water, especially when you aren’t sure exactly where the trout are located.

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) average #12-14 currently and are active in the faster riffly water, hatching up to the Still River. Good numbers of Craneflies have been hatching many days, they are light colored and some people mistake them for a Sulfur. When trout aren’t rising (a frequent occurence), expect it to be more of a subsurface game with nymphs, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. New hatches start downriver (Sulfurs, March Browns) and progress upstream.

Trout don’t always rise to hatches, so be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, Sulfur/Vitreus nymphs, 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 more imitative 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 long leader/Mono 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, 60’s on hot sunny days), 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): main hatch
-Vitreus #12-16: early eves
-March Brown #10-12: starting, at least as far upstream as Church Pool/Mathie’s Grove,sporadic day-long emerger in faster water, one here one there kinda hatch
-Sulfur (Invaria) #16: starting, lower river mainly(Collinsville/Unionville), you may see a light hatch further upstream than that
-Blue Wing Olive #18-20: cloudy afternoons
-Craneflies #14-16: plenty around, often mistaken for Sulfurs
-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
-Sulfur/Vitreus Nymph #14-16: can use specific imitations, also Frenchies/Pheasant Tails
-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