Friday, May 3, 2024

Friday 5/3/24 Farmington River Report: Great Conditions, Great Fishing

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

We 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 Joey with a fantastic 20 1/2 inch wild brown trout from a successful dry fly outing after work on Monday. You have to do everything right to fool one of these top tier Farmington River wild browns, they’ve seen it all before.

We are open until 6pm on weekdays now, still 5pm on weekends. The good to excellent fishing continues, and some really nice trout are being landed by quite a few anglers. Lots of fat stocked rainbows in the 14-16” range, some jumbo rainbows in the 21-26” range, some 20" plus wild browns, and lots of recently stocked brown trout of all sizes in the permanent TMA/Catch & Release area. The trout are spread out all over the river now, from slow to fast water, in a variety of water types. Flows are excellent, with 329cfs total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R. From Goodwin Dam down to the Rt 20 bridge is 204cfs with the Still River is adding in 125cfs below that.

Hendrickson hatch is still going, but moving upriver. I hit a light hatch in Canton on Wednesday, but it is just about over down there, and getting lighter in New Hartford, but you will still see spinners beyond the hatch. Caddis are just starting up in the lower river (Farmington, Unionville, Collinsville), and I saw a few in Canton. There is usually a brief lull in any one section between when the Hendrickson hatch ends and the Caddis begin. When it’s been mild and not windy or wet, Hendrickson spinner falls have been happening in the evening, but they can happen anytime from about 10am to dark. Nymphing with a variety of different patterns has been extremely productive virtually all day. 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 also catching a lot of trout- try olive, tan, black, white. Experiment with how you present your streamer to the fish: dead-drift, twitched, swung, and various retrieves. Trout have been rising during the afternoon Hendrickson hatch, typically somewhere between 2pm and 4:30pm, but can happen anywhere from 1-5pm.

The permanent TMA/Catch & Release was stocked last week with mostly brown trout. A mix of Yearlings (6-8”), Adults (9-12”), and fat Survivor Strain 2 Year Olds, averaging 14-18”. These fish will be easy targets for the next 2-3 weeks, and then they will wise up quickly after that. Also, virtually the entire river outside of that was also stocked over the past 2 weeks, most of it for the third time this year with more to come in the near future. If you cannot catch trout right now, this may not be your sport….

The Hendrickson hatch is good from about Church Pool upstream to the junction with the Still River, but there is a hatch all the way up to the dam. The Still River runs warm (50’s currently), while the water from the dam is coming out in the low to mid 40’s. This makes hatches like the Hendrickson happen later in Riverton above the Still River. It starts in the lower river, moves up into the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, and then up above the Still into Riverton. Try to get up here ASAP if you want to catch the hatch in the permanent TMA/C&R, as I strongly suspect this weekend will be the last one you will see Hendricksons there as the bugs progress up into Riverton. The spinner fall usually goes about 5-7 day beyond the end of the hatch.

Be prepared with Hendrickson patterns in emergers, duns, spinners, and nymphs. Also, don't forget about Hendrickson soft hackles/wet flies. The nymphing for big trout with Hendrickson nymphs can be fantastic, especially for the 2-3 hours before the afternoon hatch- try Bruce’s Hendrickson nymph, also #12-14 Pheasant Tails will imitate them (plain, beadhead, flashback, soft hackle, or Frenchy style with a hotspot). The hatch generally occurs sometime between early and late afternoon. Spinner falls can happen almost anytime on the Farmington River, even though the books say it happens in the evenings. You know spinners are about to fall when you see the yellow egg sack females flying up & down over the riffles- they start up high in the air and gradually work they way down in elevation until they hit the water. Big trout love spinners because they are helpless once on the water and cannot fly away.

If you are nymphing, I’d pair up something in the #12-14 range that could be imitative of a Hendrickson nymph (something Mayfly shaped & brown), with a slim #16-18 fly in a darker color that could imitate things like Blue Wing Olive nymphs & Midges. Or pair it up with a Junk Fly (Egg, Mop, Squirmy or San Juan Worm) or attractor nymph (hot-spot, flash, or gaudy colors) to appeal to recent stocked trout.


-Hendrickson #12-14
-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan)
-Blue Wing Olive #18-20: cloudy afternoons
-Blue Quill/Mahogany Dun #16-18: afternoons
-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:

-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #14
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20. #12-14 as a Hendrickson nymph.
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles in brown or Hare’s Ear #12-14
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (olive/green, tan)
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenie)
-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-20, good all year
-Egg Flies #12-18
-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red
-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: such as, 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