Friday, June 14, 2024

Friday 6/14/24 Farmington River Report: Sulfurs & Caddis

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

Pictured up top is Trevor Musselman with a wild brown from this week, one of two on the same evening. Good amount of big trout are showing up lately.

We’ve recently received orders from Korkers (huge order),Smith sunglasses (big order), Cortland, Scientific Anglers,and we should receive a big Fulling Mill order next week with lots of flies and other things (hooks, fly boxes, beads, other tying materials, etc.).

Hatches have really picked up recently, we are seeing good amounts of Sulfurs (both #16 Invaria & #18 Dorothea) and assorted Caddis. Saw a surprising number of #10-12 March Browns yesterday afternoon, what a beautiful big bug. They hatch in fast water. Depending upon how far below the dam you are, Caddis are typically hatching in mid to late mornings, and coming back in the evening to egg-lay, and Sulfurs are hatching anywhere from about 2pm to dusk.Seeing a lot more trout rising now, but it still pays to be flexible and be willing to fish wet flies & nymphs as subsurface methods have been consistent and producing well. June is typically the peak month for Sulfurs in the Permanent TMA, but remember there are miles of river above & below that with good fish numbers, good hatches, big trout, good fishing, and less anglers. Because we are a cold tailwater, bugs often hatch at times that vary from a freestone river. The closer to the dam you go, the more this is true. This is due to icy cold water coming out of the dam (mid 40’s) and then warming into the 60’s in the lower river toward Collinsville.

Conditions remain very good, with medium-low flows and improved hatches. Sulfurs #16-18 are the current glamour hatch, there are also good #10-12 March Brown hatches (sporadic light hatch from late morning through evenings, spinners fall at dusk), assorted Caddis averaging #16-18 (bigger & smaller ones too), and some #14 Light Cahills in the evenings. Large Golden Stoneflies are crawling out on the rocks to emerge between first light and mid mornings, they run from about a #4 down to a #12. Imitate them with #8-12 nymphs in the fast water, big trout key in on them. They will be active & emerging from June through October. Look for their empty shucks on protruding rocks in fast water, you’ll also see a bunch on concrete bridge abutments. Fishing these big nymphs will net you some bigger fish, especially if you fish the fast water from first light to mid-morning.

Hatches vary from pool to pool, so move around. It’s fishing well from the dam in Riverton, down through the permanent TMA/C&R. Collinsville & Unionville is good in the mornings & evenings.Things like air temps and light conditions affect hatches and can have a profound effect on bugs, and every day is different. Evenings at dusk seems to be when I’m seeing the most risers, fish until dark if at all possible. Mid-mornings through mid afternoons have also been prime on the upper river. Don’t forget about Ants & Beetles, they fool a lot of rising trout this time of year, especially when you see sporadic rising and the trout aren’t locked into a specific hatch. You may see them rise to Caddis in the mornings, but also expect to nymph them up with Caddis Pupa during the morning hatch. There are a lot of trout holding in faster water right now, so nymph that pocket water, riffles, faster runs & pool heads. 

Permanent TMA/C&R is looking nice & very wadeable at 247cfs. Riverton is 206cfs from Goodwin/Hogback Dam downstream to the Rt 20 bridge, and the Still River is adding in 41cfs below that. Unionville is medium-low at 321cfs.

Wet fly guys are putting fish in the net at a good clip, and streamers are producing early & late in the day. 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 so much the adults- this can mean anything from nymphing pupa near the bottom, to swinging pupa/wet flies/soft-hackles mid column, or dead-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. Don’t forget to try twitching and even skating your Caddis dries, they are a very active insect and sometimes the trout key on the movement and won’t touch a dead-difted fly.

The state has done multiple recent stockings up & down the river, the fish density is about as high as it gets here, you can just about walk across the river on their backs. They put in a lot of fat 14-16” rainbows, some are 17” and over 2 pounds. Many of the FRAA trophy 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. Also the FRAA put in 18 Golden Rainbows, and you will see them here & there, along with the leftover ones in the upper river from the Riverton Derby in early April. They are always a challenge to catch because they stick out like a sore thumb and everybody targets them.

Trout don’t always willing to rise, so be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, Sulfur 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 can also be good in the early morning before the bugs get active. Don’t neglect attractor nymphs that have flash, fluorescent colors, UV, or gaudy colors- pink beaded nymphs have been very effective.

Antoine Bissieux, the “French Flyfisherman”, is doing several clinic days that cover competition nymphing & secret French dry fly techniques with world champion French competition fly angler Yannick Riviere in July- contact Antoine directly to find out more about it. This is a do-not-miss! Yannick is truly a magician with the fly rod and seems to be able to catch Farmington trout at will (he’s been here twice so far) on nymphs & dry flies. He does things with dry flies that we had never seen or heard of. Yannick also has won the individual gold medal in the World Fly Fishing Championships before. Call Antoine at 860-759-4463 to find out more or sign up, spots are limited.

Free Fly Casting Clinic with local guide Mark Swenson on this weekend,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.

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



-Sulfur #16 (Invaria)
-Sulfur #18 (Dorothea)
-Caddis #14-18 (tan,olive/green)
-March Brown #10-12: a sporadic day-long emerger in faster water, one here one there kinda hatch from late morning until dusk. Spinners fall all at once at dusk over fast water.
-Light Cahill #14: eves
-Ants & Beetles #12-18: very effective, especially when you have sporadic risers without any major hatch occuring
-Blue Wing Olive #20-24: cloudy afternoons
-Craneflies #14-16: often mistaken for Sulfurs
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long
-Midges #24-28: afternoons through dusk

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (olive/green, tan)
-Pheasant Tails/Frenchies #12-20
-Sulfur Nymph #16-18: can use specific imitations, also Frenchies/Pheasant Tails are a good imitation of them
-Stonefly #8-10: excellent in early to mid mornings when they crawl out in low light onto the rocks to emerge in fast water. They emerge from June through October on the Farmington River, and can produce some bigger fish.
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles #12-16: assorted colors/patterns, try to imitate the main hatches and also use flashy attractor 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. Often work better than drabber, more imitative flies.


-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