Friday, March 22, 2024

Friday 3/22/24 Farmington River Report: Get out there today & Saturday!

Store Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week.

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. Bruce Marino’s Hendrickson Nymph is back in stock and ready for the upcoming hatch- also check out his new Early Black Stonefly nymph.

We have a new spot in the book room with some FREE Fly Tying Materials. We will be adding to it regularly, 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.

Pictured above is Ashley with an absolutely beautiful Farmington River brown trout she caught on Wednesday (looks wild to me). The second pic is the new, long awaited Air-Lock Centerlock Indicators, similar to Oros,

Current Conditions
Enjoy the nice flows on the river Friday & Saturday. More rain is inbound on Saturday night. The Farmington from the Goodwin/Hogback dam to the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton is 268cfs, with the Still River adding in another 153cfs below that, giving a total flow in the permanent Catch & Release area of 421cfs. Water from the dam is 38 degrees and warming as it goes downstream.

Some cool new stuff arrived this week. An order from Simms has arrived including some rain jackets, sun hoodies in camo, and the new Air-Lock Centerlock indicators. Centerlocks are similar to the Oros but the two halves that screw together can either lock your line straight or at a right angle. We also received a batch of great rods from Lamson, including the $249 Guru rod and the new Liquid Rod, Reel and Line outfit at $369.

BIG fly tying material orders from both Wapsi & Hareline recently arrived. Nature’s Spirit also came in, with Hanak & Daiichi hooks, tying materials from Hends, Sybai, FNF, high quality deer & elk hair, dubbings, and lots of other natural materials. We received a big batch of natural colored CDC from Fulling Mill, and it looks fantastic.

There have been plenty of the recently stocked trout caught along with some bigger wild & holdover fish. The early season Blue Winged Olives #16-18 are hatching in the afternoons along with a few Blue Quills #16-18. The state recently stocked the lower river from Route 219 in New Hartford all the way to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, which means that other than the permanent C&R/TMA, pretty much the entire trout section of the Farmington has been stocked. The freshly planted trout compete with the resident wild fish and get them feeding more aggressively. If you want to avoid the recent stockers and target mainly holdover & wild browns, then focus on the permanent TMA/C&R- expect to work a lot harder for each and every fish, but the average size will be larger.

Recently stocked trout don’t feed naturally, so try things like Junk Flies (Squirmy Worms, Mops, Egg Flies, Green Weenies), Woolly Buggers, and smaller jigged streamers. Frenchies, Walt’s Worms & Sexy Waltz can also be very good. Nymphs with hot spots usually work well too.

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, Midges, 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.

Effective nymphs lately include Junk Flies (especially Eggs & Mops), Winter Caddis Larva #18, and Mayfly Nymphs #14-20 such as Pheasant Tails & Blue Winged Olives. Also Olive/Green Caddis Larva #14-16, Cased Caddis #10-16, Walt’s Worms/Sexy Waltz #10-18, Attractor & Hot-Spot Nymphs #14-18, Triple Threats, Frenchies, Perdigons, etc. Nymphs with metallic pink beads can be above average producers in cold water on stocked trout, holdover trout, and even big wild brown trout.

We have a good selection of the specialized Winter Caddis dry fly patterns from #18-24, it’s a unique hatch that you don’t normally find on other rivers 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 3 birds with one stone.

The state has begun stocking the Farmington River recently, but not the permanent TMA/C&R, which will be stocked sometime in April. Remember that from September 1, the entire river from the dam all the way down to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville is strictly Catch & Release until the second Saturday in April.



-Summer/Winter Caddis#18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long

-Blue Winged Olives #16-18: afternoons (especially cloudy days)

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: afternoons (especially sunny days)

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

-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk

-Blue Quills/Mahogany Dun (Paraleptophlebia) #16-18: afternoons, a few


-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, Squirmies/SJ 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. Good also when nothing seems to be working. 

-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs (BWO's/Olives) #16-18, active in the afternoons

-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. There will also be spawning Rainbows in March, and Suckers in April.  

-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red, purple

-Winter Caddis Larva #18: surprisingly the larva are yellow, not brown.

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-22: various sizes imitate many different Mayfly nymphs (BWO, Isonychia, Sulfur, Isonychia, etc.) & smaller Stoneflies and are quite effective everywhere, all year long. 

-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: anytime, lots of these in the river. Good choice when you aren’t sure what to fish

-Jigged Streamers #8-12: various colors/patterns- dead-drift, twitch, swing & strip, best on a Euro rod & leader, but can also be drifted under an indicator. Excellent choice to fish in March, especially for bigger trout, or after you have nymphed a run. Tan, olive, and white have been the best recently.

-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. 

To a trout a streamer represents a lot of potential calories. Big trout are almost always on the lookout for bigger bites, especially early & late in the day (low light) and during lulls in bug activity. Also a great choice anytime the flow is up or off-color. Hot colors recently have been white, tan, and olive.

-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): tied by Rich Strolis, a very nice single hook baitfish pattern

-Wooly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors

-Zonker #4-6: white, natural

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6. Also standard Matuka in olive, brown

-Zuddler #4-8: olive, yellow, white, brown, black

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