Monday, March 25, 2024

Monday 3/25/24 Farmington River Report: Afternoon Flow Update

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, aswe 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 Phil Sheffield with an excellent brown trout caught on a dry fly while fishing with Zach St. Amand. Picture below that is customer John Antolini with a big holdover FRAA Kamloops rainbow trout, one of quite a few landed in 2024- looks like they held over well from the June 2023 stocking. FYI they will be stocking a BIG batch of large rainbows and a few golden rainbows in April.

Afternoon Flow Update Monday 3/25:

The Army Corps of Engineers raised the dam release up to 1,200cfs today. Combined with the Still River, this puts the total flow at 1,800cfs & dropping This will probably get cut back to normal on Friday, maybe Thursday if we are lucky.

Current Conditions:
At 8am this morning the Farmington River from the Goodwin/Hogback dam to the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton is a relatively low 118cfs, with the Still River adding in another 710cfs & dropping below that, giving a total flow in the permanent Catch & Release area of 828cfs. Water from the dam is 36.5 degrees and warming as it goes downstream- peak water temps are mid/late afternoons.Yesterday afternoon it reached 40.5 degrees in Riverton. There’s about a 95% chance that the water release from the dam will be bumped up to somewhere between 1,000-1,500cfs to lower Colebrook River Lake after the 3” or so of rain we received this past weekend. They will likely cut back to a normal release on Friday. We will keep you posted and update here as things change.

Some cool new stuff arrived last week. A Simms order included some rain jackets, and sun hoodies in camo. The new Air-Lock Centerlock indicators also came in. Centerlocks are similar to the Oros in that the two halves screw together, but you 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.

Very high water is a virtual certainty this week after they inevitably let ‘er rip from the dam to lower the reservoirs below flood stage after heavy rain this past weekend. Guessing it will go up today (Monday 3/25), and then go back down Friday. This is all an educated guess on my part based upon past experience & current conditions. Your best bets for fishing until they cut it back will be smaller local tributaries that drop fast- try Sandy Brook up along Sandy Brook Colebrook, it was stocked last week. Try also the Mad River in Winsted, it was also stocked recently and runs right along Main St. 

Plenty of recently stocked trout have been getting caught the past few weeks, 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 (Paraleptophlebia)#16-18. Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 are active on milder, sunny afternoons. Other than the permanent Catch & Release/TMA, pretty much the entire trout section of the Farmington has been stocked from Goodwin/Hogback dam in Riverton downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville. 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 quality 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 at first, 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.

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 milder 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