Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday 3/29/24 Farmington River Report: Afternoon Flow Cut Today, closed on Easter Sunday

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

We will be closed on Easter Sunday 3/31/24.

We just received (today 3/29) the new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods, and they are very impressive. Slightly more flex in the tips (which is good!), but with fantastic recovery and a low swing weight. Also received a big Fulling Millorder with flies, tying materials, fly boxes, beads, and hooks.

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. We also have a variety of his articulated patterns for targeting big fish. 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, as 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 Brian Myer with a picture perfect brown trout caught during some tough conditions & crappy weather. 

4pm Afternoon Flow Update:
As expected, the flow was cut earlier today. They reduced the dam release from 1,200cfs down to 650cfs. Riverton USGS gauge is now reading 697cfs(Goodwin/Hogback Dam down to the Rt 20 Riverton bridge), and the Still River is adding in 397cfs, giving us a total flow in the permanent TMA/C&R of 1,094cfs- definitely kind of high, but also definitely fishable with high water tactics. Fish closer to the bank, out of the heavier current. Use streamers, medium to large nymphs, Attractor nymphs (with hot spots, flash, or gaudy colors), and Junk Flies (Squirmy Worms, Mops, Eggs, Green Weenies). This flow cut, combined with mild/sunny weather this weekend, will also lead to a rise in water temps. The water coming out of the dam is colder than the water coming in from tributaries like the Still River, so now the tributary water will have more of a warming influence because it’s not being diluted as much with the colder dam water. They will likely make another smaller flow cut sometime between Saturday and Monday mornings.

Current Conditions:

At 8am this morning the Farmington River from the Goodwin/Hogback dam to the Rt 20 bridge in Riverton is high at 1,220cfs, with the Still River adding in another 474cfs & dropping below that, giving a total flow in the permanent Catch & Release area of 1,694cfs. I’d say there is about a 90% chance (educated guess) they will make a big flow reduction today, and we will update you on here when that happens- make sure to check back in the afternoon. When they do, the conditions will become good for fishing this weekend, along with sunshine and highs in the mid 50’s. Water from the dam is 39.5 degrees and rising as it goes downstream- peak water temps are mid/late afternoons. Yesterday afternoon it reached 41 degrees in Riverton. Sunshine & warm weather this weekend will push water temps up, which should stimulate some bug activity and get the trout feeding. 

Some cool new stuff arrived recently. 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.

Your best bets for fishing until they cut the flow back will be smaller local tributaries that drop fast- try Sandy Brook up along Sandy Brook Rd. in Colebrook, it was stocked a week ago. Try also the Mad River in Winsted, it was also stocked recently and runs right along Main St. CT DEEP has great topographic maps online that show where they stock the rivers, and public access points. The Still River is moderately high, dropping, and fishable too- it was also stocked recently. 

Plenty of 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- we should see some on this sunny mild weekend. 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. They will stock this section again before the 2ndSaturday in April (sorta still the unofficial Opening Day), and the part below that will get stocked again before that. 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. A combo rig with one Junk/Attractor fly paired with one more typical drab/imitative nymph will cover both bases and appeal to recent stockers, as well as fish that are more dialed into natural food items. 

When flows are normal, 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/Summer Caddis dry fly patterns from #18-24, it’s a unique hatch that you don’t normally find on other rivers, and it comes off all year long. 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 three 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.



-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)

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

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

-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk


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

-Assorted Rich Strolis Articulated Streamers: for targeting big trout

-Wooly Bugger #4-12: assorted colors

-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, yellow, white, brown, black

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