Monday, April 15, 2024

Monday 4/14/24 Farmington River Report: BIG Flow Increase today

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

We just purchased yet another good sized fly tying collection, and it includes quite a few quality dry fly necks that are priced to go at $15-20- these are selling out fast.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods recently arrived, and they have really impressed us. Slightly more flex in the tips (which is good!), plenty of power in the mid & lower sections, with fantastic crisp recovery and a low swing weight. Also received a large Fulling Mill order 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. Don ties some great patterns for our bins such as his Peach Bugger, Green Weenie, Hendrickson emerger, Winter/Summer Caddis dries, and many more- ask us.Bruce Marino’s Hendrickson Nymph is back in stock and ready for the upcoming hatch- also check out his new Early Black Stonefly nymph.

Pictured up top is a golden rainbow I caught on my first cast after work on Saturday. Joey was with me, and he hooked about a 22”/4# rainbow but it ended up shaking the hook. 

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. 

Monday morning 11am Flow Update:
Just got the email from MDC, starting late this morning the Army Corps of Engineers will be raising the river up in stages from 200cfs to 1,500cfs. This will probably take about 5 hours (they can only increase by a maximum of 300cfs per hour), and flow bumps take about 4 hours to hit New Hartford where UpCountry is. The updated flow on the East Branch (which comes in ½ mile below us) is a reduction from 500 to 300cfs at 9:45am. 
Read a few paragraphs below for local small streams that will be your best options this week. This flow bump will put the total water level below the Still River, in the permanent TMA/C&R, at over 2,000cfs! Waaay too high to recommend fishing. Plus that plunges the water temps down lower as the dam is releasing icy water that is close to 40 degrees. Likely they will cut it way back on Friday, so I’m guessing we will be in nice shape for the weekend. 

Monday morning 4/15:
Looks like all the heavy rain we had is last week is finally behind us, relatively dry for the rest of this week and mild too (50’s to 60’s). However, the Army Corps of Engineers will be dumping major water starting today. They said they will be increasing the dam release but we don’t know how much yet, I will update this report when we know exactly how much. With the inflow to Colebrook Reservoir at 700+ CFS, it will likely be 1,000cfs or more, could be as much as 1,500cfs. Combined with 470cfs from the Still River, this will put us at least at 1,500-2,000cfs. The icy cold water from the dam (low 40’s) also dilutes the 50+ degree water from the Still River, which drops the water temps. Makes for some very high water, lethargic trout, and tough conditions. You will probably see them cut it way back on Thursday or Friday. Locally your best options will be tributaries like Sandy Brook, Mad River (Winsted), Morgan Brook, etc. They drop & clear fast and are unaffected by the dam, and all are stocked. The Still River is high, dropping steadily, and fishable. FYI the East Branch is adding in 500cfs about ½ mile below UpCountry, making it even higher downstream from us.

They had the dam flow at Riverton choked back for last weekend & the Riverton Derby. Quite a few large rainbows were landed during the derby (up to 9 pound plus), and there are a bunch of golden rainbows that were also stocked for that. This will be a tough week to fish the Farmington after the inevitable big flow increase today, I’d recommend instead fishing one of the tributaries. If you must tough it out here be careful, as falling in at 1,500-2,000cfs could be fatal, please us some common sense and err on the side of caution. 

Standard high water tactics would apply if fishing here: fish near the banks, out of the heavy current. Look for current breaks such as spots where the river goes from narrower to wider, the inside of spots where the river makes a bend, or behind big boulders tight to the bank. Often this means you will standing on the bank and fishing a rod’s length out. The biggest mistake is often wading into the water before you make a cast, this often spooks the catchable trout right out of where you should have been fishing. Slow & deep is the name of the game with nymphs & streamers. Good streamer colors include white, olive, black, tan. For nymphs think Junk Flies (Mops, Worms, Eggs, Green Weenies), bigger nymphs (#8-10 Stoneflies, Rubber Legs, etc.), and hot-spot patterns (Frenchies, Sexy Waltz, etc.) 

Plenty of stocked trout have been getting caught (as you can see in the photos this spring) when we aren’t flooded lol, along with some bigger wild & holdover fish for those putting in the work. The early season Blue Winged Olives #16-18 are still hatching in the afternoons (especially cloudy days) along with a few Blue Quills/Paraleptophlebia #16-18. Early Black Stoneflies #14-16 are active on milder, sunny afternoons. With the mild winter we had, the Hendrickson hatch should be soon. They always start downriver first (Farmington/Unionville/Collinsville) and work their way upstream.

Other than the year round Catch & Release/TMA, the entire Farmington has been stocked from top to bottom, most of it twice now. Riverton from Goodwin/Hogback Dam down to Whittemore will get stocked today. They stocked most of the river again for a second time last week, and the Permanent TMA/C&R usually gets it’s annual stocking in mid to late April. We don’t get advance notice of trout stocking, but we will let you know after they do it. The freshly planted trout compete with the resident wild & holdover fish and get them feeding more aggressively. If you want to avoid the recent stockers and target quality brown trout, then focus on the permanent TMA/C&R. Expect to work harder for your fish, but the average size will be larger- quite a few have been mid to upper teens lately.

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 (a few), 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 about a #14), 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.

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 in the morning. 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.



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

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

-Hendricksons #12-14: not yet, but soon. Hatch starts downriver first and then works it’s way upstream.

-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


-BMAR Early Black Stone #14: Bruce Marino’s new pattern

-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, Squirmy 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.

-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-18

-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. 

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

-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-22

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

-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. 


-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, yellow

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