Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday 4/26/24 Farmington River Report: Afternoon Flow Cut Update, Hendos, Permanent TMA/C&R Stocking & Big Trout

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

We picked up a collection of inexpensive used fly rods Thursday, about 20 rods total ranging from #4 up to #12, all $100 or less

We recently 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 rodsarrived in March, 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. 

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 Butler ties some great patterns for our bins such as his Peach Bugger, Green Weenie, Hendrickson emerger, Hendrickson Egg-Sack Parachute Spinner, Winter/Summer Caddis dries, Foam Ant, and more- ask us. Bruce Marino’s Hendrickson Nymph is back in stock and ready to catch fish- also check out his extended body Hendrickson dry flies.

Pictured up top is 
my buddy Andrew Flores with a 23” 6# rainbow, he hooked & lost 2 others earlier in the afternoon (as big or bigger!), evidently third time was the charm. A #18 Pheasant tail on 5x tippet did the trick. Next down is Dan Phelan with a beautiful 20” class brown he nailed on the surface on a Hedrickson emerger. Emergers/cripples often outfish duns during the hatch, especially on bigger fish. Third fish pic is a 23” 7# Bow I landed in the early afternoon yesterday before I met up with Andrew. On a #14 Pheasant Tail, 5x Cortland fluorocarbon tippet, T&T Contact II 10’ 9” #3, Diamondback Ideal Nymph #3/4 reel (same rod & tippet Andrew landed his big fish on), it took me 100 yards downstream. For the first 3 minutes it was plastered to the bottom, I couldn’t move it even with heavy pressure. Good thing I brought the BIG net lol: 20' x 15" opening with a deep bag. Lots of big trout being caught up & down the river lately- stocked, holdover & wild. Nymphs, dries, and streamers. Last pic is a Hendrickson dun from Thursday afternoon- pretty bug.

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.

Friday afternoon 4/26 Flow Update:
As suspected, 
they made a modest flow cut at the dam this morning, reducing the release from 400 down to 316cfs, the Riverton USGS gauge is reading 337cfs as I write this at 1:25pm. This puts the total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R down to 469cfs and slowly dropping. This will only improve the wading & dry fly fishing for the weekend. The East Branch (which comes in 1/2 mile below UpCountry) was reduced from 100 to 50cfs. 

Friday morning 4/26:
So where to start. Lots of good news to report. Hendrickson hatch is good from about New Hartford up to Lyman Rock/Still River. Seems to be done in Collinsville/Unionville, light in Canton, and not really going in Riverton (you may see a few). We’ve typically been seeing them sometime between 2pm and 4-4:30pm, with anywhere from 1pm to 5pm being the range. Cold days have seen poor hatches, and milder sunny afternoons have see a good amount of bugs on the water. Yesterday (Thursday) was a good, average hatch. Truly mild to warm weather moving in Sunday (high 60’s to low 80’s, with nights in the 50’s) will likely accelerate the hatch, make it heavier, and push it upstream fast. It can also make the hatch end sooner due to more bugs hatching daily, so get out there sooner rather than later. It’s been cold and windyin the nights & evenings lately, so we haven’t seen a lot of spinner fall action, but that should change now with warmer weather and minimal wind forecasted. Big trout are being caught on Hendrickson type nymphs, wets, dries, emergers and spinners, so make sure you have the right ammo when you head out. 

The Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) was stocked on Wednesday & Thursday with mostly brown trout. A mix of Yearlings (6-8”), Adults (9-12”), and fat Survivor Strain 2 Year Olds (average 14-18” with some even bigger). These fish will be easy targets for the next 2-3 weeks, and then they will get wised up after that. 

Flows are the best they have been in a while and only getting better. 
Total flow downstream from the Still River in the Permanent TMA/C&R is under 600 at 595cfs & going down, this is only a little above a typical late April flow. It’s likely you will see a small flow reduction at the dam today, maybe a 100cfs cut from 400cfs down to 300cfs, but that’s just an educated guess. I’ll update this report if they change the flow today, check back in the afternoonRiverton from Goodwin/Hogback dam down to the Rt 20 bridge is reading 442cfs this morning, and the Still River is adding in 153cfs & dropping below that.The East Brach was running at 250cfs (comes in ½ mile below UpCountry) last week, but it appears lower than that now, maybe 100-150cfs. Unionville USGS gauge is reading 986cfs & dropping, normal for today would be 802cfs. Definitely a fishable level for the lower river.

Be prepared with Hendrickson patterns in emergers, duns, spinners, and nymphs. Also, don't forget about Hendrickson soft hackles/wet flies. The nymphing for big trout with Hendrickson nymphs can be fantastic, especially for the 2-3 hours before the afternoon hatch. Try Bruce’s Hendrickson nymph, also #12-14 Pheasant Tails will imitate them (plain, beadhead, flashback, soft hackle, or Frenchy style with a hotspot). The hatch generally occurs sometime between early and late afternoon. Spinner falls can happened almost anytime on the Farmington River, even though the books say it happens in the evenings. You know spinners are about to fall when you see the yellow egg sack females flying up & down over the riffles- they start up high in the air and gradually work they way down in elevation until they hit the water. Big trout love spinners because they are helpless once on the water and cannot fly away. 

The Farmington River has been stocked twice outside of the Permanent TMA/C&R since March, and they are starting round 3 of stocking today (Friday 4/26. River is LOADED lol. The freshly planted trout compete with the resident wild & holdover fish and get them feeding more aggressively. 

If you are nymphing, I’d pair up something in the #12-1
4range that could be imitative of a Hendrickson nymph (something Mayfly shaped & brown), with a slim #16-18fly 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. Spinners can be on the water anytime from about 9-10am up to dusk, and anywhere in between. Look for mild temps, no rain, and minimal wind, otherwise the spinners go back in the trees and never hit the water.

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.



-Hendrickson #12-14: hatching now in the afternoons, best on milder days from New Hartford upstream through the Permanent TMA/C&R up to about Whittemore, Pipeline & Lyman Rock/Still River junction. Canton is seeing a light hatch, and it’s about done in Collinsville/Unionville, but spinners are still a possibility in the lower river- spinner falls go up to a week after the hatch is done. Seeing spinners too so make sure to have some #12-14 rusty spinners. 

-Blue Winged Olives #16-18: near the end, afternoons (especially cloudy days), more upriver now

-Early Black Stoneflies #14-16: about done, afternoons (especially milder sunny days), most likely to see upriver

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

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

-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-BMAR Hendrickson Nymph #14

-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #12-20. Use #12-14 as a Hendrickson nymph.

-Dark Hendrickson Soft Hackle #14

-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

-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