Monday, May 20, 2024

Monday 5/20/24 Farmington River Report: Great Conditions & Modest Flow Cut

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8am-6pm Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm on Saturday & Sunday.

We recently picked up a collection of inexpensive used fly rods, about 20 rods total ranging from 4 to12 weight, all $100 or less.

The new Thomas & Thomas Avantt II fly rods arrived in March, and they have really impressed us. Slightly more flex in the tip, plenty of power in the mid & lower sections, with fantastic crisp recovery and a low swing weight.

Pictured up top is @hellorflywater (Instagram) with one of many nice fish he has posted recently. Looks like all his lessons with Zach St. Amand & Derrick Kirkpatrick are paying dividends bigtime.

Friday Afternoon 5/20/24 4pm Flow Update:
At 9am, the flow from Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton was reduced from 275cfs down to 202cfs (a 73cfs reduction). This will put the total flow at about 350cfs in the Permanent TMA/C&R, a very angler friendly level for both fishing & wading. The East Branch is currently 75cfs and will likely be reduced in the very near future.

Friday Morning 5/20/24 8am Conditions:
Total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R is normal medium & beautiful 420cfs, Riverton is 296cfs and steady from Goodwin/Hogback Dam down to the Rt 20 bridge, and the Still River is adding in 124cfs and slowly dropping below that. I would not be surprised to see a small flow cut made at the dam this morning, but I won't know until they do or don't do it. Riverton water temps above the Still River have been ranging from mid to upper 40’s, and downstream has been averaging mid to upper 50’s during the afternoons- look for these temps to go up a bit this week when we get 5 consecutive days (Tuesday through Saturday) from the upper 70’s to upper 80’s. This temp spike will be nothing but good for the hatches & the fishing, albeit it will skew the best bug activity to early & late in the day. Unionville USGS gauge is reading 685cfs this morning, a nice level for fishing the lower river.

Plenty of fishermen in & out the door at UpCountry this past weekend, and lots of smiling anglers who made good catches. Fishing is really picking up and will only get better. Overall the best fishing has been subsurface with nymphs, but there have definitely been some risers to assorted Caddis, Vitreus, and on cloudy afternoons to Blue Winged Olives. Wet fly guys & streamer fishermen are also putting fish in the net. Dropping flows should mean more shots at surface feeding trout- the lower the flow, the more trout rise during a hatch. We are getting a preview of summer weather Tuesday through Saturday, with air temps as high as the upper 80’s. This will tend to push the best bug activity to early & late in the day, and can make for some intense hatching & egg-laying. Caddis typically come back later in the day to egg-lay, and on hot days there is often intense egg-laying at dusk in riffles areas where they dump into the pools. I haven’t been way downriver in a bit (Collinsville/Unionville/Farmington), but I suspect there may be a few March Browns #10-12 hatching down there, and maybe even a few Invaria Sulfurs (#16).

The state has done recent stockings up & down the river (I think we are up to 4x for 2024), the fish density is about as high as it gets here. They put in a lot of fat 14-16” rainbows, some are 17” and well over 2 pounds. Some of the FRAA rainbows are getting caught and mostly released, they literally have been averaging about 5-7#, a few quite a bit bigger than that too! Many trout are holding in faster water now: riffles, faster runs, and pocket water. This is a great time to swing wet flies & soft hackles in the riffles, they fish best 2-3 at a time, tied 20-30” apart on tag end droppers- stop by the shop and we can explain how to set things up. Both Caddis & Vitreus are very active bugs, making wet fly fishing a great way to imitate them. It’s also a relaxing, super fun way to fish. Much less technical than nymphing & flat water dry fly fishing, and less tiring than streamer fishing. Also a very efficient way to cover a lot of water when you aren’t sure exactly where the trout are.

Nicer weather here now should favor Caddis, along with Mayflies in the eves (6pm till dark). Caddis continue to be the bug du jour, the main ones are a mix of olive/green #16-18 and tan ones in #14-18, along with some other assorted Caddis. Vitreus mayflies (aka Pink Ladies) are increasing and the upstream hatch boundary is moving up every day, they average #12-14 currently and are active in the faster riffly water, hatching from the lower river (Collinsville, Unionville, Farmington) through Canton/New Hartford and pushing up quite a ways into the Permanent TMA/C&R at least as far as Mathie’s Grove. Good numbers of Craneflies have been hatching many days, they are light colored and some people mistake them for a Sulfur. When trout aren’t rising (a frequent occurence), expect it to be more of a subsurface game with nymphs, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. The bigger, wider, slower pools are a good bet to find some risers when bugs are hatching. New hatches start downriver and progress upstream, the best bug activity currently is about mid to lower river, and moving upstream on a daily basis.

Trout don’t always rise to hatches, so be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. Also try BWO nymphs #16-20 (especially on overcast days), #14-18 Pheasant Tails/Frenchies and other assorted nymphs. Cream Mops & Squirmy Worms (pink, red) are always worth a try, especially as a clean up fly after you nymph a run, or if trout are not responding to your usual more imitative patterns. They are also good in the early morning before the bugs get active.

Nymphing with Caddis Pupa can be deadly when they are hatching in the mornings & afternoons, target current breaks in faster water. When they come back to egg lay (typically later in the day), that’s when you are most apt to see trout rising to them. Swinging wet flies & soft hackles are often very effective when Caddis are hatching or egg-laying. Nymphing with a variety of different patterns is a consistent tactic. Try a pair of nymphs, with one attractor/gaudier type fly, and another that is more imitative. Streamers, especially jigged ones on a long leader/Mono Euro rig, have been been catching some nice trout- try olive, tan, black, white. Experiment with how you present your streamer to the fish: dead-drift, twitched, swung, and various retrieves.

The Still River runs warmer (50’s currently), while the water from the dam is coming out in the mid 40’s. This makes hatches happen later in Riverton above the Still River. Hatches start in the lower river, move up into the permanent TMA/Catch & Release, and then up above the Still into Riverton.



-Caddis #14-18 (olive/green, tan): hatching all the way up through the permanent TMA/C&R and right up to the dam in Riverton
-Blue Wing Olive #18-20: cloudy afternoons
-Craneflies #14-16: plenty around, often mistaken for Sulfurs
-Vitreus #12-16: from the lower river up to about Mathie's Grove
-Summer/Winter Caddis#18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long
-Midges #22-28: afternoons through dusk

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (olive/green, tan)
-Pheasant Tails/Frenchies#12-20
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles #12-16: assorted colors/patterns
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenie)
-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-20, good all year
-Zebra Midge #18-22: black, olive, red
-Winter/Summer Caddis Larva #18 (yellow): can also imitate Midge larva
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #14-16: lots of these in the river
-Cased Caddis #12-14: underfished pattern, abundant in the Farmington
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: such as Sexy Waltz, Rainbow Warriors, Frenchies, Prince, Triple Threats, Pink Bead Walt’s Worm, etc.


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