Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tuesday 5/28/24 Farmington River Report: River is fishing well

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

Free Fly Casting Clinic with local guide Mark Swenson on Sunday June 16th. Contact Mark directly at 203-586-8007 to sign up or get more details. Class is limited in size, and is for beginners only.

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 FRAA Secretary (and my across the river neighbor) Ben Canino with a flawless Farmington River brown trout landed on Memorial Day.

It was a busy Memorial Day weekend here at UpCountry, warm dry (mostly) weather combined with great water levels brought lots of anglers out. Plenty of good reports, with trout landed using a variety of tactics. We’re seeing more trout surface feeding than we were, and nymphing remains the most consistent tactic- no surprises there. Wet fly fishing is also working. I’d guesstimate we received about ¾” total of rain Monday, which is a good thing after several dry weeks. This bumped the flow up a bit, but the total flow in the Permanent TMA/C&R is still nice & fishable at 466cfs & dropping, Riverton is 268cfs and going down from Goodwin/Hogback Dam downstream to the Rt 20 bridge, and the Still River is adding in 192cfs & dropping below that. Riverton water temps above the Still River have been ranging from mid 40’s to low 50’s, and downstream it has been averaging mid to upper 50’s during the afternoons. Unionville USGS gauge is reading 755cfs & dropping this afternoon, a bit higher than optimal but definitely fishable.

The main hatch is still assorted Caddis, and we are seeing some Vitreus in the early evenings. March Browns are on most of the river now- this is a sporadic day-long hatch, a one here & one there deal in the pocket water & riffles. #16 Sulfurs (Invaria) are a light hatch on the lower river and moving up midriver now into Canton/New Hartford.

Nymphing remains the most consistent producer, but there have been some risers during hatching activity (peak hatch times are mornings & evenings). Wet fly guys & streamer fishermen are also putting fish in the net. Caddis typically come back later in the day to egg-lay in the riffles areas where they dump into the pools, and they typically hatch in the morning (can be afternoons up closer to the dam due to the colder water temps there). Trout normally feed on the pupa during the hatch, not so much the adults- this can mean anything from nymphing pupa near the bottom, to swinging pupa/wet flies/soft-hackles mid column, or dead-drifting pupa in the surface film. Dry/dropper with a Caddis dry and a pupa fished 6-12” below it can be effective during the hatch. You get more of the classic dry fly fishing with Caddis dries during the evening egg-laying events. Even then though it’s not a bad idea to drop a Caddisy soft-hackle off the back of your dry fly.

The state has done multiple recent stockings up & down the river, 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 trophy rainbows are getting caught and mostly released, they literally have been averaging about 5-7#, a few quite a bit bigger than that too (up to 27”/12#). 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. Wet fly fishing is 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, especially when you aren’t sure exactly where the trout are located.

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) average #12-14 currently and are active in the faster riffly water. The Sulfurs (Invaria) are #16 and hatching in light numbers, and the March Browns run #10-12. Good numbers of Craneflies have been hatching some 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. New hatches start downriver first (warmer water temps) and progress upstream.

Trout don’t always rise to hatches, so be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, Sulfur/Vitreus nymphs, 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 can also be 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 to 60’s currently, and can crack 70 on hot, sunny days), 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): main hatch
-Vitreus #12-16: early eves
-Sulfur (Invaria) #16: light hatch so far, up into Canton/New Hartford now
-March Brown #10-12: a sporadic day-long emerger in faster water, one here one there kinda hatch
-Blue Wing Olive #18-24: cloudy afternoons
-Craneflies #14-16: often mistaken for Sulfurs
-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
-Sulfur/Vitreus Nymph #14-16: can use specific imitations, also Frenchies/Pheasant Tails
-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