Monday, July 8, 2024

Monday 7/8/24 Farmington River Report: Despite the heat, icy cold water

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

Pictured up top is a very large rainbow landed by customer T. Nicolas Steinback, he was pumped! And he came in and bought a larger landing net lol.

We received a BIG Fulling Mill order recently with plenty of flies. Restocks on best sellers & some cool new patterns too. We recently received a large book order, including some great new titles.

Monday 7/8 morning report:
Total flow in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) remains in the mid 300’s (366cfs to be exact), a great level for the summer that is both very fishable, and also helps keep the river cooler downriver. Riverton is 318cfs from the dam down to the Rt 20 bridge USGS gauge, and the Still River is adding in 48cfs below that. I’d still use a thermometer if you are down in Collinsville & Unionville, especially on hotter sunny days, and you may need to limit that section to mornings (depending upon the weather & flows). Water temps on most of the river are low 50’s to low 60’s. Even on 90 degree plus days, the water stays cool & trout friendly for many miles below the dam.

Plenty of anglers were out over the holiday weekend, and we received many good reports, with some lucky/skillful anglers landing big trout on dries and nymphs. Fish can be very particular when they are rising to a hatch, so match the bugs as closely as you can. If you are nymphing in July with a 2 fly rig, make sure one of your nymphs is small, as in #18 or smaller. The exceptions to small nymphs would be large Stoneflies in the early to mid mornings, and big Isonychia (“Iso”) nymphs in the afternoons & evenings. Mousing at night is also an option. Early & late in the day are generally the peak times to be out, but good fishing can be had any time of day right now if you are flexible in how you fish, and are willing to fish different sections of the river at different times of the day.The upper river is seeing a mid to late afternoon Sulfur hatch. The closer to the dam, the more evening hatches tend to happen earlier in the day.

On hotter, sunny days, from about noon onward you want to stay from Canton/New Hartford & upstream as the lower river can get into the 70’s on hot, sunny afternoons. Use a thermometer this time of year! The dam is still releasing water in the upper 40’s, and it slowly warms as you progress downriver. Water temps in the Permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) and even down into New Hartford and Canton are about perfect.

Hatches are diverse, and vary depending upon the section of river and time of day. Attenuata #18-20 are a major hatch on most of the river. Often mistaken for a Sulfur from a distance, Attenuata are small (usually a #18-20) evening Mayfly hatch with a bright lime green body with cream wings & legs. Sulfurs are still going strong from about Church Pool up to the dam in Riverton, and overall we are seeing more #18’s than #16's. Hatches are both mid/late afternoon, and also in the evenings. Isonychia hatches are progressing upstream and a few are being seen as far up as Campground. My best Farmington River dry fly fish was 23” and came to a #10 Isonychia dry right at dark in the month of July. I thought I was throwing to a 12” rainbow (lol), boy was I surprised. Typically in the Permanent TMA Iso’s are a late afternoon to evening hatch, but sometimes we see them earlier especially up in Riverton closer to the dam in the icy cold water. They run #8-12 this time of year and average about a #10. Iso’s live & hatch in faster water, so look for them there, not in flat pool water. Needhami (Tiny Chocolate Dun) #22-26 have started, they are a morning hatch and both the duns & spinners are important. The spinners fall earlier in the morning, with the duns hatching during and/or after that. We are also seeing assorted Caddis, Light Cahills (eves), March Browns (mostly upper river), and small Blue Wing Olives (more on cloudy/crappy days). This is also a good time of year to fish Ants & Beetles, especially when you have sporadic risers but no real hatch. You can even drop a small nymph under them to increase your odds of success.

Large Golden Stoneflies are crawling out on the rocks to emerge between first light and mid mornings, they run from about a #4 down to a #12. Imitate them with #8-12 nymphs in the fast water, big trout key in on them, hint hint. They will be active & emerging from June through October. Look for their empty shucks on protruding rocks in fast water, you’ll also see a bunch on concrete bridge abutments. Fishing these big nymphs will net you some bigger fish, especially if you fish the fast water from first light to mid-morning (until about 10am). You can beef your tippet up when fishing bigger bugs like this for bigger trout- 4x to 5x is not to heavy, and if you have a really big trout located, 3x will probably work well.

Wet fly/soft hackle guys are putting fish in the net at a good clip, and streamers are producing early & late in the day (low light). 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. Don’t forget to try twitching and even skating your Caddis dries, they are a very active insect and sometimes the trout key on the movement and won’t touch a dead-difted fly.

The state has done multiple stockings up & down the river, the fish density is currently very high. They put in a lot of fat 14-16” rainbows, some are 17” and over 2 pounds. Many 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. Also the FRAA put in 18 Golden Rainbows, and you will see them here & there, along with the leftover ones in the upper river from the Riverton Derby in early April. They are always a challenge to catch because they stick out like a sore thumb and everybody targets them.

Be prepared to go subsurface with Caddis pupa, small Mayfly patterns, big Stoneflies, Sulfur nymphs, Isonychia nymphs, wet flies/soft hackles, and streamers. Also try BWO nymphs #16-22 (especially on overcast days), #12-20 Pheasant Tails/Frenchies and other assorted nymphs. Small nymphs #18-22 are often the ticket in July, with the fly size being more important than the exact pattern. 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 during non-hatch periods. Don’t neglect attractor nymphs that have flash, fluorescent colors, UV, or gaudy colors- pink beaded nymphs are very effective.

Antoine Bissieux, the “French Flyfisherman”, is doing several clinic days that cover competition nymphing & secret French dry fly techniques with world champion French competition fly angler Yannick Riviere in July- contact Antoine directly to find out more about it. This is a do-not-miss! Yannick is truly a magician with the fly rod and seems to be able to catch Farmington trout at will (he’s been here twice so far) on nymphs & dry flies. He does things with dry flies that we had never seen or heard of. Yannick also has won the individual gold medal in the World Fly Fishing Championships before. Call Antoine at 860-759-4463 to find out more or sign up, spots are limited.

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



-Sulfur #16 (Invaria): moving upstream, not sure where the lower boundary is currently, more upper river now (Campground & above)
-Sulfur #18 (Dorothea): from about Church Pool up to the dam
-Isonychia #10-12: typically a late afternoon through dusk hatch in fast water,starts later on hot, sunny days. Some hatching at least as far upstream as Campground, but a better hatch downstream. July is normally the peak month for Iso's in the Permanent TMA/C&R.
-March Brown #10-12: a sporadic day-long emerger in faster water, one here one there kinda hatch from late morning until dusk. Riverton onlynow.
-Attenuata #18-20: eves, on the entire river now. Often mistaken for a Sulfur, but it's a bright lime green and smaller. Typically in the evenings, but sometime in the afternoon as you get closer to the dam.
-Light Cahill #12-14: eves, but can pop in the afternoons on the mid/upper river
-Ants & Beetles #12-18: very effective, especially when you have sporadic risers without any major hatch occuring
-Blue Wing Olive #18-24: cloudy afternoons, eves too sometimes
-Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: hatching in early to mid morning, all year long
-Needhami #22-26: mornings, spinners & duns, at least as far up as Church Pool

Nymphs & Wet Flies/Soft Hackles:

-Sulfur Nymph #16-18: can use specific imitations, also Frenchies/Pheasant Tails are effective
-Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive/green)
-Pheasant Tails/Frenchies #12-20: imitates a wide range of Mayflies including Sulfurs, Isonychia, Blue Winged Olives and more
-Stonefly #8-12: excellent in early to mid mornings when they crawl out in low light onto the rocks to emerge in fast water. They emerge from June through October on the Farmington River, and can produce some bigger fish.
-Isonychia Nymph #10-12: fish in fast water
-Wet Flies & Soft Hackles #12-16: assorted colors/patterns, try to imitate the main hatches and also use flashy attractor patterns
-Junk Flies (Eggs, Mops, Squirmy Worms, Green Weenie)
-Blue Winged Olive Nymphs #16-22, 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, Pink Bead Pheasant Tails, etc. Often work better than drabber, more imitative flies.


-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