Tuesday 3/3 /15 Report:
We are always looking for good used rods & reels to take in trade, we normally give store credit towards new product (this gives you maximum value for your trade-in), or we can buy it from you. This is a great way to upgrade your gear to the latest & greatest at a lower out of pocket cost to you, or just get rid of gear you no longer use.
The upcoming weekend looks NICE for fishing the Farmington, finally. Saturday & Sunday are both forecasted to be high 30's with sun & clouds. Other than cold temps Thursday/Friday, all I see in the 10 Day Forecast are highs in the upper 30's/low 40's. Finally getting a taste of spring. If you go out this Saturday, I'd wait until late morning to start- Friday night will see a low down near 10 degrees, and that will probably create some early/mid morning slush before it melts. If you are trying to catch the Winter Caddis hatch it can be smart to start early, but other than that, no need to start before mid to late morning, with the afternoon usually providing the best fishing due to an increase in water temps. Customer Tony C. brought in a pic of a perfect 20" plus brown he nymphed up last week, I threw the picture up on our FaceBook page. The big fish are present in virtually every pool, but they don't always come easy.
I fished Thursday 2/26 for about 2-3 hours late in the day. Landed a couple really pretty browns, in the 17.5-18" range. One was wild (I think), and he gave me a pretty good tussle, taking me 20 yards downriver despite 34 degree water. The takes were light, you had to really pay attention. Met two super nice guys from southern Maine, everything is frozen up by them. There was no slush whatsoever, despite a high of only 22 degrees. There was some shelf ice along the slowest edges. Bugwise I only saw a few Midges crawling on the snow, but milder temps here now should pick up the bug activity- look for various Early/Winter Stones in March. FYI Rich Strolis dropped off some DEADLY imitations for them, he will be doing custom ties for us on a regular basis this season. Flow from the dam is currently 294cfs, the other downriver gauges are all frozen, I'd guess the Still River is coming in at 20-30cfs, giving us a total flow about 320cfs or so in the permanent C&R section. Remember that trout tend to pod up in slow to moderate water in the pools & runs in cold water, so where you find one there are often many more nearby. Water temps should average in the mid 30's (depending on day & time of day), but on milder/sunny days can reach upper 30's by mid-afternoon. After a really cold day & night, AM water temps can start at 32-33 degrees and create slush.
We've been selling lots of fly tying materials this winter, Grady & I did another round of big orders with Hareline & Wapsi to keep us stocked up, and we always add in some new stuff with each order. Hareline arrived last week, and Wapsi & Spirit River will arrive any day. The big batch of tungsten beads arrived and is up on the wall, including slotted ones in 5 different colors, and a new color or two in the regular tungsten beads (anodized/metallic red and pink).
Subsurface, egg flies (sz 10-18) are still a great choice, along with Winter & Early Stones (sz 14-18 in black, brown), medium to large stones (sz 8-12 in golden, brown, black), olive/green caddis larva (sz 12-18), cased caddis larva (sz 8-16), midge larva/pupa (sz 16-22, especially in red), and attractor nymphs (sz 12-20 in Red Headed Stepchild, Copper Johns, blue Lightning Bugs, Yellow Prince, Rainbow Warrior, etc.)- a little flash in your pattern seems to help with the smaller nymphs, especially in the cold water of winter. We should start also seeing some of the various Winter Stoneflies, with the smaller black ones showing up first (they run about #16-24 on the Farmington), and then the bigger #12-16 Early Black & Early Brown. Imitating these stones with nymphs can be effective at moments, use black to brown patterns that match what you see in size. Wiggly appendages such as micro strands of rubber leg material add immensely to the effectiveness of these imitations, helping to create the illusion of life. The real nymphs wiggle like crazy as they emerge.
All things being equal, milder/sunny days give you the best shot at good fishing, and if there isn't much wind it's even better. Sunny days see the biggest water temperature increases. If you want to try to catch the Winter Caddis hatch, we recommend starting relatively early (most days, but not after super cold nights)). Other than that, and especially on colder days, the better & more comfortable fishing is late morning through late afternoon when air temps are higher- this gives the water a chance to warm a degree or two, which gets both the trout & the bugs more active. I personally look forward to cold weather fishing on the Farmington, as there are less fishermen out most days, and when present in greater numbers on milder weekends they usually focus on Church Pool & Greenwoods- if you stay away from the super popular spots, you will likely have some elbow room. The Catch 22 is that those are two of the better dry fly pools this time of year. Ahh, decisions, decisions....
In terms of dry fly action, mornings will typically see Winter Caddis (sz 20-24), and Midges (sz 22-28) will normally hatch in the afternoons throughout the winter, and can provide good fishing on the surface, especially on milder days without too much wind. These are both GENERAL rules, and often you will see the caddis hatch into the afternoons, and sometimes the midges will start hatching in mid/late morning. Nymphers overall have been getting the best results lately, especially on windy days that have been so common this winter (significant wind causes less rising activity, and makes it tough to fish small dries). Don't be afraid to fish some some gaudier/flashy/attractor-type nymphs in the winter, the trout often show a preference for them in cold water. If you are fishing streamers, remember that a slower presentation (swinging and/or slow stripping & twitching) matches up with the slower trout metabolism due to colder water temps- but as always, play with your presentation and let the trout tell you how they prefer it, they may still want a bit faster strip at moments. Try using a floating line and bouncing/hopping a Fishskull Skulpin Bunny on the bottom- use a 0x-2x tippet with this pattern & method, that fly is heavily front-weighted and rides hook point up.
The one MAJOR exception to the general winter rule of the best fishing being late morning through late afternoon is the Winter Caddis hatch, which often starts up not long after first light after milder nights, and is typically an AM deal (although some days it continues well into the afternoon). We have the specialized fly patterns you need to match this somewhat unique hatch- the females are wingless and run on the water's surface. Midges normally mostly hatch in the afternoons.
Visit us at our new: UpCountry Sportfishing Facebook page for daily reports, photos of big fish and information about the Farmington River community.
We are looking for good used fly rods and reels for trade and purchase. If you have some equipment that you don't like bring it to the store to turn it into something shiny and new. Call to make an appointment for an appraisal or to make a deal.
www.Flyaddict.com has now grown to over 2000 members since its launch and is fast becoming the premier place for fishing reports and conversation in the region. If you haven't yet... I suggest registering for free on the forum page and checking it out. The site is receiving daily reports from the Farmington, plus reports from the Naugatuck, Willimantic, Housatonic and others
Currentseams - Currentseams is outdoor writer, professional fly tier and Farmington River guide Steve Culton's website and blog. Content is added regularly, and includes Farmington River reports, how-to articles, essays, fly patterns, photography, and videos. Currentseams focuses on trout, small streams, striped bass, and steelhead, with an emphasis on wet flies, flatwings, and traditional presentations.
www.Catching-Shadows.com - Rich Strolis's great website featuring information on fishing the Farmington River plus a growing collection of videos detailing Rich's unique fly patterns.
www.TroutPredator.com - Terrific resource for information on fishing Eastern Rivers including the Farmington. Lots of instructional help on Euro Nymphing including regular posters Aaron Jasper and Davy Wotton.
The CT Yankee is a local blog covering fishing in Connecticut from flyfishing, and surfcasting the coast to fishing the many freshwater streams around the state.