The summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the cool flows of the Farmington River. When the weather gets hot and balmy I look forward to the cool air that engulf the riverbank. Whether you find yourself dry fly fishing in a hatch of Sulphur Duns or probing the banks with large terrestrials, there is no doubt that the Farmington River in the midst of summer is a terrific place for any fly angler. Though the dry fly fishing can be great this time of year, a succesful fly angler must realize the importance of fly fishing nymphs to dredge the larger weary fish from their lies. The Farmington River is host to huge populations of Stoneflies and Caddis in many sizes that trout go nuts on during the summer months! Trout can be seen from the banks grubbing and turning stones along the river bottom flashing from side to side as they dislodge rocks and pick off their favorite food items. Many of these trout can be taken by a fly angler that is willing to incorporate a different fly fishing technique into his normal repetoire. No matter what your preference one thing is for certain. The Farmington River is a great place to frolic, bask in the sun and enjoy your summer with family and friends catching some beautiful trout. Good luck out there and hope to see you on the river soon.
Action! At Last Light. Stack the deck in your Favor!
Have you ever truly realized the potential of flyfishing in low light conditions? Large trout have a tendency to feed more actively in dim conditions. The cover of darkness is a great way for trout to avoid predators and take advantage of food sources that becomes available under these conditions. These food sources can be comprised of various mayfly spinners in a whole array of sizes. Some spinners can come in very small sizes and can be hard to spot lying flat on the water so keep your eyes peeled and look at the water closely if you are not sure of their presence. Some mayflies hatch right into darkness and patterns that imitate them are excellent pattern choices. Take Isonychia for example, the duns can continue to emerge right into total darkness and throughout the night. I love to fish these bad boys in size 10-12 after dusk while listening to the fish come up and sip well into nightfall. Sipping trout actually make a slurping sound when feeding. Listening is a very effective way of detecting strikes in this night game.
Low light conditions also eliminate many obstacles between fishermen and the feeding trout. First it allows you to use much larger tippet sizes because of the low visibility. The increased breaking strength of a heavier tippet is always handy when trying to land larger trout. Next, fish aren’t as easily spooked by your flyline and leader landing near them. As they feed on naturals and the light decreases, they are comforted by a darkened sky and the natural presence of fewer fishermen. Many have already left the water when the action starts ramping up. Fish typically develop a rhythm of picking off insects as they float in the drift. At times the feeding frenzy can be furious leaving them vulnerable to a well placed fly.
This low light condition is not specific to nighttime, it also applies to early morning when the sun hasn’t fully risen. Fish can feed heavily on spinners in the early morning hours, creating a wonderful opportunity to get on some heavy fish. Many trout cruise pocket water and back eddies during early morning hours slurping up spinners and any insects left from the night before. There’s nothing like leftovers! Some types of Caddis become active in the morning causing trout to opportunistically feed on Caddis larvae and pupae during the wee hours of the morning. These make excellent fly choices.
Often large trout cannot be seen sipping insects from long distances as the light recedes or reappears, causing many fly fisherman to overlook a subtle take from a large trout or simply not see them feeding at all. Don’t let this happen to you. When darkness moves in or the sun is far from rising over the mountains, move quietly and slowly to feeding trout. The goal being to perfectly present your fly at shorter distances with laser like precision; Meanwhile staying ever keen using your other senses to detect the presence of nearby gently sipping trout. The next time your on the water and the sun is on its way up or down put this logic to good use and take away the trouts instinctive advantages over you. With a little luck you will put a few more trout in your net. Good luck!
Hatches (in order of importance): Sulphurs 16-20, March Brown/Grey Fox 12-14, Isonychia 10-12, Winter/Summer Caddis 18-20 am, Blue Winged Olives 16-20 evenings and foul weather, Tan and Green Caddis 16-20
Comments: The water this week has fallen below 300 Cfs, the need for much finer tippets will be upon us soon. The Sulphur hatches in the afternoon have been lackluster for me and I have purposely been fishing the sulphurs that are coming off in the late evening, taking nice trout on both the dun and the emerger. When nymphing I use tags on my leader to attach emerger patterns, but when I am fishing dries I drop an emerger off the bend of the hook. Some people say its a pain and I couldn’t disagree with them more, it catches fish period. Not to mention how many times it saved my neck when fish were feeding exclusively on emergers. Sulphur spinners have been working well at last light, some fish have been feeding solely on them and its taken me a while to catch on. When I responded I went straight to a Sulphur spinner and Bingo! The presence of the Isonychia has me overflowing with joy! I love these bugs, they are big and meaty and easily seen and the fish just love them. I had an outing this weekend where I made it a point to catch fish on all stages of Isonychia and the fish responded eagerly. The morning Winter/Summer Caddis hatches are still producing good numbers of trout, when the sun pokes over the trees its scary what you might turn on a 18-22 foam Caddis Pupae. French Nymphing any of these hatches has been dynamite producing good healthy fish. I would recommend fishing with this method at the front end of a hatch before fish are feeding on duns. I have been fishing with less weight and adding wetflies or emerger patterns as my dropper. I lost a fish the other day in a foot of water. I thought I was snagged and I pulled on the rod twice to try and free it, then it pulled back and with a head shake and my 5x fluorocarbon gave under the strain. Enjoy the warmer weather and good luck to you all and we at JWFlyfishing hope to see you soon on the Farmington River.
Hatches (in order of importance): Sulphurs 14-18 March Brown/Grey Fox 12-14, Isonychia 10-12, Winter/summer Caddis 18-22, Tan and Green Caddis 16-20.
Comments: Early am the winter/summer caddis have been driving trout bonkers causing them to line the banks and softer water snatching pupae that are swimming toward shore, I prefer to fish Dave Goulet’s foam pupae skittering down and across the current. Mid afternoon and evening have been frantic with Sulphurs, Caddis, Isonychia, BWO’s, Potomantis, and a few March Browns. When the hatches get frantic like this it can be a frustrating time if you are waiting for a specific hatch. Stay focused and hone your powers of observation by finding a few fish and watching them closely for clues as to what they are feeding on. When watching trout feeding be mindful of escaping insects, and rise forms to help you put the pieces of the puzzle together. Fish aren’t taking your dry imitation? Tie a dropper off your dry to imitate the emerger. Switch your flies frequently until you can match the hatch. Rusty Spinners in larger sizes such as 12-14 are putting some of our bigger trout on the line in the late evenings. As far as nymphing we have been catching lots of nice trout during the am Caddis hatch on simple yellow Caddis larvae patterns. There is a strong population of Golden Stoneflies in various sizes my favorite are size 12 and 6. These flies always produce fish for us. I have personally been using the French Nymphing tactics to target some specific hatches with great success. If you have started using this technique don’t be afraid to use those hatch specific wet flies on the top of your brace. We have been putting a bunch of fish in the net in the afternoons by positioning Sulphur wets as a dropper on our brace of flies. I am planning to trying this same thing with Isonychias which are a much bigger insect and food source for trout. These larger insects seldom pass without large trout noticing in my opinion. Whether your voice is hoarse from screaming obscenities at the trout or shouting “Fish on!” have a good week and enjoy our wonderful Farmington River.
Hatches (in order of importance): #22 Brown Caddis Pupae AM, #16 Caddis Larvae Mid AM, #12-14 Hendrickson duns Early PM, #12-14 Hendrickson Spinners Late PM.
Comments: There have been tons of bugs on the water as of late, there are some many things hatching right now its hard to keep track. Hendrickson and Caddis are still the major players on the Farmington River, each bringing large numbers of fish to the net. Some Hendrickson patterns like the Red Quill have a place in my box but upon my observation trout often key in on the bigger Hendrickson females. This is where the Hendrickson with a lighter pinkish body comes in real handy. Morning Caddis Pupae have still been putting some large browns in my net early on the morning, you will have to find very still water to access this hatch, you will also have to set your alarm early! Before the sun shows it face these tranquil sections of still water transform into a boiling stew of rises as the trout take these tiny Caddis pupae. A downstream presentation works best with a slight twitching of the rod tip to mimic the insects swimming motion. Some other patterns that are effective during the day are 16-18 Mahogany duns. I took some fish the other day in the upper TMA on these, I was perplexed at what these fish were taking, upon further inspection I saw a few small mayflies that escaping the clutches of rising trout and behold they were Mahogany Duns. Be wary of some big fish feeding on these in the shade along the shoreline at midday. I hope everyone is having a great time now that we have some good insect hatches and some willing fish. I know I am, see you soon. One other bit guys I have finished a nice video to go along with this blog but something is wrong with Youtube upload, we can thank Rich Strolis for exposing me to Vimeo and giving me an alternative. Let me know if you have any problems viewing this is the first time I have posted using Vimeo. Thanks