3-29-10 The chilly conditions this weekend held the water temperature at 39 degrees. The flows to the Farmington River continued to run high this as the feeder streams continued to drain their spring runoff, and water from the dam continued to gush, narrowing any anglers preferred method to nymphing and fishing streamers. I had some success fishing tight to the banks with a Czech nymphing rig. I hooked what I thought to be an average brown on a #16 Golden Stonefly drifter near the bank in front of me. I fumbled to shed the gloves from my hands and free my camera as the fish ripped into my running line almost tearing the rod from my hand. When I gained control of the situation and realized this was no average fish, I quickly put the backbone of my 20+ yr old LLBean 5/6 to work. This rod coupled with 5x and chilly river temps made quick work of this trout and made for a great chance for me to admire and greatly appreciate the size and girth of this nice fish. Others that I came in contact with had some success also on big streamers. I continued to pull good numbers of size 16 Golden Stoneflies in my stream samples, along with tons of size 18-20 mayfly nymphs. Caddis larvae in all kinds of sizes still definitely have the largest presence on the stream bottom. Don’t let the high water this time of year get you down, get out there and give it a whirl along the edges fishing with some small nymphs or streamers.
3-24-10 The Farmington River continues to flow at obnoxious levels, however it is dropping. I checked the river this morning to find that most banks and every small island is still deeply submerged beneath the swift current. The small rivers, streams, and brooks that wash into the Farmington are receding and the flows should return to normal by this weekend. The water temperature has risen in the past few days to 40 degrees.
As the water level falls and fish return to their normal lies the nymphing and streamer fishing will pick up. Some good nymph choices are Golden Stonefly nymphs in sizes 12-16, Mayfly nymphs such as Hares Ear, and Pheasant Tails in sizes 14-20 to imitate the mayfly nymphs that are present on the stream bottom in the largest numbers.
For streamers you can’t beat the Wooly Bugger this time of year while it resembles all sorts of large food organisms that trout depend on as their activity increases with the rising water temps. Dead drifted along the bottom this fly imitates stonefly nymphs, and can be quartered downstream and fished across the current making it look like a baitfish.
The best action on top will be stirred with Caddis pupa and Caddis dry flies in sizes 20-24, or Small Stonefly dries in sizes 14-18, there have been good numbers of the larger Stones active on the river. Whatever you choose to do, do it safely, and take precaution! Do not venture far from the bank in this high water, one false move and rescue units could be pulling you from the river.
3/13/10 When I got on the river the water temperature was a chilly 36 degrees. The rain and low water temps ensured that the winter/summer Caddis were a no go. However, the rain and high water made an excellent opportunity to nymph for trout. Two important things to remember when targeting trout with nymphs are to identify their food source, and to get your flies down. Identifying food source is important because it can certainly change drastically form one section of river to the next. You can and should do this each time you fish by just turning over a few rocks and inspecting the life underneath. So after turning some rocks over and sampling the streambed, I found the largest concentrations of macro organisms to include 20-22 green caddis larvae, and 16-18 mayfly nymphs. I like to fish these patterns tied from the bend of a larger, and heavier point fly with a 12” piece of tippet material. The point fly should be larger, and weighted to help get the “team” of flies to the bottom quickly. You can get your flies down with some split shot applied to the leader ahead of the point fly. Next time your on the water and find nothing apparently happening, two things you might try are turning over a few rocks and determining a trout’s diet, or simply drifting some nymphs along the bottom.
The Stonefly mystery remains a mystery, these slack water fish continue to be slackers without the warmth of the sun to get some bugs in motion.
November was a great month on the River with lots of big fish aggressively moving about as the spawn is on! I had a great month fishing on the bottom with nymphs. Some of my better producers were Isonychia nymphs in size 12-14, and the San Jaun worm tied on a #12 caddis hook weighted with wire.
There was a consistent hatches of Blue Winged Olives in smaller sizes #22-24. The bigger fish have been sitting in slack or slow rolling water and refusing a vast majority of dryflies, and eagerly take the emerging insects one right after the other. I had great success fishing tiny BWO wets as droppers, off a CDC parachute Blue Winged Olive. This method addresses the problem with bigger fish seemingly feeding stricktly on emergers.