3/25/11 Farmington Stream Report

Date:  3/25/11

Water flow:  Water levels have dropped this week down to a combined 1000cfs for the upper TMA.

Visibility:  Clearing

Water temp:  34*F – am warming to 36*F on warmer days

Water conditions:  River is running a little high but still mostly negotiable.

Hatches:  W/S Caddis pupae 22-24, Gray Spring Stoneflies 12-16,

Would the "Infamous" Kahle Worm please stand up!

Comments:  The water level has been extremely high for the past week.  I fished the Upper TMA both with streamers and nymphs with a good bit of success.  The sun provided some warmth which got the fish moving a little and feeding.  Some Go-To’s are Yellow Stonefly Nymphs 10-14, Crane fly larva 4-6, Kahle worms 4-6, small eggs or sucker spawn, W/S Caddis larvae 16-18, Pheasant Tail Nymph 16-18.  Streamers like Zonkers, Clousers, and Wooly Buggers will give a nice profile for fish to slash at.  I have received some action on some tandem streamers that I tied up for the high water flows of Spring.  Nymphing was especially good to me this week landing several nice Browns.  I will be looking for some dry fly action on W/S Caddis pupae this weekend, the waters’ warming trend should bring on some solid hatches of these critters right at daybreak or soon thereafter.  Look for this to happen especially on slower moving parts of the river.  The snow has finally removed itself from most of our local parking spots and Anglers once again will be able to find their way into most parking areas.  Good luck out there and hope to see you all on the river!

JW

  • Fall Flyfishing on the Farmington River 2010

    Date: 11/30/10
    Water flow: 320
    Visibility: good
    Water temp: n/a
    Water conditions: good
    Hatches: Winter/Summer Caddis 20-24, are out in good numbers in the early to mid morning. Blue Wing Olives 22-24 mid-morning and again in the afternoon. Tan Caddis 16-18 sporadic throughout the day.

    Comments: The Winter/Summer Caddis have been on the water in the early mornings bringing lots of fish to the surface to feed on them. I love this hatch and enjoy fishing it with just a couple of simple foam and CDC pupae imitations. If you don’t fish this hatch…you should! It’s longevity and potency are matched by no other hatch on the river. Most trout will be feeding on this hatch all winter long. Presentation can be tricky but if you take a moment to observe the naturals and how they act and skitter across the surface on their way to the rocks along the riverbank to finish their transformation into adult Caddis. The skittering is the important part for the angler you must make your presentation act like the natural. By observing the pupae themselves you can make a better judgment on whether to use an upstream or downstream approach. I often try both until I find which one is best suited for a particular hole or stretch of water. Don’t forget you can fish the Winter/Summer Caddis Larvae as well! Nymphing with these tiny larvae may intimidate some but these small nymphs fished in an 18 or 20 can really get it done.
         BWOlives have been coming off fairly well at the larger pools on the Farmington. Other smaller areas that I like to fish on the Farmy have seen spotty hatches of the Blue winged olives. Parachute patterns with just a thread body work well on these. I have been catching most fish on 24 BWO wet fly dropper that I have tied off the bend of my parachute dry fly. Fish tend to refuse the parachute and sip the wet fly trailing a short distance behind. On these windy fall days it can be hard to tell if trout are taking these tiny insects, many times they are taking them under the film, and masked by the ripples created on the water. Look closely and observe the shoreline for BWO’s that have been blown into the grass and vegetation along the waters edge. If these little green troopers are a no-show, or I don’t notice the trout taking them in the film, I normally switch to fishing nymphs rather quickly trying some small BWO nymphs instead.
         The fall is a great time of the year to hit these hatches which can be spectacular but remember to have a plan “B” and be prepared to fish streamers or nymphs when they are not producing. Good luck and we hope to catch you out there on the water!
    JW

  • Rain, Rain, gone away. Farmington River pick your day they all look nice through the weekend!

    Thank god for cellphones!

    Date:  10/7/10

    Water Flow:  625Cfs

    Visibility:  ok

    Water Temp:   

    Water Condition:  slightly stained 

    Access Point:  Upper TMA

    Hatches (in order of importance):

            AM: Winter/Summer Caddis 20-24 

                   BWO 20-24

                   Rusty Spinners 20-24     

      Midday:  Tan Caddis 18-20

                     Ants and Beetles 12-16

     Evening:  Isonychia 10-12

                         Tan Caddis 18-20

                         Rusty Spinners 20-24     

    Comments:  Water is running high again after the recent rains.  Not many fish have been rising in the early mornings but a few are sipping small Spinners and Winter/Summer Caddis.  I have been fishing down for them with Caddis larvae and Stonefly nymphs until I notice fish visibly rising then grabbing my dry rod and throwing small spinners or W/S Caddis.  Olives are starting to gather on the riffles in the evening.  Not many trout have been coming up for the tiny spinners.  However I have been taking lots of fish on small Pheasantail nymphs down to size 22 imitating small BWO nymphs.  A pattern that has been tearing it up out there for a good couple of months now is Aaron Jasper’s Pineapple Express.  I want to thank Aaron for his great patterns and here is the url to the video of Pineapple Express TPO fly of the Month June 2010.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdrtvM4F6l4

    JW's pineapple

     

    The fly I have pictured here is just a spinnoff of the Pineapple Express that I tie a bit differently.  This fly is mainly a small pheasantail with a rusty, yellowish dubbing mix for a thorax and a hot collar of UTC fire orange thread for the hotspot.  Stonefly 10-14 and Isonychia nymphs 10-12 have been very effective in the high water.  I like French Nymphing these patterns in current seams and along shelf water.  The rain is supposed to stop and with moderate temperatures this weekend you can count on the fishing being good as the water recedes.  Good luck to all out there this weekend.  Hook em up!

    JW

  • Some soaking rain and a little more water to wade in! For the time being that is.

    Vanesssa with a nice French Nymphed Farmington Brown!

     

    Date:  10/29/10
    Water Flow:  200 CFS
    Visibility:  clear
    Water Temp: 60°F
    Water Condition:  very low
    Access Point:  upper TMA

    Hatches (in order of importance):
         AM:  Winter/Summer Caddis 20-24, Blue Wing Olives 22-28, and tiny Rusty Spinners 20-26,
         Midday:  Tan Caddis 18-20, Black Ants 14-18, Beetles 12-16.
         Evening:  Isonychia 10-14, and Cahills 12-14, Flying Ants 16-24.

    "Shocking" the Farmington River

    Comments:  Some rain has finally come and the river has moved to a more comfortable 200Cfs putting a little bit of water over resident trout!  Winter/Summer Caddis all our still going in the early a.m. hours.  Tiny Blue Winged Olives fill the air as well.  This has been a good reliable hatch with lots of fish taking the small BWO patterns off the top and micro mayflies fished as droppers or along th stream bottom.  When the spinners start to fall the fishing has been great on very small spinner patterns down to 26.  Nothing but tails, olive thread and a little poly wing on these and your done.
    Tan Caddis have been hatching sporadically throughout the morning.  I like to fish these with a small X-Caddis tied with a CDC wing and a poly shuck.
    Midday there have been a few flying ant hatches that were just spectacular with pools of rising trout to be found for miles it seems.  Every fish in the river rolling for them. Size is crucial here and sometimes these things can be as small as a 28 or so.
    Iso’s are still getting it done in the evening with the nymphs and emergers catching many large trout, this meal being just to big to pass up.  Cahills have been spotty but I have seen them on a few occasions in some sections of the river and managed to take trout on them.
    Last week the Farmington river received it’s yearly walk from those carrying the electric sticks and wielding fish barges.  I was glad that my daughters and I had the chance again to see them shock, measure, and release many fish while carrying many other large breeders up over the bank and into the trucks off to the hatchery to spawn a new generation of healthy Farmington river Brown trout.  I must say it is heartbreaking, to see them go but I’ll wish them a safe trip and look forward to their return in the spring.  Good luck on the river, see you soon.
    JW

  • Catching quality trout by simply flicking the Switch!

     

            

            The summer doldrums have officially set in and the numbers of fisherman have dwindled; leaving the banks littered with  fewer fisherman and plenty of exposed boulders and log jams.  The fish are weary and easily spooked as the low water levels and higher water temperatures force trout to be less active in the heat of the day.  We’ve all been there and few have mastered the art of long leader, small diameter tippet, dry fly fishing.  Hooking these educated fish in low water can try the patience of even the most experienced of fly fishermen.  For the last month I have been trying some alternative summer tactics. Though the tackle may be a great deal heavier and somewhat unconventional the results have been undeniable.

            Twilight and nightime hours when the water is at its coolest temperatures of the day and many natural predators have gone to roost provides predatory fish with the perfect set of circumstances to take advantage of  large food items ie, mice, frogs, or injured  baitfish  that are finding their way onto the river at night.  Larger fish actually seek these things out; cruising shallow tail outs, pocket water and even riffles with water barely covering their back. 

            With these thoughts in mind I was off, on a mission. I started experimenting with a few old bass patterns mixed with some newer, quicker, and easier tying materials.  Like a true mad scientist I twisted and turned, cut and glued until Whalaaaaa!  I called upon a few of my choice specimens to accompany me on my midnight spooks.

                    Warning!  If all the teenage horror movies that  you watched as a teenager didn’t provoke absolute fear of the darkness and what’s in it, fishing in complete darkness just may.  How about a few bats zinging dangerously close to your head or a beaver/muskrat/racoon approaching you in darkness and erupting a few feet away when startled by you!  Wow, I hate that.  Explosive strikes from trout at a close proximity can be teeth chattering.  These circumstances are just unsuitable, and undesirable to most; however once tamed the anxiety transforms to the quiet focus of your primal senses.  The fear of not being able to see slowly diminishes and once relaxed you are amazed at how much you can actually see!  The unknown becomes know and those fishermen who master this beast can be in for some exhilarating and rewarding experiences involving trout of monstrous proportions. 

            The easiest way to tame the beast, so to speak, is to just call a fishing buddy or two and have them join in on the fun.  Teaming up is definitely the most productive and safest way to enjoy this method of fishing.  Two or more fishermen can cover water swiftly and provide comfort, sanity and safety to your expedition. 

            Many other precautions should be taken as well.  The first and most vital piece of equipment would be a couple of good, reliable lights.  I say couple because if one fails you may be left trudging around in complete darkness.  Nothing would be more horrifying than trying to hike back to your vehicle through briars, and dense underbrush with a flyrod in your hand.  On the other hand breaking a fly off early on in your trip without any light to re tie could bring an early end to your evening.  Carrying two good reliable lights with batteries that you maintain regularly is a must. 

            Scouting is another indispensable tool.  If deep cuts and drop offs exist you want to know ahead of time.   Big rocks and other tangles such as logs, brush and other debris make scouting the area you want to fish absolutely necessary. 

            Carrying a cell phone on these trips or any trips for that matter is a must for me (makes my spouse happy too).  Being able to dial 911 in case of an emergency can obviously save your life, The built in GPS tracking signal can aide local law enforcement in the event that you somehow become lost or injured.  When it comes to safety don’t take any chances, cover all angles, and always double check!

            Put a variety of patterns in your box that both sink and float which will provide lots of options on the water.  Good floating patterns should include cork poppers to mimic frogs and wounded baitfish.  Mice are a must on the list of most effective; floating flies as well.  These floating patterns should be tied with durable materials, large trout have no remorse and will quickly eradicate inferior patterns.  Even the sturdiest of patterns will require maintenance.  Like a patchwork quilt many of my patterns left tailless from ferocious strikes have new tails scabbed to the hook shank.  Though most materials are hardly a match for the large knifelike teeth of predatory trout, the destruction can be kept to a minimum by reinforcing your patterns with some good heavy thread and strong cement.  For sinking flies you will want go to large streamers that replicate the baitfish that are present in the water you fish.  The term baitfish is used loosely here as many of these large night feeding fish are certainly cannibalistic making all smaller fish suitable prey. 

            Terminal gear for this kind of fishing is greatly changed to facilitate the casting of these rather big flies.  With this in mind 5-7 weight rods are ideal and will greatly aid in casting.  A good stout 6-7 ft leader is also in order.    I like to use a butt section of 50lb test to help me turn these monster flies over on the water.  I taper this butt section down using 30lb and then 20lb mono to facilitate the 1x tippet.  This may sound brash I know, but believe me the fish are preoccupied with what’s on the end of your leader and don’t seem to mind or care about your leader at all.  I find heavier leaders necessary to minimize break offs and allow the angler to quickly subdue large fish.  Minimizing stress and exhaustion levels the fish endure before release is crucial when low water and higher water temperatures already have trout stressed.  For best results rotate your locations to ensure your on  fresh fish and not one’s you’ve spooked or put down.

            Nightime flyfishing can be a rewarding experience if the approach is thoughtful and organized.  It would be irresponsible for me to suggest this method without outlining safety concerns, proper gear and talking about the health and welfare of the fish caught in the light of the moon.  Thanks for appearances by my friends Brian, Mike and Steve I would have been very limited in water without them.  Good luck and tight lines to all!   

                                                                                                                                                      JW