The past two days were wonderful; temperatures at or near what they should be and sunny skies ! What that means for your local avid fly fisherman is that our local waters warmed to the magic number of 50 degrees or greater-prime temps to start all of the hatches.
Yesterday I traveled to one of my favorite rivers to fish in Eastern Connecticut. It is normally heavily stocked and has a fair amount of fishing pressure too, although nothing compares to the Farmington. One of the reasons why I love to fish locally beside saving time and money ( on gas ), is the fact that our local(s) streams do not see a quarter of the pressure that the Farmington gets even on a weekday ( it’s quite ridiculous ). Does anyone work anymore ?
This particular river does see a lot of DEEP stocking and I caught a few rainbows and browns in the usual stocking areas. They were of average size stock but what surprised me was how the bows fought. They seemed to have more spunk than your typical stocked fish so if you hooked into one slightly larger than 9-12 inches, then you had a decent fight for this time or the year. I’m not saying that I got into any reel screamers, just that it was surprising to feel a good tug on the end with water temps not making it above 50 degrees until Monday.
This time of the year you still do not need to get out too early unless your itching to beat the crowd. So on a typical weekday this time of the year, I don’t reach the river until well after the kids are on the bus and I have sufficiently caffeinated myself. At the spot I chose to start, I saw evidence of some midge activity in cobwebs, some in flight , and some small caddis but no surface activity. Also, I saw a few early stones in fight as well. Around 1 PM this all changed, sort of…
The river met the magic mark of 50 degrees. Actually, it ended up getting to 52 degrees. I finally saw MY first evidence of the ” spring ” hatches starting to run their course. I couldn’t quite catch one to completely verify but I believed them to be Red Quills and female Hendricksons. I did not see a Quill Gordon though.
I will be the first to admit that I’m not a guru of ” bugology ” so I had to confirm later on with a friend of mine and another local guide, Steve Babbitt. He is far more well versed in this sort of thing and is a true authority on the subject. He was out on the local waters yesterday, too, and confirmed that I did see Red Quills and female Hendricksons. It completely made sense since the water temps hit that ” 50 degree ” mark.
The dry-fly aficionados will start to get excited here but hold up for a second ! From what I could interpret yesterday is that this hatch is probably just starting and the trout are not dialed in at looking up for their food except for the ” stockers”. Steve and Jimmy said where they were fishing , they only saw a scant few ( trout ) break the surface. So…for now continue nymphing or using wets. As the hatches strengthen, more trout will start to rise and the dries will be more productive ! Stockers don’t always follow that rule so you might be able to entice them to the surface by skating some high riding Catskill type dries or your typical elk hair caddis patterns.
As you can see, the ” egg ” hatch works too, especially on fresh stockers right out of tank # 6. Oh I can hear it now….junk flies…cheating…blah…blah…blah. Think about this though: You actually have to nymph a ” junk ” fly like the egg more perfectly than an impressionistic mayfly, caddis or stonefly nymph because an actual ” bug ” has inherent motion to them and subtle drag in your presentation might not be a deal breaker, whereas there is NO live movement with an egg so you have to drift them naturally in the current. Again, stockers violate the rules sometimes and a dragging fly in front of them will trigger a strike sometimes but you will be far more productive if you drift is more natural.