Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Farmington River
The Farmington River consist of two main branches,
the East and The West Branch, but most all of the
better trout fishing is on the West Branch tailwater.
The water comes from Colebrook Reservoir and the
West Branch Reservoirs. The water from both the
East and the West Branches stays cool throughout
the summer and doesn't ice over during the winter.
There are some wild as well as a huge number of
stocked trout with some holdovers.
The dams were built primarily for flood control and
water-reservoirs, not electrical power generation.
That resulted in steady flows of water with no real
high peaks in the flows. Theres a hydroelectric
generator on the Hogback dam on the West Branch
but it doesn't affect the constant flow of the release to
any drastic extent. The water is released from the
bottom of the reservoirs and stays near a constant
cold temperature year-round.
The best trout waters are found upstream of
Collinsville. The river has two separate Trout
Management Areas in that section of the river. Both
of these areas have excellent access and plenty of
trout but there are miles of other areas on the river
with excellent fishing opportunities.
This river also has several feeder streams that are
stocked by the state including the East and West
Branches of the Salmon Brook, Sandy Brook, Mill
Brook, Roaring Brook, Cherry Brook, Unionville
Brook, Nepaug River, Still River, and the Pequabuck
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing this stream and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions. Please
allow up to 24 hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will
help you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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over $50 are shipped Priority Mail.
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The season runs year-round in the Trout
Springtime is probably the best season
for fly fishing the Farmington River
The water stays cool during the hottest
days of summer and the fishing is
Farmington River Fly Fishing Guide:
As mentioned above, the Farmington River that most
fly anglers refer to is the West Branch of the
Farmington River, in particular the section from
Riverton downstream to New Hartford. This section has
the highest trout population. The cold water releases
from the dam keep its water near 50 degrees
throughout the summer.
Summertime is a good time to fly fish the Farmington
with one exception. Kayaks, canoes and tubers are
there in numbers during the summer. It is best to fish
early in the day on summer weekends.
The river is heavily stocked with fully grown trout that
probably average 12 inches. Holdover brown trout are
caught much larger. The river also receives a good
amount of fishing pressure during the prime months.
Most of the food in the form of aquatic insects in the
Farmington River are small. Many anglers are guilty of
using much larger flies than they should. Midges and
Blue-winged Olives make up much of the aquatic
insect population and fishing small flies is always more
The larger size pools usually flow fairly smooth. They
are more difficult to fish than runs and riffles because
the trout can get a much better look at your fly. A
common mistake anglers make fishing the river is to
overdo the dry fly fishing. While the Farmington
produces some good dry fly opportunities, the times
are far and few between. Most of the time an angler is
far better off using a nymph. Unless you see fish
feeding on the surface or a good hatch occurring, you
odds of success will be much better if you stick with
Farmington River Hatches and
Our information on aquatic insects is
based on our stream samples of larvae
and nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Farmington River and in all stages of life
that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
As with most any trout stream, one of the
most important and abundant aquatic
insects are the Blue-winged Olives. They
hatch during a long period in the early
season and again later in the year.
As with many Eastern trout streams, the
Hendrickson and Red Quills are a very
important hatch. It takes place the last part
of April and last into mid May.
There are a few March Browns, Light and
Cream Cahills in the fast water sections of
the stream. These are usually quite sparse
Sulphurs are important from mid May
through most of the month of June. Tricos
and the White Drakes hatch in July and
Little Black Caddis (Grannoms) start
hatching in April and the first of May.
Green Sedges, and Short-horned Sedges
will also hatch starting about the first of
The Cinnamon Caddis species are the
most important caddisflies. They, together
with their Little Sisters, will hatch for a very
long period of time. They usually start in
mid May and the different species hatch
off and on through September.
Starting about the middle of June and
lasting until after the first frost, terrestrial
insects will also come into play. The
beetles, ants, and hoppers are common
along the banks of the river.
As with any tailwater, midges are always
very important, especially when there are
no other hatches taking place. All season
long, midges are probably the most
important insect to imitate. You can always
count of them. They range in hook sizes
from 18 down to a 26.
Don't forget to have a good selection of
streamers for the larger brown trout.
Sculpin patterns usually work better than
most streamers but there are a variety of
baitfish in the river.
Fall is an excellent time to fish. There is
less pressure from anglers and good
The water stay ice free below the dams
and can be fished during the winter.
Farmington River Fly Fishing Report:
11/15/13 Customer reported catching a few
trout on our Cream Midge pupa and larva
using a tandem rig with a strike indicator.
Reported that he didn't see anything
hatching. Water temperature was near the
11/30/13 Fish were being caught up until
recent high and cold water. Customer
reporting water levels dropping and weather
warming. He ordered our Brown Sculpin and
BWO nymphs that worked last Winter.