Written by Shawn
Winter Caddis on the farmington ~ Revisited...
We have had some warm days and just about no snow. I have found a few days to make my way out on the river and have hit it just right. This time of year I am busy tying the winter minutia ~ Winter Caddis, assorted micro stoneflies and copious amounts of little midges. The winter fishin' has been exceptional and I find myself routinely stating year after year that there are only a handful of fishing spots ~ if any ~ where you can cast dries to steadily feeding trout, especially when Old Man Winter has settled in. The Farmington River is certainly one of those spots.
If there is open water some of my favorite times to fish is in the winter months. And this year we have got plenty of open water & good wading. Besides If I can see Andy wading up to the top of his waders in lower Church - I know I'll have no problem. Just about exclusive to our river, the Winter Caddis hatches in the early part of the day have been great. The caddis emerger, occasional little winter stonefly and midge dry fishing over the years has left me with some of my more memorable fishing experiences on our beautiful Farmington River. Hope to See you on the water soon !
The Winter Caddis hatch throughout the year and are at their heaviest from November until early spring. The way in which these species of caddis hatch is more unique this time of year. The way you make your presentation can catch more fish, obviously. Sometimes you must vary the way you work your caddis fly imitation on the water when presented to the trout - especially when the dead drift isn't cutting it. The winter caddis is most predominant and found hatching in slower pools just off of faster runs and riffles. Church pool is a good example. The winter caddis make their way to the surface and attempt to emerge but mainly have to very poorly swim or make their way to the river’s banks and bushes to finish molting. Most of the females of this caddis species are born wingless leaving them even more vulnerable in the film.
One fact is that this is a vulnerable hatch and it is available as easy pickings to the trout.
The best hatches occur on brighter and sunny mornings but this hatch can be around all the time early in the day. Most of the time in slower water with a good dead drift over a feeding trout you will hook up. If the trout are not taking a dead drift your method of presentation should encompass some type of slight movement within the retrieve of your fly. Working your fly by slight, slight twitching, swimming or last minute swinging over and across fish that are feeding can be a welcome surprise, especially at the head and tail outs. Most of my hook- ups lately have been when I was slightly working my fly as opposed to a dead drift. But we all know that can change day to day and it all depends on how active the fish are. The type of winter caddis patterns that work best are emerging styles, wingless females and I always have some tiny winged caddis dries as well. The size of your flies should range from sizes #20 to #28 and use your 6x, 7x, and smaller if you prefer.
This time of year can be a blast to get into some nice sized trout on the Farmington River. So don't let the frigid Old Man get you in his grip. I plan on getting out again soon. So check the weather channel, dust off your fly rod & reel and make your way to the river. Maybe I’ll see you there.
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I have acquired a lot of Classic & Great Tying Materials
Coming into a plenty of Vintage Fly Tying materials I have been taking more traditional soft hackle wet fly orders. So any of you guys that have inquired feel free to hit me up. Tightlines'
Little Brown caught on the FBB Mini "Bug Collar" Intruder in the key of White.
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~ I guide all Year and I tend fill up in way in advance. Especially around the Holidays. Also Regular Guide clientele are booked Weekly, but I can shuffle, and can often make room. So Please do not hesitate and Feel Free to Call and contact me now to see about any future Openings ~
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I have spent the past 25 years tying pretty much any pattern there is out there.
But these days I pretty much specialize in Custom flies Only ~ By Choice.
I tie a lot of big custom and commercial guide orders that consist of My custom patterns. Respectfully I do not have time to tie the basic flies that you commonly find anywhere. Also I will Not tie "other" local tier's patterns. They are my friends and I will send you to buy from them directly.
I do have other fly tyers that I use that will be happy to accommodate with generic patterns, such as woolly buggers, adams, etc.
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Last Fall at the CFFCM Art of the Anglers Show in Danbury CT, attending fly tiers had a chance to tie a Lee Wullf inspired pattern or two of "what would Lee Wulff tie today" to be showcased in a future display for the museum.. So I tied up a few without the vise - "in my hand" - just the way Mr. Lee Wullf would have done it… I tied a CDC Royal Wulff and an modern synthetic material - inspired Lady Joan streamer… It is Really cool that my flies are placed there next to the picture of Lee tying In hand… More so... All the great flies submitted and placed next to items of Mr. Wulff in the display look so awesome, Thank's !
But myself being a lover of the History of Fly Fishing as well as an old school fly tier at times… this is so cool to have Lee looking over my flies, even if they pale in comparison.
Made my year ! Tightlines' !
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I Specialize in Custom Fly Tying, and my custom orders are tied daily Not only across the good old USA, but Internationally as well. I have been supplying New England Fly shops and also tying fly patterns specific to the region such as the Farmington and Houastonic Rivers for over 20 years. If you need that special fly or local pattern, just ask and I will do my best to accommodate. You don't have to visit to get some of my flies either. Just about any fly can be tied and delivered quickly to your door for you. We ship US & Global !
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Please Note that my Guide Trips tend to Fill up very quickly. I still have 4 hour limited openings and my regular weekly clients are already set in. I would love to get out and bend the rod with you, so don't hesitate to contact me so we can set a time on the water. Maybe we'll get into some of the finest fish the area has to offer. So feel free to give a call, I look forward to having you stop by the weekend workshop for a visit as many do !
Tightlines' and see you Soon !
By Shawn F. Britton
Winter/Summer Caddis on the Farmington...
There is a few fishing spots if any where you can cast to rising trout throughout the winter months, and the Farmington River is no exception. With the great Winter caddis hatches in the early time, the winter caddis and the little winter stonefly dry fishing over the years has left me with some of my more memorable fishing experiences.
The winter caddis hatches all throughout the year but are actually at their most abundant from around late October/November until early spring. But the summer fishing can be productive as well. Not so different than most caddis, the winter caddis are most predominant and found hatching a little farther down the slower pools and runs just off the faster water. Then they will make their way to the surface in an attempt to emerge, some to the river’s banks and bushes to finish molting. But… more so at this time of year, many of the females of this winter caddis species are born somewhat wingless, leaving them way more vulnerable in the surface film or poorly making their way to the banks at all. Making an easy meal for the trout and giving us some great dry fly fishing in the winter months.
Typically the best hatches occur on the brighter mornings, but this hatch is around most all of the time early in the day. Thanks to all the unformed winter caddis bathing in the slow water, method of presentation usually works fine with a dead drift over a rising trout, as opposed to typical erratic caddis fly fishing. Although the ever so "slight" twitching within the retrieve of your fly at the last few moments before the ring of the last rise, has brought the pickiest of trout to the wet hand. I always have a few variations in a few sizes. Pupa, basic foam body with slight hackle collar, or no collar, and a foam body with wing. Sizes in #20 to #24 are fine. You can always go smaller as well with hook size. Lighter 6x, 7x will do or smaller if you prefer.
On that note… If you have not been on the river all year like the select few diehards… Old Man Winter has packed his bags, Spring is here and I will See you on the river !