Wild fish, Survivor Strain browns bred for shyness and size, and plenty of elbow room? Yes, the Farmington has all that and more.
A bottom-released tailwater that makes for more consistent flows and water temperatures, the river features prolific bug hatches, loads of fish and beautiful water. The state does a great job of establishing Trout Management Areas that require barbless hooks and C&R.
From flat pools to riffles to chutes and deep runs, there is water there for every style of fly fishing.
The dry-fly action is consistent and good. Winter Caddis pop on most winter mornings at dawn, and the full gamut of bugs exists. My favorite is the Trico hatch in late summer, but the action for Hendricksons, Midges, BWOs, Stoneflies, etc., is great, too.
However, it is a long river that can appear intimidating. But, it really isn’t.
Here is an overview based on a few years of focusing on the Farmington after a severe case of Swift River Burn-Out. Your mileage may vary, but, here are suggestions based on what has worked for me.
I suggest that you do some overnight trips to really know the river. It is worth the effort. The more you give to the river, the more she gives back to you.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Buy the FRAA Guide. This guidebook is essential for its thoroughness and recommended parking spots and flies. And, proceeds go to the local anglers’ association that helps stock the river.
- Review this map which shows the various names for various spots.
- Check out the streamers, nymphs and dries that have worked for me.
- Consider hiring Zach St. Amand. Zach is a great guide and an incredible angler. He lives along the bank of the Farmington and fishes it 300 days a year. The number of large fish in his Instagram feed is truly amazing.
- Scan our 80+ blog posts about the river (here).
- Contact UpCountry. Grady, Torrey and Wade are friendly and intimately know the river. Read the fishing report and stop by for flies and recommended spots.
- Buy a license and the $5 Trout Stamp (here).
WHERE TO STAY
- Legends B&B. Right on the banks of the river next to one of the major pools. Sal Tartaglione is friendly and passionate about fishing. Beautifully furnished.
- Airbnb. There are many options available. I’ve used the site all over the U.S. and abroad and have always been happy. Recently, I stayed at Karen and Dave’s place, which is right on the river. It was a huge and clean room.
- UpCountry’s apartment above the shop. Super-convenient and has a fly tying vise and light. Complete kitchen. Even better? The packy is right next door! The room faces the main road, and so, bring ear plugs.
WHERE TO EAT
- New Hartford Diner. Opens at 6 am.
- Dunkin’ Donuts at New Hartford. I hit this spot when I want to be on the water early for a Trico hatch.
- Per Damon Matus’ recommendation, I recently went to the Better Half Bistro. It was great. It offers sandwiches and freshly-baked goods, along with awesome service. It is located next to UpCountry, and so, is you can grab both food and gear in one stop.
- The Riverton General Store. I usually munch on a PB&J, as I’m too busy fishing. But, I’ve stopped there when I do need a mid-day break. Great sandwiches, cold beer and ice cream by-the-scoop. WiFi.
Portobello’s. I’ve tried many of the local restaurants, and this is my favorite for dinner. Ample portions, good value and friendly service. Beck works the bar most nights. Sue and Art are among the many kind servers. Great pasta, pizza and burgers.10/17/19 edit: Sadly, this restaurant has closed!
Hope that helps. See you on the water!
8 thoughts on “Farmington River Overview: Best Flies, Where to Eat and Stay, How to Start”
1 for UpCountry Sportfishing. Great fly shop, excellent selection of tying materials, and the staff are the real deal. Check out their online store too, prices are highly competitive.
Check out Better Half Bistro, located next to UpCountry. You can grab gear and lunch in one shot and might not even have to get out of your waders.
Great recommendation. Went there yesterday and had a really good sandwich. Have added them to the list of eateries mentioned in the blog post.
“Plenty of Elbow Room”? Well just don’t expect it during a famous Hatch like the Hendrickson especially for any of the pools in the guide. Fish between those pools and especially on weekdays and you will be into unpressured Trout. That’s where Euronymphing comes into play big time IMHO.
Its a great river and you won’t be disappointed to try it.
Believe it or not if you are really desperate for fish you can always use bait on a barbless hook! LOL
Steve, great pointers. I guess it’s all relative, particularly when I compare it to certain times at the Swift. I hit the Farmy’s glamour pools, but, I’ve found that a bit of a walk always leads me to elbow room. Plus, there’s plenty of water south of Collinsville that is very productive.
Back to the Farmington after seven weeks in NZ. The river is perfect right now and fishing well. Most action is on or close to the bottom. I grabbed my NZ nymph box which I thankfully never used there and tied on a 12 2x hare and copper with a 14 pheasant tail above. Yeah I know most guys euro with three, I can’t be bothered. Took fish every day, most on the H&C and all healthy butter belly browns. All the usual spots have produced.
Riverton is loaded with a fresh stock of rainbows and browns but noticeably smaller.
The Hendrickson’s are closer than you think and if one considers the nymphs that are working it could be hinting at another awesome hatch this year!
Sal- Legends on the Farmington
Nice to hear from you!
Farmington Valley Trout Unlimited
Fly Fishing / Angler Gear Tag Sale
January 5 2019 Snow Date: January 12 2019 Start at 9 am
Farmington Valley Community Center
321 New Britain Ave Unionville CT 06087
Information Heads Up Fly fishing Tag Sale.