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!