A few small winter stoneflies were skittering on the surface of the Natchaug River recently. After seeing a subtle rise to a stone, a soft hackle floated on top took a nice brown trout holdover. A lot of walking, wading and observing to find a rising trout this time of year BUT it happens when stoneflies are around.
A few days later on a cold windy day on the Farmington, trout were again rising ever-so-subtly to small stones when the wind settled down a bit. Not a lot of rises, and again a lot of patience and observation to spot the dimpled soft take.
A size 16 or 18 soft hackle, gray body will match the dark bodied early "snow flies" as some call them. On the Farmington they were smaller, even to a 20 or 22 and greenish/yellowish. Nymphs of course will work if you want to drag bottom. Great time of year to walk and explore with the water gin-clear and low. No snow pack and lack of frost could spell trouble. Let's hope for a rainy April/May to refresh our eastern CT freestones. Even the tailwater Farmington is low for this time of year, more like midsummer flows and levels. The Natchaug closes 2/29 until opening day. Meantime pick a warm day and try the Yantic, Merrick Brook, Willimantic or Moosup, all year 'round streams and look for the small stoneflies!