Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Shetucket River Atlantic Salmon...QUESTIONABLE???

 In 2019, CTDEEP stocked 460 adult broodstock Atlantic Salmon in eastern Connecticut's Shetucket River.  In this 2020 year of drought, water levels are off the charts...LOW!  Our favorite eastern CT freestones have been virtually unfishable since early June with no recovery in sight.  ALL EASTERN CT RIVERS ARE "PENDING" FOR FALL STOCKING as of today.  Even the Farmington flow rates are at significant lows.  In the Catskills, NYC's mayor is threatening to cut off ALL flow to the Delaware system from its upstream reservoirs due to low water, jeopardizing fall wild brown trout spawning.

What's it all mean?  Despite CTDEEP's Brian Eltz's  email to us in July indicating that the fall stocking of AS would be similar to 2019, it would seem impossible with current water levels.  The first fall stocking usually takes place in mid October.

In a year like no other, in MANY respects, the fall Atlantic Salmon fly fishing season that we look forward to is very much in doubt.

A quick recap of the early season on the Natchaug; more than 16,000 trout stocked, fall holdover rainbows provided some good dry fly action with a return of sulfurs that hadn't showed much in recent years.  Hendricksons and March Browns were very sparse.  Caddis were not out in usual numbers, especially the usually reliable Black Caddis.
The most reliable hatch was the early stones and Blue Quills/Mahogany Duns in March and April.
The Yantic had good numbers of Caddis at times and the Salmon River was very productive for a period of time before low water and rising temps.  The season on these lovely freestones gets shorter and shorter each year without steady periods of rain.

If you haven't seen this outstanding documentary...DO IT! Available on Amazon Prime.

On a brighter note, long time fly fisherman and Team7x'r Steve turns to the salt water in his chase for False Albacore as fall begins.  He makes the trek from central CT  to the Rhode Island shore several times a week. Here's a beauty taken off the west wall in East Matunuck!

Stay safe everyone.  We will keep you advised via email (if you haven't joined our email list, please do!)  with the latest updates on Atlantic Salmon prospects.


Friday, June 12, 2020


Eastern CT freestones have peaked for the Spring trout fishing season.  After April and May successes on the Natchaug, Yantic and Shetucket, conditions have slowed to a crawl.  The Salmon River closer to central CT provided some great evening hatches and eager trout!  Most of what we were seeing this Spring were rainbows; some on the Natchaug appearing to be fall holdovers, feisty and well colored in excess of the usual 12" stockies.

As to hatches, we saw a return of sulphurs to the Natchaug, not prolific by any means.  Caddis hatches were sparse with the usual black caddis missing in action.  Hendricksons and March Browns were few and far between.  Not really sure what's going on, but a river that normally produced steady progressive spring hatches over the years, did not in 2020.  Climate? Flows up and down?  Really the Blue Quills were the only solid early hatch.  Not much mayfly action on the Yantic, but the tan caddis were solid.  Too late in the Spring season by the time the Shetucket became wadeable and safely fishable.  Temps are approaching 70 degrees in all freestones as the trout will seek cooler areas.


Chris Fave sent along some of his hand-tied leaders, 10 footers in 5 and 6x.  As we've stressed before, these leader turn your fly over like no other. We've handed out several to friends, guests and "team mates" and the verdict is in!  Outstanding performance far exceeding usual mono tapered one piece leader.

Give 'em a try and tell us what you think!

A special thanks to the folks at AQUAMIRA.  The filtered water bottle below is 15 years old, the filter worn out and following an email to the company, a new filter appeared in a few days, NO CHARGE!
Great customer service An obviously we highly recommend this company and their products!

The Patagonia sling pack you see in the photo is their vest front sling model, now several years old. I was able to obtain a new one (just in case Patagonia discontinues)  although I don't know why they would!  The folks at FlyFishers Fly Shop offered a limited time 50% off! Another great on-line shop!

If you're considering a water repellent, adjustable sling pack, this one may be for you...

A quick inventory... Up front 4 fly boxes, patch, flotant, nippers and drying chamois, zippered  3 spool tippet pocket, forceps holder. Inside...zippered pocket for extra Chris Fave leaders.

Rear small pocket...thermometer, fly paste, eyeglass cleaner.
Large pocket...4  (or 5) additional fly boxes, rain jacket, TP, first aid kit, headlamp. waterproof pocket for licenses and of course the AQUAMIRA bottle fits perfectly in the lower mesh pouch.

As always we look forward to hearing from you.  Before long the fall Atlantic Salmon season on the Shetucket will be to us about a booking!  In the meantime, enjoy the Farmington, the Catskills and wherever the trout fishing remains solid...

and as always especially now, STAY SAFE and


From all of us at TEAM7x

Friday, May 8, 2020

Eastern CT Fly Fishing Update

River conditions in eastern CT remain very fishable after last weeks deluge.  These freestones drop quickly after a heavy rain and allow us to get back to ideal conditions. 

We've taken a number of nice Rainbows in recent days on the Natchaug.  These well-colored, energetic trout seem to be fall holdovers based on size and activity level.  The blue quill/mahogany dun patterns have worked well as that species is about done for now.  We've seen a few Hendricksons but not in abundance.  BWO's are in the mix as well.  Tan caddis were just starting on the Natchaug and veteran angler Steve took this nice rainbow on an elk hair tan pattern.  The coloration suggests this fish has been in the system since last fall. He's tried the custom tied 10' leader from Chris Fave on the Farmington recently and reports that it straightens and turns over beautifully.  Give his leaders a try; you won't be disappointed!




Another fine eastern CT trout stream offers 2 Trout Management areas, a fly fishing only section and some good access.  From Lebanon, CT thru Bozrah, CT and on into Norwich, CT the Yantic features a solid caddis hatch which we experienced just a week ago.  Tan caddis were abundant in the late afternoon and provided some solid action. THIS LINK give give you all you need to fish this fine stream.  As with all eastern CT freestones, now thru June are the ideal weeks before low water and high water temps shut things down.


The early season hatches have been sporadic on the Natchaug River.  If you're a dry fly/emerger fly fisherman, you will find rising trout, but it's a waiting game right now.  Our success rate on taking a rising trout either with a solid raise or with a sipping, softer showing has been high.  It's not uncommon, at least for now, to wait and search the water for clues for blocks of time.  BUT, isn't that what those of us who choose this method are accustomed to??  Nothing against blind casting to likely spots, it's all good.

The caddis hatch on the Yantic recently was very prolific, cloud like in spots.  Yet we're just seeing the tans on the Natchaug.  Ups and downs with flows maybe?  It was encouraging to see them dancing off the riffles and trout moving on them just in the last few days.  Hendricksons?  Who knows, we've seen years where this is a solid hatch following the Blue Quills and Quill Gordons.  Maybe in the next week or so?  Then the sulfurs?  Again in years past this was a wonderful hatch on the Natchaug; not so recently.  Conditions change, the trout are there, be patient and stay safe!  In that regard we've seen virtually no one in the areas we fish.  If you're willing to walk and explore, you'll find solitude and safety.  Again, IF YOU FREQUENT THE STATE TROUT PARK AREA, you will NOT be alone.  Be cautious!  The Farmington River is wonderful but cautious.

Many of us have booked late spring/summer trips to the Catskills, the West and other areas.  Most if not all operators, accommodation people, etc. are flexible with deposits as we move forward in this unknown area of lockdowns, social distancing and the like.  In the meantime, we hope you will find some enjoyment on a local stream.  There are plenty of choices and the CT DEEP website has all the info.


Saturday, April 4, 2020


Connecticut DEEP announced the opening of all waters to trout fishing as of March 23, 2020.  A totally responsible and welcome announcement to prevent the traditional opening day madhouse. As of today, Rhode Island has made NO announcement.  The DEM Director's email response to mine is "they are considering options."  While "social distancing" is built in to our fly fishing DNA, the spectacle of the mob scene on traditional opening day is downright scary.

Most rivers and streams in CT have been stocked or will be by next week.  On a recent nice day, the Natchaug was empty of anglers EXCEPT for the Trout Park.  What appeared to be a very nice fall holdover rainbow liked a soft hackle hare's ear floated in the film in one of our usual areas. Trout were showing to stonefly nymphs and small caddis. Flow and level was perfect.

Best advice...STAY OUT of the Trout Park, frequented by spin and bait anglers in close proximity to each other, and find isolated water.  Not hard to do on the Natchaug OR the Shetucket, which was stocked in the last few days.  The Still River which feeds the Natchaug is another option; not many folks bother with this lovely stream.  See the link to CT Trout Stocking Maps. (left)

If you haven't tried a hand-tied leader, Chris Fave's many choices are superb for durability, stealth and turnover.  Add 2 or 3 feet of tippet; it's all about the DRAG FREE drift!

Another sure sign of SPRING!

The first ospreys are here!

PLEASE everyone, stay safe during this difficult time.  Find open water, avoid the easy access areas and look for rising fish...the quills and hendricksons should be showing any time now!

Best of health to everyone!


Friday, March 13, 2020

Pre-opening day trout report

As we approach Opening Day of the regular trout season, a reminder that several TMA's in eastern CT including the Willimantic and Moosup are open YEAR ROUND and have been recently stocked. The Yantic River yielded some very nice trout, mostly rainbows, on a recent warm day. Located just west of Norwich, mostly in the town of Lebanon, the Yantic features pocket water, runs and some very nice pools that will take some exploring.  Early little black stoneflies are present on warmer afternoons and the trout become active with their presence. There are 2 FLY FISHING ONLY sections, clearly marked.

The trout were on emergers and nymphs in the surface film and would take a fluttering natural on occasion and let many go on by; we've found the early stonefly hatch to be very unpredictable over the years, as the trout seem to be very selective in taking the naturals on top. A size 16 or 18 will do.


Of concern, the water level on the Yantic is currently at 105cfs.  For future reference the Natchaug is at 84.1cfs.  These are MID JUNE numbers and do not bode well for the early season.  Lack of snow, ground water and rain will have a major impact on our freestones this Spring.

For RI anglers and elsewhere, don't forget your CTDEEP license. A trout stamp is required in ALL TMA's as well. There are NO open trout waters in RI prior to April 13.

Check your fly lines, butt sections and leaders for nicks or weak spots.  Make sure your tippet isn't past its useful life...unbelievable the newer fly fishers we observe and work with who don't add tippet to their leader, or don't choose to add a stiff 2' or so mono butt section to the fly line.   USE THIS KNOT and get rid of loop-to-loop! No hinging, better turn-over.
We prefer hand-tied leaders as a matter of choice which are easy to rebuild and in our opinion straighten and turn over better.  If you don't tie your own leaders, see our new PRO STAFF partner:


 For the best in purchased flies be sure to visit our PRO STAFF partner at:


If we can help with a day or evening on the water or with casting tune-ups for newer anglers, give us a shout! We'll see you on the water!
Drag Free!
Tom & Everett