First 2017 Fishing Report – Opening Day Rivers - The Compleat Angler

April 08, 2017

Greetings Compleat Anglers!  Another Opening Day has arrived in Connecticut (New York Was April 1st and New Jersey is today as well.) Here is the first Fishing Report of the season – and there is good news and bad news!

The good news is that abundant rain/snow over the past couple of months has brought an end to the severe drought conditions in the Catskills and here in Connecticut as well. The Catskill reservoires (Cannonsville on the Delaware West Branch and Pepacton on the East Branch are in the 90+ percent area and are spilling.  So this bodes for tremendous water conditions this spring and summer and great fishing.  The bad news is that, for the moment, rivers are extremely high and cold, and since  Thursday, fishing is slow or non-existent. Here’s a rundown of the flows, bugs, and general aquatic life in our Connecticut and Catskill rivers:

Delaware River System:   All rivers are high – dangerously high for wading and too high at the moment even to float. However, all Catskill rivers are dropping and should be in spectacular form by this coming mid-week.  Here’s the flow and bug info:

Delaware Main Stem at Lordville:  16,900 cfs and temps in the 40’s.  A huge flow and impossible to wade or float. Look for flows mid-week of 3000-5000 to float and 1200-2400 to wade.  Streamers will be very effective as levels drop and temps rise. Look for little black stoneflies and perhaps a caddis or two, as well as midges, and you may find a head or two break the surface. Nymphs fished deep in the slower sections and eddies in runs should produce as well. Streamers and big weighted stoneflies are a good bet, along with pheasant tails, caddis, and even a Hendrickson nymph drifted deep.

West Branch Delaware at Hale Eddy:  6,330 and temps in the low 40’s.  Dangerous to wade, but as it drops floating should be superb. Cannonsville Dam is spilling and that means alwives in the river – so streamers should be deadly and there’s always a chance of whacking a big hog.  This coming week conditions should improve day by day.  You can also drift nymphs – stoneflies, pheasant tails, caddis pupa, and even some Hendrickson nymphs should be effective. Fish them deep and slow – with water temps in the 40’s the fish aren’t in a mood to move much.

East Branch Delaware at Fishes Eddy:  7430 and temps in the l0ow 40’s.  As the East Branch drops fishing should steadily improve. Floating is optimum at 500-3000cfs and the river is nicely wadeable at up to 2000cfs.  Streamers should be the ticket over the next week, and don’t forget to drift/swing big weighted stoneflies in some of the deeper runs – those EB Browns and ‘Bows love stoneflies and early in the season walking along the rockier, riffier sections the stones along the banks are littered with thousands of Stonefly shucks.  In the afternoons keep an eye out for a beak or two ruffling the surface – perhaps sucking down midges, or little black stoneflies.

The Beaverkill:  Running high and cold but dropping. Nymphs (even some big, weighted Stoneflies) fished deep in the runs and eddies could produce fish. The upper sections of river will drop and clear first so are a better bet early-on. Conditions should be close to spectacular by later in the coming week!

Connecticut Rivers:   Rivers are high and cold, but many (especially the smaller streams) are nicely fishable with good clarity. Here’s the flow story:

Farmington West Branch at Riverton:  211 cfs and in the low 40’s. This section is nicely wadeable now and nymphs should be very effective, along with some early-season “junk” flies such as San Juan Worms, Green Weenies, and egg patterns, as well as big stoneflies fished in the deeper runs. Caddis Pupa and larva, pheasant tails, Copper Johns, and Princes are good bets, and look for midges on top in the early to mid-afternoon – there should be a few fish on them. Below Riverton, the Still Riveris pushing 671 cfs into the Farmington, which bring the flow through through the TMA to 882 – difficult wading unless you know the river well. But in a day or two, as the flow subsides, fishing should heat up along with the water – look for the next ten days to be increasingly good.

Housatonic at Falls Village:  4,910 and in the 40’s.  The river is high and colored – not wadeable at the moment and not very productive as well. However, over the couple of days as the river falls and clears, fishing should pick up. Nymphs, egg patterns, and streamers all should produce nicely.

Mill River at Fairfield:  90.9cfs – a great little river with a lovely wild trout population, the Mill is a good bet to pick up some early-season fish on nymphs. Try some small Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Princes and even drift and retrieve a Wooly Bugger – you never know!  A nice alternative while the bigger rivers are still too high to wade.

Saugatuck River near Westport:   362cfs through the TMA.  Running very high but still fishable – try drifting some small weighted stoneflies, pheasant tails, Copper Johns, or Princes along the bottom, as well as scuds, egg patterns or even a San Juan worm or two.  And look for small, black or brown stoneflies in the mid-afternoons which could bring up a few nice fish.

Norwalk River at South Wilton:  196cfs.  High and nicely fishable! A nice option for picking up a few nice fish. nymphs, scuds, San Juan worms, and egg patterns all should score nicely. And keep your eye out for small black or brown stoneflies in the mid-aftermnoons.

If you’re interested in fishing any of the above water, and need more information, directions, guide/float information, fly/bug information or any equipment, stop by the shop and we’ll be glad to hook you up with whatever you need!


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