November 15, 2019

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The striper fishing has been great, with anglers getting into plenty of fishing throughout Long Island Sound. As long as you're willing to layer up, that is! Trout fishing is starting to settle into it's off-season pattern, with small windows during the day when the fish perk up thanks to warmer temps. It's not gangbusters but still an option. And lastly, the steelhead action in upstate New York is kicking into gear and we've heard strong reports from folks who have recently made the trek. Read on for the details!

New York

Freshwater

Inland fishing in New York State is all about Steelhead and Lake Run Browns. Erie and Ontario tribs are fishing well right now. With the debauchery of the Salmon runs over, many fly anglers from all over the Eastern Seaboard are venturing North in hopes of tying into fresh Steelhead and monster-sized Browns. The multitude of rivers off Erie and Ontario each have their own rhythms and idiosyncrasies in terms of quality fishing. For the most part, however, the general consensus is that the fishing is very good right now. Despite ten inches of snow on the ground, the water levels are good and the fish are feeding. And from what we have seen, there are plenty of fish in the rivers at this point. Erie in particular is having a phenomenal year. The Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Eighteen Mile Creek are all experiencing a lot of fish and some really big ones as well. The Ontario fisheries are holding strong but a bit off from last year, at least thus far. We are hearing that there are not as many fish around and fewer larger ones. Many of the Ontario rivers such as the Salmon River did not have a great Salmon run and it seems like Steelhead is shaping up that way as well. Not to worry though, as it is early in the season. What the Salmon river and other Ontario tributaries are seeing is a lot of really nice Browns. It seems like the Atlantics are a bit more numerous this year as well (though still comparatively rare). All in all, it is shaping up to be a good year and fish are certainly not as scarce as they can be in some years. The fishing for Browns will taper off substantially in the coming months but the Steelhead fishing should remain good for the entire winter.

Saltwater

The Striper fishing continues to be outstanding. Blitzing fish can be found all along the coast right now. The South Shore and the Long Island Sound side are both fishing very well. Anglers have been finding fish right against shore feeding on Peanuts. This has been great for shore-based anglers. The fishing is about as good as it gets. Around Montauk point it is the same story with high concentrations of bait and Stripers. The blitzes have often been huge and could be just offshore or right against the beaches. The birds will often tip you off to where most of the activity is concentrated, so keep an eye peeled. There may not be birds on every school of fish however. The bigger Bass have definitely moved in and some anglers are catching them on the fly. It is very much an early morning and late afternoon bite when it comes to larger bass. The smaller fish will typically feed whenever the tide is good and the bait is moving. The big Blues are here as well. Although they are becoming a bit more sporadic as they move South, you could certainly run into fish right now over 10 pounds. Double digit size class fish are moving in and can be easily caught on a fly at this point. They will be gorging on Bunker so look for surface activity and you should have no problem hooking a few of these Gator Blues. It’s all happening and fishing should be lights out for the next few weeks if you are willing to layer up.

Connecticut 

Freshwater

Well, it was inevitable. The Stockie streams have slowed substantially. Whether it is because a lot of poaching has occurred or because the fish are extremely educated, expect to work harder for bites. I would suspect it is a combination of both. There are still fish to be caught but they have moved from the typical spots. What I found over the weekend was that many fish were in the fringe water, with little pockets and runs are holding more fish than you would think. If you can pick apart the stream and leave no pocket unfished you could have a great day. The deeper runs and typical holes yielded little. Small flies and very deliberate presentations are key. These fish are very weary and keeping the flies subtle with a light tippet will increase your chances of hooking up. The early morning bite has been tough, to say the least. The colder nights are cooling off the water and the fish are lethargic as a result. As the sun warms the water things begin to start happening. From 1pm to 4pm seems to be when the fish are most active. I even saw some fish rising later in the afternoon. If you plan on fishing this weekend be sure to have 6x tippet and small nymphs. They will be the most productive flies by far.

Farmington

The Farmington is continuing to fish well. Not much of a change in the report from last week. Fish are being taken on a regular basis on both streamers and nymphs. The dry fly fishing is few and far between although on the warmer days you could see fish coming up fairly regularly. It is certainly not a numbers game at this point. Many anglers headed up there this time of the year are swinging for the fences and trying to stick a larger fish on bigger flies. Reports have been that the fishing is slightly slow yet consistent. Most anglers are getting a handful of fish with a bigger brown mixed in every now and then. From now until Thanksgiving we’ll have the last few weeks of decent fishing. After that things really shut down as winter sets in. So, if you are thinking about getting in some late season fishing, there is no time like the present. Later in the afternoons when the water will be the warmest is when most of the fish are being caught. No need to get on the water early. Later in the day is perfect. Nymphing remains the best chance in terms of catching numbers, if that’s your goal. Decreasing pressure almost guarantees being able to get a good spot and being able to work unimpeded by other anglers (not always the case on this river). For that reason it may be worth a drive up. If we get an abnormally warm day keep an eye out for caddis, BWOs and midges as well. Friday will be in the 50s and we could see a good hatch pop off.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic

The Housey is slowly becoming less and less productive. For trout, anyway. Reports from the water indicate tough fishing and few fish brought to hand. There is little to no dry fly activity so streamers and nymphs have been the name of the game. The water has also been a bit high for wading. Anglers with drift boats have been getting out and doing fairly well but nothing outstanding. The fishing is not like it was 3 weeks ago, that’s for sure. If you plan on getting out there, please be careful wading. Focus on the heavily stocked sections for the best chances of success. Smaller flies have been effective and small caddis and midge nymphs are par for the course this time of year. Also, be sure to use split shot to get down. An egg, scud or some other attractor pattern are good options up top if you are going to run a tandem rig. As far as streamers are concerned, a Zoo Cougar, D&D, or anything along those lines should take some fish. Sink tips are advisable. The Smallmouth fishing has tailed off a bit as well. There are still plenty of active fish but it is becoming harder to entice them. Fishing slightly deeper and slower should prove fruitful if you are in an area where the fish are stacked up. The saving grace has been Northern Pike fishing. The water temps are great for Pike and some nice fish have been taken recently. As always with Pike, you need to cover water but the fish certainly have the feed bags on. They are annihilating the stocked trout so consider throwing a fly that at least has the same coloration (although it probably does not matter much).

Our friend Pogo Pike also sent us the following report:

The Housatonic has settled perfectly. The clarity is excellent and flows are perfect. Water temps are around 40 degrees but about to drop with this next cold snap.

Pike are still fishing well. I was out with some friends Monday and we boated 3 nice November Pike on the fly. Next week is supposed to warm up a bit, so this weekend and next week should make for some good fishing!

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The Striper fishing has only gotten better. We had reports from all along the Connecticut coast of Blitzing Bass on both sides of the tide. Some very nice fish have been caught on the fly recently as well. The Fall Run is in full swing and despite the colder temperatures, the fishing has been great for those brave enough to get out there. The rising tide has been productive but it seems like the falling tide has been really getting those fish up and feeding. At this point, time of day is somewhat meaningless. The larger Bass will still have an affinity for lower light but with shorter days and lower light in general, larger fish are much more susceptible later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon. The bigger fish are beginning to creep in and some of those big breeding females have been caught. The Peanut and adult Bunker are everywhere. They are really moving now and so are the gamefish. They could be anywhere at this point, in shallow or out deep. If you see any surface activity it could be Bass, Harbor Blues, or larger Gators. It is worth running over to any bird activity and checking it out as you never know what is below it this time of year. Shore-based anglers have been catching a bunch of Stripers pretty much everywhere you can legally fish so it is time to get out there! If your boat is still in the water then we highly recommend fishing until the end of the month. The mouth of the Housatonic has proven a great spot recently, a lot of Bass are being caught in and around there. If you are fishing from shore it will be one of the more productive locations. As far as flies go, any Bunker pattern will get hit. Stripers are not selective this time of year and almost any baitfish fly will work. If you don’t have a Bunker specific pattern (as unlikely as that may be) then a standard issue Clouser will do the job. That being said, matching your fly to the bait will get more aggressive strikes and could yield some bigger fish. Poppers have been very effective as well, often outproducing subsurface flies. A Gurgler or Banger is all you need. The tides will be great this weekend so it will be a great time to get some late season fishing in. For those willing to brave the cold it should be well worth the time and effort. 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is fishing well right now and it is common to find fish blitzing on the beaches. Stripers are all over the place and some really nice fish are being caught as well. Fish up to 28 inches are common but the size is subsiding as the fish make their way South. Most of the fish are schoolie sized and perfect for fly anglers. Stripers larger than 28 have been caught as well. Granted not many by fly anglers, but they still are a real possibility at the moment. The big Blues have also shown up but are starting to fade away. On any given day, they could still pop up so make sure you have some big and durable flies as well as some wire. There are signs that things are beginning to slow down. We are approaching the tail end for the Fall Run in the northernmost states so this weekend maybe a good time to get some of your last fishing in. There will be fish around for the next month or so but it will become more and more inconsistent as the days pass. The fish are keyed in on Peanut Bunker so anything that imitates that bait is a great option. You can get away with a slightly bigger fly as well. The Stripers don’t seem to be too selective. Rainys makes a fly called the Bush Pig that seems to get hit a bit more aggressively so if you are struggling to figure out what to throw, give that fly a gander. But honestly, a standard issue Clouser will get smoked as well. The fishing should hold for the next 2 weeks or so. So get out there! The tides are great this weekend.

Massachusetts  

Saltwater (Cape Cod & The Islands)

Not hearing much from the Cape. The fish are certainly around but most of the wash-a-shores that fish the Cape when the weather's nice have long since left. The Stripers will hold until Thanksgiving and expect to have decent fishing for the next few weeks at least. It seems like the big girls have moved out of this area already. There will be a few scattered exceptions but for the most part it will be smaller schoolie sized resident fish. The bigger Blues have moved away from the Cape (again with some exceptions) and really at this point, it all about the Stripers. As elsewhere across the Northeast the fish are keyed in on Bunks. Any smaller baitfish fly will get bit.


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