Northeast Fishing Report: 4/30/20 - The Compleat Angler

April 29, 2020

Greetings Compleat Anglers! Statewide closures of businesses are still in effect, but just a reminder: we can take orders over the phone (or web) and ship directly to you. If you need something in a hurry (and are local) we will also have curbside pick-up available. Just give us a call, let us know what you need, and by the time you get here it will be bagged up and ready for you and we will bring it right out to your car. As always we appreciate your business.

Lastly, a quick note about traveling to fish. Hardly a day (hour?) goes by that we aren’t thinking about or impacted by COVID and fishing is certainly a great way to relax and de-stress from all of it. In fact, that’s part of what motivates us to provide these reports for you, to help get out on the water and make the most of your time and those precious days off. That said, if there was ever a time to be conscientious, this is it. As you’re likely aware, many state governments are discouraging interstate travel of any kind and some are even enforcing it with closures and issuing fines. So, please make sure to use the information below responsibly. That means fishing locally and limiting your travel. The fish will still be there when this whole thing passes but risking your life and the lives of others for a few fish just isn’t worth it. If you must travel, do so with the utmost care. Use disposable gloves and hand sanitizer if you stop for gas or food. Always wear your mask in and around public spaces, and keep plenty of distance between you and other anglers. Even if you are not personally at great risk, that does not mean the others around you aren’t and you could be spreading Covid without showing any symptoms. We have many fellow anglers, friends, and family members who are at high risk so please be mindful of others. We’re all in this together.

Now, on to the fishing...

New York

Freshwater

New York trout streams are fishing very well right now. However, as we wrote last week, things are a bit complicated in New York State and that continues still. As a recap, the Governor has urged non-locals to refrain from fishing popular areas such as the Catskills and the Salmon River. Apparently, local law enforcement as well as NYDEC have been discouraging anglers from accessing popular fishing spots. Now, this is all shop talk but be aware that if you are traveling into the state, fishing may be restricted.



New York tailwaters are fishing very well at the moment. Large trout are being taken primarily by nymphing and these fish have been getting a ton of pressure so stealthy presentations are key. Many of these streams have been stocked quite heavily but the amount of pressure has resulted in very educated fish. Be sure to fish midges at this point too, either as your primary fly or as a trailer. Do not be afraid to move around and find some new water. The well-known spots and holes will get hammered most often. Moving away from the crowds and finding less pressured water can make a huge difference.

The Catskills continue to improve. The Beaverkill and the Willowemoc are fishing quite well. However, rain over the past few weeks has made things quite challenging. Cold fronts and high water have snuffed the hatches a bit and kept fish activity to a minimum. On the colder and cloudier days we are seeing high water temps in the mid-forties and sometimes lower. That has kept the fish hunkered down and fishing tough. Both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc are getting up to 48 degrees during the warmer sunny days and should break 50 if we get some good weather. On the bright side, the Hendricksons have begun to show. It is still a bit early in the hatch but they have certainly started. The next few weeks will continue to see an increasing hatch provided the weather continues to trend warmer. If you do decide to fish these rivers be sure to have Hendrickson dries, emergers, nymphs, and spinners just to be on the safe side. Nymphing will be productive in the morning but it is definitely dry fly time when the conditions allow!

The Delaware system is much the same. Some anglers have ventured out and caught fish on both nymphs and streamers. As far as hatches go, anglers are seeing quite a few Quill Gordons and Paraleps with the occasional fish rising on them. There are also a good number of BWOs and midges on any given day. Expect to see caddis too but keep in mind that few fish are coming up on these bugs. The Hendricksons are just starting to poke their heads out, as they are elsewhere across the Northeast. A few bugs are popping on the main stem and lower East and West. It is not a definitive hatch just yet but it is certainly close. Reports are mixed as it is still a bit early for this system but there are certainly fish to be caught. With a good shot of rain on the way, expect high water and marginal conditions at best.

Saltwater

The Striper fishing along the coast of New York is still going strong. We are now in the heart of the Spring Striper run. The larger fish continue to move in as they prepare to spawn. Nighttime surfcasters are getting into some very big fish and while fly anglers are not catching as many, we are hearing that some very big fish have been taken on the fly recently. Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic side of Long Island are great places to get on some early season Stripers. Turtle Cove continues to produce with lots of fish in tight and feeding. While not as concentrated as they are around the mouth of the Hudson, they are certainly there and will hit a wide variety of flies. If you are fishing from a boat be sure to have a full sinking line and a weighted fly. Getting down to the fish is as important as fishing during the right tide. Far too often anglers are simply not getting down deep enough. If you are fishing from shore then an intermediate line is plenty but a weighted fly is always advantageous.

(thanks to Hunter Huebsch @organicfly for the shot above)

These fish will not be that picky this early in the season so almost any fly will work. A standard issue Clouser Minnow in a wide variety of colors is just the ticket, and if you also have a few sizes to choose from you should be in business. It seems like Long Island is where most of the fly fishing action is, and for good reason. It is more accessible, easier to fish, and much nicer to look at. Rockaway Point (Breezy Point) on the Western end of Long Island has been fishing very well. Rockaway Park just to the East and the adjacent Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge has seen quite a few fish being taken when conditions allow. This whole area is right in the path of the larger fish entering the Hudson to spawn as well as the smaller wintering fish that are leaving to feed. So, if there was one place to fish on Long Island, this would be it. Silver Point on East Rockaway Inlet is another good option as is Rockaway Beach itself.

Connecticut

Freshwater

Well, we got a bead on a few Tiger Trout. It seems that the upper Naugatuck has been stocked with Tigers last week and a few guys we have talked to have brought a few to hand. The DEEP is still keeping Tiger stockings a “secret” to keep anglers away from each other so if you do venture out to the Naugatuck, please remember to keep your distance from other anglers.
It seems like most Tiger stockings have been in ponds and lakes. Not great for us fly anglers but there are numerous rivers that have gotten them too so keep an eye out and do some exploring.

There are no significant changes to last week’s report. The smaller stockie streams should hold out for the next month or so. If you are in Fairfield County the fishing has been tough locally. If you want to get on some fresh fish then the Pomperaug River in Southbury/Woodbury as well as the Mill River in Hamden are the closest rivers to choose from. These rivers got fish late last week so the fishing should be quite good depending on the spin-fishing pressure. After that the options are the Farmington, Hammonasset, and the Naugatuck in terms of closer stocked streams. There are plenty of streams that have been stocked within the month including a few that are out of the way. So now is a great time to explore and check out some new water as the crowds continue to build with this warmer weather we’re having. Here is a link to the latest info on stocking in the state.

https://ctdeep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=70d13bc033854b89a87c04b1d11b1a43


Farmington River

There is no significant change on the Farmington from last week. The heavily stocked areas are providing plenty of action to those who seek them out. This river gets more fish than any other stream in the state so the action has been quite good recently. These stockies are typically quite accommodating and will take a wide variety of flies. Hendrikson and Stonefly nymphs are the go-to flies right now.

The Hendrickson’s have really begun to show. Although the hatch was dampened by cold weather and rain earlier this past weekend/week, Sunday looks awesome! The fish were up and rising on the Hendies this past Tuesday signaling the beginning of dry fly season that so many anglers wait for.

The Hendrickson hatch has also moved up well into the Catch and Release area. Down toward Collinsville should be the strongest hatch due to the warmer water but make no mistake, the hatch is also upstream at this point. When the hatch is in full swing it will take place around 12pm. It is occurring a bit later at the moment (a strong push around 2) but depending on what day you go, it is good practice to be where you want to fish around 11am. Before the bugs come off consider fishing a Hendrickson nymph in a size 12 or 14. A wide variety of patterns will work such as a pheasant tail or even a dark hare’s ear. That should yield some fish and bide your time as you wait for the flies to come off. As the hatch begins it is a good idea to fish emergers or wet flies. Even though the fish may look like they are taking bugs off the top, they will most likely be taking the emerging Hendricksons. Once the hatch is in full swing, switching to Duns will be advantageous. The upright wings are a dead giveaway. At the tail end of the hatch late in the afternoon switch to a spinner and you should be right back on the fish. So get those flies ready and remember to bring dries, emergers, wets, and nymphs. This variety will ensure a fun and productive day on the water. Water temperatures are peaking just shy of 50 degrees with a low of 44. Later in the day is when the fish will be most active so consider concentrating your efforts from 12pm onward. Although the mornings can be productive, especially with the stocked fish, later in the afternoons will be when they are most actively feeding. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000 

Housatonic River

Well things are warming up and the Housatonic should fish well if we ever get some decent water flows. We are still waiting for water levels that are safe and conducive for fishing on the Housatonic. That sweet spot of 700 CFS is highly unlikely in the next few days with the recent rain we had this week. If we get a nice window sometime soon then the trout fishing should be quite good.

The Hendrickson hatch is happening right now. The high water and colder weather has snuffed the hatch a bit but on the warmer days they are definitely popping. For that reason, a Hendrickson nymph is a great option if you decide to do some nymphing. Bigger stoneflies are not a bad idea as well. If you have access to a drift boat then flows are pretty good at the moment. Banging the banks with streamers will certainly yield a few fish as will deep nymphing. But have those dry flies ready. On a warm, sunny day you will certainly see a good number of Hendricksons and the hatch will build as the weeks pass.

It is still a bit early for Smallmouth so not much information on that fishery just yet. We have heard of a few anglers catching a fish or two. This weekend should see the activity spike a bit with Sunday being in the 60s. The Pike are off the Spawn and will begin to feed aggressively. Now is a great time to chase these fish.

Pogo Pike Report

Mother Nature is not being too friendly with all the rain, however while the flows are on the higher side they are still fishable, and water temps are going to climb in the coming days as air temps starts to stabilize this weekend. We will see how much rain Friday brings. In some, the trout are active, the pike are post-spawn with conditions looking better every day, and the smallmouth are showing up daily and will be feeding heavily leading up to their spawn in a another two weeks.

For daily updates check out my IG: Pogo_Pike or website: www.PogoPike.com

 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The Striped Bass fishing continues to impress. The rivermouths are still producing fish on the right day but it seems as though things are slowing quite a bit in these locations. Large crowds have also been a bit of an issue. At this point, it will be more advantageous to spread out and fish bays, structure, and beaches. Most of the fish that have wintered over seem to have left the rivers and have moved out in search of food. As such, areas like Penfield Reef should be fishing well right about now. The larger fish are post-spawn at this point and have vacated these riparian areas as well. In the Western part of the state some very nice fish are being caught on structure during the falling tide by those anglers willing to fish later in the afternoon into dark. These anglers seem to be intercepting the larger fish as they make their way toward the spawning grounds. But for Connecticut as a whole, we are in a bit of holding pattern at the moment. Larger fish are spawning and it’s going to be a schoolie fishery for the next month or so, not there is anything wrong with that! There will be plenty of fish around and lots of action when conditions are right. It’s probably safe to put those 10wts away and grab an 8 or a 9.

(thanks to Hunter Huebsch @organicfly for the shot above)

Nothing has changed as far as fly selection goes. Clouser Minnows in a size 1/0 have been extremely effective and to be honest that is really the only fly you need for the time being. We recommend a few color options, with something natural and something bright for differences in turbidity. That should be just about all you need. Deceivers will work as well but more often than not, a weighted fly will out fish an unweighted one. Getting down deep enough is the key. An intermediate sinking line with a weighted fly seems to be the sweet spot. Colors we recommend are Olive/White and Chartreuse and White. However, you will find these fish to be quite aggressive toward many patterns and colors. The key is getting the fly out far enough and deep enough.

The Falling tide is always the top producer for shore-based anglers but that does not mean the rising won’t produce as well. Really, as long as you have moving water you should have actively feeding fish provided the area you are fishing is holding fish. This time of the year I tend to downsize my flies and leader. With the odds of hooking a bigger fish greatly diminished (unless I specifically target them) I will drop down to 15lb Fluorocarbon and a size 1 or 2 Clouser, especially if the water is very clear. They can get a little leader shy right around now and a more subtle presentation is often the key to success. Now, if you get to a spot and are hooking larger fish over 26”, swap out that 15 for 20 and try a larger fly. Every so often a good push of late fish will show up and you could get lucky with a big one.

 

 


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