Northeast Fishing Report: 6/12/20 - The Compleat Angler

June 12, 2020

Greetings Compleat Anglers!

Well things are beginning to loosen up statewide. We are now open to foot traffic and as long as you wear your mask, you are more than welcome to come into the shop and browse. As always, stay safe. And again, thank you so much for your support and patronage.

We also understand that our fishing reports get a lot of you excited about going out to do some fly fishing. That is certainly one of our goals as well as providing you with broad strokes enabling you to make the most of those days on the water. However, with the current Covid situation across the country, please use the below information responsibly and take precautions in order to ensure the safety of everyone in the angling community.

On to the fishing!

New York

Freshwater

The Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Esopus, and Neversink are high. The rain we had on Wednesday night pushed these rivers way up. It was a good shot of much-needed rain however the next few days will be challenging fishing at best. I would say the weekend is likely a bust. However, these rivers go up fast and come down fast so depending on what happens Sunday and Monday with the rain, the fishing could be lights out this coming week. The Sulphurs are the main hatch at the moment. There are also caddis all over the place and the fish have been taking s18 tan and olive, providing targets all day. The dry fly fishing has been rock solid and providing some of the best fishing we will see all year. There are also Isos hatching as well as Cahills just beginning to show. BWOs are always a safe bet early and late and will often take fish when nothing else will. Terrestrials are also coming into play. Ants are taking their fair number of fish and a good beetle imitation will start to become more productive. All four rivers are clear, cold, and very easy to wade at the moment. Provided you find a good holding area, the fishing should be awesome. There are also some Coffin flies popping as well. They are showing up later in the afternoon and will become more frequent earlier on as the week progresses so definitely have some in the box. It is a veritable smorgasbord of insects right now making the dry fly fishing exciting, at times challenging, and definitely worth the drive.

Sulphurs, Sulphurs, Sulphurs! We are seeing Sulphurs on pretty much the entire East, West, and Upper Mainstem at the moment. There were also the infamous Green Drakes hatching last week but we may be at the tail end of that hatch right now. There have been Isos, Grey Foxes, as well as Coffin Flies. So as far as hatches go, things have been great! As always, have a wide variety of ties for each particular species. This is critical for this watershed. Emergers, cripples, duns, and spinners are all very important for these highly selective fish. 12 foot leaders and very accurate casting are all important elements to a successful day so make sure you are dialed in in both respects. Caddis are also coming off by the millions. Tan and olive caddis all in 16 and 18 are another very important fly to have at the moment. The fish will move off the big bugs and switch to caddis halfway through the day so be prepared for that. Before the spinners are coming off at dark the fish switch to dark BWOs in a size 16 and 18. The water has come up quite a bit but conditions are still looking ok for the Upper East and West. The rain will get those BWOs up in a big way so if you plan to fish this weekend be sure to have a few patterns and sizes to choose from. The Mainstem is getting quite warm so fishing the upper section is really the only viable option but with the water high at the moment the East and West are really the only two games in town.

Saltwater

All of Long Island is fishing well at this point! It seems like anywhere you go there are plenty of opportunities. Down on the Western End of Long Island the big Stripers have moved in thick. They will continue to work North so now is the time to get on ‘em! Up toward South Hampton there have been Gator Blues crushing topwater flies as well as Stripers all over the flats. On the Sound side, Gator Blues are hanging out in the middle pre-spawn. These fish can be quite finicky so a somewhat stealthy approach and presentation are key. There are schoolies everywhere. Back bays, channels, rock piles, and beaches are all seeing their fair share action. You really can’t miss right now. Really the key is moving around and locating the fish. Sandeels are the bait of choice so make sure you have some olive and white Clousers on hand.

Connecticut

Farmington River

We are getting some good hatches up on the Farmington at the moment. The lull after the Hendricksons is certainly over and the fish are up and rising. Sulphurs are the main hatch as far as numbers go and are the most prolific Mayfly at present. 16 and 18 are the sizes you will need, though there are also their larger cousins flying around as well so keep an eye out. Isos and the last few March Browns can be seen on any given day depending on where you are fishing. The Isos are well downstream but MBs will be up in the Catch and Release area. Don’t be surprised if you see a Cahill or two flying around as well. These hatches will occur later in the day with some of the best fishing being right before dark as the spinners fall. Be sure to have a few different styles of flies as well, particularly given the pressure on the Farmy. Having a unique pattern will often be the key to success.

No change to the nymphing stuff with the exception of adding Sulphur, Iso, and March Brown nymphs to the lineup. Cooler water temperatures are increasingly becoming the windows of opportunity. Early morning and late afternoon nymphing can be super effective and tight-line or indicator methods will all yield fish. The Farmington has become a tight-lining stronghold and this method will produce more fish than the indicator due to the amount of pressure this river gets. All bets are off with pattern selection as a result. Caddis, stoneflies, mayflies, worms, mops, sculpins, and midges are all on the table. Perdigones are taking a ton of fish and a core style for most tightliners. The Farmington has great diversity in terms of insect species so don’t be afraid to fish all manner of flies. What most anglers have indicated to us is that unique patterns often work the best. You need the right size and profiles to imitate a particular type of insect, sure, but often getting creative with colors and materials can be the difference between a few fish and a lot of fish. This is especially true when it comes to those trophy wild fish that everyone is after. A tan beadhead caddis is a staple up there and will produce a lot of fish. A large stone is notorious for fooling a large fish or two up in the fast water and using midges somewhere in the system are a must. You might be surprised how selective these fish will get. There will be days where a black beadhead Zebra Midge will be the only thing that gets bit, and often the top producer on others. Red midges are a good back up as well especially when the sun is high. Don’t discount those wet flies either. Swinging flies will yield good results especially early and late.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

As we’ve mentioned before, please be aware that thermal Refuges are now in effect for the Housatonic. As of June 1st no fishing of any kind is allowed near any stream flowing into the Housatonic. 100 foot exclusion zones are established to keep the fish alive through the warmer months. It is imperative that these exclusion zones are respected and left alone. That way we all have fish to catch this fall.

The Housey is getting pretty low. We are seeing fish beginning to seek out cooler water and a good shot of rain would be helpful right now. At this point we are recommending that anglers let these fish rest. The water temperatures are creeping up into the mid 70s meaning that these fish will be very stressed and to catch one of these fish will almost certainly end up killing it. For that reason, we advocate switching over to colder fisheries such as the Farmington. If you absolutely HAVE to fish this stream for trout, please do so during the morning and call it a day around 11am.

There is some good news on the Housy though, in that the smallmouth fishery is at its peak right now. The bite has picked up substantially and now is a great time to target these fish. Temperatures are good for these fish and a lot of Smallies have been caught by anglers targeting trout with streamers this past week. Any concerted effort to specifically target Smallmouth should pay off big. There is nothing fancy with Smallmouth as far as flies are concerned and any reasonable streamer should work. Clousers are a solid go-to fly in a size 1 or 2. Anything in that family will produce fish. As will Crawfish patterns.

The Pike fishing has remained solid too. The water temperatures are still good and the fishing should remain very good too great for the next few months. Plenty of fish are being taken on big streamer flies. Water levels are a bit low but this will concentrate fish into deeper holes with good ambush points making them uncharacteristically easier to find. Though don’t get too stationary, as covering water and switching flies often is still a good approach. Focus on fishing the deeper runs and holes. These fish will begin to seek out the coolest water that they can find and often a few degrees difference is all it takes to concentrate the fish.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

There are a bunch of big fish around right now! Finally! Our Hudson subpopulation is making its way through and some of the Chesapeake fish are here as well. The bunker have shown up and if you can locate schools of bait you have a good shot at these larger fish. As for the “inshore” fishing, the schoolies are everywhere. They are certainly on the beaches, rips, rocks, and harbors so almost anything goes when it comes to location. They can be sporadic and we are hearing that one day they can be all over the place and the next day gone. So keep spot checking locations and do not be afraid to try multiple spots on any given day. Overcast days are best and smaller flies in the size 1 range are perfect. We are also seeing schoolies feeding on bait in 40 feet of water all along the coast. Birds will be on these schools in the A.M. so listen for the Terns and fish the birds. If you find them it should be a double-digit day in the matter of hours. There are a ton of Sandeels around at the moment too so that should be the first pattern you throw. The Bluefish have moved in as well. There are Gators out in the middle but you may need to burn some fuel to find them. They are getting ready to spawn and are often found finning on the surface.



The Falling tide is always the top producer for shore-based anglers but don’t abandon the rising altogether. This goes for you boat anglers as well. As long as you have moving water you should have actively feeding fish provided the area you are fishing is holding some. In the week to come as larger migratory fish move into the area it is advantageous to begin probing areas now. Find out where bait is holding, where you are marking fish, and begin tying flies. These scouting missions pay huge dividends over the next stretch. 

Rhode Island

The Saltwater fishing in Rhode Island is picking up in a big way! The big news is the Cinder Worm hatch that is happening right now! They have been consistently coming out all week in the afternoons and into night, and the fly anglers have been taking full advantage. They can be fickle but we are hearing that they have been very consistent back in the salt ponds. Fly anglers are also getting into plenty of fish right off the beaches too. East Beach and the surrounding area has had Stripers and Harbor Blues on a regular basis making for some awesome fishing. Granted most the Stripers are Schoolie sized but they have been plentiful and double-digit days are common. It has been an early morning late afternoon bite just like everywhere else. By 10am the fishing has been dying off and picking back up around 6pm. So, keep that in mind. We have not heard much about larger bass just yet but they should arrive any day now. There are reports of some larger fish coming in from Connecticut. Big Bass are starting to move in and expect the next few weeks to be outstanding in terms of Large Stripers. The Gator Blues have moved in as well. They are well offshore for the most part however, but at least a few anglers have found them in tight.

Massachusetts

Squid baby! The Squid bite on the rips has been great recently. Lots of fish are being taken on tan and white squid patterns up to 8 inches long. If you get into the squid bite, expect larger fish. Fish up to 30 pounds are not unheard of! As such, a 10 to 12wt is recommended and a full sinking line is key. If you are able to get down to the fish it is game on! There are also some very large Bluefish around as well. They have been annihilating poppers when anglers have run into them and they are not picky at all as long as the fly is large enough. Many anglers are teasing them in with large hookless plugs and then throwing the fly when they get close. This is a great way to search for fish as opposed to blind casting all day with a 10wt.

Martha’s Vineyard is fishing phenomenally well. Plenty of Bass and Blues are being had by all. The mornings have been great for throwing poppers and the beaches are providing action all day. There are Harbor Blues, schoolie Stripers, and larger Stripers all over the place. There are also Gators cruising around in deeper water as well so things are looking great! The most prevalent bait are Sandeels so be sure to have plenty of these in your fly box. An olive and white Clouser will do the trick. If you fish on the Vineyard early morning and late afternoon, you can’t miss! The Squid run is still going strong. Again, full sinking lines are a must.


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