Northeast Fishing Report: 8/13/20 - The Compleat Angler

August 13, 2020

Greetings Compleat Anglers! After a hiatus last week (I was out West chasing wild cuthroat trout) we are back with the latest word on fishing in our area. The hot low conditions have put a damper on the trout fishing for the most part. It's a good time of year to give the trout a rest and let them make it through to the fall so that we all have great fishing when the thermometer finally drops. Fill those fly boxes in the meantime! The storm last week shook up the saltwater action and we will have to see this weekend how things settle in again. The fishing has still been pretty good, given the conditions, and we are keeping a weather eye out for bonito, which should be in the offing. Read on for the details!

New York

Freshwater

The Beaverkill and Willowemoc are too warm to fish at this point. The trout are lethargic and trying to survive the Summer. Please fish elsewhere.

The Delaware has been challenging to say the least. Increased flows in response to the storm had many anglers throwing streamers and doing quite well. As expected, flows have stabilized and we are back to dry fly-conducive conditions. Hatches remain relatively unchanged. Sulphurs mid-day have been a sure thing in the West and Upper East. Caddis are becoming a bit more prevalent after a good 2-week lull. There are still some Cahills and Isos coming off later in the afternoon/evening. Caddis, Sulphurs, and BWOs are the primary flies to have and make sure your presentations are perfect as these fish are educated. That’s about it for the waterborne insects. As far as terrestrials go, ants and beetles are taking fish as well. Black and cinnamon ants in both flying and non-flying patterns have been productive when nothing else seems to work. The same can be said for beetles. Every now and then, a beetle will take a fish that is refusing everything else.

Saltwater

The Long Island side of things has been slow no doubt about it. The storm has made things interesting and it is tough to say how the fishing will be in the next week. I would expect it to be pretty good once the water clarity improves. Block Island has been the go-to spot for larger Stripers and it is no secret. There have been a ton of anglers out there and it’s been tough to get on unpressured fish.

Gator Blues have been in the mix off Montauk and although they are not everywhere, they can be found with a concerted effort. Schoolies are prevalent and although it has slowed recently due to the storm, expect things to pick right back up along the beaches, rock piles, and rips. Larger Bass continue to pop up around the lighthouse and adjacent areas. They can be teased up with hookless poppers and tricked into taking a larger baitfish fly. As is the case with the rest of the Northeast early mornings and late evenings will be your windows of opportunity. It is not the easiest fishing at the moment but there are still plenty of opportunities if you are willing to put the time in.

Connecticut

Farmington River

After the storm last week, the water on the Farmington dropped and is quite low. As of Wednesday the 12th, the CFS out of the dam was 154 and 21 out of the Still for a combined flow of 175. Ouch. The Still got a little bump of about 8cfs Tuesday night but it wasn’t much of a factor. However, that does not mean you cannot fish the Farmington. It does mean you will need to move around quite a bit and find good holding water. A lot of the nicer fish that have been holding in the faster riffles and feeding will be forced out into the deeper holes. Water this low will limit your options and consolidate angling pressure. But the water is nice and cold and the fishing should hold provided it does not drop even further. The hatches have been dwindling, typical for this time of year. BWOs and Caddis are a safe bet and smaller sizes in both these bugs are where you should start, 20s on the BWOs and 18s on the Caddis. If you don’t get any fish on those sizes then drop down. The Trico hatch has been strong lately and many anglers have dropped down to 7x to fish these flies. Terrestrials have been the go-to strategy for most dry fly anglers. Ant, beetle or hopper style flies have been taking a good number of fish. These are also big enough to hold up a decent-sized nymph so try a dry dropper if you are fishing terrestrials. That technique can be deadly in the dog days of summer. Swinging Wets has been producing as well. With the water so low, you will be somewhat limited in where to swing but there are certainly a few runs that will hold really nice fish just waiting to suck down a soft hackle. If you want to have some fun and do something different, now is a great time to go mousing. More and more anglers are doing this and it is a surefire way to get into some of the nicer fish on that Farmington. Many of these larger fish are tough to fool on anything else and often feed primarily at night so a mouse can be deadly. Tight-lining will continue to produce but downsize your flies significantly. Especially in lower water, subtle presentations are key. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

Be aware. 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 within the TMA. 100-foot exclusion zones are established to keep the fish alive through the warmer months. These exclusion zones must be respected and left alone. That way we all have fish to catch this Fall.

The water is too warm to ethically trout fish on the Housy so please respect that these fish are trying to survive the Summer.

A good bump of water last week during the storm saw some great Smallmouth action mid-week and an uptick in Pike activity. As the water falls expect things to get a bit harder and the bite to slow a bit. The water is getting pretty warm and the fishing has been on the challenging side. If you have the right lines and flies you can still do well on the Smallies but be mindful that these fish will typically shut down mid-day if the sun is high. Early morning and late afternoon is when you want to focus on the Smallmouth and Pike. If you get an overcast day that is on the cooler side you can expect the bite to stay steady all day. It seems that the lower sections of the Housey below the TMA is where the majority of the larger Smallies are holding. However, the whole river will hold fish. They tend to hold toward the back of holes around rocks and logs so look for areas like that and you should find a few players.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

In Connecticut, the farther East you go the better the fishing will be. Out toward the Thimble Islands, Fisher’s Island, and Race the fishing remains consistent. The early morning bite has been decent with schoolie Stripers and harbor Blues. There are tons of bait around, the majority being Bunker. Early and late the surface activity has been scattered but if you run around enough you will most likely find something on the surface. There are few reports of larger fish being caught and the majority of those are being taken by bait guys fishing deep (and that doesn’t count!). There are still some larger fish showing in tight but expect to cover a lot of water for your opportunities. On the Western end, it has been slow but it seems as though we had a bit of an uptick after the storm. There have been a few fish up top in the mornings and evenings. A few of our anglers got into some bigger Bass on topwater flies later in the week down on the Western End. There are also a good number of Bluefish around. They are primarily harbor Blues but they are a blast on an 8wt. Even the schoolie Stripers have proven difficult to locate at times but they are out there. Most of the fish will be congregating in deeper and cooler water so if you do plan on going out there, fish full-sinking lines (intermediate lines are the minimum) and cover water that has good structure and on the colder side.

Rhode Island

As with the rest of the Northeast, the storm last week put the fish down and the fishing has been tough of late. Once the water calms down and clears up hopefully it will go right back to normal. Off of East Beach expect to find Blues and Schoolie Stripers in and among the Surf. Typically early in the morning and late in the afternoon is when you will see some surface activity and birds working schools of bait. There have been some larger Gators around as well but they seem to be in deeper water at this point. There are also some bigger Stripers around though most reports are coming from Block as most anglers are deciding to run out there and fish structure. Point Judith Light has been holding some nicer Striped Bass on the right day and it is a good spot to check if you are fishing from a boat. The back side of the lighthouse traps bait and fish will stack up there waiting to ambush any bait that turns that corner. There are still large Stripers around on the Eastern End of Rhode Island as well. Many will hold there for the Summer so early morning and late afternoon missions to target these larger Bass should prove productive. They are seeing larger Bass on schools of Bunker as well as structure so pick your poison. Big plugs used to tease fish up to the surface should allow anglers to present a large fly to these fish with good success. Larger Bunker flies are the pattern of choice. Hollow and Beast flies will also work.

Massachusetts

Cape Cod

The Rips off of Monomoy have been the go-to spot for both Stripers and Blues. Once things settle back down expect the action to heat right back up. The beaches have been producing some great schoolie action early and late with some Bluefish in the mix. Nobody was fishing during the storm so reports are spotty at best. But it should pick right back up any day now. It will be interesting to see what this storm has in store for the Hardtails. The Bonito were filtering in fairly consistently off the Cape and the Islands so hopefully the storm’s passing will bring these fish in tight rather than drive them out. Keep an eye out for these toothy and Speedy members of the Scombridae family in the weeks to come. Hopefully, we are right on the cusp of the big Bonito push!

The Islands

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket were the hot spots before the storm, no doubt about it. The fishing was great with all three species in the mix. Blues, Stripers, and Bonito were being caught with only the Bonito being on the inconsistent side. Large Gator Blues were being taken on 10wts on a fairly regular basis along with some really nice Stripers. There was a nice mixture of schoolies, mid-sized fish, and bigger Bass all over the place. The same story for the Blues and there was no shortage of options, as the back bays and beaches were all fishing well as were the offshore structure and rips. This weekend is looking rough in terms of wind. 18 knots gusting to 25 out of the East is no Bueno. Unless something changes, the weekend will be a bust. Conditions are looking better mid-week however.


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