Greetings Compleat Anglers! Here is your fishing report for June 27th. (Our featured image is a reminder that there's some great summer Piking along many of our Connecticut rivers as the photo of Jonny King illustrates).
Whether you're on a trout stream, lake or in the salt, summer conditions prevail. Both in the salt and in freshwater it pays to fish early and late. Our trout rivers are in a time of both activity and change - water flows are lowering and waters are warming, but there is still a great variety of hatches, so change your tactics to match the prevailing conditions. In general, look to the faster, somewhat shallow runs and riffs which provide more oxygen to the fish - look for those little soft spots and seams tucked into the faster waters and for small depressions in the riverbed - they can hold some big fish. Also, look to the riverbanks for those lazy, banksipping browns that want to expend as little effort as possible - keep your eye out for those beaks that pop softly through the surface film and sip down all those tasty bugs floating down their lanes!
If there's no bug activity on the surface, swing a wet or soft hackle, or try a dry/wet dropper combination. And don't forget to include some terrestrial patters in your box such as ants and beetles - when bugs are on the water and the fish are refusing your imitations many times they will slurp down an juicy ant or beetle. And don't forget that many of our Connecticut rivers are home to an impressive Pike fishery - big, heavy slurping Pike that make our hearts beat faster! (as illustrated in our feature photo.) If you like big fish and vicious strikes, this may be your cup of tea!
In our Connecticut rivers, Monday's rain and cooler weather earlier this week gave some relief for the higher water temperatures we had been experiencing, especially in the Housatonic and many of the smaller Fairfield County rivers that had been sweltering under summer conditions. Luckily, the Farmington River is a tailwater and thus more resilient to summer's warming spells. Bubbling along in the high 40s and mid 50s, it's wild, holdover and stocked residents are happy and chilled. Our own Patrick Fowler fished both the Farmington and Croton watersheds this week with some great results. Pat reports: "On the Farmington, Sulphurs, Sulphurs and more Sulphurs. Hatch lasted from 12:00 to 5:00 and later. The hatch was very strong in the catch and release area and lasted all day. The fish ate Sulphur emergers size #16 and dark olive Caddis size #18". Here's one of Pat's lovely Browns:
Key hatches on the Farmington - Sulphurs (#16-#20), Caddis (#16-#18) (olive and tan), Gray Fox (#10-#14), Light Cahill (#12-#14), Isos (#10-#14), BWO (#16-#22). For nymphs, try a Caddis Pupa (#16), Pheasant Tail (#14-#18), Copper John, Frenchie or Zebra nymphs (#18-#24), Sulphur Nymph (#14-#18), and Stonefly (#6-#12). Or swing a wet such as a Dark Cahill (#12-#14), Leadwing Coachman (#12-#14), Hare's Ear (#14-#16) or a soft-hackle. And don't forget streamers such as Wooly Buggers (Olive & Black), Zonkers, Muddlers or Mop patterns. Finally, it's summer and that means ants and beetles! Try a Cinnamon or black ant (#14-#18) or a beetle pattern - sometime fish that refuse traditional mayfly patterns gobble up the terrestrials.
As mentioned above, when on the Farmington, especially during the day, key in on those faster, shallower, more oxygenated (1-2 feet) sections of river. Look for those little soft spots and seams in-between the current flow, along with small depressions in the riverbed. Bounce a dry over them, or a dry/dropper combo, or a nymph bounced along the bottom, or even swing a wet or soft hackle through them. On those warm summer days many good fish migrate to these areas to feed.
In the Housatonic River, Rob Nichols from Housatonic Anglers email@example.com reports that Monday's rain really helped to rise and cool the river. With more rain scheduled for tomorrow, there will be some continued relief for the low, warm conditions that had taken hold of the river. Since Monday, Housatonic water temperatures have hovered in the mid-60s so fish carefully for trout and keep your eye on the water temperatures (approaching 70 degrees and trout fishing becomes a no-no.) There have been Cahills (#14), Caddis (tan and olive)(#16), Sulphurs (#16-#18), and Gray Fox (#12-#14) on the water with trout on them. Also, try swinging a Light or Dark Cahill wet (#12-#14) or a Leadwing Coachman wet (#12-#14). For nymphs, the usuals will be effective such as Caddis Pupa, Pheasant Tails, Princes, Scuds, Stoneflies and Mops.
Connecticut river water flows are as follows:
Farmington West Branch at Riverton: 217cfs in the high 40s;
Still River at Robertsville: 30cfs
Farmington River TMA: 247cfs in the mid-50s;
Housatonic River at Falls Village: 342cfs at mid-high 60s;
Saugatuck River at Ford's Road: 9cfs in the high 60s;
Norwalk River in Wilton: 22cfs in the high 60s;
In New York and the Catskills, fishing has been good-to-tough with plenty of bus and even more picky fish. Pat Fowler recently fished the Croton East Branch and reports that small olive Caddis (#18) and BWO's were the primary hatches on Saturday (with a few Sulphurs here and there.) Pat caught most of his fish on Caddis (including wet Olive Caddis Emergers (#20). Pat reports that there were fish rising all day and that they were down to 6X for tippets and size #18 flies for dries or nymphs until the Sulphurs began hatching. Here's one of Pat's Croton Brownies:
In the Catskills, both the three Delaware River branches, the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc and in solid summer mode. The one-and-only Jonny King was on the Delaware Main Stem earlier in the week and picked up this lovely bank-sipping pig:
Jonny reports that the fish refused the traditional hair-wing Caddis but crushed his exquisite Splitsville Caddis with cut CDC wings (below). Jonny reports: "...got a halfhearted look at a hairwing pattern but one cast with Splitsville Caddis with cut CDC wings and he attacked...(this fish was) really thick and brutal to land in faster water while wading deep." Here's Jonny's gorgeous Splitsvills Caddis ties:
Ben Rinkerfrom East Branch Outfitters firstname.lastname@example.org reports that it's "a typical summer program with a stand of Olives and Sulphurs, olive Caddis and Isos." Ben says his clients are taking fish blind-casting and working the riffles and also prospecting the banks. Ben reports that while headhunting is good (there are heads to be found) it's really tough with picky, finicky fish under summer low-water conditions.
If you're fishing any of the Catskill waters, be sure to have the following in your fly box: BWO (#14-#20), Sulphurs (#14-#18), Light Cahills (#14), Isos (#12-#14), Caddis (olive & tan) (#14-#18), Gray Fox (#12-#14) along with ants, beetles and other terrestrials. For wets and nymphs, try swinging a Dark Cahill (#12-#14), Leadwing Coachman (a great Iso imitation) (#12-#14) or for nymphs try a Pheasant tail (#14-#16), Caddis Pupa (#14-#18), Stonefly (#6-#12), Sulphur (#14-#18). (Below, Nate with his first ever Upper Delaware banksipper (Photo by Sal Renzuella of River Keeper Guide Services email@example.com.)
If you're fishing any of the three Delaware River branches, water levels in all three branches are ideal for wading (check out the flow information listed below). Now is the time! In the Main Stem, try wading up from the parking area at Junction Pool or walk downstream and fish the "Dark Water." If your energy level is really good, wade carefully down from the Dark Water and fish the Braids - perfect this time of year for those Delaware Mainstem Rainbows! Or drive downstream, park and walk down to the Stockport boat ramp- from there you can walk either upstream or down - it's fertile hunting all over! On the West Branch (the coldest of the three) fish the Upper River at Stilesville or Deposit (there's parking well-marked) or walk up from the Hale Eddy bridge - or, fish the Upper and Lower Gameland areas. These areas have great Sulphur flushes in the late afternoons and evenings. And don't forget to include some spinners (Sulphur, Cahill & Rusty) in your box! If the East Branch is cool enough and the water level is acceptable you can walk upstream (and downstream) from the RT 97 bridge in Hancock - that long flat (and the flat above it) hold some beautiful fish but wait until evening to fish it. When the lightening round hits, you'll begin to see some impressive action. If you are seriously hooked on the Delaware system, then pick up a copy of Paul Weamer's amazing book on fishing the Delaware River - Paul tells all - where to fish, where to park, what to fish with - it's a "must" for any serious Delaware River lover!
New York Water Flows are as follows:
Delaware Main Stem at Lordville: 934cfs at 66 degrees;
Delaware WB at Stilesville: 383cfs at 43 degrees;
Delaware WB at Hale Eddy: 481cfs at 48 degrees;
Delaware EB at Harvard: 165cfs at 58 degrees;
Delaware EB at Fishs Eddy: 327cfs at 65 degrees;
Beaverkill at Cooks Falls: 129cfs at 67 degrees;
In Long Island Sound summer conditions prevail as well. Captain Roger Gendron from Connecticut Island Outfitters firstname.lastname@example.org reports that he found some top-water activity with Bluefish feeding on Sand Eels "picking up the slack" from the slow Bass bite. Roger also notes that with the advent of the Sand Eels, imitations are also being attacked by baby Bluefish, Fluke, and Scup. Roger says the gray, drizzly weather and calm seas, there were surface swirls which made for some fun sight-casting to Bass. In addition, at the shop we have reports of a big push of Bunker moving in and bring along some big Bass. Bluefish activity remains decent along with some big Fluke. Best bets for flies; Sand Eel imitations, Clousers, top-water plugs and crease flies. Best times: mornings and evenings - look for slightly slacking tides. For waders, try beaches along Norwalk, Compo, Burying Hill, Sherwood Island (West Beach only) or Penfield Reef in Fairfield. Although most town beaches are gated, you can go early morning and be finished by 7:00AM and never see a guard.
That's it for this week, folks. Hope to see you on the water!