March 29, 2024 8 min read

Hello Compleat Angler Friends! It’s no surprise we’re back to high water fishing this week after all the rain we had last weekend. If you decide to fish during the high water, focus on subsurface techniques, and avoid the Housatonic as flows are currently unsafe for wading. Keep your eye on the flow charts, and expect rain locally Tuesday into Wednesday. The saltwater Striper fishing has seen an improvement, and anglers are catching fish dropping back down to the mouth of the Housatonic. Fishing different colored Clousers paired with an intermediate line and short leader is generally best for this scenario. On the freshwater side of things, anglers are still doing well in the higher water as many areas were stocked for this Spring. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

After a few days of rain, it’s no surprise that our local rivers are back up to high water conditions, with the Saugatuck reading 444 CFS. This higher water will diminish opportunities for Small Black Stonefly dry fly fishing, however, look for improvements when flows drop back down to average. While flows are high again it will be wise to stick to nymphing and streamer fishing, which has been producing good results since fish were stocked. Bring some larger attractor patterns during high water events. Your Mops, Squirmies, and streamers will still work on these fish, however, look to fish more natural colors and sizes in a few weeks. Recently stocked trout will start to acclimate and key in on natural forage. Look to bring Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 16-18. Other considerations are Midges in sizes 18-14. In areas that were stocked consider bringing some Squirmy Worms, Mop Flies, as well as your standard assortment of nymphs in sizes 12-18: Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae and Perdigones. For smaller flies, mix in some size 18-24 Zebra Midges. Stocked fish will aggressively chase streamers from Wooly Buggers in 4-10 to larger articulated flies. Both can be paired with a floating line or sinking/sink tip option.When nymphing and dry fly fishing in our smaller rivers and streams we like having a shorter leader, such as theRio Powerflex in 7.5ft. Both 5x and 6x will have you covered for most dry fly and nymphing scenarios. In addition, at the end of your dead-drift let your nymphs swing to the bank as this will imitate an emerging insect. Where you catch one fish you will catch more as stocked trout tend to pod up before moving into different water types. Areas to consider are the Saugatuck, Hammonasset River, Mill River in Hamden, the Mill River in Fairfield, and the Aspetuck River. Holdover fishing has been good in the Mianus River, and they have stocked the TMA. The Norwalk River has not been stocked yet, though this river tends to see the stocking truck later than other Spring stocking options.

Naugatuck River

Since trout have not been stocked yet for Spring (besides the East and West Branches), any fish you catch will be a holdover. In addition, you will want to stick to your high-water subsurface patterns or wait until flows drop, as the river is running 1450 CFS at Beacon Falls. Look to fish Small Black Stoneflies and Midges as your main hatches. With respect to other insects, having a range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. When targeting the Salmon, your traditional Atlantic Flies and hairwing streamers will work: Grey Ghosts, Blue Charms and Mickey Finns. Don’t be afraid to throw some larger intruders and flashy streamers in Pink, Black, Blue, and Purple, especially after they’ve just finished stocking. Try swinging these streamers slowly as you first fish the pool, and if you don’t get any takes, switch to a faster retrieve/swing. The fish will let you know what they prefer. Overall the Atlantic fishing has slowed, since high water events will generally cause the fish to shoot downriver.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01208500

Farmington River

A significant amount of water was released from the dam to accommodate this week’s rain, and as a result Farmington is experiencing another high-water event at 1260 CFS on the West Branch, while the Still River is also high and adding 465 CFS. Use high water tactics or wait until the flows are cut later in the week and the Still River decreases. Water temperatures have improved slightly this week and are fluctuating in the low 40s. For recently stocked trout a wider variety of flies will work, from smaller nymphs to larger gaudy flies (Mops, Squirmies, Streamers). Holdover trout will be more keyed in on the natural hatches, Midges in sizes 20-24, Winter Caddis in sizes 18-20, Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 18-20, Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20, and Blue Quills are starting in #16-18. Look for an improvement in dry fly fishing as flows improve. For nymphing, you will want to bring Stoneflies in sizes 8-12. One technique is to use these larger flies as your point nymph paired with a smaller dropper nymph: Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-20, Caddis Larva 14-18, Perdigones 12-20, Hare’s Ears 14-18, and Zebra Midges in 18-24. In terms of rigging, look to use 5x-6xFluorocarbon when nymphing. For Streamer fishing you’ll want to bring some Wooly Buggers and jig style streamers in sizes 8-10 in a variety of colors: Olive, Black, White, and Brown. Fishing articulated flies on a sinking/sink tip line can be another useful tool to include in your arsenal. Weighted Sculpin patterns are another consideration and can be fished on a floating line. Now is a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to break out the Scandi heads to try swinging some wet flies, as insects will become more active during the afternoon. Fishing a wet fly swung on aless aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish during the afternoon when insects will be emerging. Strikes will still be subtle as average water temperatures are still cold. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful of other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind:Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186500

Housatonic River

Yet again the Housatonic River has increased from the rain, making conditions more unfishable with flows reading 3380 CFS at Falls Village. Conditions will be too high and stained to wade, so wait until flows drop to safe levels (under 1000 CFS). When flows return to normal, you may encounter some Midges in sizes 18-24, Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 14-18, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Streamer fishing and nymphing are going to be the most productive techniques. Anglers that have been streamer fishing are swinging flies on a floating or sink tip line with either single handers or trout spey rods. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, ect), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. For our floating line Streamer Anglers, consider drab colored Conehead Woolly Buggers paired with a 9ft 2x leader. Now is also a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to consider throwing larger patterns during the afternoon in combination with swinging soft hackles in the mornings and evenings. Trout Spey is a good way to cover and search water, especially in the wider stretches. During the mornings nymphing still remains the most effective method. For nymphing with an indicator (we’ve had great feedback on theOros Stike Indicators), a 9ft taperedfluorocarbon leader in 5x-6x is recommended. Nymphs to consider bringing include Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24, will fool fish under most conditions.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


Anglers are starting to catch their first Stripers of the season at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Stripers are starting to drop back down with more regularity and have been ranging from schoolie sized into the mid 30 inch range. For this fishery we recommend using a 9 or 10wt rod paired with an intermediate sinking line. For your leader a shorter 7.5ft section of 20-30lb will turn over easily when paired with a Clouser. For colors consider bringing Olive and White on clear sunny days. With the amount of rain we’ve had, water will be stained so bringing brighter colors such as Chartreuse and White will help stand out in dirty water. Larger Herring Patterns are also a consideration this time of year for our boat anglers. There have been some Stripers filtering in around the coves and harbors, however it is still relatively early. The Housatonic River Striper Fishing will pick up throughout the lower sections as April progresses.

New York

Salmon River

Flows are also high on the Salmon River and were bumped up to 1440 CFS at the Pineville Gauge. High water events will have more fish traveling downriver spreading Steelhead throughout the system. As a result, the lower part of the river has seen an improvement with anglers landing multiple fish each day. More steelhead have spawned and are dropping back, and once water temperatures increase, we will see more Smallmouth Bass enter the lower sections of the river. For steelhead, these fish will be more aggressive as they look for meals to increase their weight after spawning. As a result, many different techniques will work, whether you are swinging flies with sinking tips or nymphing. For nymphs consider Stoneflies in sizes 6-12, as well as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, and Squirmy Worms. A variety of egg patterns will be working from Estaz Eggs, Glo Bugs, and Sucker Spawn to 6-8mm beads. Switching flies, sizes, and techniques will help you identify what the Steelhead are keying in on during that day. Many anglers are finding these fish at the heads and tails of runs, which are prime traveling lies for fish moving downriver. Anglers from Altmar to Pineville will still see the largest concentration of fish. When Nymphing, having amicro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, as well as aid in quicker rerigging during breakoffs and snags. For our two handed anglers, Skagit has been the most productive method, and we like Rio’sSkagit Max Power head combined with either amono orcoated running line. Having a variety ofMOW Tips so you can fine tune the depth of your fly based on flows and current speed, will aid in your success. For tippet, we like usingMaxima Ultragreen in 10lb when swinging flies. Having a variety of colors to rotate between is the name of the game: Brown, Olive, Black, Blue, Purple, and Pink are all good considerations. Average air temperatures will be in the low 40s this upcoming week, with an expectation of rain on Tuesday.

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200

The Catskills

Flows have increased on the Delaware River, which means wading is going to be tricky. The mainstem is currently flowing 5900 CFS at Lordville, and water temperatures have been fluctuating in the low 40s. The West Branch is 2130 CFS at Hale Eddy while the East is 3120 CFS at Fish’s Eddy. Under average flows anglers are starting to see more Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 16-18, as well as Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Other considerations are midges in sizes 20-24, overall dry fly fishing should improve once flows reach average levels, as water temperatures have been improving. Most anglers are fishing streamers during the high water and are bringing a few fish to hand, so bring some articulated streamers paired with a sinking line while flows are dropping. Some colors to consider are White, Yellow, Chartreuse, Black, Olive, and Brown. For nymphing, consider Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Perdigones, Waltz Worms, etc... n sizes #14-#20. During the warmer afternoons you may have luck swinging soft hackles. During the colder mornings stick to your subsurface patterns, until the afternoon when you may see some fish rising in the slower pools.