Greetings Compleat Anglers! Not a great week for fly fishing across the Northeast. Flows coming down which is good, but temperatures are down even further. Not an ideal scenario. The fishing is getting pretty tough out there. Some of the small streams have been fishing a bit better than others and although the fish are educated, these rivers are a good option for the near future. Less anglers are venturing out so you have a good shot a getting a good piece of water all to yourself. The Naugatuck and Shetucket have been stripped of most of their stocked Atlantic Salmon, which has been making it challenging to find any fish to present flies to. The Farmy and Housy are basically shut down. While warmer days on these rivers could yield a few fish, expect challenging fishing with the temperatures expected to plummet this coming week. The Salmon River is not faring much better. The water has been high again and with temperatures expected to be no higher than 24 degrees and as low as 3, slushing conditions will certainly be a factor. Conditions are marginal, however the fishing has been pretty good. Read on for more...
Same story as last week. You can expect the same report for at least the next two months. Some rivers are fishing “better” than others but it has been a bit on the tougher side as a whole. The rivers that have been fishing a bit better have been hammered by anglers recently and as such, we have seen a decline in the quality of the fishing. Water temperatures will continue to drop, especially with the cold weather forecasted for next week. At this point, you will need to cover water while deploying stealthy trout tactics to get on fish. Smaller flies, light tippet, and perfect presentations are all critical to keep you hooked up. Zebra Midges, smaller soft hackles, and other assorted nymphs in a size 18 or below should get the job done. 6x tippet is mandatory for these smaller flies and 7x would not be a bad idea either depending on the size of the fly. Remember, sneaky set ups. You will also want to cover water. The days of high concentrations of fish in a few holes are behind us. They have most certainly spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating trout must be used. Remember that the TMAs are all catch and release until mid-April. Please report any poaching. The Naugatuck and Shetucket have been tough as well and anglers killing fish have resulted in declining fishing opportunities. Unfortunately, we will only have another few weeks of decent fishing before the fish are all but plucked out of the water by kill anglers. We highly recommend going sooner rather than later and dropping down your fly sizes. The fish that are left will be educated so fishing smaller flies are a sure-fire way to get hook-ups when fish are weary. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the desperate spin and fly anglers so please report any misconduct to the DEEP. Calling 800-842-4357 can make all the difference. The water will be on the higher side so hopefully that will spread the fish out and push them into areas that are less frequented by meat fishermen.
No change to the Farmington report as well. Fishing is getting about as tough as it gets. We are now firmly into the wintering behavior pattern for trout. The fish are becoming much more lethargic and as such, fishing has been tough. We are seeing most anglers put their trout gear away for the winter and as such, few reports are coming off the water. The water flows are 320-ish out of the dam and another 100 or so out of the Still. The Still River gauge is iced up so we don’t know what the actual flow is. With no rain on the way, it is safe to say that it will continue to drop and will not affect the main river much. Water temperatures are getting colder by the day. We are seeing a low of 35 degrees (depending on where you are on the river) and a high of 36.5 for water temps. As such, the best time to be on the water is when the water temperatures are the highest. No need to get up early. The few anglers we have talked to have said it’s a few-fish-a-day type of situation. You will really need to work for them, that is for sure. The hatches are a non-factor at this point. Maybe on a warmer day, there may be a few fish rising but it will be a longshot to get a fish to come up for a dry fly. Nymphs will most likely be the best option and smaller patterns that closely mimic natural forage should work well. Eggs will still take some fish as well for next few weeks. Streamers are a low percentage option at this point. The fish are transitioning into long, deep, and slow runs to winter over. They will rarely move more than a foot to grab a food item and that means hitting them in the face with a slow-drifting nymph is the best tactic. The report will be essentially exactly the same for the next few months at least. Small flies, slow drifts, cold water, tough fishing. While we will obviously update you on any significant changes, expect the fishing to stay relatively unchanged for the entirety of the winter. Low and slow is the name of the game if you decide to get out. On the flip side, it is not a horrible idea to give the trout a break during the tougher winter months.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housey is around 850 CFS. That is a good flow for sure. With no rain in the forecast the flows should continue to fall and the fishing should be on the better side. This is a good window we have at the moment so if you are thinking about going, now is the time. Remember that the TMA is catch-and-release only. Water temperatures are in the low-mid to upper 30s at this point and the fish will be hunkered down for the winter. If you do decide to give it a shot, later in the day when the water is warmest will be the most productive. However, with water getting colder by the day, I would recommend putting those streamers away and going with nymphs. Smaller and more natural patterns will become the most productive as things cool down. Really any reasonable nymph has decent odds of success. As long as you stay sub-surface and have a decent presentation, you have a shot at a fish or two. Not much to report with Pike or Smallies. These fisheries are essentially shut down for the winter. While an abnormally warm day could see a good uptick in fish activity, I would focus on trout for the next few months.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Salmon River
The Salmon is looking a bit better after the high water last week. We have a CFS of around 540 which is a great flow. However, with temperatures forecasted to drop as low as -10 degrees this weekend and single digits for new week, it may be a good idea to stay off the water until things warm up a bit. Slushing conditions will certainly be a factor for all of this week. While it is certainly worth heading out there this time of year, be aware that the negative temperatures will require you to be more discerning about where and how you fish. The middle and upper sections of the river are still the hot spots. They have the most concentrations of fish and lower water levels. The fishing before the water came up was very good in these upper stretches which would suggest that it should be more of the same with this flow. There are lots of relatively unpressured fish in the system and any half decent effort up there should result in hook-ups. Egg patterns will still work and are a must have up there. Purples, blues, pinks, chartreuses, oranges and peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. However, as we move deeper into January, the fish will begin to transition to Stoneflies and other assorted patterns. You will certainly want to have stones in your box at this point. Worm style flies will work as well and even smaller streamers will have their moments. Changing flies constantly will be the best way to get on some fish. Some of the fresher fish will eat a wide variety of flies, while fish that have been in the river a while will be far more selective. For that reason, keep a large selection of flies on you. We are hoping that it actually cools down a bit and we start seeing some snow up there. That will help in mitigating water fluctuation and keep those levels right around that perfect 700cfs mark. Fingers crossed.
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