January 21, 2022 6 min read

Greetings Compleat Anglers! We’ve seen a bit of an improvement this past week. Slightly warmer weather and some warmer rain bumped the water temps up a bit. That kept the fish feeding fairly regularly. With another drop in temperatures this week, expect things to slow down again. 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. Fewer anglers are venturing out so you have a good shot at 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 fish. 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 is at a good flow but with temperatures expected to be no higher than 12 degrees and as low as -7, slushing conditions will certainly be a factor. Conditions are marginal at best. Read on for more...


Local Streams

A bit of an improvement from last week. Slightly warmer temperatures this past week saw an uptick in fish activity. While it was not on fire, the fishing certainly improved until late in the week. A good amount of warmer rain was almost certainly one of the causes. A few cloudy days helped as well. It is a grind out there but if you pick your days you should be able to get on some fish. 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 high concentrations of fish in a few holes are no more. 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. Anglers killing fish have resulted in declining fishing. Unfortunately, we will only have another few weeks of decent fishing before the fish are all but plucked out of the water by the kill anglers. We highly recommend going sooner rather than later and dropping down in your fly sizes. The fish that are left will be educated. Fishing smaller flies is 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.

Fly Fishing In Winter

Farmington River

No change to the Farmington report. Tough fishing out there. The fish are very lethargic and as such, anglers are really having to work for bites. 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. The Still River gauge is iced up so we don’t know what the actual flow is. With no rain in the immediate future, it is safe to say that flows will stay steady. 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 -ish-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 likely be the best option. Smaller patterns that closely mimic natural forage are the best bets. 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 you’ll want to hit them in the face with a slow-drifting nymph. 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.

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USGS Water-data graph for site 01186500

Housatonic River

The Housey is around 800 CFS. That is a good flow for sure. With no rain in the forecast the flows should continue to hold or even fall slightly 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 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

New York

The Salmon River

The Salmon is looking a bit better after the high water last week. We have a CFS of around 520 which is a great flow. However, with temperatures forecasted to drop as low as -5 degrees this weekend and single digits for next 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. There have been some great flurries of fish activity on the Salmon River the past week. While you certainly want to pick your days, the fishing is still darn good on the right day.  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. 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 should help mitigate water fluctuation and keep those levels right around that perfect 700cfs mark. Fingers crossed.

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200