FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $75! / ALL TACKLE IN STOCK
FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $75! / ALL TACKLE IN STOCK
January 26, 2023 6 min read
Hello Compleat Angler friends! No significant changes to the conditions this week, however, our rivers are on the drop after these high flows which should improve the fishing and wading. Some of our anglers are still having success fishing for Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck in the deeper pools. With the receding flows on the Salmon River, our anglers are seeing some good Steelhead fishing, especially towards the upper end of the river. These fish are still taking a swung fly, and nymphing continues to be the more productive method. On another note, we will be participating as a vendor at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison NJ this weekend. For those that are attending, swing by our booth and say hi!
With all of our TMAs stocked earlier in the fall, the areas to focus on include the Mill, Mianus, Saugatuck, Farmington, and Housatonic rivers. Try an assortment of smaller nymphs and streamers in the morning. And look for Blue Winged Olive hatches during the afternoons. Trout have been rising in the afternoon to tiny Blue Winged Olive emergers and Midges. We’re seeing high water conditions on our local river due to rain, but flows are on the drop with the Saugatuck reading 204cfs.
The last Atlantic Salmon stockings occurred on January 11th and the 3rd. Try focusing on the TMAs and swinging streamers for these fish in combination with a polyleader. Getting the fly into the strike zone is essential, especially during cold mornings. Try a variety of gaudy and drab colored streamers, as well as traditional Atlantic Salmon flies. The best areas to focus on include the deepest section of slow pools and the tailout of runs. Trout fishing can also be good in the Naugatuck, and is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Flows are currently high on the Naugatuck, registering 1040cfs at Beacon Falls.
The prevalent hatch this time of year is Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis, and occasional midges. With colder temperatures, most of the action will occur in the afternoon. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 452cfs from dam release with the Still adding 348cfs from rain, so you’ll see high water conditions when fishing downriver of the Still. Water temps are in the mid to high 30s. In terms of the actual fishing, those anglers that have been successful have been really working for their fish. For dry fly anglers, trout are continuing to rise, and most hatches are occurring in the late morning and into the afternoon. Look to fish Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis, and midges as the most prevalent hatches. Winter Caddis will hatch in the early-to-late morning. However, the majority of bug activity will be in the afternoon during the warmest part of the day. Small flies down to size 26 seem to be the norm. This means presentation is key, so try using longer leaders and stepping down tippet size to 6x, while being mindful to have a drag-free drift. Church pool can be a consistent option this time of year if you are hunting for rising fish. Small nymphs will also continue to produce. For Trout Spey anglers, swinging wet flies can be productive, but don’t be afraid to throw larger intruder style patterns. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. With the colder mornings, try fishing streamers and nymphs until most of the hatches start up in the afternoon. For nymphs, bring a variety of small stuff, like a zebra midge, olive hare’s ear, perdigon style, caddis larvae, etc. During high water bringing some larger nymphs and junk flies (mops, squirmies) is a good tactic. Black stonefly nymphs will also fish all winter. Try a larger fly (mop, stonefly) for your dropper followed by a smaller offering (size 18-24), which will get your rig down to the trout’s depth as they become more lethargic. Switching up streamer techniques and trying the low-and-slow approach may be the key to success. Spend time fishing the deeper and slower runs, and expect subtle takes as the trout are in their winter lies. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful to other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Again, we have high flows at 2300cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. Water this high can prove tough for wading, so another option to consider is fishing the Shepaug or Naugatuck. We should expect the flows to drop to a reasonable level in the next few days. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, etc. If you’re looking for rising trout, focus on areas by the park, and the TMAs should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives, Midges, and Winter Caddis, I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers, as trout have been sipping on emerging BWOs frequently. Focusing on your small sizes 20-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, so use longer leaders, step down to 6x tippet, and make sure you have a drag free drift. Likely water to find rising fish will be areas with medium to slow flows. Focusing on nymphing during the colder mornings is a good strategy and look for rising fish in the afternoon and into the evening. Focus your efforts on the deeper pools as trout are pushed into the slower and deeper winter lies with the drop in water temperature.
The Housatonic River is continuing to produce holdover Stripers. These fish are staging and moving upriver to winter over, so further upriver North of the I-95 Bridge (as opposed to the mouth) should result in the most activity. The water should be stained from the higher flows, so look for improvements in water clarity as flows decrease. Bringing Clousers, as well as some Peanut Bunker imitations, and Silversides in the 2-4” range, should cover most of the fishing. Coves and entrances into salt ponds are also producing fish. Fishing low and slow is the name of the game, and try fishing more aggressive sinking lines, or heavier flies, to get down to the fish that are in large pods in the deeper holes. This is a tough time of year for fly anglers, however there are still fish to be caught up river as Stripers move up river towards the dam. Other areas to target holdover Stripers include the Connecticut River and the Thames River. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Flows are on the drop at the Salmon River with the Pineville gauge reading 1340cfs. Now is also a good time to fish the tributaries, as Brown Trout and Steelhead will have pushed into all of them. The Steelhead fishing has proven consistent with chrome fish pushing in daily along with the occasional Brown Trout. Steelhead are spread throughout the river. Every day has been different, with most days producing a fish or two, with the odd day producing double digits. When fishing upriver focus on winter holding lies, that slower deeper water. For these fish, focus on using egg patterns: Glo-bugs, Estaz, Sucker Spawn, as well as Egg-Sucking Leeches. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns and San Juan Worms, those will continue to work all winter as the Salmon activity dies off. Being adaptable and switching up techniques/flies often results in the most success. Don’t be afraid to fish the faster water, especially in the lower river where fresh fish are still pushing in daily. For our Spey anglers a variety of colors such as black, purple, blue, brown, and pink work well. During the coldest mornings, slush has been an issue on the lower river. However, it will dissipate once air temperatures start to increase during the late morning, which makes the lower river still a viable option. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm! A mix of snow is expected with air temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s. Fish that are on the move should start to drop into holding lies as the flows decrease further.
With colder temperatures, mornings have been a nymphing-based game. West Branch flows are 886cfs at Hale Eddy, while the East is 1500cfs at Fish’s Eddy. The Mainstem at Lordville is flowing at 2870cfs, and flows have dropped over the past couple days which is good news for our wade anglers. Current average water temperatures are in the mid-30s. Please be mindful of trout spawning beds (Redds) and be careful not to crush them when you are wading. In general, the most prevalent hatches continue to be BWOs on warmer afternoons. Look to fish Olive nymphs in size 18-24, as subsurface has been the most productive especially in the mornings. For our dry fly anglers try small Rusty Spinners, BWO emergers, and focus on the slower pools and tailouts this time of year during the afternoons. Blue Winged Olives will be the main hatch with some Midges and Small Black Caddis. Trout are in their winter lies now so focus on the slower and deeper pools. For our wading anglers using Trout Spey rods, a slowly swung fly is a good tactic given the colder water temperatures. Fishing streamers and nymphs in the morning is a good approach until the hatches become prevalent in the afternoons. Other considerations for this time of year include the Neversink, Willowemoc, and the Beaverkill.
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