Greetings Compleat Anglers! Not much to report this week. No surprise there. Our local streams have been tough of late. That is not to say the warmer days have not produced an uptick in fish activity. They certainly have. However, as a whole it has been cold and the fish have been lethargic. Icing conditions are prevalent on most streams and the fish are hunkered down, unwilling to move far for a fly. To compound that there have been a surprising number of anglers out on the water, far more than previous years. It is great to see more fly anglers out there but this has created a few “bottle necks” on the most productive streams this time of year. What used to be a great time of year to go out and get a few fish in solitude has become more reminiscent of the Spring-time stockie rush. If you do plan on fishing, it would be smart to fish during the week or try some off-the-beaten-path spots. Rivers like the Saugatuck, Mianus, Norwalk, and Naugatuck have been absolutely hammered this Winter. So, think outside the box. Go explore if open water is what you are looking for. The Farmington and Housey are as tough as they are going to get. Late January and February are never great on these rivers. While there is no guess work on where the fish will be holding, getting these fish to eat is a different story. Not to mention that beating up on wild fish in the Winter is not exactly the greatest thing to do either. The Salmon River in New York is fishing well when the water is low or on the warmer days. However, it remains high and cold this week. The frigid temperatures and icing up of the rivers have kept most anglers off the water. With any of these fisheries you simply need to pick your window and go when conditions are advantageous. With the snow storm predicted for this weekend, best to stay home and tie flies. Read on for more...
No change to last week’s report. Some good days last week and some not so great. It all depends on the day. 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 well behind us. The fish have most certainly spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating them 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. The Salmon are all but gone, killed by other anglers and we’ve had no reports of any hook-ups from anglers that have tried recently. If you do decide to get out there, dropping down in your fly size will increase your odds of success. The fish that are left will be educated. 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. 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 240-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 34 degrees (depending on where you are on the river) and a high of 35.5 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 too have said that 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. There may be a few fish rising on a warmer day, but it will be a longshot to get them to come up for a dry fly. Nymphs will most likely be the best option, smaller patterns that closely mimic natural forage. Eggs will still take some fish as well for next few weeks. Streamers are a low percentage option at this point. The fish are in long, deep, and slow runs to winter over and 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 option. 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.
Well, the gauge on the Housey says it is running 20,000 cfs. That is certainly not correct. Ice has most likely jammed up the gauge. It is probably closer to 500 cfs. While that flow is good, I would not be in a hurry to rush out there. Water temperatures are in the mid to low 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 high again. We have a CFS of around 920 which is not a horrible flow. However, with temperatures forecasted to drop as low as -4 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. 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 these cooler temps keep rain off the river. That will help mitigate water fluctuation and keep those levels right around that perfect 700cfs mark. There is actually some rain predicted for mid-next week which will jack the water back up. Let’s hope that changes.
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