Hello Compleat Angler friends! We hope everyone had a great holiday season, and we just wanted to take the time to say thank you for your continued support, we truly appreciate it! We’re seeing high water conditions on our local rivers and streams, as well as up on the Salmon River. For those looking to the salt, Stripers are pushing up the Housatonic to hold over for the winter. Efforts should be focused north of the I-95 Bridge. On the freshwater side, flows are the most fishable at the moment on the Farmington, while the Housatonic is too high to wade. With the DSR closed on the Salmon river, anglers are fishing up river and catching a few fish, but conditions will improve once the snow melt has tapered off.
Lastly, one of our customers found a fly box on the Mianus River labeled “Dennis” so if this is yours, or you know who the box belongs to, send me an email at email@example.com.
Read on for the full report…
Flows are receding after the rain on our local rivers, with the Saugatuck still high at 140cfs. There are still Seeforellen Strain Brown Trout in local Lakes and Ponds, courtesy of the state stocking them earlier in the fall. These are large Brown Trout averaging 15lbs with some 20lb fish stocked and the areas to focus on include the Mill, 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. The overall trend is that flows are dropping after the rain.
Both the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers were recently stocked again with Atlantic Salmon. 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 areas to focus on include the deepest section of slow pools and the tailout of runs. Flows are currently 889cfs at Beacon Falls.
The prevalent hatch this time of year is Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis, and occasional midges. With colder average night/daytime temperatures, most of the action will occur in the afternoon. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 895cfs from dam release with the Still adding 315cfs, so definitely high-water conditions. Water temps are in the mid-to-high 30s. In terms of the actual fishing, those anglers that have been successful have really been working for their fish. For dry fly anglers, trout are continuing to rise, and most hatches are occurring late in the 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 the 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, with longer leaders and stepping down tippet size to 6x, while being mindful to have a drag-free drift. 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), this will get your rig down to the trout’s depth as they become more lethargic. Switch up streamer techniques and trying the low-and-slow approach may be the key to success. Spend time fishing the deeper and slower runs, as the trout will be in their winter lies given the drop in water temperature. 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.
We have very high flows on the Housatonic with the gauge registering 2490cfs at Falls Village. Water this high will prove tough for wading, so another option to consider is fishing the Shepaug. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, etc. Focusing on areas by the park, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, and TMAs should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives, Midges, and Winter Caddis, and 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 using longer leaders, and stepping down to 6x tippet while making sure to get a drag free drift are all key to success. The best areas for rising fish will be those 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 the lower water temperatures push the trout into their slower and deeper winter lies.
Anglers that are braving the elements are being rewarded with fish near the Housatonic River. 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. 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 using more aggressive sinking lines, or heavier flies, to get down to the fish. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
We’re seeing high water on the Salmon River, with flows currently at 2810cfs, which means the DSR is closed until flows recede below 2000cfs. There is a significant amount of runoff due to warmer temperatures and snow melt. High water will push more fish into the system, so look for an improvement in the fishing once flows drop to average levels. Now is 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 anglers bringing a few fish to hand, with the occasional great day producing double digits. When fishing upriver focus on winter holding lies, the 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, as 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 either, especially in the lower river where fresh fish are still pushing in daily. For Spey anglers a variety of colors such as black, purple, blue, brown, and pink, will work well. The tributaries are also producing big Brown Trout, and Steelhead have also pushed into most. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm! Air temperatures will be warmer, in the high 30’s, until this Wednesday.
With colder temperatures, the mornings have been a nymphing-based game. West Branch flows are 874cfs at Hale Eddy, while the East is 2460cfs at Fish’s Eddy. The Mainstem at Lordville is flowing at 4310cfs, overall high flows. Current average water temperatures are in the low 40s. Please be mindful of trout spawning beds (Redds), especially with the fishery now open all year round which makes these eggs susceptible to being crushed by wade anglers. 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 dry fly anglers try small Rusty Spinners and BWO emergers, and focus on the slower pools and tailouts 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 with colder water temperatures. Fishing streamers and nymphs in the morning is a good tactic until the hatches become prevalent in the afternoons. Other considerations for this time of year include the Neversink, Willowemoc (when flows drop), and the Beaverkill.
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