Northeast Fishing Report: 10/01/21 - The Compleat Angler

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October 01, 2021

The saltwater fly fishing has been a bit tougher as of late. We are seeing sporadic activity across the board and from Massachusetts down to New York, the fish are spread out and tough to pin down. The early season mayhem has certainly dissipated and yet, things do seem to be trending in the right direction. Cooler temperatures and quiet skies are allowing things to stabilize. The water is clearing up, the wind has been light, and the bait is balling back up. I suspect this weekend will see glimmers of the Fall Run materializing in blitzing Bass, Blues, and Hardtails. The rivers are slowly coming down after blowing out last weekend. Some fisheries are in better shape than others. For example, the Salmon River Salmon run is in full swing and anglers are reporting double digit days on Kings and Silvers with some giant Browns and good sized Steelhead in the mix. We are in prime-time for the Salmon River. The rain last week/weekend pushed a ton of fish into the river and now is the time to seriously consider getting up there. Read on for more... 

Massachusetts

The Albies are still the hot fish off Massachusetts right now. While the fishing was tough these past two weeks after multiple storms, numbers seem to be coming back and fishing is improving. The fish seem to be pushing West and are all around the Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Cape. They are being caught with regularity and the numbers of fish are finally increasing. It has been like that across the Northeast, which is a great sign. The Hooter and the Bonito Bar are always hot spots and good places to check, but at this point False Albacore will be scattered all over. Fish were being caught around Falmouth, Woods Hole, and Naushon Island. Bluefish have been prevalent around the Cape and Nantucket. There are a lot of smaller fish around with some bigger fish blitzing in the mornings and afternoons. The Stripers are still very much around and fairly easy to pin down. Fishing structure during low light hours will prove fruitful. Full sink lines and larger baitfish patterns will take larger fish. Rock piles, rips, and beaches will find lots of smaller Bass feeding on small bait. Poppers have been taking fish in the mornings off the beaches. The Bass have been blitzing more and more frequently as well. They are being found all around the Cape, feeding on bait. Early morning and late afternoon have been the most productive. Best bet is to look for birds if you are fishing by boat. If you are fishing from shore, the best bet is to check multiple spots on a falling tide.

False Albacore Fin

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Another tough week off Rhode Island. The False Albacore were certainly around, but they have been very scattered the last few weeks. However, there is good news. As of Wednesday the numbers of Albies seems to be increasing. More and more fish seem to be filtering in after the few weeks of storms we have had. We heard the fishing has been pretty darn good from Wednesday on. Consistent blitzing fish in a bunch of locations along the Rhode Island coast bodes well for the week to come. In other good news, the Stripers blitzes are becoming a more frequent occurrence after a two-week hiatus. It is looking good for the Bass in the weeks to come. Bay Anchovies and Peanut Bunker are still the two primary forage species for the Bass and Albies so be prepared with flies that mimic both. The Stripers in particular are very selective when they are on Anchovies. Be sure to have small anchovy flies with you or risk blanking on an acre of Bass. There has been a good mix of Anchovies and Peanut so again, have both patterns. That could of course change. Block Island is still putting up some really nice Stripers, but I would expect that to begin to change as the fish slowly begin to head West and South as they migrate toward the Chesapeake. Fishing seems to be improving by the day, but it is by no means lights out. I think things are still recovering for whatever reason, but this weekend should see some pretty darn good fishing with the weather forecast we have. The best bet will be to keep your head on a swivel and cover water. It should not take long. There should be plenty of opportunities out there. Having at least 3 rods rigged, one each for Blues, Bass, and Hardtails is a wise decision as you could run into all of the above on any given day. Especially if it is a tough day, you will not want to pass up any opportunities you come across, regardless of species. Hopefully the Fall Run will get back on track. Fingers crossed.

New York

The Salmon River

Happy Fall everyone! For many of us that means Salmon and Steelhead! The run is on in Western New York and any day now could be the big push we are all waiting for.  Reports are solid with most anglers catching plenty of fish. It has been a little bit of feast or famine, but if you fish down low in the rivers you should run into plenty of fish. No one we have talked to has been blanked so things are looking good! The Salmon River is still running around 500 CFS. There have been good pushes of Kings and Cohos seen over the past week. While it is still “early season,” it seems as though most anglers are getting into some great fishing. The number of fish in the river is certainly increasing and the fishing has been very good to say the least. Some seriously large fish have been taken.  Even a few Steelhead have been caught in the lower sections of the river. Now is the time to really get serious about planning a trip up there as the fish are pushing into the river on a daily basis. Like I mentioned, the lower sections of the river will be far more productive. If you are new to the Salmon fishery, 8 and 9 wts are ideal. Something 10 feet or longer to help mend line and drift correctly is necessary. Big and bright flies are the most popular. Giant egg style patterns or even bright streamers will work. Pinks, Chartreuses, Oranges, and Peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. This is a phenomenal fishery and a blast when the fish are running. Now is the time to begin heading up there. It’s game time in Pulaski!

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 4000 CFS and is now falling. The East is at around 1700, and the West Branch is at 1700 CFS. Too high to wade across the board, but great news for the drift boat anglers. Crowds seem to be dwindling, which is also a good thing. However, fishing has been tough. With the higher water, I would expect that to change. The fish tend to let their guard down when the water goes up and fishing tends to get very good - if it is overcast or cloudy. For flies, nothing has changed in the past week. BWOs are a strong contender for the most productive - especially on the cloudier days. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective as of late. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, and caddis will make up the rest of the insects coming off. The Flying Ants, Hebes, and Attenuatta will be a factor as well. There has been a good “hatch” of these guys recently so bring a few Cinnamons with you. Best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Remember that cloudy days, high water, and any dip in temperature are ideal. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. Location is key and making the right call on where to fish has been the key to success coupled with having a good selection of bugs. The cooler night time temperatures are bringing that water temperature down. We will start to see more of a midday bite.

Saltwater

Slow week off Montauk for Albies - no surprise there. That is how it has been for all of the Northeast, but things are on the upswing. More and more False Albacore are being seen as the days pass. Later this week it seemed things were very good. Plenty of fish in and around the Lighthouse were seen crashing on bait. The water seems to have cleared up and conditions have stabilized. It’s trending in the right direction and I would venture to say that this weekend off Montauk should be pretty darn good for Hardtails. The Lighthouse will still be the epicenter of the action once the fish really show themselves. The rip that forms on the lighthouse will suck bait into it and Albies will be waiting to ambush them. There are high concentrations of fish here making them an easier target than in other areas. Remember that there will be a lot of other boats there. This is not a run and gun fishery/spot. To be safe, stack up current and drift down. The Albies will come right to you. Once you get to the end, motor back up current well outside of the other drifting boats and stack back into the queue. Aside from Albies, the Bass have been blitzing on Peanut Bunker and Anchovies as well. The bait is on the move, headed South for their migration. The Bass will intercept them and blitz on the surface making them easy targets for fly anglers with the right flies. There have been some big fish tucking in tight recently. The cooler water has allowed those fish to come right into the rock piles just off shore, which makes them available to the fly anglers. This weekend should be good weather-wise. There will most certainly be some Gator Blues in the area. The beaches will have Stripers on them as well. Remember that these fish are on smaller bait and having flies that match these anchovies, spearings, and silversides is key. These Stripers get very picky and will often not hit larger patterns. The Fall run seemed to have stalled the past two weeks, but is now coming back. Hopefully we see things back in full swing this weekend!

False Albacore Fly Fishing

Connecticut

Farmington River

Slow fishing on the Farmington this past week. The impact of shocking efforts and dramatic water fluctuations have resulted in difficult fishing. Most anglers we have talked to have been able to get a few fish to hand, but all reports are of challenging conditions. The good news is that the Farmington water temperature is slowly coming down. We are seeing a low of 65 degrees in the morning and a high of 68 - not great, but trending in the right direction. While it is still getting quite warm during the day, if the temperatures hold; you could safely fish in the mornings. Just be very cognizant of your cut off times. I would say that if you are off the water by 12pm you would be within the bounds of ethical fishing. The DEEP cut the water way back for the shocking. The Farmy is running around 225 CFS out of the dam with the Still putting in another 75. That is just about ideal. Remember that the shocking has removed, stressed, and/or displaced a lot of fish in the permanent Catch and Release area. Best bet would be to fish above the Still or below Halfords. Greenwoods or the Boneyard will be one the better options down lower. Just remember that the farther down you go, the warmer the water. The hatches are not great either - some assorted caddis, BWOs, midges, and flying ants. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Smaller patterns like midges are also a smart bet. We still recommend waiting a few weeks to let the flow return to normal and allow the fish to settle back. But if you absolutely have to go fishing, then as long as you are off the water by 12 you should be okay.


Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

The Housy is running around 1500 CFS. While that is too high to wade, it should come down soon. The water temperatures are close to appropriate for trout fishing. At this point, as long as you handle fish with care you should be alright to fish. I would recommend streamers if you plan to fish once the river gets below 1000 CFS. Lager nymphs such as mops and assorted junk flies should work well too. Cooler temperatures have resulted in an uptick in Pike and Smallmouth activity over the past week. The Smallies have been very active. Good, albeit high water levels have kept the bass happy. Streamers fished on sink tips and full sink lines have been taking quite a few fish. The largest bass have been below the TMA, however there are a lot of fish above that despite their smaller size. We are also right on the cusp of some really good fly fishing for Northern Pike. As the water cools down, the fishing will steadily improve. The fish will become more active and when conditions are right, the odds of success will be high. The bite window is still mornings and afternoons, however that will begin to change as the water temperatures drop. It will become more of a midday bite later in the Fall.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

No change to the report for The Long Island Sound. The saltwater fly fishing is beginning to improve in Long Island Sound. As water temperatures slowly begin to decline and the bait begins to move, larger gamefish are starting to respond. We are hearing that fishing is moderate at the moment and while it could take some searching, both shore based and boat based fly fishing is improving. For the boat anglers, big Blues are around and terrorizing bait schools. They have been predominantly out in the middle, but they have been found in tight as well. Large flashy flies will get the job done if you run into these fish. Schoolie Stripers have become more accessible as well. The cooler evenings have kept these fish in tight in the mornings and fishing structure with intermediate lines should take fish, provided you move around and locate the bait. Larger fish seem to be in the area and while not in huge numbers, on any given day you could run into them. For the shore-based anglers, Stripers have been found off the beaches and rock piles in the mornings. They have been moving around a lot, but once you find them, the fishing tends to be pretty good. Penfield Reef has been a hot spot for Stripers with some Spanish Mackerel mixed in. The soft buzz in the shop is the arrival of False Albacore. While they are not thick by any means, they have been spotted in a few places in the Western Sound. Expect to run a lot to find them at this point, but they could show up thick any day now. This is around the time they should be showing up so keep the hardtail rod ready. 10 wts are best and smaller flashy flies tend to work in the Western Sound.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.


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