October 15, 2021 14 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! It's good news all around for fly anglers in the Northeast as the fishing has been solid for both fresh and saltwater. Our trout streams have been cooling off and while the water has been a tad high, conditions are trending in the right direction. The smaller streams have benefited from recent rains and water levels are good. Stockings in these rivers have kept rods bent and we expect the fishing to only get better in the coming weeks. The Naugatuck and Shetucket have even received their first stocking of Atlantic Salmon! Saltwater fly fishing has been great as well. It can still be a little unpredictable on certain days but when anglers hit, they've been hitting it big. False Albacore have moved into the Western Long Island Sound in strong numbers and the Stripers are becoming more active as well. Blitzing Bass have been numerous off Rhode Island and Montauk and they are beginning to show up in the Sound as well. The Salmon run in the Lake Ontario Tribs is in full swing and with only a few weeks left, now is time get up there. Read on for more...
The False Albacore are beginning to thin out quite a bit off Massachusetts, as the bulk of the fish seem to have moved down to Long Island and Connecticut. There are still some fish around but expect to work for them. Really, it is all about Stripers right now. There are a lot of smaller fish around with some bigger fish blitzing in the mornings and afternoons. Focusing on structure during low light hours should prove fruitful and, as always, looking around for Blitzes. Full sinking lines and larger baitfish patterns should take larger fish if you are fishing from a boat. 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 and your best bet is to run and look for birds if you are fishing by boat. The other option will be to check multiple spots on a falling tide if you are fishing from shore. Beaches and back bays are putting up good numbers of Stripers as the water cools but don’t spend too much time in one spot if you don’t get on fish. The Bass are on the move and could be there one day and gone the next. Move around until you locate them. As the water continues to cool down and the bait continues its migration South, the fishing should improve until most of the fish move out of the area by the beginning of November. This will be the last few weeks before things get pretty tough so get in those last few trips of the year!
It’s been a tough week for False Albacore. Reports indicate very scattered fish that are difficult to pin down. We are certainly on the tail end of the Albie season in Rhodie. There will be shots at the stragglers in the next week or so but Striped Bass have now taken center stage. Striper blitzes are going strong and getting more numerous by the day. It is certainly looking good for the Bass in the weeks to come. The Western end of Rhode Island around Watch Hill seems to be the hot spot at the moment. Large concentrations of Peanut Bunker have the bass frothing and blitzing on the surface. The Bay Anchovies are thinning out in the area which means Bunker will become the primary forage. There have been some larger Bass around as they slowly work West so keep your eyes open. The tease-and-switch method around rock piles in the mornings and afternoons has been moving some 30 pounders on the right day. If larger Bass are your target, look West. They will be on the move and not so inclined to hold in one spot as in the Summer. So, move around and check a lot of different locations keeping in mind that if a spot is devoid of fish one day it could fish well the next. Larger Bluefish have been a bit scarce. It’s a real shame as this time of year should have Gators blitzing in every mooring field and harbor along the coast. The Race has been the most constant location for larger Blues of late but these fish are pushing West as well. Expect to find them blitzing in deeper water as they work around Long Island or down Long Island Sound. Your best bet will be to keep your head on a swivel and cover water. 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. This time of year, weather can really get in the way too, so make the most of those good weather windows. We are approaching the end of Fall run so make the most of the next few weeks. It will be over before you know it.
No change to the Salmon River/Lake Ontario Tributaries reports which is a good thing. The Salmon run is on and in full swing! Everyone we have talked to has smiles on their faces, reporting awesome fishing. Good water levels have kept a steady stream of fish pushing up the rivers and making the fishing far better than this time last year which, if you remember, had very low water and tough fishing. The Salmon River is still running around 450 CFS and with the rain we had this past week, more and more fish are pushing in by the day. The Cohos seem to have petered out a bit from last week. Cohos tend to come in waves and can be very unpredictable so we could see another big push any day now. There are a ton of Kings in the river right now. They are all the way from the mouth of the river to the upper fly. The freshest fish will be down in the lower stretches but there are plenty of fish all over. There have also been more and more Steelhead caught as well. While it is still quite early, this time of year there is always the possibility of catching some nice Steelhead. There have also been quite a few larger browns taken as well. Fish over 28” are being caught on a regular basis. This has been a great year for big, lake-run browns as we are in the heart of the run at the moment. Some Atlantics are being caught as well. If salmon is your target, there are only 2 weeks left, so now is the time to get up there. Giant egg style patterns or even bright streamers will work. Pinks, Chartreuses, Orange 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. As we wrote last week it’s game time in Pulaski!
The Mainstem is running around 2500 CFS and is now falling. The East is at around 1400 and the West Branch is at about 1000 CFS. It is getting a little on the low side however these are still good wadeable levels. The water is cooling quite a bit as well which is another positive. The fly fishing overall has been pretty good the past week. You will need to work for them but we are hearing that it is definitely worth getting out on the water. With the change in New York regulations and all water now open all year (with catch-and-release only provisions established on previously closed water) anglers have been able to hit water that was previously inaccessible. October 15th marks the day that many streams in the state close to all fishing. But moving forward we are now allowed to fish these streams with catch-and-release only implemented. That includes the Delaware. Now is a great time to get out there. Fall is a fantastic time of year to fish and this is the first year in a long time that you can hit the West or East this late in the season. Because of that, many anglers are heading up there to enjoy the Fall weather and great fishing. Overcast or cloudy conditions are best. For flies, nothing has changed in the past week. BWOs are a strong contender for the most productive especially on the cloudier days and dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 has been very effective. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, Hebes, Attenuatta and caddis will make up the majority of the rest of the insects coming off. The best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Remember, low water and bright sun are the exact opposite of what you are looking for. Cloudy days 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 so we should start to see more of a mid-day bite.
No real change to the Montauk report. Things seem a bit on the slower side. We are not seeing the huge Albie blitzes we are used to but at least they are around. The fishing is certainly better than it was 2 weeks ago. I would venture to guess that this weekend off Montauk should be pretty 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. Aside from Albies, the Bass have been blitzing on peanuts 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 are some big fish tucking in tight recently too, as the cooler water has allowed those fish to come right into the rock piles just off shore making them available to the fly anglers. This weekend should be a good one 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, spearing, and silversides is key. These Stripers get very picky and will often not hit larger patterns. Down further into Long Island Sound, the fishing has been a bit better. There have been some very large Bass blitzing along the shoreline early in the morning. One of our customers pulled off a double-digit day on 30lb Bass all on the fly last week. He was on one of these blitzes and said it was one of the best days he has ever had. While we are sworn to secrecy as to where he was fishing, cruising the Long Island shoreline in the morning and looking for surface activity has been paying off big time recently. The back bays, salt ponds, and beaches have also been coming to life. Lots of slot sized Bass (and some even larger ones) are aggressively feeding in these locations. If you move around and fly fish methodically, you can locate large pockets of Bass right now that are easily accessible from shore. Things are looking good for the next week or so and the fishing is about as good as you could hope for in a wide variety of locations. You just need to be willing to move around. Sitting in one spot hoping for something to happen can pay off but it seems that the anglers who are doing very well are the ones that are covering water.
The DEEP continues to stock smaller local streams. Multiple rivers have received fish thus far which has spread out angling pressure. There are a lot of different locations to hit regardless of where you may be located in the State. Reports are great so far with anglers indicating conditions and even better fishing. No longer will you need to wait for the Housey to go down or slog it out on the hard-hit Farmy. There are many smaller rivers that have some great fly fishing opportunities right now. There have been quite a few Tiger Trout stocked as well. We are hearing about many of these (and large ones) as a result of Fall stockings. Tigers over 12” are not uncommon right now which is great. As a reminder: the only rivers that will get fish this Fall will be the Trout Management Areas. That is because they are all catch-and-release only as of September 1st. They will remain that way until the second weekend in April, allowing anglers to catch and release trout all winter. As such, be vigilant and watch for poachers. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357. For flies, many of these fish will be very accommodating so smaller streamers and junk flies are always a good starting point. If the fish are harder hit, smaller Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails and even midges can get those fish biting again. Cover water and once you locate a pocket of fish, work it and figure out what the fish are keying in on. In addition, the Shetucket and Naugatuck received the first stocking of Atlantic Salmon. A unique angling opportunity, these Salmon will take a wide variety of streamers and can get up to 20 pounds or more. We recommend using 8wts for these fish to beat them in a reasonable amount of time. They are all catch-and-release only until late December so be mindful and do your best to release the fish in good condition. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the spin anglers so make sure to report any misconduct to the DEEP. If we all do our part, we can all have some good fishing into the Winter.
Things seem to be stabilizing on the Farmington. The water temperature is slowly coming down and flows are relatively consistent. This is a welcome change from the months of high water, then low water, then very high temperatures. We are seeing a low of 63.5 degrees in the morning and a high of 64.5 in the afternoon. That is within the range of ethical trout fishing so game on! CFS out of the Dam is 452 with another 70 or so from the Still River, which is just about ideal. The DEEP did also stock the Farmington recently in the C&R section so, if stockie bashing is your thing, that would be a good spot to check out. Your best bet for wild or holdover fish (really anything over 15 inches) 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. Down below Satan’s Kingdom will typically have some bigger fish this time of year as that water cools. Not a well-known spot by most, some of the largest fish come out of here each year. The hatches are lackluster at this point with some assorted caddis, BWOs, midges, and maybe the last of the flying ants. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Smaller patterns like midges are probably your best bet. A little PSA about the Farmy. The Browns and the few Brookies will begin spawning in the next week or so. They have certainly already begun to stage and pair up. As such, if you have any respect for this fishery and the wild Browns that this river is famous for, it is best to leave the fish alone during this period. If you see a Redd, move on. And if there is an area where you know spawning is occurring, give it a wide berth. We see it every year. Short-sighted anglers targeting spawning fish for the hero shots on Instagram. While I understand that these big fish are tempting to target, it’s a pretty lame move. Be smart and just leave spawning fish alone. If you see someone ripping fish off Redds, give them a friendly reminder that they could be single handedly preventing the creation of hundreds of wild Brown Trout by disturbing fish while they spawn.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housey is running around 1100 CFS. That is just about wadeable and it should keep coming down. The DEEP has also stocked the TMA this week which should result in some darn good fly fishing, though please remember that it is catch and release only. Water temperatures are looking good and are in the mid to low 60s. At this point, as long as you handle fish with care they should be alright. I would recommend streamers if you plan to fish this weekend. The fresh fish should be more than happy to whack a well fished streamer. Junk flies under indicators will be very effective as well. These larger “nymphs” such as mops, worms, eggs, and weenies will almost certainly take fish for the next few weeks. I would say that as long as you stay sub-surface and have a decent presentation, the fishing should be lights out. Cooler temperatures have resulted in an uptick in Pike and Smallmouth activity over the past week too. The Smallies have been very active. Good water levels (albeit high) 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. The Pike have become much more active as well as the past week has seen a notable difference in the attitude of Northerns. They are eager to eat and while it is always about covering water and lots of casts, the fishing should only get better in the next few weeks. Now is a spectacular time to fish the Housey. There are certainly no shortage of options and it is a beautiful time of year to get out there.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Things are really starting to happen in Long Island Sound on the Connecticut side. The False Albacore pushed in thick last week. Off of Stratford, reports of double digit days came flooding into the shop. “They were everywhere and there were thousands of them” were common descriptions of the fishing. Many of our customers reported their best days on Albies in the area, ever. It is safe to say it was pretty darn good out there. Who knows what the Easterly blow this past weekend will do but historically it does drive fish out or push them into other locations. If you are looking for hardtails, the Middle Grounds are a good place to start your search.
The Striper fishing is improving as well. They are up on structure that has good water depth around it. Some fish over 40” are around but you will need to work for them. From the beaches and from shore, the Striper fishing is improving. The cooler water temperatures are driving fish in tight and pushing bait into feeding zones. Back bays, salt ponds and estuaries are loaded with schoolie Bass and Peanut Bunker. If you are fishing from shore, peanut bunker flies are about all you need right now and will be the primary forage for the next few weeks. Smaller Clousers will work as well. The next few weeks should see some of the better fishing we have all year. The Fall Run is happening and now is the time to get on the water. Blues have been few and far between. Some smaller 20-25” fish have been taken around Stratford Shoals but larger fish are tough to find. Out East toward the Race, larger Blues and Bass are more prevalent. Out toward the mouth of the Housatonic is probably a good place to start looking for larger Blues but again, they will be difficult to pin down. This time of year, you never know what you could run into. Definitely keep 3 fly rods rigged for all 3 species.