October 18, 2019 9 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Reports are getting sparser and sparser when it comes to saltwater angling, though when the weather has been nice people have been getting into the occasional fish. They are still spread out a bit, so manage expectations accordingly. As we wrote last week however, the trout fishing has been excellent in many places. The recent slug of rain has spiked water levels but when it settles we should see some good fishing as a result. Keep your eyes on those gauges!
Most of the trout rivers across New York are now closed to all types Angling. There are a few exceptions such as Special Trout Management Areas, Great Lakes Tribs, and a few wild trout streams. However, as of October 1st most of our favorite streams are closed and will not open again until April 1st. This gives the fish a much needed break during spawning and the hard months of Winter. If you plan on fishing anywhere in New York State, be sure to look up the DEC regulations for that particular stream to avoid a fine or suspension of your license.
The Delaware is certainly winding down. The hatches are subsiding quite a bit and a lot of the system is now closed. Almost the entire West Branch and much of East Branch are now closed to all angling. The Upper East is now closed from Shinhopple Bridge up to the dam. The East below Shinhopple is open until November 30th and catch and release only. The lower East and Mainstem are your only options now. There will be various caddis well into October and this will make up the majority of the bugs coming off. Blue Winged Olives are prevalent as well but few fish have been coming up recently. Hebes and lighter colored mayflies are still hanging on. Nymphs under with indicators have been taking quite a few fish and streamers have been very productive. Some really nice fish have been caught recently using streamers and that may be your best bet in the weeks to come.
Well there is a glimmer of hope for the Albie season. Things picked up before the weather deteriorated and lots of our customers and local guides got one them. The Stripers and Blues have been more prolific so targeting these fish may be a more effective use of your time. Keep the albie flies in the bag just in case, but it is Striper time. Stripers have been blitzing all around Montauk and Long island. It has been common to see fish busting on top early in the morning and in the afternoons. Some nicer fish over 30” have been caught on fly as well. Granted, this is more the exception than the rule, but there are some bigger fish around. These fish are on everything from Anchovies, Sandeels, and Bunker so have a wide variety of flies at the ready. They won’t be too selective, so a variation of size and color is all you need. Now is also a great time to throw poppers. They will readily slam topwater flies so if you have a floating line, now is the time to break it out. We only have about a month left of good Fall fishing so get it in now! We are right on the cusp of the Fall Striper and Bluefish run. Blue are around as well and lots of Harbors and Gators can be found off the Lighthouse, North Shore of Long Island, and in Long Island Sound. As the weather gets colder we will see the smaller fish push out and the big boys hang around a bit longer. So, having some wire and a big ole Bunker fly is a must this time of year.
The stockie fishing was good over the weekend. A shot of much needed rain kept the water at decent levels. The fish are becoming much more educated so it will be time to downsize your flies. It’s all about the nymphs and wets at this point. Be sure to cover water and try and locate unpressured pods of fish. This is your best bet for a good day on the water. The lower section of the Mill River off Lake Mohegan has been on fire. We are hearing of 50 fish days and very cooperative fish. The DEEP has also stocked some really nice fish this year. The Saug is also fishing well but the fish seem to be a bit more educated. The bite should pick up in the next few days. A few of those Atlantic Salmon have been caught on the Shetucket and Naugatuck. The initial stocking was of “smaller” fish as to be expected. Five to eight pounders are the norm. As the fall progresses we will see larger fish put in. Now is a great time to get out and just put a bend in the rod. Remember that all of these fisheries are catch and release only. The Mickey Finn seems to be the “go-to” fly for these salmon. Any bright colored streamer should get hit however purple, red, yellow, and orange are all good choices. It seems that Shetucket is fishing better than the Naugatuck, however both rivers have fish.
Same story on the Farmington as last week. The fishing is still good and should improve as things cool off a bit and angling pressure subsides. The rain this week bumped the water up a bit and fishing has been good A few larger fish being brought to hand but most of the fish are in that 11-14 inch range. Smaller dries such as caddis, BWOs, and midges are taking their fair share of fish. Ants will still take fish during the day and wets have been quite effective recently. As we settle into October the streamer bite will pick back up, especially if we get a good increase in CFS. So, keep an eye on those gauges. The Farmington is fishing well and October is a great time to get out and get in some of the last good fishing of the year.
The Housatonic is still the place to be right now. Phenomenal fishing is being had by all. Dries, nymphs, and streamers are all taking plenty of fish. The water went to over 3000 CFS on Friday but when it drops the fish should be lights out. The leaves are changing and as Fall takes hold, beautiful scenery and pleasant temperatures make this river a truly enjoyable place to fish. Crowds have been a little tough as the word is clearly out, but there is plenty of water to fish and plenty of fish to be caught. If you can get out on a weekday that is ideal. Trout are being taken on a wide variety of dries depending on the day. Blue Winged Olives, a few Isos, a few Light Cahills, and Hebes are hatching right now making them the go-to flies this time of year. There are also assorted caddis hatching so having a few different sizes, patterns, and colors is not a bad idea. But keep in mind that these should be your fall-back patterns. A Rusty Spinner in a size 12 or 14 fished in the evening has been productive. As far as nymphs go, there really isn’t one hot fly. The standard stuff will work as long as you have a few patterns and sizes to choose from. A beadhead caddis in tan s16 or 18, Pheasant Tail/Hare’s Ear sizes 12 to 18, a few smaller stonefly nymphs, and some junk flies thrown in will be all you need. Some smaller nymphs such as zebra midges and scuds in sizes 18 to 22 might be nice to have if the fish are picky that day. With the high water, streamers will be very effective in the coming days. Some nice fish have been taken recently on streamers so if you have a meat box, definitely bring it with you. Keep an eye on the gauges. At over 1000 CFS the Housey is extremely challenging to wade. We recommend fishing at 600 or below. That will give you plenty of water to fish and much more wadable conditions.
For most of the Northeast, it is all about Stripers and Blues now. Albies have been a bit of a bust. There was a glimmer of hope this week. A bunch of fish were caught on Monday and Tuesday around the Norwalk Island and Port Jeff. There a few decent schools that gave anglers shots then disappeared just as fast as they popped up. Although you could run into them on any given day it may be time to switch focus to the more prevalent gamefish. Schoolies are all over but not necessarily on birds. Fishing structure with sinking lines has been just as productive as running and gunning. Maybe even more so. A good moving tide is about all it takes to get these fish fired up to feed. The Stripers have not begun to move in earnest but it is only a matter of time. There are plenty of Bluefish out there to keep you busy. This time of year, the bigger Gators like to push through and harass the tons of Bunker we have in the Sound at the moment. The majority of the fish will be those Harbor Blue size but bigger fish are a real possibility. Unfortunately, we have had a very weak Albie year. So, it is time to switch your focus. We would recommend keeping those Albie flies in the bag for the next 2 weeks just in case we get a strong push at the end but I wouldn’t hold your breath. They are being caught in North Carolina already.
Not much to report in the way of Albies. A few here and there but not many. Things picked up early this week with fish being caught on Monday and Tuesday but the storm on Wednesday shut things back down. The weather has been really hindering efforts to get on these fish which is to be expected this time of year. But this season has also been particularly tough. The Stripers have been the saving grace for the past few weeks and have been cooperating well. Blitzing fish have been a regular sight. When these fish are up and feeding they will hit almost any fly you lob out there. If you come across Stripers on the surface, regardless of size, spend some time with them. Even the schoolies are a blast. There are lots of smaller Blues around as well with some larger fish mixed in. We are right on the front-end of the Fall Striper and Bluefish run so get ready!
Rivers in Western MA needed rain and yesterday it arrived in buckets. It should help overall fishing conditions once the waters have receded a bit, so keep an eye on gauges. Streamer fishing has been pretty good on the Deerfield and elsewhere so this should give that a nice extra jolt.
Bass are picking back up and the Albies are leaving the area. In fact the Albies are pretty much gone at this point. There are a few stragglers but it is time to focus on Stripers. They are becoming much more active as they begin the Fall run South. Early morning and afternoons will be the best time to target these fish, however as the days get shorter and the sun settles lower in the sky the bite will be more tide driven than anything else. Those bigger fish will stay nocturnal-ish but will become much more of a possibility on they fly during the mornings and afternoons.
Anglers are migrating away from Nantucket and the Vineyard, as are the fish. For the few anglers still left on the island, Stripers are still a real possibility but not for much longer. Early morning blitzes are a common sight right now, but quality information is getting harder and harder to come by as many guides and anglers have left. We will maybe keep a little blurb in the report for the next week or two but will phase this out soon. Some Blues are around as well. It is certainly worth poking around as the Fall Run for Bass and Blues is just beginning to get going. As we phase this section out we hope that those of you who fished off the Vineyard had a good season!
Similar report for Nantucket as the Vineyard. Most of the anglers have departed the area for different fisheries altogether. Its gets tough up there this time of year. There are certainly fish around in the way of Stripers and Blues. However, the weather is so unpredictable and Nantucket is so exposed that many anglers who don’t live on the island year-round retreat to Rhode Island, New York or Connecticut. Again, there are still fish to be found off Nantucket but we are just not getting any information from the area. If we hear anything we will put it up but we will Phase Nantucket out in the next week or so. We hope you Nantucket anglers had a good season as well!
No major updates from Maine or New Hampshire this week, as information was sparse. Early October had been pretty good, with of anglers getting some large fish, but recent rains have driven up water levels and we still have to see where things stand when it settles. Our bet is that it will perk up the fishing a bit more so keep your eyes on the gauges and the forecast.
Guide Kyle Schaefer has the latest from Maine:
A Nor’easter has been cranking through Maine as of a couple days ago. Seas are up and messy but the storm moves out Saturday after several days of a hard east/northeast blow. Big Bass are still being caught in southern Maine and mackerel are still the top item on the menu for surface feeds. It’ll be anybody's guess what this storm does to the fishing but I am optimistic we’ll have a few more good productive fall days left before the weather continues to deteriorate.