October 22, 2021 13 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! It's been another great week for fly anglers across the Northeast as both fresh and saltwater fisheries are on fire! We are seeing some of the best fishing of the year in most areas so now is the time to get out on the water. Saltwater has been nothing short of spectacular in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Long Island Sound is experiencing some phenomenal Striper fly fishing, and the bite has been fantastic no matter where you are. False Albacore have been thinning out pretty much everywhere, but that is being more than made up for by the Bass and Blues. There are also some very large fish in the mix and Stripers up to 40 pounds and Blues up to 15 are fairly common at this point. On the freshwater side, the trout fishing has been great as well. Our smaller streams have been stocked and most anglers are reporting very willing fish. The Catskills (many rivers previously closed) are fishing about as well as you could hope for. Good water levels and temperatures have the fish actively feeding and even still taking dries. The Beaverkill has been especially good with some really nice rainbows caught recently. The Salmon run is still going as well too. While likely on its final week, there are still plenty of Kings and Silvers up higher in the tributaries of Lake Ontario. The next 2 weeks will be some of best fishing all year. Cooling temperatures and beautiful Fall foliage make this a perfect time to get some late season fishing in before Winter takes hold. Read on for more...
Stripers are the name of the game right now. The Albies have all but pushed out of the area and the Bass have filled the void. There are a lot of smaller fish around with some bigger fish blitzing in the mornings and afternoons. Fishing structure during low light hours will prove fruitful and as always, run around looking for Blitzes. Full sink lines and larger baitfish patterns will 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 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 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. Bass are on the move and could be there one day, gone the next. Move around until you locate some fish. 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 the last few trips of the year!
Similar to last week, the Striped Bass have taken center stage. Stripers blitzes are going strong and getting more numerous by the day. It is certainly looking good for 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 around rock piles in the mornings and afternoons have 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. So, move around and check a lot of different locations keeping in mind that if a spot it devoid of fish one day, it could fish well the next. Larger Bluefish have been a bit scarce. A real shame as there should be Gators blitzing in every mooring field and harbor along the coast this time of year. The Race has been the most constant location for larger Blues as 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 the Long Island Sound. The best bet will be to keep your head on a swivel and cover water. There should be plenty of opportunities out there. Have at least 3 rods rigged, one each for Blues, Bass, and Hardtails 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. Making the most of the weather windows, and not passing up on every available opportunity will make the season. We are approaching the end of Fall run. Make the most of the next few weeks. It will be over before you know it.
Well here it is - the end of the Salmon run. How quickly it comes and goes! The Salmon have essentially stopped running into the rivers at this point. While a few stragglers will always trickle in as late as November, the main thrust of fish have already pushed in. However, that doesn’t not mean it’s all over. Sure, the bright and beautiful salmon are no more, but there will still be plenty of colored up fish higher in the rivers. On the Salmon River, the best bet for Salmon will be to fish above the 2A bridge. The Schoolhouse pool and higher is the place to be. The lower fly zone has been the epicenter of the action with fish stacked in there thick. The flow bumped up to 650 CFS with the rain we had over the weekend and more fish are pushing up into this area by the day. The Cohos seem to have petered out a bit from last week. Most of those fish push in early and are well upstream. There have also been more Steelhead caught. While it is still quite early, there is always the possibility of catching some nice Steelhead this time of year. The main push of Steelhead will be mid-November, but you can always get in on some early season action if you have a hankering to get up there. Just expect to work for them. The big news this year are the monster Browns being caught with surprising regularity. There have been quite a few larger browns taken in the lower and mid sections of the river. Fish over 28” are being caught on a regular basis. This has been a great year for big, lake-run browns. Some Atlantics are being caught as well although it is pretty late for Atlantics. Giant egg style patterns or even bright streamers will work. Pinks, Chartreuses, Oranges, and Peaches are the go-to colors. The Salmon have already begun to die off so if you want to get in on the last of the Salmon run, do not wait.
The Mainstem is running around 2700 CFS and is now falling. The East is around 1300 CFS and the West Branch is at about 1100 CFS. It is getting a little on the low side. However, these are good wadabe levels. The water is cooling quite a bit, which is another positive. 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. Due to 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 previously inaccessible. October 15th marked the day that many streams in the state closed 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. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective as of late. Light Cahills, Hebes, Attenuatta, and caddis will make up the rest of the insects coming off. Best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Remember, cloudy days and high water are ideal. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. As the cooler night time temperatures bring the water temperature down, we will start to see more of a mid-day bite.
Tough year off Montauk for the Albies. There were some great moments, but by and large, it has been a poor year off the light. The Hardtail run is coming to an end off of Montauk as those fish push West and South. There could be fish popping up for the next week or so, but the majority of the fish have left the area by now. However, the Bass and Blues are making up for it. They have been blitzing on Peanut Bunker and Anchovies all over the point and the surrounding area. The bait is on the move, headed South for their migration. The Bass will intercept them and blitz on the surface making the Bass easy targets for fly anglers with the right flies. There are some big fish tucking in tight recently. 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 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 30 lb Bass all on 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 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) 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 look good for the next week or so. Fly 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 local and smaller streams are going strong. There are a lot of different locations to hit regardless of where you may be located in the State. Reports are great. Fly anglers are reporting excellent conditions and even better fly fishing. You no longer need to wait for the Housy 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 many of these are pretty large for 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 (TMAs). 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. Smaller streamers and junk flies are always a good starting point. If the fish are harder hit, try smaller Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, and even midges to 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 very unique angling opportunity, these Salmon will take a wide variety of streamers and can be 20 pounds or more. We recommend using 8 wts for these fish to beat them in a reasonable amount of time. They are all catch & release only until late December, so be mindful and do you best to release the fish in good condition. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the spin anglers so report any misconduct to the DEEP. If we all do our part, we can all have some good fishing into the Winter.
No change to the Farmington report. Things are looking good. The water temperature is slowly coming down and flows are relatively consistent. We are seeing a low of 64 degrees the morning and a high of 65 in the afternoon. Flow out of the Dam is 380 CFS with another 70 or so from the Still River. That is just about ideal. The DEEP also stocked the Farmington recently in the C&R section, so if stockie bashing is your thing; that would be a good spot to check out. 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 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 lack luster at this point - some assorted caddis, BWOs, midges, and maybe the last of the flying ants. Nymphs and smaller patterns like midges will most likely be the best options. 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, you should be okay as long as you are off the water by 12pm. 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. If you have any respect for this fishery and the wild Browns that this river is famous for, then it is best to leave the fish alone. If you see a Redd, move on. If there is an area where you know spawning is occurring, give it a wide birth. 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 pretty lame to actually do so. 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 Housy is running around 1800 CFS. While that still a bit is too high to wade, it should come down soon. That is a good level to float however. The DEEP has also stocked the TMAs this week and that should result in some darn good fly fishing. Remember it is catch and release only. Water temperatures are looking good as well. They are in the mid to low 60s. 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 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. 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, but there are a lot of fish above the TMA despite their smaller size. The Pike have become much more active. The past week has seen a notable difference in the attitude of Northerns. They are eager to eat and the fishing should only get better in the next few weeks. Now is a spectacular time to fish the Housy. 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.
The False Albacore are still here and have pushed inshore over the past week. While last week it was all about Middle Ground and areas to the East, now they are all along the coast in good numbers. While they can be a bit scattered at times, numbers are such that is worth a concerted effort to locate them. We are hearing that they are quite picky, so have a wide variety of flies to choose from.
The real buzz however is the spectacular Striper fishing we saw this past week. Fishing has been off the charts with Bass blitzing on bait right against the shore. The shore-based fly anglers have been catching a ton of fish and some big ones at that. They are up on structure with good water depth around it. Some fish over 40” have been taken by the shore guys with plenty of 30-35” in the mix as well. From the beaches and from shore it is about as good as it gets right now. 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 fishing from shore, peanut bunker flies are about all you need right now - that 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 best fishing we have had 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 have been 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 remember that 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.