October 25, 2019 9 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Our reports are starting to thin out in some places as many guides and anglers are hitting the water with a little less frequency. That said, there are still a few autumn bright spots out there for folks who don't mind the chill and want to make the most of their season. The first is that the trout fishing has been excellent in those rivers where angling is still allowed and where flows are managed (i.e., the Farmington). If swinging streamers is your thing, and you love the foliage and lack of crowds, it's a great time to be out there. Also, the fall striper run is kicking into gear in many places, with excellent action for boat and shore based anglers alike. Read on for details!
Until next year. The Delaware, true to her character, fished well this year and made you work for it. Lots of big fish were caught by our customers and our team on the D this year. The dry fly fishing was nothing short of spectacular at times and the streamer bite remained consistent when that water went up. There are still a few anglers fishing up there but as we get deep into Fall most opt to leave these fish alone during the winter. The fish are also spawning at the moment and most of the system is closed to fishing. It is good to give one of the best dry fly rivers in the country a break. We advocate for letting the fish rest during the hard months of winter.
By now most of the trout streams throughout New York State are closed to all types of fishing or winding down. With saltwater fishing only improving we highly recommend targeting Stripers and Blues in the weeks to come. However, for you landlocked angers the time has come. The long awaited Great Lakes Steelhead run has begun. If Saltwater is not your thing then jet up to one of the many tributaries on the Great Lakes. What you will find when you arrive is giant Brown Trout and chrome Steelhead in tremendous numbers.
The odds of finding a False Albacore are pretty much zilch at this point. Maybe a confused pod of stragglers is out there somewhere but the run is essentially over. Awful year. However, the Striped Bass are picking up the slack in a big way. The fish have begun the Fall Run and big fish are Blitzing on Peanuts every morning and evening. Most of these fish will be 28” and under but perfect for the fly anglers. There have been reports of bigger bass on adult Bunker schools but they have been notoriously hard to get on fly. If you are targeting these larger fish, try teasing them away from the bait with a hookless plug. Bait and switch with a big hollow fly and you have a shot at getting one these larger fish to eat. The Bluefish are still hanging around and this time of year can yield some really big fish. They are thinking about moving South too so on any day you could run into those double-digit sized fatties. The fishing right now is exceptional. The fish will be busting on the surface and hit almost any fly you lob in there. It is as exciting as it gets. And an ideal situation for a fly angler.
The stockie streams are fishing extremely well, no doubt about it. Double digit days are being had by all. The CTDEEP has done a phenomenal job this year with the stockings. There are a lot of fish and a much larger average size. It looks like the implementation of the Trout Stamp is really paying off. Over the weekend we did unfortunately have reports of poachers descending on the streams with one guy in particular getting busted with 15 fish dead on the bank at the Mianus. Keep in mind that the Trout Management Areas are all catch and release, single hook, artificial only until opening day of next year. If you see somebody poaching we encourage you to report it to the DEEP. The violations hot line number is 1-800-842-4357 and it is very simple to call and report a violation. If the fly fishing community comes together to police these streams then all of us will have better fishing this season. We strongly recommend not confronting anyone who is poaching, simply back away and report it. We do not want anybody getting hurt out there. With that out of the way, the Mianus, Saugatuck, and Mill are all fishing quite well. These are the steams closest to the shop but there are plenty if TMA’s across the state that are fishing just as well. The fish are starting to figure out that there are anglers after them so we recommend downsizing your flies. Size 12 streamers and size 16 or 18 wet flies have been very effective as of late. Pretty soon nymphs will be the order of the day but for now, stick with actively fished flies. Just be sure to downsize the fly and fish lighter tippet. The Naugatuck and Shetucket are still producing salmon on a regular basis. Plenty of fish have been brought to hand by those who are willing to make the drive. The fish can get pretty wary of streamers after being caught a few times. If you have located fish but can’t get them to eat, try a size 16 Copper John in red. This will often get bit and is sort of a “secret fly” anglers sometimes use for these salmon.
The Farmington remains as consistent as ever. Those cooler days seem to have jazzed the fish up a bit. Some nicer fish are being caught as they become more active. Many of these fish are post-spawn or even spawning at the moment. Browns that is. This is that time of year so we encourage leaving any paired-up fish alone. Any redds you see should be avoided and given a wide berth. Ripping a fish off a red is just poor ethics. If you see any fish darting around or a lighter patch of gravel, let these fish be. They are making the next generation of hog johnsons for you to catch in the future. That being said, with trout spawning at the moment, a small egg fly should prove effective in the weeks to come. These trout lay small eggs. We are not talking Chinook sized eggs here. So, when fishing eggs, a size 14, 16 or 18 should do it. A larger egg fly can imitate a cluster of eggs so they will often work but for individual eggs keep them small. As far as hatches go, it is all about the caddis. The only real Mayfly around in any numbers are BWOs. There are some Hebes hatching as well which is basically a slightly sulphur colored BWO. So having some BWOS in the box is advised. The caddis are popping in a tan size 18. A spent caddis should prove effective throughout the day. Nymphs are taking their fair share of fish as well. No surprise there. If we ever get a bump in water up there streamers will be very effective as well. The weather is perfect and it is a great time of the year to get up there. If you are itching to get out on the water, the Farmy is one of the most beautiful places to do it this time of year. We love Fall fishing and have a soft spot for the Farmington in October. It will be well worth the drive if you decide to get your boots wet.
Talk about a good shot of water! The Housatonic jacked up to over 3,000 CFS on Friday. The weekend was essentially unfishable unless you had a drift boat and even then, conditions would have been tough. Things are looking up however. The water is dropping and should be fishable by the weekend. Fishing on the Housey has been great recently and should be no different this weekend into next week. The water temps are great and the trout are very active. They are being caught on a wide variety of flies including streamers. Some very nice fish have been taken on bigger streamers recently and with the higher water it should be a great weekend to throw meat. There are a lot of caddis popping so if you want to fish dries then start there. a size 18 tan caddis is all you need. Maybe a few 16s and 20s just to be safe but a s18 spent caddis will take fish. Mops, worms, and all that junky stuff has been working as well. A lot of customers have been buying eggs for up there so maybe have a few eggs in the box as well. it is that time of year when Brown Trout spawn so egg flies should prove effective if fished properly. We have also been getting reports of Pike beginning to hammer flies much more readily. Late October into November is typically a peak time to fish for these toothy fish and this year is proving to be no exception. The Smallie fishing has tapered off a bit. They are certainly still being caught but as it gets colder they will get less and less active. Most anglers are focused on trout anyway but you can still catch plenty of Smallies if you want.
Things are beginning to heat up off of the Connecticut Coast. The Fall Run is beginning to start and the Striper fishing has been steadily improving. We are starting to see fish up top hammering bait and on any given day you could find schools of fish feeding on the surface. Some nicer sized fish have been caught as well. It still seems that the early mornings and late afternoons are when the fish are the most active. That being said, it will become a less polarized bite as we creep into November. There are astronomical amounts of Bunker out there right now so we should see the bigger fish move in and hold on these schools of bait, at least for a little while. If bigger fish are your target, spot checking these schools while the tide is moving will be the best way to locate these fish. That goes for both Bluefish and Stripers. We are still seeing plenty of those smaller Blues and Stripers around too. They have been keeping fly anglers busy and it seems that at times, you can catch as many as you want. In the past few weeks, it really has been a fish by boat game. Most of the fish have been in deeper water holding in the cooler temperatures. Things have cooled off quite a bit and for you shore based anglers, that is good news. The fish are moving inshore and doing their best to corral Peanut Bunker against the beaches. That makes them susceptible to the shore based anglers and we are already seeing the guys on foot starting to hammer them. This is one of the best times of the year to fly fish in the salt. And the next few weeks should be pretty darn good fishing. Make sure you have plenty of Bunker flies tied up. When it happens and the fish really show up, it will happen in a big way. Get ready folks. Some incredible fishing is happening right now!
Thanks for nothin’ Albies. False Albacore are pretty much gone at this point. The last we heard there was a small push of fish last week and nothing after that. It would be safe to assume that it is time to shift focus to the Striper and Bluefish run. All along the Northeast the Stripers have been hammering bait against shore. The colder temps have the bait on the move and the Stripers are taking full advantage. We have been getting videos and reports here in the shop of phenomenal Striper fishing all along Rhode Island. East Beach and the surrounding area seems to be one of the more consistent spots but the fish are everywhere. Block has had some great fishing as well with some of those big cows mixed in. One angler said that the big fish are there and he had brought numerous 20+ pound fish to hand. For the shore based guys, now is the time to get out there. The fishing off the beaches has been very good. The birds will be on the fish so locating pods of feeding Stripers will be pretty easy. In the weeks to come the fishing should hold and even improve. The next month or so will be some of the best Saltwater fishing all year so we highly recommend getting out there!
Reports are minimal from Western MA this week, so this is likely the last word we'll publish this fall unless something unusual happens. Flows on the Deerfield are pretty low but the fall streamer bite should be consistent for the next week or two.
The Striper bite, just like elsewhere in the Northeast is picking up. Blitzes are a regular occurrence and it is only a matter of time before the larger fish show up. Fishing from shore is becoming more and more advantageous and the next few weeks should see some fantastic fishing if the weather holds. The weekend is not looking great but it may hold out. The wind will be cranking from the East which is never good. So keep your ear to the ground and be vigilant of the forecast.
No major updates from Maine or New Hampshire this week, as information is sparse. This is likely the last word we'll write about the freshwater angling in both states until we pick things back up in the spring. Thanks for following along.
Same goes for the saltwater action. The weather is getting pretty chilly out there and most of the guides we get information from have done their final bookings for the season. We'll pick things back up in the spring!