Greetings Compleat Anglers! As fall marches on, the focus has turned to stripers and the occasional trout to mix things up. The Fall Run for striped bass has kicked into gear and anglers are reporting excellent fishing from Cape Cod to New York. If the albies got you down, now is the time to get a piece of that striper action! Read on for details...
The Striper fishing continues to be outstanding. Blitzing fish can be found all along the coast right now. The South Shore and the Long Island Sound side are both fishing very well. Anglers have been finding fish right against shore feeding on Peanuts. This has been great for shore-based anglers. The fishing is about as good as it gets. Around Montauk point is the same story. High concentrations of bait and Stripers. The blitzes have often been huge and could be just offshore or right against the beaches. The birds will often tip you off to where most of the activity is concentrated but keep an eye peeled. There may not be birds on every school of fish. The bigger Bass have definitely moved in and some anglers are catching them on the fly. It is very much an early morning and late afternoon bite when it comes to these larger bass. The smaller fish will typically feed whenever the tide is good and the bait is moving. Another new development is the arrival of big Blues. Double digit size class fish are moving in and can be easily caught on a fly. They will be gorging on Bunker so look for the surface activity and you should have no problem hooking a few of these Gator Blues. It’s all starting to happen and fishing should be lights out for the next few weeks.
We got a nice bump of rain this week. The stockie streams across the state were getting a little low for our liking. We were lucky and got rain just when we needed it. Flows are up, dropping and at good fishable levels. Plenty of fish are being brought to hand but a few weeks of high pressure also has these fish educated at this point. The junk flies and streamers have stopped producing the high numbers that they had been - the fish have become keenly aware that big flies are dangerous and certainly not a food item! So that means (as it always does with stockies regardless of the season) it is time to downsize your flies and slow down that presentation. One option is to swing wets. This will be very effective if they are fished correctly. A nice slow swing with a few short jerky strips is a nice way to start out. Sometimes the fish will hit the fly on the strip and sometimes on the swing. Pay attention to this and adjust your presentation accordingly. Size 12 all the way down to 18 or even 20 are the sizes we recommend. The other option is going right to indicator nymphing. The style nymph does not really matter, as the fish will eat a wide variety of patterns at this point. The key is size. They could eat anything from a size 16 to 22. At this stage in the fish’s education I would focus on smaller but bright flies. They seem to still respond positively to bright and flashy flies. That should remain the case for the next 2 weeks or so until they become extremely selective. Switch flies regularly. If you know where the fish are, hold a spot and figure them out. Determine the color and size the fish are willing to take and apply that to other locations. Doing so will keep your rod bent all day. In other news, the Naugatuck and Shetucket have tapered off a bit. Pressure and inevitable poaching seems to have kept the action sparse and light. The DEEP will stock again sometime in the near future so keep your ear to the ground. If you are really hankering to get on these fish then going a few days after they have stocked is critical.
Not much of a change on the ole Farmington. We are hearing that things are a bit on the technical side with average catch rates for this time of year. The system got a decent shot of water which should improve things a bit. With the higher water, now may be a good time to break out the 6 or 7 and throw some streamers. The turbidity is low so maybe not ideal streamer conditions but ripping big flies should be productive late in the afternoon. The water clarity and bump in CFS will lend itself well to nymphing. It seems like all of the bigger fish taken recently have been taken on subsurface patterns tight-lined through deeper runs. Fishing at the head of these pools will be productive but don’t discount the B and C water below it. Depending on conditions and time of day those bigger fish could be stacked back in the slower stuff. Spawning more than likely is occurring so be mindful of the redds please! For you dry fly anglers out there, it’s all about caddis. There are a variety of species hatching at the moment. Having a tan caddis in sizes 16 down to a 22 and in some different patterns will have you covered. There are midges and BWOs popping as well. These tiny flies will be prevalent all day so be prepared for when the fish key on them. Size 22 should be all you need.
We have been having a bit of yoyo action on the Housey. 3000 to 700, back up to 1300 and falling again. It has been a bit tough to get out on the water unless you are very flexible and can leave at a moments notice. But those who have been getting out are catching plenty of fish. And some very nice fish as well. Fish over 20” are a common report the past few weeks. There are certainly a lot of active fish in the Housey right now and anglers have been capitalizing. The fish are still coming up regularly, making for some great late season dry fly fishing. There are tons of caddis coming up but it seem that the BWO is the most productive pattern at the moment. We have even seen some fish taken on small olive Stimulators recently. Go figure. They must think it’s a spent caddis. Regardless, the Housatonic is fishing quite well and I would say the majority of our customers are focusing on this river at this point. The fishing have been great and the scenery can’t be beat. With the higher water, big streamers have been very effective recently. Guys with the right rods and lines have been doing very well fishing these larger flies, especially in the mornings and afternoons. Nymphing has been taking its fair share of fish as well. We had a guy come in and tell us that tightlining has been producing quite a few Smallies. And just when we thought we had seen it all. He adjusted his flies to include a wooly bugger as his anchor and started bailing them in. It just goes to show that if you problem solve and do something a little different, the end result can often surprise you. The Smallmouth fishing has remained constant although not the primary target species, you can still have a great day on the Bass if you are so inclined. The Pike fishing has also seen an uptick. Cooler temps mean the fish are becoming much more active. They are leaving the deeper holes and actively searching out prey. The next month should see some great Northern Pike fishing for those anglers willing to put the time in.
The Striper fishing this past weekend was phenomenal. We had reports from all along the Connecticut coast of Blitzing Bass on both sides of the tide. Some very nice fish have been caught on the fly recently as well. It is safe to say that the Fall Run has begun in Connecticut and the fishing should only get better in the coming weeks. The early morning rising tide was productive but it seemed that the later falling tide seemed to really get those fish up and feeding. Despite the falling being around mid-day this past weekend, the fish did not care. They were forcing bait against the shoreline and blitzing on them. The Peanut Bunker are just beginning to move. They have come out from the harbors and salt ponds but are still aggregating close to shore. As a result, that is where all the Striped Bass are. So focus on these areas. You are almost guaranteed to see birds working and intermittent pops offshore in about 40 or 50 feet of water. Ignore it. Unless you want some Harbor Blues for the smoker. The Bass are tucked in tight right now with the odd exception. So your best bet is to run the shore. Not much in the way of larger Blues.
Rhode Island is picking up in a big way. The Striper fishing has improved significantly in the past week and it is common to find fish blitzing on the beaches right now. Some really nice fish are being caught. There are big females cruising the beaches making them susceptible to fly anglers who can find them. Crab flies are the go-to pattern but don’t discount a baitfish pattern as well. Schoolie sized fish are very prevalent. Fish up to 28 inches are common and should be easy to find on the right day. The bigger Blues have also trickled in. They are still a bit East but should show up any day now. It is all starting to happen. After a pretty awful Albie year it is good to see things picking up!
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 looking great so we recommend getting out there. Now is the time of year to capitalize on good weather windows which we have this weekend. So keep your ear to the ground, be vigilant of the forecast, and go fishing sooner rather than later.