Hello Compleat Angler friends! Saltwater fishing has continued to hold up, with plenty of schoolie action with some larger fish mixed in. Smaller Bluefish are still in play, however, their presence has diminished a bit. Most of the bait and fish are concentrated at the mouths of rivers and coves. On the freshwater side of things hatches are starting to taper off due to the colder weather, but the most prevalent insects will be Blue Winged Olives and Tan Caddis. Many anglers are catching fish, and nymphing and streamer fishing continue to be productive methods. All of our rivers have been stocked for the Fall, and the drop in water temperature has triggered more Brown and Brook trout to begin spawning. During this time, it will be worth bringing egg patterns to your local haunts as eggs become dislodged and drift downriver from spawning beds. Over the past few days, the Salmon River has seen an improvement in Steelhead numbers as fish have pushed in thanks to a bump in flows. Our friends in New Jersey and Long Island are getting the best of the Striper Migration right now, and fish Blitzing along the beaches has been a regular occurrence lately. Read on for more…
The leaf hatch is in full swing on our local rivers which has proven tricky for anglers keeping their rigs clear of debris. Despite the abundance of leaves, water clarity is good as flows are slightly below average. For instance, the Saugatuck is flowing at 70.4 CFS. With the arrival of colder temperatures, surface insect activity has been diminishing. However, you may still encounter some midges in sizes 18-20, Tan Caddis in sizes 16-20, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24. The most productive techniques this time of year are nymphing and streamer fishing.Since fish have been recently stocked, a variety of flies will work, and having some junk flies (Mops and Squirmies) at the ready will certainly catch fish. Try pairing that with a smaller pattern that is more imitative of aquatic insects, as fish will start to acclimate to natural forage. For smaller nymphs consider Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Perdigones, Zebra Midges, Caddis Larva, and Flashback Hare’s Ears. Sticking to sizes 14-18 in these patterns will imitate most of your subsurface insect sizes. Any nymphs with hotspots shuold work well. One effective technique during the afternoon is to let your nymphs swing to the bank at the end of your dead-drift, as this will imitate an emerging insect. For our small river and streams we like having a shorter leader, such as theRio Powerflex in 7.5ft. Both 5x and 6x will have you covered for most dry fly and nymphing scenarios. The streamer fishing has been excellent, as less educated trout coupled with Fall spawning behavior have ramped up their aggression. Fishing streamers during above average flows can make for some good action. Your standard Woolly Buggers will work along with a variety of larger articulated flies. One of our favorite streamer lines for Fall is theAirflo Streamer Max Short,as well as theScientific Anglers Sonar Trout. The Short head loads rods well when targeting the opposite bank on our smaller rivers and it helps sink the fly quickly into the strike zone. Areas that should be fish well include the Saugatuck, Mianus, Mill, and Aspetuck Rivers. Conditions will remain overcast throughout the week with air temperatures reaching a high of 50F.
The Naugatuck was stocked with Atlantic Salmon (and more recently Trout) in the Trout Management Areas. Flows are also steadily dropping but still above average, reading 399 CFS at Beacon Falls. Again, having some junk flies will catch less educated stocked fish, so look to fish similar offerings that we are using on our local streams: Caddis, Blue Winged Olives, and Midges. Bring some Tan Caddis patterns in sizes 14-18 as October Caddis will be hatching. With respect to other insects, having a range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. Look to fish Isonychia in the evenings in size 12 and focus on the faster water where they will be more active. Overall, the hatch to focus on will be Blue Winged Olives, which are now becoming more prevalent again, while Isos are tapering off, as these are ideal temperatures for both afternoon and evening hatches. Fishing drab colored Woolly Buggers will work for the more aggressive fish, especially with the current flows running a tad high. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. In addition, the Shetucket River was recently stocked with Atlantic Salmon, and for these fish your traditional Atlantic Flies and hairwing streamers will work: Grey Ghosts, Blue Charms, and Mickey Finns. Don’t be afraid to throw some larger intruders in Pink, Black, Blue, and Purple, especially after they’ve just finished stocking. Try swinging these streamers slowly as you first fish the pool, and if you don’t get any takes, switch to a faster retrieve/swing. The fish will let you know what they prefer.
After flow cuts at the dam the West Branch of the Farmington River is running slightly below average and currently reading 257 CFS. The Still River is adding 139 CFS downriver from rain. This makes conditions clear and easy for wading. The three main hatches to focus on include Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, Tan Caddis in sizes 16-20, and Midges in sizes 18-24. Water temperatures are fluctuating between the low to mid 50s, and most of the hatches will take place in the late morning and into the afternoon, with some spinners during the evening. More Brown and Brook trout are paired up and in spawning mode, so pay attention to avoid disturbing paired up fish or stepping on their Redds (spawning beds), which look like lighter patches of gravel in riffles. Because trout will be spawning, egg flies will be an effective method downstream of Redds as trout wait for eggs to become dislodged from spawning beds. Trout are also more aggressive this time of year so having a variety of different streamer colors will be the key to success: Olive, Tan, Yellow, White, Orange, and Black are all good color choices. Bringing some larger streamers can also result in finding some nice trophy fish 20” and over. Now is a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to break out theSkagit Heads andT Tips which will turn over larger intruders and streamers. Fishing a wet fly swung on aless aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish during the afternoon when insects will be emerging. The same can be said for those nymphing with single handers: swinging nymphs at the end of your drift can simulate an emerging insect. Twitching jigged streamers through a run can also be a deadly technique. For nymphing, junk flies (Mops and Squirmies) will catch recently stocked Trout as will Stoneflies in sizes 8-12. One technique is to use these larger flies as your point nymph paired with a smaller dropper nymph: Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-18, Caddis Larva 14-18, Perdigones 12-20, Hare’s Ears 14-18, and Zebra Midges in 18-24. These nymphs are all safe bets from the Fall well into Winter. In terms of rigging, look to use 5x-6xFluorocarbon when nymphing, andNylon 5x-7x when dry fly fishing. During normal-low flows, and especially with smaller flies, it pays off to have a stealthy leader in the10-12’ range which will aid in a delicate presentation. Staying into the evening can result in some good spinner falls. With the variety of bug activity, soft hackling can be a productive option as well.
Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful to other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind:Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Flows are gradually dropping on the Housatonic River but are still high and tricky for wading. Currently the flows are 1250 CFS at Falls Village. Fish have been found rising (especially in the park) to Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, Midges in sizes 18-24, and Tan Caddis in sizes 12-18. For nymphs bring junk flies (Mops and Squirmies) as well as Stoneflies in sizes 10-16, Caddis Larva in sizes 14-18, Zebra Midges in sizes 18-24, as well as nymphs to imitate Mayflies (Olive Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, and Perdigones) in sizes 12-18. Trout are starting to get into their spawning phase, which means that they will be looking for higher calorie meals so bringing some larger streamers should prove useful. Streamer fishing has been great lately. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, ect), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. When fishing streamers on floating lines consider drab colored Conehead Woolly Buggers paired with a 9ft 2x leader. Now is also a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to consider throwing larger patterns during the afternoon in combination with swinging wet hackles in the mornings and evenings. Pike fishing has also improved, as the dropping water temperatures will trigger them to feed more often in preparation for Winter. Throw big flies (such as aFlashtail Whistler) paired with an 8-10wt, bite wire, and some form of sinking line (my personal favorite).
The main action recently has been schoolie Stripers blitzing on Peanut Bunker around coves and harbors with some nicer fish in the mid 30” mixed in. Most of our bait is still concentrated near the mouths of rivers and coves, and dropping temperatures have been pushing upriver bait out towards the sound. The Norwalk River, Saugatuck, and Housatonic will provide some Striper and Bluefish action. Anglers have also reported finding small pods of Albies still hanging around from Norwalk to Old Saybrook, however it is fairly late to find large numbers of them that are easy to fool. The most consistent action has been during dusk and dawn. A variety of baitfish imitations will interest fish on either an intermediate or sinking line, however another effective method is covering water with a popper that will create a lot of disturbance, such as a Bob’s Banger, or usinglarger offerings that will create sound and draw attention. Every day has been different as Stripers have started their migration, and for our wade anglers the Housatonic, Westport beaches, and Southport are good hunting grounds for them. This time of year, it is worth casting along the beaches as the bait will push out and travel along the beach with Stripers in pursuit. Other areas to consider include Calf Pasture, Penfield Reef, Veterans Park, and Todd’s Point. While blitzes can erupt at any time, and seemingly out of nowhere, we like to focus on mornings and evenings, low light conditions, as well as tidal movements. We recommend bringing20lb knottable wire leader which is easy to work with when adding a section to your leader for Bluefish, or having apre-tied leader, which can save some time. While most of the Bluefish have moved out there are still a few stragglers mixed in with Stripers. For your standard Striper leader, we prefer a leader7’ of 16-20lb, and if using poppers, you may extend your leader by a couple more feet. It will also help to bring some longer fullfluorocarbon leaders in 16lb in case you encounter Albies.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Flows have increased considerably during the past few days and are currently above average and registering 603 CFS in Pineville. Towards the lower end of the river the increase in flows has more Steelhead pushing in fresh from the lake along with the occasional Brown Trout. Holding Steelhead are also starting to push into the Middle and Upper sections. Overall, there has been an increase in numbers over the past few days. It’s all a matter of finding pods of fish that are holding and willing to cooperate. For Steelhead it is worth bringing2x-3x fluorocarbon when nymphing. The consensus is that anglers are finding single digit numbers of fish each day. The most popular flies are going to be different colored Glo Bugs, Stoneflies, Squirmies, Steelhead Slammers, Rushers Steelhead Nymph, Wooly Buggers and Egg Sucking Leeches. When swinging the lower parts near the estuary some anglers are having success fishing large brightintruders in Pink, Black, Purple, and Blue/Chartreuse.Beads in different colors will also work well (such as Chartreuse and Mottled Tangerine), so switching up flies/colors and techniques are the key to success. As a bonus, these flies will also work on Brown Trout. Having amicro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, as well as aid in quicker rerigging during breakoffs and snags. For our two handed anglers, Skagit has been the most productive method, and we like Rio’sSkagit Max Power head combined with either amono orcoated running line. Having a variety ofMOW Tips so you can fine tune the depth of your fly based on flows, depth, and current speed, can also aid in your success. For tippet, we like usingMaxima Ultragreen in 10lb when swinging flies.
The Mainstem at Lordville on the Delaware River is currently 1980 CFS, while the West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 709 CFS. Fish’s Eddy on the East is registering 853 CFS. Overall, flows are below average but that opens up the river for wading. With that said, please be careful as Brown Trout are currently spawning so avoid stepping on Redds and disturbing paired fish. Your main hatch will be Blue Winged Olives in sizes 20-26, and with water temperatures in the mid-40s, most of your bug activity will be during the afternoon when temps are highest. Having a leader of at least12’ of 5x-6x will help when using a stealthier approach for dry flies. Look for rising fish in the slower pools and tailouts. Nymphing and streamer fishing is going to be the most productive during the mornings. In terms of nymphs, having Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, Hare’s Ears and Caddis Larvae in sizes 16-20 will all be effective patterns to carry. This will cover the range of subsurface insects that you may encounter. It is worthwhile to bring egg patterns as Trout will be waiting for eggs to become dislodged from spawning beds. Bringing some larger articulated streamers (3-5”) can prove useful too, as Brown Trout will be more aggressive this time of year (Drunk and Disorderly, Mini Dungeons, ect). Having a sinking line or some form of sink tip is an effective way to fish neutrally buoyant streamers at desired depths.
In New York and Long Island, the spotlight has shifted from Albies to Stripers with a lot of blitzes happening along the North and South shores. The main baitfish are going to be Bunker in the 3-5” range, with some larger Bunker and Sand Eels along the South shore. Focus on areas near structure: jetties, rips, and at the mouth of canals. In deeper water structure there have been larger bass 40” and over underneath Bunker pods. There are still some small pods of Albies cruising along the North shore, however it has been challenging to get shots off at them. Bringing some poppers, like a Bob’s Banger, will result in some Blue and Striper action during dusk and dawn. Night fishing has held steady for Stripers, especially around docks and lights, and anglers fishing from shore are finding large Stripers off the beaches. Looking for fish pushing bait to the surface in the rips will result in some fish 30lbs and over by boat. Tide movement is crucial when looking for fish, as this will stack bait into the rips which will make for an easy meal. If there is no surface action, you can use an aggressive sinking line paired with a larger Clouser to get deeper. With the abundance of bait and different species you will encounter, we recommend bringing some Deceivers, Clousers, Sand Eel patterns, and Popovic’s Surf Candies to imitate Bay Anchovies. This is the best time of year for targeting Stripers as the abundance of bait, which makes for great topwater action, will hold for a few more weeks.
Fall Striper fishing continues to be hot along the Rhode Island shore, namely in bays and around the mouths of rivers. At the mouth of the Providence River there are anglers finding larger fish. Stripers are just starting to taper off as they begin their migration, and with the Bluefish gone the fishing should slow down in the next few weeks. Again, your most prevalent bait will be Peanut Bunker and Bay Anchovies. Looking for signs of birds and bait will be your best bet combined with covering ground, as the Stripers haven’t been tightly concentrated. Persistence is the name of the game. With fish migrating through, the beachfronts have been a hit or miss. Cape Cod is still seeing some schoolie action in the surf, however most of the bait and fish have started to move South. Focusing on salt marshes and ponds can result in some resident Stripers looking to winter over. Areas to focus on include Watch Hill, Point Judith, Charlestown Breachway, and the West Wall. Anglers have been finding occasional Albies running through, but this has been a rarity the past couple of weeks.
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