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November 11, 2022 9 min read
Hello Compleat Angler friends! Cold temperatures are back, and Old Man Winter is starting to put some frostbite into our fingers early in the morning. With that said, the local saltwater bite has continued into this week, but look for the fishing to start tapering off in the next couple of weeks. Overall, we have had a fantastic fall run! For this weekend we have some nastier weather in store with rain and high winds, so pay attention before you decide to head out there. Plenty of Striped Bass are blitzing near shore, so pack a couple different sizes of Peanut Bunker imitations. Our anglers have been catching trout consistently on our local rivers, which has mainly been a nymphing and streamer game. We can certainly use the upcoming rain. Our New York neighbors are still seeing Olive hatches in the afternoon. The brown trout fishing has been exceptional on the Great Lakes tributaries and rivers, and the Steelhead fishing has been improving daily. Read on for more…
This week we are hearing some mixed reports coming from Rhode Island. Some shore anglers are struggling to find fish while others are having some great days. Boat anglers are continuing to have success, especially near the Cape and Newport. These anglers are being rewarded with slot size and over Bass, and the blitzes are continuing into the afternoon. If they are picky, try throwing sparser, smaller flies, and switch up retrieve speeds until you find the right combination. Peanut Bunker continue to be the most prevalent bait off of the South Shore beaches. When targeting these bass look for Albies and Bluefish mixed in. When hunting these fish down, focus on the bays and along the beaches in shallow water. Overall, the Albie fishing has been sporadic with occasional shots at fish, however the bass fishing should hold strong for a couple weeks before it tapers off as we near the end of the Fall run. Keep your eyes on the wind for this weekend, we have some higher wind speeds ramping up for Saturday morning, with air temperatures dropping to the mid-40s. Having a selection of Peanut Bunker imitations, such as an EP peanut butter in 2-4” lengths is a safe bet for this time of year.
Our highest chance of precipitation will be Friday night into Saturday morning, and reports indicate that we definitely need some! Despite our low flows, the fishing has been consistent on our local rivers. The Saugatuck is trickling at 31.4cfs, with all of our TMAs stocked for the fall time, areas to focus on include the Mill, Saugatuck, Farmington, and Housatonic rivers. Try an assortment of smaller nymphs and streamers in the morning. And look for Blue Winged Olive hatches during the afternoons.
Connecticut Fish and Wildlife has done another round of stocking Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck TMA, as well as the lower section (Waterbury to Beacon Falls). Cold mornings can make conditions tough, so make sure you have a good layering system of warm clothes until the sun comes up. The increase in temperatures will make these Salmon more active. The Naugatuck and Shetucket were also stocked with trout. Now that the trout have been in these rivers for a couple weeks, switch over to your smaller and more imitative patterns as they become wary. For Atlantic Salmon try Woolly Buggers in pink and purple, as well as your traditional salmon patterns: Blue Charms, Grey Ghosts, etc. The fish will vary in size from five to ten pounds. We recommend a 9’ 6-8wt rod paired with a sink tip line or polyleaders to get the fly into their zone. Some sections of these rivers are conducive to Spey fishing. Most of these fish are 2-3 years old (2-5lbs), while the older broodstock (10-15lb) are stocked in fewer numbers. For those of you that aren’t new to the Atlantic Salmon game, fish them like you would any other Atlantic salmon fishery, but don’t be afraid to upsize your fly or experiment with nymphs. On the sunny days look for fish sunning themselves in the tail-out of pools for a fun sightfishing opportunity. An increase in flows will tend to spread these fish out. During the colder mornings, a slowly swung streamer is a good strategy. The Naugatuck flows have dropped to 113cfs. As a reminder, the fishing is catch and release until 12/6 with a single hook fly. Please report any poaching to law enforcement, 860-424-3333.
The most recent DEEP stocking was in early October around Riverton, so try fishing junk flies in this section until the fish become educated. Think wooly buggers, mop flies, and general attractor nymphs with hotspots. Now is a great time to fish streamers and egg patterns as fish are getting ready to start spawning and are looking for a high calorie meal. Hot headed jig streamers such as black with an orange bead, are good flies for this time of year. The fish will still be rising to Blue Winged Olives in these average flows, and there have been some reports of great afternoon hatches. The West Branch Riverton gauge is holding at 167cfs from the dam release with the Still adding 62.4cfs, which means water clarity and flows are ideal. For dry fly anglers, the trout are continuing to rise, and most hatches are occurring late morning into the afternoon. Look to fish Blue Winged Olives as the most prevalent hatch, with small Caddis mixed in. Small flies down to size 24 seem to be the norm. Small nymphs will also continue to produce. For Trout Spey anglers, swinging wet flies can be productive, but don’t be afraid to throw larger intruder style patterns. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. With the colder mornings, try fishing streamers and nymphs until most of the hatches start up in the afternoon. The leaves are still dropping, so check your rig to keep it clear of debris often. The brown trout are spawning now so please be mindful to stay clear of lighter colored patches of gravel, which are their spawning beds (redds). 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.
The flows are holding at a comfortable 632, which is good news for our wade anglers. In other good news, not much has changed fishing-wise on the Housatonic. The fishing has been great since the stocking, and many of our anglers are using a variety of techniques to bring numbers of fish to hand, and streamers are producing exceptionally well. A variety of small nymphs are working, and guys are having success if they can keep their rig clear of debris. Focusing on areas by the park and TMA should result in some fish. The most prevalent hatch until the winter will be Blue Winged Olives and I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers. Focusing on your small sizes 20-24 should result in some success. Again, focusing on your streamers (don’t be afraid to throw larger patterns) and nymphs during the colder portions of the day is a good strategy, and look for rising fish in the afternoon. Our anglers have reported that the state has stocked a significant number of Tiger Trout. Now that the temperatures are dropping, and with the anticipation of winter, it’s a good time to think about Pike fishing. These fish should be aggressive so look for them in coves with weed beds, as well as ledges. 8-10wt rods are standard with some form of sinking, intermediate, or sink tip line with a large streamer. Some good flies are Flashtail Whistlers, larger EP Flies, and Deceivers. Floating line with a popper can also work in shallower sections.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Bass fishing continues to be strong. There have been great and consistent reports of Stripers and Blues in our area, with some of our anglers finding Albies towards the middle and southern part of the Sound, however they have proved difficult to fool. The majority of the Albie action seems to be more Easterly. Plenty of Bass are being found nearshore on Peanut Bunker in the 2-4” size range, and some quality fish are being brought to hand. Larger Bass of 40 inches and over are being found in some of the blitzes near shore, with most Bluefish being found in deeper water around the 12–15-pound range. This is good news for our shore anglers looking to get into Bass, so search the coastline for birds and bait. Be mindful of your tides, and fishing near lowlight hours (dusk and dawn) will bring the most success. Both sides of the tides have been consistent, especially during these full moon tides. Some hotspots right now are the shorelines around Southport to Bridgeport (especially for Bluefish), the Norwalk Islands, the Connecticut River, Cos Cob etc. Some of the fish around the Norwalk Islands and Westport have been cruising in shallow water, so look for surface disturbance/tailing. Our boat anglers are having good success near shore in coves and harbors, so there is no shortage of options right now, especially sight-fishing near the beaches. There is also some good fishing towards Niantic and Old Saybrook, namely bass with some Albies mixed in. The Housatonic River fishing should improve as Bass will start stage near the mouth as they look to winter-over. Fall weather windows can make things tough to get out there. I recommend choosing a day with a Westerly wind, keeping in mind that low wind speeds make casting easier. Colder nights/mornings can create a slow start to the early bite. Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a high probability of success. If you are running around this area this week, keep your eyes open for blitzes and/or birds working bait. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Most of the Salmon in the river are in spawning mode, so there are plenty of eggs in the system for our Steelhead anglers. The Steelhead fishing has proven consistent with chrome fish pushing in daily as well as the occasional Brown Trout. We are now starting to see Steelhead up in Altmar, which indicates they’re spread throughout the river. Nice size Steelhead are being caught by boat anglers. Water temperatures have been in the high 30’s in the morning, and morning hours have been the most consistent for Steelhead in the lower river. For these fish, focus on using egg patterns: Glo-bugs, Estaz, Sucker Spawn, as well as Egg-Sucking Leeches. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns, as they will continue to work all winter when the Salmon activity dies off. Being adaptable and switching up techniques/flies often results in the most success. For our Spey anglers a variety of colors including black, purple, blue, and pink all work well. For those still looking to get their last Salmon fix try fishing Altmar to the Lower Fly Zone, where there is the most concentration of them. The tributaries are also producing big Brown Trout, and Steelhead should start to push in soon. There are still some late run Coho in the mix. Anticipate rain Friday into Saturday. If there is a spike in flows this will help push more fish into the system. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm! The flows are currently 442cfs and holding, which will have fish concentrated in the deeper parts of runs. On the windier days the leaf hatch has become an issue, so try throwing colors that stand out in the mix of debris.
With colder temperatures rearing again, the morning has been a nymphing-based game. West Branch flows are 232cfs at Hale Eddy, while the East is 359cfs at Fish’s Eddy. The Mainstem at Lordsville is flowing at 720cfs, overall low flows! Current water temperature is 44F on the main. Low flows will make it easy for wade anglers to access spots, however this makes conditions tough for those fishing out of a drift boat. Please be mindful of trout spawning beds (Redds). We realize that these flows make things easier for wading, but because the fishery is now open all year round these eggs are susceptible to being crushed by wade anglers. In general, the most prevalent hatches continue to be BWOs in the afternoon, with some great hatches reported. Look to fish Olive nymphs in size 18-24, as subsurface has been the most productive especially in the mornings. For dry fly anglers try small Rusty Spinners, BWO emergers, and focus on the slower pools and tailouts this time of year during the afternoons. Blue Winged Olives will be the main hatch as winter approaches. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill have ideal flows for wading. The streamer fishing has started to pick up, so definitely spend some time fishing smaller streamers for low flows. For wading anglers using Trout Spey rods, now is a great time to swing emergers and small intruders. Fishing streamers and nymphs in the morning is a good tactic until the hatches become prevalent in the afternoons.
I wish I had some more positive news on the Montauk front, but the Albie blitzes have been extremely tough to find. If you’re heading out there check the South side of the lighthouse for Bass and Bluefish chasing Peanut Bunker near the rips. The Bass fishing has been pretty consistent. If I were planning to fish somewhere this week, I would recommend a more Western area of the sound (Orient to Point Jefferson). Otherwise search the rips for Bass pushing bait to the surface and try fishing the coves and flats. Sunny skies can result in some fun sight fishing opportunities! The bite will also pick up in the fall for Bass on the Northshore, and great fishing can be had in the evenings. Shore anglers should also focus on the rock gardens near the lighthouse, as well as searching the beach for blitzes erupting near-shore.
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