Northeast Fishing Report: 11/12/21 - The Compleat Angler

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November 12, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! It is all about the Saltwater fly fishing right now. The fishing has been spectacular in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. The Fall Run is on and both shore-based and boat anglers are making the most of it. The Striped Bass have been Blitzing all day every day when the tides are good. This has been making for some very visual fly fishing. They are chasing Peanut Bunker or Anchovies so any fly that resembles these baitfish is getting hammered. There are some very large fish in the mix as well and Bass up to 40 pounds plus are not an uncommon sight right now, especially in Connecticut. The Blues are here too and some fish up to 12 pounds are being seen along the coast. The False Albacore refuse to leave as well. Off of Groton we are hearing of some of the best blitzes of the year. While the freshwater fishing has been tough the past week, that is ok with us as the saltwater side of things is about as good as it gets. Read on for more... 

Massachusetts

As December comes into view, the fly fishing in Massachusetts (at least for Saltwater) will start to decline dramatically in the coming weeks. The Stripers and Blues are headed South and, as such, the fishing will get tough. While there are certainly still some fish around and the fishing will hold for the next week or two, few of our anglers have been heading up there. The fishing has been so good elsewhere that it’s harder to get motivated to head North at this point in the season. As such, we will be removing this section until late Spring 2022. Thank you to all who contributed and provided us up-to-date information this year. 

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Rhode Island is still hot and the bite is on! Rhody has hung in there and the fishing has been solid after the storm. This past week saw some great Bass Blitzes, Gator Blues and even the last flurry of False Albacore. While the Hardtails have all but disappeared, you never know, and they are still popping up with regularity. Having an extra setup rigged for False Albacore may not be a bad idea. Really, the Stripers have been the primary focus of most of the fly anglers out there. At times, huge blitzes have formed right off the coast with some really nice fish in the mix. While Rhody may not be fishing as well as Connecticut or the Western end of Long Island, there are still plenty of fish around. Running and gunning with Peanut Bunker flies will almost certainly produce both Bass and Blues. The Bass are (at times) still on smaller bait. The Albies certainly are as well so have some smaller anchovy patterns in your back pocket. For shore-based fly anglers, the beaches, salt ponds, and estuaries have been fishing very well. One of the best aspects of the Fall Run is that time of day seems to matter less and less the deeper we get into November. So, no need to wake up super early. Just fish during good tides and you will have high odds of success. As we mentioned before, we have 2 or 3 weeks left so get in your fishing now. By Thanksgiving the Bass and Blues will have moved out of the area so no time like the present! The forecast does not look great for the weekend so if you do decide to go out, be safe and maybe stay tucked in tight. Certainly, fishing in the lee of islands and points will be much more enjoyable.

Connecticut

Local Streams

We’ve seen a bit of a tail off in quality of fishing for the smaller streams in Connecticut. The DEEP is almost done with the Fall stockings and many of our rivers only received one stocking. We are hearing that the fishing has been on the tougher side. That is almost certainly attributed to weeks of angling pressure, high water that has dispersed fish, and dropping temperatures. The fish are educated, spread out, and becoming more lethargic. As such you will need to cover water while deploying stealthy trout tactics. Smaller flies, light tippet, and perfect presentations are all critical to keep you hooked up. Zebra Midges, smaller soft hackles, and other assorted nymphs in a size 18 or below should get the job done. 6x tippet is mandatory for these smaller flies. 7x would not be a bad idea either depending on the size of the fly. Remember, sneaky set ups. You will also want to cover water. High concentrations of fish in a few holes are no more. They have most certainly spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating trout must be used. The Shetucket and Naugatuck received more stockings of Atlantic Salmon. A unique angling opportunity, these Salmon will take a wide variety of streamers and can get to 20 pounds or more. We recommend using 8wts 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 your best to release the fish in good condition. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the spin and desperate fly anglers so report any misconduct to the DEEP. If we all do our part, we can all have some good fishing into the Winter. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357

Farmington River

Not much to report on the Farmy. It has been slow up there. The water flows are very good with 480 out of the dam and another 160 out of the Still. Temperatures are good as well but it starts to get very tough this time of year. A few fish here and there is the norm. The hot area recently has been Down below Satan’s Kingdom. This area 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 lackluster at this point with some assorted caddis, BWOs, and midges. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Junk flies and larger patterns will be a good option with the higher water too. Streamers should take fish as well. 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. As such, 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. And if there is an area where you know spawning is occurring, give it a wide berth. 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.

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Housatonic River

They Housey is running around 1300 CFS. That is still way too high to wade. It is slowly coming down and hopefully will drop to a good wadable level in the next few days. The DEEP stocked the TMA and once the water comes down, the fly fishing should be pretty good. Remember it is catch-and-release only. Water temperatures are looking good as well. They are in the 50s at this point and should have the fish quite active. I would recommend streamers once that water gets below 1000 CFS. 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 provided we get some lower water. Cooler temperatures have resulted in an uptick in Pike and Smallmouth activity before the rain. Streamers fished on sink tips and full sink lines were taking quite a few fish and I would expect that to continue once the water subsides. The largest bass have been below the TMA however there are a lot of fish above that despite their smaller size. The Pike have become much more active as well. The past week has seen a notable difference in the attitude of Northerns. They are eager to eat and while it is always about covering water and lots of casting, the fishing should only get better in the next few weeks. Now is a spectacular time to fish the Housey if we ever get the conditions to do so. 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.

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Saltwater

There have been some great moments with False Albacore over the past week. Off of Groton, we saw some of the best Blitzes of the year with hundreds of fish blowing up on bait. Anglers who were there did double digits to round out their season. It is certainly worth keeping the Hardtail rod rigged up for another week perhaps. The real buzz however is the spectacular Striper fishing we saw this past week. The striper fishing has been off the charts with Bass blitzing on bait all along the shore. Both boat and 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 are 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 better fishing we have all year. The Fall Run is happening and now is the time to get on the water. Blues have been more numerous as well, out on the beaches and out in deeper water. While we are not hearing about too many Gators, 8 to 10 pounders are not uncommon now. Out toward the mouth of the Housatonic is probably a good place to start looking for larger Blues but again, they are all over the place. It is all about locating the birds for the next few weeks. The Terns and Gulls will be all over the blitzing fish looking for an easy meal. Locate the birds, locate the fish. If you are fishing from shore, that is always a good thing to look for, however there could be a lot going on under the surface with very little indication. Probe likely spots and if you are not getting bit in the first 30 minutes, move. This time of year, you never know what you could run into. Definitely keep 3 fly rods rigged for all 3 species.

New York

The Salmon River

More bad news for Steelhead anglers. The Salmon River remains high and with some good rain on the way, it could be some time before we see the river drop below 800. I would suspect the river to blow out to over 1000 by tomorrow. Tough season so far. The seasoned veterans are able to get into a few fish but most are struggling. The good news is that Steelhead will be in the entire system at this point. From what we are hearing the middle sections of the river have been the hot spots. Egg patterns or even bright streamers will be the name of the game for the next month. Pinks, Chartreuses, Orange and Peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. There are still a salmon or two around but expect them to be a non-factor. Let’s hope the water comes down soon. 

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The Delaware 

The Mainstem is running around 4000 CFS and is now falling. The East is at around 1800 and the West Branch is at about 2000 CFS. These flows are way too high to wade. Drifting should be very good however and the fishing overall has been pretty good in the Delaware system the past few weeks with the exception of this past week. You will need to work for them but we are hearing that it is definitely worth getting out on the water. With 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 close to all fishing but moving forward we are now allowed to fish these streams with catch-and-release only implemented. That includes the Delaware so 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. Few anglers have been venturing up to the Catskills. This time of the year the fishing can get pretty tough. As such we will be removing this section of our report until Spring. Thank you to all who contributed to our reports. It was a great, albeit crowded, year up on these rivers. See you up there next season!

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Saltwater

No change to saltwater report for New York. Bass have been blitzing on Peanuts, Anchovies, and adult Bunker all over Montauk Point, Long Island, and down toward the city. The beaches, rips and rock piles have been loaded with Stripers of late. The bait is on the move, headed South for their migration. The Bass will intercept them and blitz on the surface making them 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 fly anglers. There will most certainly be some Blues in the area as well. The beaches have been producing good numbers of Bass and Blues lately. While hit or miss, if you cover ground and fish a bunch of locations you should be able to locate pockets of activity. Down further into Long Island Sound, the fishing has been pretty darn good too. There have been some very large Bass blitzing along the shoreline early in the morning and in the afternoon. Cruising the Long Island shoreline in the morning and looking for surface activity has been paying off big time recently. The back bays and salt ponds are still holding strong as well. Lots of slot sized Bass (and some even larger) are aggressively feeding in these locations. If you move around and fish methodically, you can locate large pockets of Bass right now that are easily accessible from shore. Things are looking 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.


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