November 17, 2023 12 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! Our freshwater anglers have reported some good fishing on the Farmington this week, and flows are average which is making for good clarity and wading. Because our local streams and rivers are lower than average, fish will be podded up in the deeper sections. Brown trout and Brook trout are both spawning so it is worth bringing egg patterns no matter where you’re planning to fish this weekend. Trout will eagerly be waiting for eggs to dislodge and drift downstream from their Redds. Please be cautious when wading to avoid stepping on these Redds (spawning beds) or disturbing paired up fish. In addition, the streamer bite continues to be hot. On the saltwater side, there are still Stripers to be found in the coves and mouths of rivers, and there are still a ton of Peanut Bunker around in the 3-5” range. High to outgoing tide has been the most consistent for finding blitzing fish, as these Peanut Bunker get pushed downriver. The Housatonic has also started to see an improvement as Stripers are beginning to push upriver to winter over. Most of the large migratory Striper fishing is happening from Fire Island to New Jersey, and there have been impressive size and numbers of fish on the beachfronts. On the Salmon River in New York, there has been an uptick in Steelhead activity thanks to an increase in flows, and angers are finding fish spread throughout the entire river. There have been some impressive Brown trout caught in the tributaries, and Steelhead are starting to make a push into these locations as well. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

Flows have gradually dropped to below average on all our local rivers, and clarity is good despite the abundance of leaves. The Saugatuck is currently flowing at 41.7 CFS (where the average is 79 CFS). This will group trout into the deeper pools and lies where they will feel most comfortable, so you will find them in areas with the most depth. While there are plenty of fish from Fall stockings, the hatches are getting sparse. Throughout the day you may encounter midges in sizes 18-20, Tan Caddis in sizes 16-20, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24. Nymphing and Streamer fishing remain the most effective techniques. In these flows, using smaller more imitative nymphs will fool fish. Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae, Hare’s Ears, and Perdigones in sizes 14-24 will have most subsurface forage covered. A dry dropper, paired with an Elk Hair Caddis followed by a smaller nymph can be a good way to cover both columns of the water and is a good searching technique. Smaller Wooly Buggers can either be used on a Floating or Sinking line.One of our favorite streamer lines for Fall is theAirflo Streamer Max Short,as well as theScientific Anglers Sonar Trout. Their short heads load rods well, which is especially useful on our smaller rivers when you are targeting the opposite bank and looking to sink the fly quickly into the strike zone. When nymphing and dry fly fishing in our smaller rivers 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. Try pairing your smaller nymph with a larger junk fly (mops, squirmies, eggs) as these will still fool some of the stocked fish. In addition, at the end of your dead-drift let your nymphs swing to the bank as this will imitate an emerging insect. Trout will be grouped together during these flows, so where you catch one you will find more. Areas that should fish well include the Saugatuck, Mianus, Mill, and Aspetuck Rivers. Some rain is expected on Saturday, with rainy/overcast days expected this week with temperatures reaching into the low 50s. This should hopefully improve some Blue Winged Olive hatches.

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck and Shetucket were stocked with Atlantic Salmon, and more recently Trout in the Trout Management Areas. Flows are steadily dropping and are below average, reading 328 CFS at Beacon Falls, making for good clarity and easy wading. Again, having some junk flies will catch less-educated, stocked fish, and look to fish the same offerings 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. In respect to other insects, having a range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered, as well as egg patterns for this time of year. Overall, the hatch to focus on will be Blue Winged Olives, which are now becoming more prevalent again especially during overcast afternoons. Fishing drab colored Woolly Buggers and streamers 3-5” will also work with the more aggressive fish. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. When targeting the Salmon, 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 and flashy streamers 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.

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Farmington River

West Branch flows on the Farmington at Riverton are reading 257 CFS while the Still is adding 127 CFS. Overall, flows are average and clear which makes conditions good for wading. The afternoons into the evening have been more consistent for bug activity, and the two main hatches you will encounter are Blue Winged Olives in sizes 20-26, and Midges in sizes 22-26. Additionally, you may see some Tan Caddis in sizes 14-20. Water temperatures in Riverton are fluctuating in the low 50s, with colder temperatures down river. Brown Trout are still spawning, however some have finished, so be aware to avoid stepping on Redds and disturbing spawning fish. This time of year you will find fish podded up below spawning beds, so bringing a variety of egg patterns will be effective. Now is also the time to throw larger streamers as trout search for higher calorie meals in post-spawn leading into the winter. 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 will catch the recently stocked Trout (Mops and Squirmies) in addition to 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 Fall and 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 all 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.

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Housatonic River

The flows are registering 1100 CFS at Falls Village and have dropped to levels that are somewhat wadable depending on where you fish. The park will be at fishable levels, just make sure to be cautious when wading. Your main hatch will be Blue Winged Olives in sizes 20-26, Midges in the same size, and Caddis in sizes 14-20. Your best bet for dry fly fishing will be during the afternoon when water temperatures, bug, and fish activity are all highest. During the mornings nymphing still remains the most effective method. For nymphing with an indicator, a 9ft taperedfluorocarbon leader in 5x-6x is recommended. Nymphs to consider bringing include Caddis Larvae, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24 will fool fish well into Fall and throughout Winter. Since Brown and Brook Trout are currently spawning, be on the lookout to avoid stepping on Redds or disturbing paired up fish. With that said, trout will be podded up downriver of spawning beds, so it will be worth bringing egg patterns. Streamer fishing will also be effective because trout will be looking for higher calorie meals, so bringing some larger streamers will prove useful. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, etc), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. For our floating line Streamer Anglers, 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.

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Overall, the Striper fishing nearshore has started to taper off as migratory fish have moved down the coast. The main action recently has been resident 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 any bait that is upriver has started to move towards the sound, which is triggered by the dropping temperatures. A good tide to focus on in this scenario is the outgoing tide. The Norwalk River, Saugatuck, and Housatonic will provide some Striper action. Most recently, the Housatonic has increased with Striper activity as fish stage near the mouth and push upriver. Anglers have also reported finding small pods of Albies still hanging around Norwalk to Old Saybrook, however it is much harder to find large numbers that are easy to fool. The most consistent action is 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. Everyday 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 Stripers. 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 either bringing20lb, knottable wire leader which is easy to work with when adding a section to your leader for Bluefish, or having apre-tied leader ready which will 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.

Hot Flies:
Deceivers in various colors
Bay Anchovy Patterns
Peanut Bunker Patterns
Medium Sized Bunker Flies
Epoxy Sardine (Great Albie Fly)
Bob’s Banger (Stripers and Bluefish)

Good Fly Lines For Fall:
SA Full Intermediate
Wulff Monoclear (For picky Albie days)
Rio Outbound Short (Good for big flies and big winds)
Rio Striper (Good all-rounder)

Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

Flows have increased on the Salmon River to 659 CFS at the Pineville Gauge (compared to 525 CFS on November 14th). The bump in flows have pulled more Steelhead into the lower part of the river, with the most activity being reported in the Middle sections of the DSR. The occasional Brown Trout has been caught in the lower to middle sections of the river. The tributaries are just starting to see Steelhead push in, and there has been some impressive Brown Trout fishing so far. Overall, there has been an increase in Steelhead numbers in all sections of the river. It’s all a matter of covering water and finding pods of fish that are holding and willing to cooperate. For Steelhead it is worth bringing2x-3x fluorocarbon when nymphing. 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. For steelhead, some anglers are having success swinging large brightintruders in Pink, Black, Purple, and Blue/Chartreuse in the lower parts near the estuary.Beads in different colors will also work well (such as Chartreuse and Mottled Tangerine), so switching up flies/colors and techniques will be 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. Bringing a variety ofMOW Tips so you can fine tune the depth of your fly based on flows, depth, and current speed, will aid in your success. For tippet, we like usingMaxima Ultragreen in 10lb when swinging flies. Now that the weather is getting colder and into the low 30s, it will be beneficial to bring a good layering system as well as a pair of warmfingerless gloves.

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The Mainstem at Lordville on the Delaware River is currently 1270 CFS, while the West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 223 CFS. Flows at Fish’s Eddy on the East are 718 CFS. Overall, flows are low which opens 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 looking for 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. It is also worth having egg patterns as fish are actively spawning, and trout will be posted downstream of Redds waiting for eggs to dislodge. 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”) will prove useful as Brown Trout will be more aggressive during this time of year (Drunk and Disorderly, Mini Dungeons, etc). 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 lurking underneath Bunker pods. There are still some small pods of Albies cruising along the North Shore too, however it has been challenging to get shots off to 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. Tidal 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, should hold for a few more weeks.

Rhode Island

Fall Striper fishing continues, but has been tapering off, along the Rhode Island shore. Most anglers are finding resident fish and some late migratory fish at the mouth of rivers and in bays. At the mouth of the Providence River there are anglers finding larger fish. 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 water, as the Stripers haven’t been tightly concentrated. Persistence will pay off. With fish migrating through, the beachfronts have been 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.