Northeast Fishing Report: 11/19/21 - The Compleat Angler

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November 19, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! We are seeing phenomenal saltwater fly fishing along the Northeastern Coast at the moment. The Striper Blitzes have been numerous and substantial. Anglers are reporting double digit days on a regular basis with some very large fish in the mix. It is safe to say that November is the new October. Any concerted effort to locate blitzing Bass by boat is almost guaranteed to pay off. There have been Bluefish around as well, and while most are smaller, gear-destroying Harbors, there are a few Gators lurking around so keep your eyes open. Shore-based fly anglers are doing well too, and while less predictable, there are definitely plenty of fish in reach. There are also some large Stripers in tight making them viable options too. The key for shore-based anglers is to move around quite a bit until fish are located. The freshwater fly fishing has been challenging of late. It starts to get tough this time of year as trout and other freshwater species begin to transition into wintering behavior and they become much more lethargic. Consequently and we should see the quality of fishing decline steadily from now on. The warmer days will see upticks in fish activity so if you're hunting trout, plan your outings accordingly. Read on for more...

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Rhode Island is still fishing very well. This past week saw some great Bass Blitzes with some Gator Blues in the mix. The Stripers have been the primary focus of most fly anglers out there and we have seen some huge blitzes right off the coast with some really nice fish making an appearance. While Rhodie may not be fishing as well as Connecticut or the Western end of Long Island, there are still plenty of fish around if you are local. Running and gunning with Peanut Bunker flies will most certainly produce both Bass and Blues. The Bass are (at times) still on smaller bait. As such, having some smaller anchovy patterns in your back pocket is probably a smart idea. 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 good 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 consider staying tucked in tight. Certainly, fishing in the lee of islands and points will be much more enjoyable.

Connecticut

Local Streams

The DEEP is done with the Fall stocking and 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 and 7x may not be a bad idea either depending on the size of the fly. Remember, sneaky setups. You will also want to cover water as the days of high concentrations of fish in a few holes are behind us. They have definitely spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating trout must be used. The Shetucket and Naugatuck received more stockings of Atlantic Salmon which presents a unique angling opportunity, as these Salmon will take a wide variety of streamers and can get 20 pounds or more. We recommend using 8wts for these fish to beat them in a reasonable amount of time. They are all catch-and-release only until late December so be mindful and do your best to release these 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

The Farmington blew out over the weekend and few anglers fished it. Once things subsided, there wasn’t a whole lot to report. Fish are beginning to transition into wintering behavior and are becoming much more lethargic. The water flows are very good with 450 out of the dam and another 100 out of the Still. Water temperatures are good as well but it starts to get very tough this time of year. A few fish here and there are the norm. As we’ve noted recently, the hot area 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 water is also warmer which lends itself to better fishing. The best time to fish will be in the afternoon when the water is the warmest. No need to get up early. The hatches are lackluster at this point with some assorted caddis, BWOs, and midges. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Junk flies, larger patterns, and eggs will be good options too. Streamers should take fish as well. A little PSA about the Farmy: the Browns and the few Brookies are spawning. As such, if you have any respect for this fishery and the wild Browns that this river is famous for, 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. Unfortunately 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 with spawning fish. Be smart and just leave them 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186500

Housatonic River

We cannot catch a break on the Housatonic. The river is running around 2400 CFS after the rain from last weekend. 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 recent stockings and scant angling pressure due to high water should mean the fishing will be great once the water comes down though who knows when that will be. 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, especially later in the day when the water is warmest. I would recommend streamers once that water gets below 1000 CFS. Junk flies under indicators will be very effective as well. These larger “nymphs” such as mops, worms, and eggs 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 sinking 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 and this 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 casts 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

No real change to the report from last week which is a great thing. Our saltwater 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 that has good water depth around it. Some fish over 40” have been taken by the shore guys with plenty of 30-35” fish 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 and 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.

Long Island Sound Striped Bass

Blues have been more numerous as well both 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 or Stratford Shoals are probably good places 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 keep in mind there could be a lot going on under the surface with very little indication up top. Probe likely spots and if you are not getting bit in the first 30 minutes, move on. This time of year, you never know what you could run into. The False Albacore have disappeared for the most part. We have not seen or heard of any around but you never know. Some trailing fish could pop up in their likely haunts. Best to keep a few smaller flies in the box just in case.

Long Island Sound Striped Bass Double

Long Island Sound Striped Bass 1

New York

The Salmon River

Rain, rain, and more rain. The Salmon River remains high and with some more rain on the way, it could be some time before we see the river drop below 800. The Salmon is running at almost 2000 CFS. It has been over 1000 for three weeks now which will be great for pushing fish into the river but makes it difficult to fish. 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 and even upper sections of the river have been the hot spots. Egg patterns or even bright streamers and intruder/tube flies will be the name of the game in this high water. Purples, blues, pinks, chartreuses, oranges and peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. The salmon are done so it is all about steelhead at this point. Hopefully conditions improve. I have a sneaking suspicion that until we start getting snow up there the water will remain high.

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200

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 offshore making them available to the 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 a pretty darn good. 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 too. The 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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