Northeast Fishing Report: 11/26/21 - The Compleat Angler

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November 26, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers and Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you had some good downtime with friends and family yesterday. We have some modest changes to the report for this week. We are headed toward the final stages of the good fall run saltwater fishing as the action continues to shift south. As always this time of year you have to work a bit harder for fish as things wind down. The trout are transitioning into their winter behavior and the fishing opportunities are more concentrated, but you can still get fish if you have the right tactics. And the story in the lakes tributaries continues to be rain, rain, rain, which is great for pushing fish up the system, but not so good for angling conditions. That said, steelhead vets are definitely catching fish. Read on for more...

Rhode Island

Saltwater

We are beginning to see a bit of a tail-off in Rhode Island at this point. There are certainly still fish around and on any given day the odds are pretty good that you will run into some. However, it is not what it was two weeks ago. It is getting a little on the late side and as such, the fish have begun to spread out. There are fewer and fewer fish each day as they head South so keep that in mind. It is certainly the beginning of the end of the Fall Run. We are hearing most of the action is just offshore in 40 feet of water or better so if your boat is still in the water, I would start looking there. The beaches are still having their moments as well but be willing to move a lot. There are still some Blues around but they have become quite sparse. We have not heard any reports of Gators. It is mostly those smaller fish. While there are still a few weeks left of decent fishing, we are going to remove this section from the report. Few anglers will venture out to the salt past Thanksgiving. It was a great year off of Rhody and there were some spectacular moments of phenomenal fly fishing. Thank you to all those who contributed information and photos. We will see you out there next year! 

Connecticut

Local Streams

Not much change to the local stream reports. Some rivers are fishing better than others but it has been a bit on the tougher side as a whole. 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 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. The days of high concentrations of fish in a few holes are well behind us. 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 20 pounds or more. We recommend using 8 wts 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

The water has come down and is at a good fishable level. Fish are beginning to transition into wintering behavior and are becoming much more lethargic. The water flows are 440 out of the dam and another 150 or so out of the Still. Water temperatures are getting a bit cold and it starts to get very tough this time of year. The best time to be on the water is when the water temperatures are the highest. No need to get up early. We are hearing the fishing has not been great. The few anglers we have talked to said it’s a few-fish-a-day type of situation. You will really need to work for them that is for sure. The hatches are lackluster at this point. Some assorted caddis, BWOs, and midges. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Junk flies, larger patterns, and eggs will be some of the better options for the next few weeks. Streamers could take fish as well but typically on the warmer afternoons. A reminder that some of the fish may still be spawning. As such, if you have any respect for this fishery and the wild Browns that this river is known 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. 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 singlehandedly 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

The Housey is still a little high but trending in the right direction. The river is running around 1300 CFS. It is slowly coming down and hopefully will drop to a good wadable level in the next few days. The recent stockings and little pressure due to high water should mean the fishing will be great once the water comes down but who knows when that will be. Remember that the TMA is catch-and-release only. Water temperatures are looking good. 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 pretty good provided we get some lower water. Cooler temperatures have resulted in an uptick in Pike and Smallmouth activity as well. 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 Pike are still hanging in there as well. While getting a bit cold, they are still eager to eat when water temperatures are warmest. While it is always about covering water and lots of casts the fishing should stay good for 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

Slight change to the report. As opposed to last week, we are hearing that the fish are becoming more and more spread out. They are not everywhere at this point and a fair bit of searching may be needed to locate some fish. However, if you do locate them the Bass will be blitzing on bait and the fishing should be pretty good. It seems that the boat fly anglers are starting to do a bit better than the shore-based guys. There are more fish hanging around that 20-40-foot depth mark than in tight at the moment. That is not to say the shoreline is devoid of life. We are just seeing a noticeable difference in fish distribution at the moment.

Striped Bass Long Island Sound

The back bays, salt ponds and estuaries should still have some fish hanging around on the right day. 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 Fall Run is still happening and now is the time to get on the water to make the most of the end of the season. It is all about locating the birds and surface activity 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 up top. 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. 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. Smaller Blues have been scattered around as well but primarily in deeper water. 

New York

The Salmon River

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 around 1800 CFS. It has been over 1000 for four 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.

Salmon River Steelhead

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

It is starting to slow down off of New York. We are seeing far fewer fish blitzing on the surface. The beaches, rips and rock piles will still have some fish on the right day but it seems the majority are just offshore and moving South in earnest. The bait is on the move as well, headed South for their migration. The Bass will still intercept them and blitz on the surface making them easy targets for fly anglers with the right flies. But again, you will need to cover water to find them. 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 better. 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 some Stripers 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 good for the next week or so but we are definitely on the tail-end of the Fall Run. The best approach is moving 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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