Northeast Fishing Report: 11/5/21 - The Compleat Angler

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November 05, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! After a tough few days last week, thing have improved across the Northeast. Both fresh and saltwater fly fishing have been very good of late and the forecast looks good for the weekend. Dropping temperatures and subsiding water levels mean that salmonids should be nice and happy. Our local small stream trout fishing should be very good in the coming week and recently stocked rivers have anglers all smiles lately with great flows across the board. Now is a great time to break out the 3 weights. Our larger rivers are a bit high, but they are on the way down. While the Housatonic is still unwadeable, drifting it should be great with a strong streamer bite in effect. The Farmington is a bit high as well, however streamers should take some nice fish there too. The Salmon River blew out in a big way last week. While the fishing was tough, the high water drove some of the last Salmon into the river and anglers were able to get on some of the last fresh fish of the season, which was a bright spot. It is still a bit high up there, but next week looks like we could see the water come down. Steelhead are definitely in the system too, and while it is a bit early, if conditions cooperate the fishing should be good in the near future. Saltwater fishing has been the highlight of the Northeast. The Striper fly fishing has been stellar and the Bass have been blitzing on bunker feverishly from Rhode Island to New York. They are slowly working West and South following bait and can be caught in a wide variety of locations. Big Bluefish are in the mix as well and offering up some great fly fishing opportunities. Read on for more...

Massachusetts

The last gasp of the Fall Run in Massachusetts is upon us. The Albies have moved away and the last of the Stripers are feeding aggressively in a wide variety of locations. Rock piles, rips, and beaches will find lots of smaller Bass feeding on small bait. Poppers have been taking fish in the mornings off the beaches. The Bass have been blitzing more and more frequently as well and are being found all around the Cape, feeding on bait. Early morning and late afternoon have been the most productive and your best bet is to run and look for birds if you are fishing by boat. The other option will be to check multiple spots on a falling tide if you are fishing from shore. Beaches and back bays are putting up good numbers of Stripers as the water cools, but don’t spend too much time in one spot if you don’t get on fish. Bass are on the move and could be there one day, gone the next. Move around until you locate some fish. As the water continues to cool down and the bait continues its migration South the Stripers will be hot on their tails. This will be the last few weeks before things get pretty tough so get in the last few trips of the year!

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Things in Rhody are still looking good. Stripers blitzes are going strong and anglers are reporting good topwater action throughout the day provided conditions are conducive. The Western end of Rhode Island around Watch Hill seems to be the hot spot at the moment. There are still lots of Peanut Bunker around that have the bass frothing and blitzing on the surface. The Peanuts are the primary forage so be sure and have flies that mimic these baitfish. There have been some larger Bass around as they slowly work West so keep your eyes open. The tease-and-switch around rock piles in the mornings and afternoons have been moving some 30 pounders on the right day. If larger Bass are your target, look West. They will be on the move and not so inclined to hold in one spot as they do in the Summer. So, move around and check a lot of different locations keeping in mind that if a spot is devoid of fish one day, it could fish well the next. Larger Bluefish have been a bit scarce. It’s a real shame as this time of year should have Gators blitzing in every mooring field and harbor along the coast. The Race has been the most constant location for larger Blues of late but these fish are pushing West as well. Expect to find them blitzing in deeper water as they work around Long Island or down the Long Island Sound. Your best bet will be to keep your head on a swivel and cover water. There should be plenty of opportunities out there. This time of year, weather can really get in the way so make the most of the weather windows, and don’t pass up those great opportunities as we head toward the end of season. We are approaching the end of Fall run so make the most of it in the next few weeks. It will be over before you know it.  

Connecticut

Local Streams

Well, the rain last week is still impacting our smaller streams and many are still on the high side. However, they are falling and should be ok for the weekend. There are a lot of different locations to hit regardless of where you may be located in the State. As the water subsides virtually every small river will be fishable this weekend and reports are still good, even after weeks of angling pressure. Anglers who have been downsizing their flies have been doing quite well. The stockies are getting quite selective so light tippet and small, sub-surface flies have been the key to success. As a reminder: the only rivers that received fish this Fall were the Trout Management Areas. That is because they are all catch and release only as of September 1st. They will remain that way until the second weekend in April, allowing anglers to catch and release trout all winter. As such, these will be the best places to target trout. However, be vigilant and watch for poachers. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357. Ideally, you will want to cover water to locate a pocket of fish. Once you have found a good group of fish, work it and figure out what they are keying in on. In addition, the Shetucket and Naugatuck received the first stockings of Atlantic Salmon. This unique angling opportunity offers salmon that will take a wide variety of streamers and can get up 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 these fish in good condition. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the spin anglers so report any misconduct to the DEEP. If we all do our part, we can all have some good fishing into the Winter.

Farmington River

Not great news for the Farmy. The rain last week jacked the water up to over well 1000 CFS when combined with the input from the Still River. The water remains high and I would say that giving it a few days to come down is probably not a bad idea. While the conditions are far from ideal, the water temperatures are great. The hot area recently has been down below Satan’s Kingdom. This area will typically have some bigger fish this time of year as the 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 and 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

The Housey is running around 2800 CFS. That is way too high to wade. With the amount of rain we got, it may be some time before we see the water level drop to a good wadable level. The DEEP has recently stocked the TMA and once the water comes down, the 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 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. 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 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.

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Saltwater

The False Albacore are still here and while last week it was all about Middle Ground and areas to the East, they have pushed inshore over the past week. They are all along the coast now in good numbers. While they can be a bit scattered at times, the numbers are such that it is worth a concerted effort to locate them. We are hearing that they are quite picky so have a wide variety of flies to choose from. 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 right against the shore. Shore-based fly anglers have been catching a ton of fish and some big ones at that as the fish 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 few and far between. Some smaller 20-25” fish have been taken around Stratford Shoals but larger fish have been tough to find. Out East toward the Race, larger Blues and Bass are more prevalent. Out toward the mouth of the Housatonic is probably a good place to start looking for larger Blues but again, they will be difficult to pin down. 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

It was a challenging week on the Salmon River. The rain jacked the flows up in every river in the area and you had to be very careful about how and where you fished. That said, many anglers were reporting some decent fishing. The high water pushed in the last little run of Kings and Silvers which kept rods bent. Surprisingly some very bright Silvers moved into the rivers and saved the trip for many who were up there.

Salmon River Salmon

The Steelhead were hunkered down in the fast stuff and extremely difficult to pin down. Some fly anglers were able to eek out a few but the fishing was very tough. The benefit to all of this is that the Steelhead fishing should be pretty darn good once the water comes down. It already has quite a bit and I would not be surprised if the fish were spread out throughout the entire river, as reports from the Lower Fly indicated just that with plenty of Steelhead being caught here. 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. The Salmon have already begun to die off any day now so if you want to get in on the last of the Salmon run, do not wait.

Salmon River Salmon 2

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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. The drifting should be very good however. Fly fishing overall has been pretty good in the Delaware system the past few weeks with the exception of the 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 and that includes the Delaware. 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 your best bet. For flies, nothing has changed in the past week. BWOs are a strong contender for the most productive, especially on cloudier days. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective of late. A few Isos will still be hatching on the warmer days but that hatch is essentially over. Assorted caddis will make up the majority of the rest of the insects coming off. The best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Remember, low water and bright sun are the exact opposite of what you are looking for and cloudy days are ideal. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. The cooler night time temperatures are bringing that water temperature down so we will start to transition to more of a mid-day bite. The streamer bite should be pretty good with the higher water as well. 

 

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Saltwater

It is all about Bass and Blues off New York. They have been blitzing on peanut adult Bunker and Anchovies 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 too, as 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 Gator Blues in the area. The beaches will have Stripers on them as well. Down further into Long Island Sound, the fishing has been pretty darn good too, with 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 fly fish methodically, you can locate large pockets of Bass right now that are easily accessible from shore. Things are also looking good for the next week or so and should be 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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