December 16, 2022 9 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! On the freshwater side of things, most of our rivers have lowered to an average level, and anglers that are fishing our local streams have been catching trout. With the lower temperatures and flows this will drop water temperatures a bit, so look to fish nymphs in the morning, you can expect some bug activity on warmer afternoons. On the Salmon River front, the fishing continues to be good as the water drops, and some days have resulted in double digit numbers of fish! Fresh fish are still pushing in daily. For Stripers the fall run has started to taper off around the beaches, so the best option now is searching for fish that are staging to hold over at the mouths of rivers. Both the day and nighttime hours have been producing Stripers. Read on for more…

Rhode Island

With the transition to winter the action has been slowing down off the beaches, and most of the action is going to be near the mouths of rivers and salt ponds. There is a ton of bait in the water, but fewer Bass as a whole. While it has been hard work locating these bass, patience has been paying off for some anglers. When targeting bass in these rivers and salt ponds bring a variety of peanut bunker flies, as well as shrimp imitations. The size of these fish has beena mixed bag, with the most common sizes being 20-30”. The Shad bite can also be good this time of year so look out for those as bycatch. If searching for Bass off the beach, locating blitzes can be hit or miss, but persistence and covering ground will put the odds in your favor. Peanut Bunker are still residing off the beaches, as well as larger offerings like Herring and Mackerel, so bring some larger flies. For boat anglers, you should run into fish covering ground off the beaches, with a focus on points that provide some rocky structure, as well as the mouths of bays and entrances to salt ponds.


Local Rivers

Flows have receded on our local rivers, with the Saugatuck flowing at 67.9cfs. As we’ve highlighted in prior reports the most recent news is the state stocking Seeforellen Strain Brown Trout in local Lakes and Ponds. These are large Brown Trout averaging 15lbs with some 20lb fish stocked. With all of our TMAs stocked for the fall, areas to focus on include the Mill, Saugatuck, Farmington, and Housatonic rivers. Try an assortment of smaller nymphs and streamers in the morning. And look for Blue Winged Olive hatches during the afternoons.


Connecticut Fish and Wildlife has finished stocking Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck and Shetucket. Some of our anglers in the shop have been rewarded with some nice Salmon. Cold mornings can make conditions tough, so make sure you have a good layering system of warm clothes until the sun comes up. The increase in temperatures will make these Salmon more active. The Naugatuck and Shetucket are also stocked with trout. In high water don’t be afraid to fish junk flies, such as mops or squirmies, paired with a smaller more imitative selection. For Atlantic Salmon try Woolly Buggers in pink and purple, as well as your traditional salmon patterns: Blue Charms, Grey Ghosts, etc. The fish will vary in size from five to ten pounds. We recommend a 9’ 6-8wt rod paired with a sink tip line or polyleaders to get the fly into their zone. Some sections of these rivers are conducive to Spey fishing. Most of these fish are 2-3 years old (2-5lbs), while the older broodstock (10-15lb) are stocked in fewer numbers. For those of you that aren’t new to the Atlantic Salmon game, fish them like you would any other Atlantic salmon fishery, but don’t be afraid to upsize your fly or experiment with nymphs. On the sunny days look for fish sunning themselves in the tail-out of pools for a fun sightfishing opportunity. An increase in flows will tend to spread these fish out. During the colder mornings, a slowly swung streamer is a good strategy. The Naugatuck flows have dropped to 330cfs. Please report any poaching to law enforcement, 860-424-3333.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Farmington River

Now is a great time to fish streamers and egg patterns as most of the Brown Trout have spawned and are looking for a high calorie meal. Hot headed jig streamers such as black with an orange bead are good flies for this time of year. The prevalent hatch this time of year is Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis and occasional midges. With colder average night/daytime temperatures, most of the action will occur in the afternoon. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 240cfs from dam release with the Still adding 129cfs and on the drop. Water temps are transitioning into the low 40’s. Overall flows are average for this week and water clarity will be good into the weekend. As to the fishing, successful anglers have been really working for their fish. For dry fly anglers, trout are continuing to rise, and most hatches are occurring in the late morning into the afternoon. Look to fish Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis, and midges as the most prevalent hatches. Small flies down to size 26 seem to be the norm. Being mindful of presentation is also key, so try longer leaders, stepping down tippet size to 6x, and getting a drag-free drift. Small nymphs will also continue to produce. For Trout Spey anglers, swinging wet flies can be productive, but don’t be afraid to throw larger intruder style patterns. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. With the colder mornings, try fishing streamers and nymphs until most of the hatches start up in the afternoon. For nymphs, bring a variety of small stuff, like a zebra midge, olive hare’s ear, perdigon style, etc. During high water bringing some larger nymphs and junk flies (mops, squirmies) is a good tactic. Black stonefly nymphs will also fish all winter. Try a larger fly (mop, stonefly) for your dropper followed by a smaller offering (size 18-24) which will get your rig down to the trout’s depth as they become more lethargic. Switch up streamer techniques and try the low-and-slow approach which can be the key to success this time of year. Also spend time fishing the deeper and slower runs as the trout will start to push into their winter lies. Some Brown trout are in late spawning mode now so please be mindful to stay clear of lighter colored patches of gravel, which are their spawning beds (redds). 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186500

Housatonic River

Flows have been steadily decreasing this past week which brings us to 1350cfs, so you will still want to be relatively cautious if wading this weekend. A variety of small nymphs are working, and guys are having success if they can keep their rig clear of debris. Egg patterns still work as most of the Brown Trout are finishing up spawning, and their eggs are still being dislodged from redds. If you’re looking for rising trout, try focusing on areas by the park and especially the TMAs. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives and I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers, as trout have been sipping on emerging BWOs frequently. Focusing on your small sizes 20-24 should result in some success. As always this time of year, presentation is key and your best bet for rising fish will be areas with medium to slow flows. Again, focusing on your streamers (don’t be afraid to throw larger patterns) and nymphs during the colder portions of the day is a good strategy, and look for rising fish in the afternoon and into the evening. Try using a slow stripping technique and getting your fly deeper, as fish will be less willing to chase now that temperatures have been dropping. Focus your efforts on the deeper pools as trout push into the slower and deeper winter lies. For nymphs, bring a variety with the focus being scuds and stoneflies, with a smaller offering as a dropper.

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

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


Peanut Bunker are still the most prevalent bait occurring in the Western portion of the sound along the beaches. The bite is starting to pick up at the mouths of our river and salt ponds, and fishing near Stratford will result in running into some Bass blitzes or Bass staging to winter over. The night fishing is also producing good bass, with many schoolies and some up to 20lbs. With the colder water temperatures try focusing on a slower retrieve, with a strip and pause to imitate a wounded baitfish. Bring your Peanut Bunker imitations as well as Clousers, and jigged flies can work well this time of year. The mouth of the Connecticut river has been great this season, and is still producing Bass blitzes with some over slot size mixed in. Some Bass are being found nearshore on Peanut Bunker and Silversides in the 2-4” size range, and fish are still being caught in Norwalk and Westport. This is good news for our shore anglers still looking to get into Bass, so search the coastline for birds and bait. Both sides of the tides have been consistent. Some other areas to consider right now are the shorelines around Southport to Bridgeport, the Norwalk Islands fishing by boat, Penfield Reef, and Holly Pond. Some of the fish around the Norwalk Islands and Westport have been cruising in shallow water, so look for surface disturbance/tailing. Despite the colder temperatures our boat anglers are having good success near shore in coves and harbors, so as a whole it is worth braving the colder temperatures to catch the tail end of the Striper season. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

Snow is forecasted this week for the Salmon River with temperatures in the high 30s dropping into the high 20s by the end of this upcoming week. Flows are on the drop, with the most recent reading at 970cfs at the Pineville gauge. Most of the Salmon in the river are in spawning mode/dying, so there are plenty of eggs and flesh in the system for Steelhead anglers. With that said, some of our customers are still catching late Cohos in the tributaries. The Steelhead fishing has proven consistent with chrome fish pushing in daily along with the occasional Brown Trout. Steelhead are spread throughout the river. After cold nights slush has been an issue on the lower river, but once the sun comes up it has been melting. Every day has been different, for most anglers a couple Steelhead a day have been brought to hand with some days producing double digits. When fishing upriver focus on winter holding lies, the slower, deeper water. For these fish, focus on using egg patterns: Glo-bugs, Estaz, Sucker Spawn, as well as Egg-Sucking Leeches will all work well. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns and San Juan Worms, as those will continue to work all winter when the Salmon activity dies off. Being adaptable and switching up techniques/flies often results in the most success. Don’t be afraid to fish the faster water, especially in the lower river where fresh fish are still pushing in daily. For our Spey anglers a variety of colors such as black, purple, blue, brown, and pink all work well. The tributaries are also producing big Brown Trout, and Steelhead have pushed into most of them. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm!

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

The Catskills

With colder temperatures, the morning has been a nymphing-based game. West Branch flows are 334cfs at Hale Eddy, while the East is 1040cfs at Fish’s Eddy. The Mainstem at Lordville is flowing at 1710cfs, and overall the flows are lower compared to last week which will drop water temps further. The current average water temperatures are in the low to high 30s. Please be mindful of trout spawning beds (Redds), and because the fishery is now open all year these eggs are susceptible to being crushed by wade anglers. In general, the most prevalent hatches continue to be BWOs in the afternoon on the warmer days. Look to fish Olive nymphs in size 18-24, as subsurface has been the most productive especially in the mornings. For dry fly anglers try small Rusty Spinners, BWO emergers, and focus on the slower pools and tailouts this time of year during the afternoons. Blue Winged Olives will be the main hatch as winter approaches. For wading anglers using Trout Spey rods, a slowly swung fly is a good tactic with colder water temperatures. Fishing streamers and nymphs in the morning is a good tactic until the hatches become prevalent in the afternoons. Air temperatures are in the mid-30s dropping to the low 30’s by the end of the week.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000


The hot areas for Bass fishing right now are around Fire Island, and while there is a mix of sizes the majority have been smaller fish. As a whole, the Fall run is coming to an end with striper blitzes starting to taper off in the majority of the East End, and smaller schoolies have been the norm. If fishing from a boat, look for birds and bait which will signal a large school of Bass feeding with Bluefish in the mix, some anglers have been lucky enough to find them by covering ground. Searching the beaches further west has been the most productive in finding blitzing fish.