Northeast Fishing Report: 12/17/21 - The Compleat Angler

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December 17, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! Our trout fishing has settled into normal winter conditions with the fish hunkering down to ride out the cold. For those who hit the river now it's all a matter of stealthy subsurface tactics. In the great lakes we continue to see high water levels, which has been good for fish but tougher on anglers who have had to cope with less-than-ideal conditions. That said, many people are doing well with a little patience and some modified tactics. Read on for more...

Connecticut

Local Streams

Same story as last week. You can expect this report for at least the next 3 months. Some rivers are fishing “better” than others but it has been a bit on the tougher side as a whole. Winter has certainly set in and as a result, the water temperatures will continue to drop. At this point, 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. 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 behind us and the fish 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 last week and fishing has been pretty good from what we are hearing. Most anglers are able to get into a fish or two when fishing the right flies in the right spots. A unique angling opportunity, these Salmon will take a wide variety of streamers that are typically swung on sink tips. The larger fish are beginning to be put in as well so, now is a great time to get out there. The Naugatuck was the most recently stocked on Monday the 7th. We recommend using 7 or 8wts for these fish to beat them in a reasonable amount of time. 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

No change to the Farmington report as well. The fishing is getting about as tough as it gets. We are now firmly into the wintering behavior pattern for trout. The fish are becoming much more lethargic and as such, the fishing has been tough. We are seeing most anglers put their trout gear away for the winter and as such, few reports are coming off the water. The water flows are 320 out of the dam and another 130 or so out of the Still. Not much of a change to flows from last week. We do have some rain on the way so expect those flows to bump up a bit. Water temperatures are getting colder by the day. We are seeing a low of 42 degrees (depending on where you are on the river) and a high of 44 for water temps. As such, the best time to be on the water is when the water temperatures are the highest. No need to get up early. The few anglers we talked too 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 a non-factor at this point. Maybe on a warmer day, there may be a few fish rising but it will be a longshot to get a fish to come up for a dry fly. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Smaller patterns that closely mimic natural forage are the best bets. Eggs will still take some fish as well for next few weeks. Streamers are a low percentage option at this point. The fish are transitioning into long, deep, and slow runs to winter over. They will rarely move more than a foot to grab a food item and that means hitting them in the face with a slow-drifting nymph is the best option. The report will be essentially exactly the same for the next few months at least. Small flies, slow drifts, cold water, tough fishing. While we will obviously update you on any significant changes, expect the fishing to stay relatively unchanged for the entirety of the winter. Low and slow is the name of the game if you decide to get out. On the flip side, it is not a horrible idea to give the trout a break during the tougher winter months.

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 went up to 1600 CFS. With more rain this weekend, I would say it is best to stay off the river. Especially with the cold weather and water we have, better to be safe than sorry. Remember that the TMA is catch and release only. Water temperatures are getting a bit cold. They are in the mid 40s at this point and we will see the fish begin to hunker down for the winter. The season is pretty long in the tooth and, while the fishing may pick up on the warmer days it is safe to say that the fishing will be tough for the rest of the winter. We got pretty unlucky with flows this Fall and had few opportunities to wade. We are well past that sweet spot of the Fall weather window when fishing can be spectacular. If you do decide to give it a shot, later in the day when the water is warmest will be the most productive. However, with water getting colder by the day, I would recommend putting those streamers away and going with nymphs. Smaller and more natural patterns will become the most productive as things cool down. Really any reasonable nymph has decent odds of success. As long as you stay sub-surface and have a decent presentation, you have a shot at a fish or 2. Not much to report with Pike or Smallies. These fisheries are essentially shut down for the winter. While an abnormally warm day could see a good uptick in fish activity, I would say it is best to pack that gear away until the Spring.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

New York

The Salmon River

The high water continues with no end in sight. More rain this past week will keep that water high. This has been a great season for Steelhead, but a tough season for anglers. Granted that is generally speaking as some anglers have been doing very well. But there is no doubt that the high water has been a challenge. 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. However, as we move into December the  fish will begin to transition to Stoneflies and other assorted patterns. You will certainly want to have stones in your box at this point. Worm style flies will work as well. Changing flies constantly will be the best way to get on some fish. This is a bit of a transitional period for Steelhead. Some of the fresher fish will eat a wide variety of flies, while fish that have been in the river a while will be far more selective. For that reason, keep a large selection of flies on you. As the precipitation transitions to snow we will see less fluctuation in water levels and more predictable fishing. Now is a great time to get up there. There are plenty of fish in the system with more entering every day. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200


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