December 02, 2022 10 min read

Hello Compleat Anglers! While the weather has been cooling down there is still some fishing to be had, and the fall run has been holding on for another week. The striper migration has been strong so look for blitzing fish off the beaches, bays, and mouths of rivers. The winter wonderland is melting on the Salmon River, which has produced high flows. The good news is that those flows are now on the drop, so look for the conditions and fishing to improve. There was some great fishing to be had before the melt! We’re seeing good conditions on the Farmington with average flows, however the Housatonic is running high so use caution wading. We have some cool emails ahead for the holiday season. Along with our Holiday Deals, we are creating collections of our favorite gear from this past season that we personally use and have received great feedback from our customers. These collections will include everything from Winter Fishing, Saltwater, Freshwater, Fly Tying, and Beginner Gear. Stay Tuned!

Rhode Island

Not much has changed in Rhode Island, and there is still some opportunity to catch the late season fall run. However, blitzes that have been seen in regularity this fall have been tapering off. While not completely gone, they have been hit-or-miss lately. Migratory fish have been passing through while the holdovers have been congregating near the bays. There is a mixed bag in terms of the size of these fish, and they are taking advantage of the Herring and Mackerel schools, so bring those larger fly patterns. With the anticipation of the Herring Run, our local guide, Ian Devlin, has been tying up some great Herring patterns in the store. A lot of this action has been happening near Westerly, with reports of large fish in the mix. The Peanut Bunker action is still going strong near the breachways and salt ponds, especially around Weekapaug, so there is still opportunity for wade anglers to search the beaches for Bass pushing bait onto shore. 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. It’s going to be a windy one out there Saturday, so definitely plan accordingly.


Local Rivers

The Saugatuck is flowing at 146cfs, which has spiked from our rain on Tuesday. As we wrote last week, the most recent news is state stocking of 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 time, the 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. Fishing high water can be challenging, so focus on streamers and nymphs targeting bank seams until the clarity improves.


Connecticut Fish and Wildlife has done another round of stocking Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck TMA, as well as the lower section (Waterbury to Beacon Falls). 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 were also stocked with trout. Now that the trout have been in these rivers for a couple weeks, switch over to your smaller and more imitative patterns as they become wary. 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 risen to 983cfs. As a reminder, fishing is catch and release until 12/6 with a single hook fly. Please report any poaching to law enforcement, 860-424-3333.

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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, for example black with an orange bead, is a good fly for this time of year. The prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives with occasional midges. With colder average night/daytime temperatures, the majority of the action will occur in the afternoon. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 247cfs from the dam release with the Still adding 334cfs from our recent rain. Water temps have been in the mid 40’s. Overall flows are average for this week and water clarity will be good. 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 as the prevalent hatch, with small Caddis mixed in, and midges. Small flies down to size 26 seem to be the norm. This means presentation is key, longer leaders and stepping down tippet size to 6x, also be mindful to have 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. 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), this will get your rig down to the trout’s depth as they become more lethargic. Switching up streamer techniques and trying the low and slow approach may be the key to success. Try spending some 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.

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Housatonic River

Flows are up to 1640cfs, which can prove challenging for wading in some sections. For the good news, not much has changed fishing-wise on the Housatonic. The fishing has been great since the stocking, and many of our anglers are using a variety of techniques to bring numbers of fish to hand, and streamers are producing exceptionally well. A variety of small nymphs are working, and guys are having success if they can keep their rigs clear of debris. Egg patterns will work now as most of the Brown Trout are finishing up spawning. Focusing on areas by the park, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, as well as the TMAs should result in some fish. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives until the winter, 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. Presentation is key, so try longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and of course a drag free drift will help a great deal. The likely water to find 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 focusing your efforts on the deeper pools as trout push into their slower and deeper winter lies. For nymphs, bring a variety with the focus being scuds and stoneflies, with a smaller offering as a dropper. Our anglers have reported that the state has stocked a significant number of Tiger Tout. Now that the temperatures are dropping, and with the anticipation of winter, it’s a good time to think about Pike fishing. These fish should be aggressive so look for them in coves with weed beds, as well as ledges. 8-10wt rods are standard with some form of sinking, intermediate, or sink tip line with a large streamer. Some good flies are Flashtail Whistlers, larger EP Flies, and Deceivers. Floating line with a popper can also work in shallower sections.

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

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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 epic Bass blitzes. Try focusing on a slower retrieve with the colder water temperatures, with a strip and pause to imitate a wounded baitfish. The mouth of the Connecticut river has been great this season, and is still producing Bass blitzes with some over slot size mixed in. Plenty of Bass are being found nearshore on Peanut Bunker and Silversides in the 2-4” size range, and some quality fish are being brought to hand around 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. Our boat anglers are having good success near shore in coves and harbors, so there is no shortage of options right now, especially when sight-fishing near the beaches. Colder nights/mornings can create a slow start to the early bite. Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a high probability of success. If you are running around this area this week, keep your eyes open for blitzes and/or birds working bait. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

We’ve had some high water on the Salmon river this week at 1560cfs for the Pineville gauge. A lot of the snow has been melting off. Because the flows are now below 2000cfs the DSR will open up. High water can be good news because it will push more fish into the system and then once the flows stabilize the fish will acclimate into their holding lies. Most of the Salmon in the river are in spawning mode/dying, so there are plenty of eggs and flesh in the system for our Steelhead anglers. The Steelhead fishing has proven consistent with chrome fish pushing in daily and the occasional Brown Trout.

Great Lakes Brown Trout

We are now starting to see Steelhead up in Altmar, which indicates they’re spread throughout the river. Nice size Steelhead are being caught by boat anglers. Water temperatures have been fluctuating in the high 30’s to low 40’s. Every day has been different, for most days a couple of Steelhead have been brought to hand but some days are producing double digits. For these fish, focus on using egg patterns: Glo-bugs, Estaz, Sucker Spawn, as well as Egg-Sucking Leeches. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns and San Juan Worms, 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. For Spey anglers a variety of colors will work well, including black, purple, blue, brown, and pink. For those still looking to get their last Salmon fix, try fishing Altmar to the Lower Fly Zone, where there is the most concentration of them. The tributaries are also producing big Brown Trout, and Steelhead have also pushed into most. Surprisingly, there are still some late run Coho in the mix. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm!

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The Catskills

With colder temperatures, the morning has been a nymphing-based game. West Branch flows are 676cfs at Hale Eddy, while the East is 3010cfs at Fish’s Eddy. The Mainstem at Lordville is flowing at 4730cfs, pretty high, which is a negative for wade anglers but a positive for boat anglers. Current average water temperatures are in the high 30s on the main. Please be mindful of trout spawning beds (Redds). We realize that these flows make things easier for wading, but because the fishery is now open all year round these eggs are susceptible to being crushed by wade anglers. In general, the most prevalent hatches continue to be BWOs in the afternoon, with some good hatches reported. 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. If fishing the Willowemoc and Beaverkill, try some smaller Woolly Buggers and other streamers. However, with the high flows those rivers are currently unfishable. For wading anglers using Trout Spey rods, now is a great time to swing emergers and small intruders. Fishing streamers and nymphs in the morning is a good tactic until the hatches become prevalent in the afternoons.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000


We have some better news this week in that the Albie fishing has started to pick up again, so a late bite is in-store for this season. Bass are continuing to Blitz off the beaches and near bays. There has been a steady pick of fish for folks surf fishing at night and during the daytime tides. In Montauk, search the Southside for blitzes of Bass with Bluefish still in the mix. The Most prevalent bait on the East End has been Silversides with Peanut Bunker mixed in. Bring some larger patterns for the occasion when Bluefish and Bass are on Chub Mackerel. The bite has also picked up on the Northshore for Albies, and great fishing can be had in the evenings for Bluefish and Bass. Blitzing stripers can also be found around the Nassau area, so be armed with your peanut bunker imitations. For boat anglers, covering ground is paramount to run into blitzing fish. Other areas to consider are a little more West towards Orient Point and Port Jefferson.