December 30, 2021 6 min read

Greetings Compleat Anglers, and Happy New Year's Eve! The report this week is much the same as the past few especially where trout are concerned. Expect standard wintering behavior which means targeting small warmer weather windows and stealthy tactics. In the great lakes, another bump of water has spiked flow levels so expect challenging conditions until it subsides a bit. That said, the fishing has been pretty solid thus far, well worth the trip up there this time of year. Read on for more...


Local Streams

We have largely the same story as last week and you can expect this to hold 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. 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 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 behind us, and they have most certainly spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating trout must be used. Remember that the TMAs are all catch-and-release until mid-April. Please report any poaching. The last stocking of Atlantic Salmon occurred last week on the Naugatuck and Shetucket. The fishing was pretty good the first few days after the stocking of the largest fish of the year. However, anglers killing fish have resulted in declining fishing. Unfortunately, we will only have another few weeks of decent fishing before the fish are all but plucked out of the water by the kill anglers. That is not to say that there won’t be a few good days left in the near future. We highly recommend going sooner rather than later and dropping down in your fly sizes. The fish that are left will be educated. Fishing smaller flies is a sure-fire way to get hook-ups when fish are weary. No bait is allowed and snagging can be a problem from the desperate spin and fly anglers so please report any misconduct to the DEEP. Calling 800-842-4357 can make all the difference. The water will be on the higher side so hopefully that will spread the fish out and push them into areas that are less frequented by the meat fishermen. 

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 270-ish out of the dam and another 190 or so out of the Still. 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 39 degrees (depending on where you are on the river) and a high of 40 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 have talked to are saying 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 the best option is to hit them in the face with a slow-drifting nymph. This report will be essentially 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 is around 1600 CFS. Far from ideal. With more rain forecasted 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 low 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 warmer days, it is safe to say that the fishing will be tough for the rest of the winter. 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 two. 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

Well our lower water window slammed shut on Monday. CFS at Pineville went from 600ish to 1450. After some great conditions and even better fishing, the recent rain jacked the water back up. While that will certainly drive fish into the river, expect a tough time locating them or even just getting the fly to the fish. We do have some warmer weather on the way which should result in some better fishing. That is provided we get a reduction in flows. While it is certainly worth heading out there this time of year, be aware that the high water will require you to be more discerning about where and how you fish. The middle and upper sections of the river are still the hot spots. They have the most concentrations of fish and lower water levels.

Salmon River Steelhead - Compleat Angler

Fishing before the water came up was very good in these upper stretches. There are lots of relatively unpressured fish in the system and any half decent effort up there should result in hook-ups. Egg patterns will still work and are a must have up there. Purples, blues, pinks, chartreuses, oranges and peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. However, as we move into January, 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. Even smaller streamers will have their moments. Changing flies constantly will be the best way to get on some fish. 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. We are hoping that it actually cools down a bit and we start seeing some snow up there. That will help in mitigating water fluctuation and keep those levels right around that perfect 700cfs mark. Fingers crossed. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200