February 10, 2023 6 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! It’s time to lace up those defrosted boots, because we have warmer local weather in store for this upcoming week. Air temperatures are forecasted to reach into the low 50s, and as a result our anglers are seeing more bug activity. Stoneflies, Blue Winged Olives, and Midges are on the menu for many of our local streams, so look to fish dries/emergers during the warmest parts of the afternoon. This will be a good time to enjoy the holdover fish that were stocked from this past Fall. Temperature, combined with average flows, should make for a great week of fishing! For those fishing upstate NY on the Salmon River, the mornings have been the most productive, and many anglers are reporting single digit numbers of fish. This should improve as temperatures get into the low 40s this week. Other options to consider include the Neversink and Croton watersheds. If you’re looking to stay local within Fairfield County, our rivers that were stocked in the fall are still producing fish such as the Mianus, Saugatuck, and Mill Rivers. The Housatonic and Farmington flows are currently average and safe for wading, and there is still opportunity to try for Atlantic Salmon on the Naugatuck and Shetucket. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

As a result of our warmer weather this past week there has been more bug activity during the afternoons. Stoneflies, Midges, and Blue Winged Olives are the most prevalent. Bringing a variety of these dries and emergers in smaller sizes should cover your bases. Flows are back down to 86.7cfs. With afternoon air temperatures in the 50s the afternoons will be a good time to hunt for rising fish, in combination with small nymphs in the morning before the hatches start. Some ponds and Lakes were stocked back in January, and with the lack of ice those are a viable opportunity as well.

Naugatuck River

The last Atlantic Salmon stockings occurred on January 11th and the 3rd. Try focusing on the TMAs and swinging streamers for these fish in combination with a polyleader. Getting the fly into the strike zone is essential, especially during the cold mornings. Try a variety of gaudy and drab colored streamers, as well as traditional Atlantic Salmon flies. Areas to focus on include the deepest section of slow pools and the tailouts of runs. Trout fishing can also be good in the Naugatuck, and is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Flows are slightly below average, registering 460cfs at Beacon Falls.

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Farmington River

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 215cfs from the dam release with the Still adding 146cfs from rain, so overall flows are average. Water temps are in the mid to high 30s. In terms of the actual fishing, successful anglers have really been working for their fish. For dry fly anglers, trout are continuing to rise, and most hatches are occurring late in the morning and into the afternoon. Look to fish Winter Caddis and midges as the most prevalent hatches. Winter Caddis will hatch in the early-to-late morning however most of the bug activity will be in the afternoon during the warmest part of the day. Small flies down to size 26 seem to be the norm. This means that presentation is key, so using longer leaders, stepping down tippet size to 6x, and being mindful to have a drag-free drift are all imperative. Church pool can be a consistent option this time of year if you are hunting for rising fish. Small nymphs will also continue to produce. Methodically covering likely holding water will be the key to success with cold water temperatures. For our 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, caddis larvae, waltz worm, etc. During high water bringing some larger nymphs and junk flies (mops, squirmies) with hotspots 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), as this will get your rig down to the trout’s depth as they become more lethargic during winter and won’t move as far to eat. Switch up streamer techniques and trying the low-and-slow approach may be the key to success, and sinking lines will help get the fly into the strike zone. Spend time fishing the deeper and slower runs, as the trout are in their winter lies and expect subtle takes. 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 have dropped to 1230cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. That’s slightly above average and conditions will be good for wading. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, etc. Egg flies will still be working as well. Focusing on areas by the park, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, as well as the TMAs should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives, Midges, and Winter Caddis, so 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 using longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and getting a drag free drift are all key to success. The likeliest water to find rising fish will be areas with medium to slow flows. Focusing on nymphing during the colder mornings is a good strategy and look for rising fish in the afternoon and into the evening. Focus your efforts on the deeper pools as trout are pushed into the slower and deeper winter lies.

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The Housatonic River is continuing to produce holdover Stripers. These fish are staging and moving upriver to winter over, so further north of the I-95 Bridge (as opposed to the mouth) should result in the most activity. Bringing Clousers, as well as some Peanut Bunker imitations, and Silversides in the 2-4” range should cover most of the fishing. Coves and entrances into salt ponds are also producing fish. Fishing low and slow is the name of the game, and it’s a good idea to try more aggressive sinking lines, or heavier flies, to get down to the fish that are in large pods in the deeper holes. This is a tough time of year for fly anglers, however there are still fish to be caught upriver as Stripers move up towards the dam. Choosing warmer days will result in more activity. Other areas to target holdover Stripers includes the Connecticut River and the Thames River. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

Flows have dropped on the Salmon River with the Pineville gauge reading 644cfs. Now is also a good time to fish the tributaries, as Brown Trout and Steelhead will have pushed into all of them. The Steelhead fishing has proven consistent with chrome fish pushing in daily along with the occasional Brown Trout. Steelhead are spread throughout the river. Every day has been different, but the overall trend seems to be that anglers are getting a couple of steelhead each day. 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. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns and San Juan Worms, as those will continue to work all winter as 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 including black, purple, blue, brown, and pink, will all work well. The morning hours have resulted in the most activity before the sun brightens everything. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm! Air temperatures are forecasted to reach the low 40s this week and high winds (which were an issue this past week) should dissipate.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000