Greetings Compleat Anglers! This weekend could not look better. Saturday will be in the 50s which means one thing - it’s time to fly fish. The Connecticut DEEP has begun stocking out TMAs with two streams stocked so far. That means this weekend the fishing will be phenomenal on these rivers. The Saugatuck, Hamonassett, and Mill have received fish on the 9th and more rivers will soon follow so if you need to get out of the house, these two rivers will be fishing very well. The Farmington will be another great choice this weekend. The water is warming up and the flows are perfect. The fishing should be spectacular and there could even be some bugs coming off. The Salmon River up in New York looks great as well. Great flows and temps in the 40s means that the fish will be actively feeding. You can’t miss this weekend if you are strategic. Get to your spots early, bring lots of flies, and have fun. This is a rare weather window. Read on for more…
Yeehaw! The state has begun stocking our local Trout Management Areas (TMAs) across Connecticut. It seems to get earlier each year and that is just fine with us fly anglers. The Saugatuck fly fishing only area and the Mill River TMA near Lake Mohegan and in Hamden received fish on 02/09. With Saturday predicted to be in the 50s, this weekend should provide some awesome catch-and-release only fishing. Do not wait to get out there. Temperatures will plummet next week giving us a sweet little gift of a weather window. There will be no need to drive all over the state. These two rivers will be fishing extremely well. Now, normally we do not provide such specific locations on where they have stocked but it has been a tough winter and we have a nice window to do some fishing. A word of advice though - make sure to get there nice and early. Being first to the spots will make a big difference on the quality of fishing. These fish will be a little bit educated by Saturday so very small streamers or smaller nymphs will be the most productive. Many will go out there and throw flies that are too large. Start with size 10, 12, or 14 with your streamers. Size 14, 16, 18, and 20 for your nymphs. Now, that said, with the bump in temperature other rivers across the state will be fishing well too. However, these fish will still be very educated and spread out. So, deploy educated trout tactics. 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 fish have most certainly spread out so a more “traditional” approach to locating trout must be used. Remember that all TMAs are all catch and release until mid-April. Please report any poaching. When the state stocks, there tend to be a lot of poachers that come out of the woodwork, especially spin anglers. As such, please report any misconduct to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Some great news for the Farmington. The warm weather on the way will have the fish jazzed up. Saturday looks like it will be about as perfect as you can ask for in mid-February and I would suspect the water could warm by as much as 10 degrees. That will get the fish actively feeding by mid-day. The warmer days preceding it will compound the fish activity and that, coupled with some intermittent cloud cover, should make for a banner day in February. The flow out of the dam is great at 224 cfs. The Still is coming at 150 making flows perfect! Everything has lined up for pretty epic conditions. Water temps on Wednesday reached almost 38 degrees. I would not be surprised if we saw water temps in the low or mid 40s. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. Smaller patterns that closely mimic natural forage are the best bets however junk flies and attractor patterns should produce as well since these fish will be actively searching for food. Streamers are a low percentage option at this point but with the warmer water we could see that bite turn on as well. I would err on the side of caution and use smaller patterns if you decide to strip meat. Fish will still be congregating around those deep holding lies but will certainly begin working up toward the heads of these pools to feed. So, target these areas. Walking pace water speed with a nice riffle up top and a deep hole below with froggy water is exactly what you are looking for. There should be some bugs coming off as well. Little Black Stones, Caddis, Midges and maybe a BWO or two should be flying around. I would not be surprised if fish were rising so bring those dries just in case. Like I said, this weekend ought to be one for the books. Beautiful weather, perfect flows, and great water temps all indicate that fishing should be nothing short of spectacular, especially for February. Normally you don’t need to get up early to fish this time of the year but for Saturday, I certainly would. Get to your favorite spot and hold it. Good luck! Keep in mind: all TMAs are Catch and Release only. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housey is running at around 1100 cfs and slowly coming down. It is a shame that the flows are less than ideal for the weekend we have coming up. I would not be in a hurry to rush out there as most anglers will be avoiding this river due to flows. Water temperatures will certainly bump up with the weather we have in the forecast but with the Farmington looking ideal, I would opt to use the Housey as a backup plan. If you do decide to give it a shot, later in the day when the water is warmest will be the most productive. With the higher water, streamers or larger nymphs would not be a bad choice. Junk flies should produce and while any reasonable nymph has a shot of getting hit, larger patterns in the 8 to 12 size range should be best. 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 focus on trout for the next few months.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Salmon River
The flows are perfect and with temperatures in the 40s, this weekend will be a great time to get onto some late winter Steelhead. The warmer air will certainly increase water temperatures. That, coupled with overcast conditions, should have the fish on the chew. This is about as perfect a weather window you could ask for in February. And as everyone knows, this is big fish season. That means that the odds of hooking a 15lb+ Steelhead this weekend are quite high. Saturday will be the sweet spot with temperatures dropping back to the teens on Sunday, so you will absolutely want to be on the water Saturday. The middle and upper sections of the river are still the hot spots as they have the best concentration of fish and lower water levels. There have been some great flurries of fish activity on the Salmon River the past week as the temperatures have been slowly rising. 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, the fish have transitioned to other prey items. You will certainly want to have stoneflies 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. This weekend looks perfect. We may not get another window like this all winter so don’t wait! Go now!
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