February 24, 2023 7 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! We are happy to report that the Spring trout season has started! Our anglers have reported good local fishing with holdovers and newly stocked fish. Stonefly hatches have started to pick up, with most of the bugs being larger in size (12-16) depending on the afternoon temperatures. We have a good supply of our custom in-house tied Stonefly patterns in anticipation for this time of year. If there are no fish rising now  is a good time to try streamers and attractor nymphs, at least until the newly stocked trout become educated. More local rain is expected which will bump flows higher. Now is the time to get out there, so make sure you have a good supply of flies and fresh leaders to last! Areas to focus on include the Mianus, Saugatuck, Mill, and the Farmington. Anglers that have been fishing the Croton Watershed are finding some quality fish too. Colder temperatures are expected this weekend, but they will return into the mid-40s next week. Speaking of colder temperatures, expect snow flurries on the Salmon River this week. Fishing has been average up there, with many anglers reporting single digit numbers of Steelhead brought to hand. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

As a result of our warmer weather this past week there has been more bug activity during the afternoon. Stoneflies, Midges, and Blue Winged Olives are the most prevalent, and the increase in activity has the fish behaving like Spring. Bringing a variety of these dries and emergers in smaller sizes should cover your bases. Flows are 54.6cfs at the Saugatuck, and overall, our local rivers have good clarity now. Average air temperatures will continue to stay in the 40s into next week, however the weekend will bring in some colder temperatures. This will be a good time to hunt for rising fish in combination with small nymphs in the morning before the hatches start. The state has started stocking on some of our local rivers, as well as the Farmington. In addition, lakes and ponds were recently stocked again so that is a viable option with the lack of ice. A lot of our anglers have reported good fishing, and on some days they are catching double digits!

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 below average, reading 339cfs at Beacon Falls. With lower flows and warmer days this will increase water temperatures, and as a result Trout/Salmon metabolism.

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Farmington River

The state has stocked trout in the following sections: Lower Collinsville to RT177, RT219 to Lower Collinsville, and Hogsback to the West Branch TMA. Attractor nymphs and streamers should work well until the fish become more educated. The prevalent hatches this time of year are Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis and occasional Midges. With colder average temperatures, most of the action will occur in the afternoon. Another consideration is the evenings, when water temperatures are high and the sunlight diminishes. This can be a good time to hunt for larger fish. Current water temperatures are 36F in Riverton, suggesting temperatures into the low 40s downriver. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 186cfs from the dam release with the Still adding 174cfs from rain, so overall flows are slightly below average. In terms of the fishing, anglers that have been successful have been really working for larger fish, while some are racking up numbers from stocked fish. For dry fly anglers, trout are continuing to rise and most hatches are occurring late morning 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, and using longer leaders and stepping down tippet size to 6x, while also being mindful to have a drag-free drift. 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 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 well and are more active now suggesting hatches on the warmer days in sizes 18-24. Try a larger fly (mop, stonefly in 6-12) for your dropper followed by a smaller offering (size 18-24) as this will get your rig down to the trout’s depth which is particularly important as they are more lethargic during the morning and on colder days. Switching 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 still in their winter lies. 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 currently 1160cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village which is just about average and 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. Recently, the Stoneflies have started hatching in full force so bringing a variety of Black Stonefly patterns in sizes 12-20 will have you covered for the warmer afternoons, which is when you can expect them. Focusing on areas by the park and the TMAs, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. Other considerations 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. We can also expect improved Stonefly hatches in the near future. Focusing on your small sizes 20-24 should result in some success. The likeliest water for rising fish will be areas with medium to slow flows. Focusing on nymphing and streamer fishing during the colder mornings is a good strategy and then looking for rising fish in the afternoon and into the evening. For streamer fishing, having a sinking line or sink tip is the key to success. Focus your efforts on the deeper pools as the trout are still pushed into the slower and deeper winter lies during the colder days and mornings.

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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, as well as fishing 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 towards the dam. Getting your fly deep and using a strip/slip technique (stripping, then letting out line to simulate jigging) will keep the fly in the strike zone. Using a fly that inverts will help avoid snags when fishing close to the bottom. This warmer weather will help increase the Striper activity. Other areas to target holdover Stripers includes the Connecticut River and Thames River around Norwich. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

Flows are slightly above average reading 1030cfs at the Pineville Gauge. Anglers on the Great Lakes should expect snow flurries this weekend into next week, with air temperatures in the mid to low 30s. Now is a good time to fish the tributaries, as Brown Trout and Steelhead will have pushed into all of them. Steelhead are spread throughout the river. Every day has been different, but the overall trend is that anglers have usually been able to bring a couple of steelhead to hand each day. While the lower river will produce some fresher fish, they are going to be more concentrated further upriver this time of year. When fishing upriver focus on winter holding lies, the slower deeper water. For these fish, try using egg patterns: Glo-bugs, Estaz, Sucker Spawn, Woolly Buggers, as well as Egg-Sucking Leeches. Don’t forget about Stonefly patterns and San Juan Worms, as those will continue to work all Winter and into the Spring. Being adaptable and switching up techniques/flies often results in the most success. When fishing downriver don’t be afraid to fish the faster water, as fresh fish are still pushing in daily. For spey anglers a variety of colors such as black, purple, blue, brown, and pink work well. More aggressive sink tips can help this time of year as water temperatures are in the mid-30s. The morning hours have resulted in the most activity before the sun brightens everything. With the colder morning temperatures, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm!

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000