Hello Compleat Angler friends! Thanks to all who attended the Fly Fishing Show in Edison this past weekend. We enjoyed chatting with familiar faces and meeting new people! For those of you who are wondering about the raffle, we have picked a winner so congratulations to the lucky person who won a Scott Fly Rod of their choice! We are in for some cold weather this weekend, but look for an improvement later in the week for some fishing opportunities. The cold weather and snow have made things tough on the Salmon river, and currently slush is an issue in the lower section, so fishing from Pineville upriver to Altmar is a safe bet. Overall flows have been on the drop locally, and are slightly above the average for most of our rivers. Our anglers are having success fishing for Atlantic Salmon, trout holding over from fall stockings around Fairfield County, and the Croton Watershed. Read on for more…
With all of our TMAs stocked earlier in the fall, the areas to focus on include the Mill, Mianus, 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. Trout have been rising in the afternoon to tiny Blue Winged Olive emergers and Midges. We have high water conditions on our local river due to rain, but flows are on the drop with the Saugatuck reading 204cfs.
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 tailout of runs. The trout fishing can also be good in the Naugatuck, and is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Flows are slightly higher than average, but still on the drop with 709cfs at Beacon Falls.
The prevalent hatch this time of year is Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis, and occasional midges. With colder temperatures, most of the action will occur in the afternoon. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 861cfs from the dam release with the Still adding 215cfs from rain, again slightly above average but flows are on the drop which should prove good for fishing. With the flows decreasing this opens up more options for wade anglers. Water temps are in the mid to high 30s. In terms of the actual fishing, successful anglers have been really working for their 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, with longer leaders and stepping down tippet size to 6x being the norm, while also being mindful to have a drag-free drift. The 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. 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 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, 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.
Flows have dropped to 1810cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. Conditions are still tricky for wading, so another option to consider is fishing the Shepaug or Naugatuck. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, etc. Focusing on areas by the park, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, and TMAs should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. The most prevalent hatch will be Blue Winged Olives, Midges, and Winter Caddis, and I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers, as the trout have been sipping on emerging BWOs frequently. Focusing on your small sizes 20-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, with longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and getting a drag free drift critical for 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 with the drop in water temperature.
The Housatonic River is continuing to produce holdover Stripers. These fish are staging and moving upriver to winter over, so further upriver 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 use 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 river towards the dam. Choosing your warmer days will result in more activity. Other areas to target holdover Stripers include the Connecticut River and the Thames River. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Flows have dropped at the Salmon River with the Pineville gauge reading 989cfs. 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, with a couple of Steelhead brought to hand on most days with the odd day producing double digits. When fishing upriver target winter holding lies, that 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 work well. During the coldest mornings, slush has been an issue on the lower river. However, it will dissipate once air temperatures start to increase during the late morning, which makes the lower river still a viable option. With the colder morning temperatures underway, make sure you have a good layering system and gloves to stay warm! Cold temperatures have made things tough, especially with the slush in the lower river. We should expect air temperatures in the single digits and teens until Sunday, when it will warm up into the week.
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