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March 03, 2023 8 min read
Hello Compleat Angler Friends! We are glad to see a lot of our anglers on the water, and those that have been getting out there have been justly rewarded. Our anglers have reported improved fishing since the recent stockings, and holdover fish from the Fall are still being brought to hand (namely Tiger Trout). The most notable local change for this week includes an additional stocking of Seeforellen Brown trout in select lakes and ponds. Stonefly season is upon us, and there are some great hatches if you plan to fish the warmer afternoons. There are plenty of options and locations that are fishing well now. For those venturing up to the Salmon River, the fishing has remained steady, with many anglers catching single digit numbers of fish, the highest concentration of fish being in the upper river. Lower than average flows are suggesting most of the action will occur in the deeper pools and larger runs as the fish are in their holding lies. While it is still early for saltwater fishing, warmer than average temperatures in Long Island sound should hopefully signal an early run for holdover Stripers pushing back into the Sound. We’ve been busy at the shop checking in new Simms clothing, mostly Solarflex Hoodies, Shirts, and Lightweight Pants, to get ready for warmer temperatures ahead. Read on for more…
Stoneflies, Midges, and Blue Winged Olives are the most prevalent, and the bug activity will be at its peak during the warmer afternoons. Bringing a variety of these dries and emergers in smaller sizes should cover your bases. During the mornings you will see fish rising on small emergers, but most of the action remains subsurface on nymphs and streamers. Flows are 90.2cfs at the Saugatuck, with good clarity on all local rivers and a slight increase in flows. Average air temperatures will continue to stay in the 40s into next week, with some days reaching the low 50s. These days 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 should be a viable option given the lack of ice. A lot of our anglers have reported good fishing, and on some days are catching double digits! Because a lot of the fish are recently stocked, they will be grouped together in a lot of the primary pools before they spread out. Areas to focus on include the Mianus, Saugatuck, and Mill River TMAs. Stonefly season has started, and it’s not uncommon to see them hatching by the hundreds on warm afternoons. Having the correct size is key, as well as having a good presentation. Try dead drifting the adult forms, and if your offer is being refused, skating the fly across the surface could result in additional fish.
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. The trout fishing is also good in the Naugatuck due to recent stockings and is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Flows are below average, reading 352cfs at Beacon Falls, low and clear. With warmer days ahead, this will increase water temperatures, and as a result Trout/Salmon metabolisms. Fishing junk flies in combination with a smaller more imitative selection subsurface should yield some fish.
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 hatch this time of year is Blue Winged Olives, Winter Caddis and occasional Midges. Small Black Stoneflies have also been prevalent, so bringing some dries as well as nymphs (pheasant tails, prince nymphs) is a must. Most of the action will still likely occur in the afternoon. Current water temperatures are 36F in Riverton, suggesting temperatures into the low 40s downriver. The fish are still largely in Winter mode, and snow is expected Saturday morning. If you are focused on dry fly fishing, pick your warmest days this week, which will see temperatures in the high 40s. The West Branch Riverton gauge is at 165cfs from dam release with the Still adding 132cfs from rain, so overall flows are slightly below average with good water clarity. In terms of the fishing, anglers that have been successful have been really working for the larger fish, with some racking up numbers from stocked 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. 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. Methodically covering likely holding water will be the key to success with the colder 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 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 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 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.
Flows are currently 997cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. Below average flows and improved conditions for wading. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, etc. Recently the Stoneflies have started hatching in full force. 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 the hatches. Focusing on areas by the park, 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, 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, longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and a drag free drift are good considerations for success. Likely water to find 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 look 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 trout are still pushed into their slower and deeper winter lies. No stockings have happened on the Housatonic yet, however there are plenty of holdover fish from the last stocking during the fall.
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. Clousers, as well as some Peanut Bunker imitations, and Silversides in the 2-4” range should cover most of the fishing. Bringing a couple larger patterns should prove useful as well. Coves and entrances into salt ponds are also producing fish. Fishing low and slow is the name of the game, as well as using 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 toward 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. Water temperatures in Long Island Sound have been warmer than average for this winter, so we are expecting an early Striper season as holdover fish drop back into the sound. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Flows are down to 482cfs at the Pineville gauge suggesting holding conditions for Steelhead. A good gameplan would be to target the deeper pools and larger runs. Anglers on the Great Lakes should expect snow Friday night into Saturday as well as snow flurries throughout the week. Air temperatures are expected to be from the mid-30s to low 40s depending on the day. Now is a good time to fish the tributaries and confluences, as Brown Trout and Steelhead will have pushed into all of them. Steelhead are spread throughout the river. Every day has been different, but most anglers have been able to bring a couple of Steelhead to hand each day. While the lower river will produce some fresher fish, overall they are going to be more concentrated further upriver this time of year. Anglers fishing the lower river are catching single digit numbers each day. When fishing upriver focus on winter holding lies, the slower deeper water. For these fish, also focus on 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. Generally, when fishing egg flies in clear low water it helps to bring some smaller flies in more natural colors, such as Cheese. When fishing downriver don’t be afraid to fish the faster water, as fresh fish are still pushing in/traveling daily. For our Spey anglers a variety of colors such as black, purple, blue, brown, Olive, and pink should all work well. More aggressive sink tips can help this time of year when 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!
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