March 22, 2024 7 min read

Hello Compleat Angler Friends! The biggest improvement this week is that flows are now back down to average levels on all of our local rivers and streams, which means that we should see an improvement in dry fly action. Fish will be more apt to take Small Black Stoneflies, which we are seeing a lot of. In the meantime, many anglers have been catching fish subsurface as well. Both Wooly Buggers and a variety of nymphs are taking stocked fish. Anglers are also finding good fishing on the Farmington and are bringing both stocked and holdover fish to hand. Now is also the time to start thinking about Stripers, mainly the Housatonic fish dropping back to the sound. While we don’t have any firsthand reports as of yet, historically anglers have caught their first few Stripers this time of year. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

Flows have dropped back down to clear and fishable levels. And since trout have been recently stocked, anglers are catching fish on a variety of patterns. The streamer and nymph fishing has been excellent and look for fish keying in on Small Black Stoneflies since flows are now average. For instance, the Saugatuck is currently 168 CFS. Look for more recently stocked fish keying in on naturals as they have had some time to acclimate. Look to bring Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 16-18. Other considerations are Midges in sizes 18-14. In areas that were stocked consider bringing some Squirmy Worms, Mop Flies, as well as your standard assortment of nymphs in sizes 12-18: Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae and Perdigones. For smaller flies, mix in some size 18-24 Zebra Midges. Stocked fish will aggressively chase streamers from Wooly Buggers in 4-10 to larger articulated flies. Both can be paired with a floating line or sinking/sink tip option.When nymphing and dry fly fishing in our smaller rivers and streams we like having a shorter leader, such as theRio Powerflex in 7.5ft. Both 5x and 6x will have you covered for most dry fly and nymphing scenarios. In addition, at the end of your dead-drift let your nymphs swing to the bank as this will imitate an emerging insect. Where you catch one fish you will catch more as stocked trout tend to pod up before moving into different water types. Areas to consider are the Saugatuck, Hammonasset River, Mill River in Hamden, the Mill River in Fairfield, and the Aspetuck River. Holdover fishing has been good in the Mianus River, and they have stocked the TMA.

Naugatuck River

Since trout have not been stocked yet for Spring (besides the East Branch), any fish you catch will be a holdover. In addition, you may see fish rising as flows have improved, and both wading and clarity are good. Look to fish Small Black Stoneflies and Midges as your main hatches. With respect to other insects, having a range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. When targeting Salmon, your traditional Atlantic Flies and hairwing streamers will work: Grey Ghosts, Blue Charms, and Mickey Finns. Don’t be afraid to throw some larger intruders and flashy streamers in Pink, Black, Blue, and Purple, especially after they’ve just finished stocking. Try swinging these streamers slowly as you first fish the pool, and if you don’t get any takes, switch to a faster retrieve/swing. The fish will let you know what they prefer.

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Farmington River

Fishing on the Farmington River has improved since the first round of stockings was completed in some sections. Flows have been decreased at the dam to 268 CFS on the West Branch, while the Still River is adding 172 CFS. Overall flows are comfortable for wading and good clarity. For recently stocked trout a wider variety of flies will work, from smaller nymphs to larger gaudy flies (Mops, Squirmies, Streamers). Holdover trout will be more keyed in on the natural hatches, Midges in sizes 20-24, Winter Caddis in sizes 18-20, Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 18-20, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Water temperatures have been fluctuating in the high 30s to low 40s, so trout will start to spread out in a variety of water types as the temperatures get warmer. For nymphing, you will want to bring Stoneflies in sizes 8-12. One technique is to use these larger flies as your point nymph paired with a smaller dropper nymph: Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-20, Caddis Larva 14-18, Perdigones 12-20, Hare’s Ears 14-18, and Zebra Midges in 18-24. In terms of rigging, look to use 5x-6xFluorocarbon when nymphing. For Streamer fishing you’ll want to bring some Woolly Buggers and jig style streamers in sizes 8-10 in a variety of colors: Olive, Black, White, and Brown. Fishing articulated flies on a sinking/sink tip line can be another useful tool to include in your arsenal. Weighted Sculpin patterns are another consideration and can be fished on a floating line. Now is a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to break out the Scandi heads to try swinging some wet flies, as insects will become more active during the afternoon. Fishing a wet fly swung on aless aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish during the afternoon when insects will be emerging. Strikes will still be subtle as average water temperatures are still cold. 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

The Housatonic River is still too high to wade this week, however you may consider a float trip. Currently flows are reading 1520 CFS at Falls Village. We recommend waiting until the flows drop below 1000 CFS; flows are still too high to wade comfortably, however the clarity has improved. When flows return to normal, you may encounter some Midges in sizes 18-24, Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 14-18, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Streamer fishing and nymphing are going to be the most productive techniques. Anglers that have been streamer fishing are swinging flies on a floating or sink tip line with either single handers or trout spey rods. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, etc), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. For our floating line Streamer Anglers, consider drab colored Conehead Woolly Buggers paired with a 9ft 2x leader. Now is also a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to consider throwing larger patterns during the afternoon in combination with swinging soft hackles in the mornings and evenings. Trout Spey is a good way to cover and search water, especially in the wider stretches. During the mornings nymphing still remains the most effective method. For nymphing with an indicator (we’ve had great feedback on theOros Strike Indicators), a 9ft taperedfluorocarbon leader in 5x-6x is recommended. Nymphs to consider bringing include Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24 will fool fish under most conditions.

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New York

Salmon River

Flows have been holding steady at 654 CFS in Pineville, which are good flows for wading, clarity, and fishing. Snow is expected for Saturday, but air temperatures should warm into the 40-50s this upcoming week. Dropback fish are being caught with more frequency which marks the transition for many Steelhead returning to the lake. These fish will be more aggressive as they look for meals to increase their weight after spawning. As a result, many different techniques will work, whether you are swinging flies with sinking tips or nymphing. For nymphs consider Stoneflies in sizes 6-12, as well as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, and Squirmy Worms. A variety of egg patterns will work from Estaz Eggs, Glo Bugs, and Sucker Spawn to 6-10mm beads. Switching flies, sizes, and techniques will help you identify what the Steelhead are keying in on during that day. Many anglers are finding these fish at the heads and tails of runs, which are prime traveling lies for fish moving downriver. Anglers from Altmar to Pineville will still be seeing the largest concentration of fish, however anglers fishing lower in the system are still bringing a fish or two to hand. When Nymphing, having amicro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, as well as aid in quicker rerigging during breakoffs and snags. For our two handed anglers, Skagit has been the most productive method, and we like Rio’sSkagit Max Power head combined with either amono orcoated running line. Having a variety ofMOW Tips so you can fine tune the depth of your fly based on flows and current speed to aid in your success. For tippet, we like usingMaxima Ultragreen in 10lb when swinging flies. Having a variety of colors to rotate between is the name of the game: Brown, Olive, Black, Blue, Purple, and Pink are all good considerations.

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The Catskills

Flows are now near average on the Delaware River, which means clarity and wading have improved. The mainstem is currently flowing 3550 CFS at Lordville, and water temperatures have been fluctuating in the high 30s. The West Branch is 1710 CFS at Hale Eddy while the East is 1470 CFS at Fish’s Eddy. Anglers are starting to see more Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 16-18 as well as Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Other considerations are midges in sizes 20-24, overall dry fly fishing should improve during these flows as fish look up with more frequency. Most anglers are fishing streamers during the high water and are bringing a few fish to hand so bring some articulated streamers paired with a sinking line while flows are dropping. Some colors to consider are White, Yellow, Chartreuse, Black, Olive, and Brown. For nymphing, consider Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Perdigones, Waltz Worms, etc., in sizes #14-#20. During the warmer afternoons you may have luck swinging soft hackles.