Greetings Compleat Anglers! State-wide closures are still in effect. So just a reminder: we can take orders over the phone and ship directly to you. If you need something in a hurry (and are local) we will also have curbside pick-up available. Just give us a call, let us know what you need, and by the time you get here it will be bagged up and ready for you. We will bring it right out to your car. We will also be here during the week shipping out any online and phone orders daily. So, don’t worry. There are still options to get what you need in time for fishing season! If you have any questions feel free to reach out by phone or email. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. As always, stay safe. And again, thank you so much for your support and patronage. On to the latest fishing conditions...
Trout fishing in New York has not changed much from last week. The trout fishing across the state has been exceptionally good of late. Since plenty of stocked sections of stream received no pressure until opening day, the results have been excellent. Larger nymphs and streamers have been working quite well when fished correctly. Some areas have been getting a ton of pressure and in these areas we are getting reports of tough fishing. But moving around and fishing less popular locations is yielding great results.
The Beaverkill and Willowemoc are coming to life. They have been steadily warming and the fish are responding accordingly. The fish are most active later in the day and will take a well-drifted stonefly, Hendrickson, or caddis nymph. Nymphing has been the most productive method by far but with Blue Quills and Quill Gordons coming up as well as a few Hendricksons here and there. Things should get good very soon! Streamers are taking fish as well especially with the recent rain signaling an increase in fish activity. Things are trending in the right direction and the next few weeks should prove quite good if conditions hold.
The Delaware system is much the same. Some anglers have ventured out and caught fish on both nymphs and streamers. As far as hatches go, anglers are seeing quite a few Quill Gordons and Paraleps albeit it’s still a bit early for these hatches. There are a good number of larger black Stones hatching as well as BWOs and midges on any given day. Also expect to see caddis but keep in mind that few fish are coming up for them. We recommend nymphing for the next week or so while still having dries in the box just in case. The Hendricksons are just starting to poke their heads out. A few bugs are popping on the main and lower East and West but it is not a definitive hatch just yet. It is certainly close, however. Reports are mixed as it is still a bit early for this system but there are certainly fish out there to be caught.
No change to the New York Saltwater report and that is a great thing! The Hudson River and surrounding areas have been swarming with fish. There are two populations to target right now: the smaller stream resident fish that have wintered over and which are now feeding heavily, and the larger breeding fish that are pre-spawn and feeding before the actual spawning event. The Western part of Long Island is also seeing its fair share for fish. Some of the larger migratory fish have moved in and the fishing has been stellar for anglers willing to put in the time. Most of the fish have been taken trolling or by spin/surf casters but there are plenty of places where you can target these fish on a fly. Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic side of Long Islands are great places to get on some early season Stripers. Turtle Cove has also been a hotspot with lots of fish in tight and feeding. While not as concentrated as around the mouth of the Hudson, they are certainly there and will hit a wide variety of flies. If you are fishing from a boat be sure to have a full sink line and a weighted fly. Getting down to the fish is equally important as fishing during the right tide. Far too often anglers are simply not getting down deep enough. If you are fishing from shore than an intermediate line is plenty but a weighted fly is always advantageous. These fish will not be that picky this early in the season so almost any fly will work. A standard issue Clouser Minnow in a wide variety of colors will work, and make sure to have a few sizes to choose from. It seems like Long Island is where most of the fly fishing action is and for good reason. It is more accessible, easier to fish, and much nicer to look at. Rockaway Point (Breezy Point) on the Western end of Long Island has been fishing very well. Rockaway Park just to the East and the adjacent Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge has seen quite a few fish being taken when conditions allow. This whole area is right in the path of the larger fish entering the Hudson to spawn as well as the smaller wintering fish that are leaving to feed. So, if there was one place to fish on Long Island, this would be it. Silver Point on East Rockaway Inlet is another good option as is Rockaway Beach itself.
Well not much of a change this past week as far as the smaller stockie streams are concerned. Where and when you fish will determine the quality of the experience. In Fairfield County reports are quite weak. The fish are extremely educated and with harvest now allowed in the TMAs since opening day, it is time to fish elsewhere. A few fish can be found in some spots so it is not totally hopeless. However, with things heating up elsewhere it may be more advantageous to fish other locations throughout the state. To the Northeast plenty of streams have been stocked and the fishing has been quite good. After looking at the stocking maps it seems like the DEEP is heavily stocking the larger streams that have larger sections of water to fish, likely in an effort to dissipate angling pressure. This makes sense in order to keep people safe. Rivers such as the Farmington, Naugatuck, and Salmon seem to be getting the lion’s share of stocked trout at the moment with satellite stockings in smaller rivers nearby. So be mindful of that.
Speaking of big cats, hatchery raised Tiger Trout have now been released in “secret” locations around Connecticut. The DEEP is withholding these locations for fear of mobs of anglers descending upon them. It seems like most of these areas are ponds and lakes. Not great for us fly anglers but I have seen a picture or two of some rivers that have gotten them. So if you do want to get into some Tiger Trout, locating these rare fish will require spending plenty of time on the water and exploring plenty of areas the old fashioned way.
These smaller stockie streams should hold out for the next month or so. As fish get harvested and water temperatures increase we will see these fisheries tail off quite a bit. Three weeks back the DEEP said that 60ish percent of the fish had been stocked so it is safe to assume they have put in 70-80 percent of the fish at this point, meaning only a few more weeks of stocking left. Again, keep checking the trout stocking maps and plan your fishing around those updated locations. The DEEP updated the map at 4pm on Fridays, however sometimes they will do it a bit early so check Thursday just to be sure. Same flies and tactics apply. Larger flies and streamers for the freshly stocked fish and much smaller nymphs when it comes to pressured fish. The link to the stocking map is here:
The Farmington continues to improve. At this point there is something for everybody on this river. The DEEP has been stocking quite heavily so there plenty of nice fish to pull on if you target these stocking areas. These fish will be quite accommodating and it is not unusual to catch 10 or 20 of them in a few hours. Because of opening day and now being allowed to keep fish, if you want to avoid all of the spin anglers, the Catch & Release only section is where you should focus your attention. Sure, some of the worm drowners will be down there too, but the taking of fish in this stretch is forbidden. It will be mostly fly anglers and although it can get quite crowded, it will have plenty of fish and a lot of those big wild trout everybody is after. The water came up quite a bit on Monday but not to the extent that it blew out and made the river unfishable. Streamers took a few fish when the water went up but nymphing was still the most productive method as it is still a bit cold in the Catch and Release section. Below, our friend Paul Battipaglia continues to social distance by catching lots of beautiful browns!
The biggest new development is the arrival of the Hendricksons. It is still early days for this hatch but they are popping. We are seeing the larger numbers downstream toward Collinsville but they are popping up top as well, just in smaller numbers. The next few weeks should see the hatch build and the fish will certainly be on them. This long-awaited mayfly hatch offers fly anglers the first really good shot at dry flies for the year. Be sure to have emergers, duns, and nymphs with you if you decide to head up to the Farmington. As we get later into the hatch this will become more and more important. A big stonefly nymph is not a bad idea as well, as plenty of larger fish are being taken on large stones right now. Things are looking good for the Farmington right now. It is probably the most productive trout fishery at the moment and will only get better in the coming months.
No positive change on the Housey. We are still waiting for water levels that are safe and conducive for fishing. That sweet spot of 700 CFS is highly unlikely in the next few days with the recent rain we had this week. If we get a good window sometime soon then the trout fishing should be very very good. If you do decide to fish in the coming days please take the utmost care wading. Never venture out past knee deep. We cannot stress that enough. This river is big, powerful, and you can be in big trouble if you are swept off your feet. It is always a good idea to bring a wading staff with you and to fish with a buddy who can watch your back should things go awry. Similar to the Farmington, the Housey should be very close to the Hendrickson hatch. Maybe even a bit closer as it is quite a bit warmer. For that reason, a Hendrickson nymph is a great option if you decide to do some nymphing. Bigger stoneflies are not a bad idea as well. It is still a bit early for Smallmouth and the Pike are still on the spawn. We are at least a few weeks out but those fisheries should turn on quite quickly once the water temperature gets to where they need it to be.
The Striped Bass fishing continues to impress. All across the state, the bite has been strong with lots of fish brought to hand. Fishing are being taken in bays, from shore, river mouths, harbors, and down deep. It seems like on any given day the fishing has been lights out regardless of where you are. In the past week, we have seen more fish being taken from areas other than the rivers where the early runs occur. The fish are moving out and looking for bait and structure. Ones just like this fellow here, and thanks to our friend Hunter Huebsch (@organicfly) for the photo!
We have had a lot of questions about areas like Penfield Reef and while last week may have been a bit slow, it is a safe bet that these areas most likely have plenty of fish. The hot spots right now are still the Connecticut, Housatonic, Thames, and Pawcatuck Rivers. If you time it correctly and conditions are favorable, the fishing is still very good. Most of the larger fish are being taken at night by spin anglers. No surprise there, but 30” fish are a real possibility for fly anglers right now (as are the, extremely rare, but entirely possible, 20+ pound fish from shore). We have a small window of opportunity to get these bigger fish on the fly and right now is the time. The anglers who are doing well know these locations and how they react to tide, moon, and wind. Making the proper adjustments in regards to what stage of the Ebb or Flow you are fishing makes all the difference. And each location is a little bit different. Moon phase is also key in relation to tides. If you are thinking about going out for Stripers keep a close eye on all of these factors.
Last week’s conditions were pretty poor. Monday was unfishable and the rest of the week was not much better. The tides are good right now as are the water temperatures. The wind has been relentless but it is looking like we might have a little bit of a window on Saturday. Conditions often change so keep an eye on the forecast and be safe. We still have plenty of time to fish for Stripers.