Northeast Fishing Report: 4/16/21 - The Compleat Angler

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April 16, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! Our local trout fishing is on the wane, but the good news is that the Catskills are picking up, with the start of dry fly fishing season just around the corner. And even better news, the saltwater action has kicked into gear as well, with lots of stripers being caught up and down the Connecticut coast. As always, read on for details...

New York

Freshwater

New York state is fishing extremely well. The State has stocked multiple rivers and the action has been lights out. While we are hearing that a lot of spin anglers are out and killing fish, unfortunately, the fishing can be exceptional this time of year if you are willing to move around or go on a weekday. We recommend fishing as soon as you can to get in on some relatively unpressured fish. We have a lot of customers that fish NY state and while I won’t divulge exactly where to fish, a little exploring could result in some awesome fishing. Any decent sized river will have plenty of stocked fish that will take a wide variety of flies. Smaller streamers are a safe bet as these fish will likely be fairly uneducated. Another option is indicator nymphing with mops, wormies, and stoneflies -- really anything reasonable will work. 

Catskills

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 2000, the East is low at 912 and the West Branch is low as well with a CFS of 540 as of 4/15. These are great flows for wading though not ideal for floating. We are hearing good things in terms of dry fly action however. Midges, stones, BWOs, Paraleps, and some small black caddis are popping. There are a ton of caddis coming off but BWOS seem to have been the hot fly recently. With the weather we have on the way, the fishing should pick up in the next week or so. There were a few Hendricksons coming off the other day signaling the start of dry fly season. The weeks to come should prove to be pretty darn good dry fly fishing. 

Beaverkill/Willowemoc

The Willow and Beaverkill have come down quite a bit and who knows what the rain this Thursday will do. The Beaverkill is around 500 CFS and falling. This is a great wadable level but again, rain could change that quickly. Best to fish the Delaware or elsewhere for the next week.  There are plenty of smaller streams throughout the state that should fish great this week. Best to wait until conditions improve.

Connecticut

Local Streams

The local streams have begun to tail off. With opening day come and gone, and record crowds of spin anglers out there killing fish, we have noticed a significant decline in the quality of the fly fishing on our smaller stockie streams. We are hearing that it has been tough recently on most of these rivers. The trout are just getting cleaned out, plain and simple. Reports of fairly consistent poaching are not helping either. The fish that are left are very educated and will take some problem-solving to figure out. As I have mentioned before, smaller sub-surface flies are the key. Very light tippet and perfect presentations are the name of the game and while the streams will fish alright for the next few weeks, unfortunately our smaller stream Spring season is coming to an end. The Stonefly hatch is still happening but dwindling as well. It is a shame that there are not more catch-and-release-only areas throughout the state for this exact reason. But that’s how it is.

It is not all doom and gloom however. There are some rivers that are not as popular and that are still fishing very well. For obvious reasons, I will not disclose which ones, but a little grunt work in prospecting streams could yield some great fishing not far from home. The state will still continue stocking and while these fish will not be long for this world, chasing stocking trucks can get you into some good fishing if you are some of the first people to hit them.

Remember if you do see any poaching or spin fishing in Fly Fishing Only areas please call 800-842-4357 and report it to the CTDEEP. We are hearing that poaching has been a big issue this year. It is a quick and easy call that can go a long way in keeping our fishing good throughout the Spring.

Farmington River

Not a whole lot has changed on the Farmington over the past week. The Catch and Release section will be the best stretch to fish moving forward into the Summer. There are some really good sections down below that hold really nice fish so don’t be afraid to move around. We are in a bit of a transitional period for this river. It’s better than it was 2 months ago, but not quite prime time yet. The fish are becoming more active but there is not much in the way of hatches going on, making it a monotonous sub-surface game at this point. There are some BWOs coming off on the overcast and warmer days and we are hearing a few fish are on them but not many. The water is also pretty darn low right now. The dam release is about 150 as of 4/15 and the Still is running at about 84. Not ideal but not a deal breaker either. We will see what the rain we had last night does. It will certainly jack up the Still. Water temperatures are approaching 50 degrees as a high. That is a great temp and the fish will be active. Keep in mind, as the water warms these fish will be transitioning into feeding locations. The faster sections above deeper holding water are what you are looking for. This is a great time of year to try larger flies. These fish will be on Hendrickson nymphs, stones, caddis, and will take a wide variety of flies. Even mops flies and wormies will have their moments with wild fish during the Spring. The smaller Stoneflies have been coming off in decent numbers but that hatch is on its way out. While anglers are reporting few and infrequent rises on these bugs, the dry fly fishing is ever so slowly picking up. As we keep saying, with the crowds now, popular holes like Greenwoods, Legends, Church, Halfords, or the Boneyard will more than likely be overrun with anglers. These are big fish holes and everyone knows it. So, if this is where you want to fish it may be best to get there super early or consider fishing elsewhere. There is plenty of water on this river and anglers have been doing well by fishing on the move. Fishing “B” or “C” water and hitting multiple pockets while covering water has often been the key to success. We certainly heard that last year from Farmy Vets. While it is a bit early for those nicer fish to have spread out, in a month or so, consider employing this tactic especially as crowds swell to their May, June, and July peak. As mentioned before, the Farmington has a long Catch-and-Release-Only section making it a great choice this time of year. While you can expect a lot of spin anglers to be up there as well, there is plenty of water to fish where there will be fewer anglers around.

Keep in mind: Remember that the Trout Management Areas are still all catch and release only. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

The Housey is finally down to nice wadable levels! The DEEP has just stocked it as well which means the fishing should be awesome. That is some much-needed good news for CT trout fly anglers who have seen their local streams cleaned out by spin anglers since opening day. The water is warming and the stonefly hatch has been very good on warmer days. The water temperatures are also high enough that the fish will finally be looking up. While the stockies tend to hold where they were stocked for at least a week, there will be pockets of action and other areas that are much slower. Move around to locate fish with a searching pattern. Smaller streamers or reasonable nymphs are good options as there will be plenty of uneducated fish around. Once pockets of fish are located, then re-rig with a more precise set up. The rising water temperatures should have the fish creeping into feeding lanes as well. They will move from slower and deeper holding water to actively feed. While the fastest riffles will be devoid of fish, moderately paced water should hold fish during the warmest parts of the day. There are plenty of holdover and wild fish in this system so while stockie bashing is fun, there are plenty of places to target these better quality and more beautiful trout. The benefit of the Housey is that there is a large area of Catch and Release Only. The Housey season is relatively short since it warms up quite a bit in the summer, but the C&R section, larger water, and technical wading means this river fishes well into the early summer. The Pike fly fishing has been picking up as well. Water temps are looking great and these toothy predators are on the feed. We are also seeing an uptick in Smallmouth activity. While this is not a very popular target species by most fly anglers at this time of the year, that sole fact means that you can often have long stretches of river all to yourself. Smallies are a blast on the fly and Spring is a great time to target them. Smaller, weighted steamers fished low and slow will work just fine. The key is getting them down deep and fishing them on the slower side. As the water warms in the weeks to come, expect these fish to become much more active and start hitting poppers.

Keep in mind: Remember that the Trout Management Areas are still all catch and release only Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The Striper fishing has started! While it is still a bit early, we are hearing that plenty of fly anglers are getting into fish. All along the Connecticut coast, things are starting to happen. We are hearing that schoolies are making up the majority of the action, however there have also been some very nice fish caught. The water is almost at that perfect 55 degrees that these fish really like. As we progress through the Spring, you can expect the fishing to only get better. From Greenwich all the way to up Branford, we have been seeing fish caught during flurries of activity.

On any given day, the fishing can be outstanding, but we are still dealing with typical early season inconsistency. The best conditions tend to be after warmer nights and sunny days which will warm up the water. Checking multiple spots on a good tide is critical. Moving around, changing flies, and doing your best to locate fish will make all of the difference. Standing in one spot all day without a bite is futile. If you don’t get a bite in 30 minutes, it is often best to move. Shorelines, beaches, rock piles, and inshore structure will all hold fish. The fish will be looking for the warmest water so keep that in mind. As I mentioned, it is a bit early but the fishing will only get better. Have a good selection of flies. Depending on what the weather and water does, having bright and natural options is always helpful.


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