April 21, 2023 9 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! We have more good news for our freshwater anglers, which is this week the Hendrickson hatches have started up on some Connecticut rivers and the Delaware. While they’re not prolific, they are definitely hatching on warmer days. Consistency in our local fishing has everyone catching trout on different rivers, and in a variety of water types. Trout are starting to spread out into the faster runs, so it pays off to fish these areas in addition to the typical deeper holding lies. Flows have dropped since last week, opening a lot of rivers so there are more wading options. Stripers are getting better by the day, mostly schoolies with a few larger fish in the mix. Our boat anglers are finding fish around Stamford and Norwalk, as well as the Housatonic. The Housatonic River was also stocked with trout. There are certainly plenty of options available for our local anglers, and the talk around the shop is that things have gotten an early start this Spring! Read on for more…


Local Rivers

Stonefly season has started winding down, and while fish will still be rising to them, they will be hatching in fewer numbers. As they wind down look to fish midges in sizes 16-24 as well as caddis in the same sizes. On certain rivers Blue Winged Olives will also be prevalent. With the fish having become more educated after stocking, using more imitative and smaller nymphs is a good idea. The general trend is that flows have been low with the Saugatuck reading 60cfs. Water clarity is good for all our local options. When fishing this weekend, start off with nymphs or streamers in the morning, being mindful of trout sipping midge emergers. By the afternoon look for some stoneflies skittering on the surface, as well as midges or caddis. Griffith’s Gnats, CDC Stoneflies, and small tan and black Caddis should be options in your box for this upcoming week. In addition, ant patterns will also start working as they are becoming more active. You can always pair a nymph with a dry fly for a dry dropper rig when surface activity is sporadic. Our anglers have caught some great fish this season, suggesting larger fish were stocked during some of the second stockings. All our rivers will be fishing well, and most were stocked twice. Trout Parks are also a great option to take the kids fishing as they have been stocked more recently.

Naugatuck River

All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and you should look to fish the same offerings we are using on our other local streams: Stoneflies, Caddis, Midges, Blue Winged Olives, and terrestrials. A range of sizes from 16-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Flows are currently reading 331cfs at Beacon Falls, making for some easy wading and good water clarity. Since stockings occurred a month ago, use more imitative flies as trout have become more acclimated to their natural forage. With the increase in water temperature and trout metabolism now is a good time to be throwing streamers during the mornings and evenings.

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Farmington River

The Farmington was most recently stocked in the following areas last week: Lower Collinsville to RT 177, RT 219 to Lower Collinsville, and the West Branch TMA. In these sections, gaudier nymphs and streamers will work until trout become more selective from acclimation and pressure. The West Branch flows are currently 157cfs from flow cuts at the dam, with the Still River adding 92.4cfs. Currently water levels are below average, making for easy wading and good clarity. The West Branch water temperature is slightly above 42F, with warmer temperatures downriver. These are ideal temperatures for trout and bug activity. Trout are spreading out in different water types, so now is the time to target the faster pocket water. During the afternoons look to fish Blue Winged Olives in sizes 16-20, and Hendricksons in 12-14. While water temperatures are ideal for Hendricksons, they will hatch infrequently but in better numbers down river. For morning hatches bring smaller midges in sizes 18-24 and Winter Caddis in the same sizes. Rain showers are expected early next week which will give way to sunnier conditions in the 60s. Warmer temperatures this weekend reaching into the 80s should help increase bug activity. Anglers that are looking to target holdover fish should focus on the more imitative and smaller flies as they are more keyed in on the natural insects. There are also some larger stocked fish being caught suggesting that Survivor Strain Brown Trout were stocked. Fish the main pools methodically as stocked fish will be more concentrated until they spread out. In terms of techniques, look to nymph/streamer fish in the morning before most of the hatches start. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success. For our Trout Spey Anglers, look to fish larger streamers or intruders paired with a faster sinking tip in the morning. Once the afternoon hatches hit, fishing a wet fly swung on a less aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish. The same can be said for those nymphing with single handers: swinging nymphs at the end of your drift can simulate an emerging insect. For fly selection, stocked fish will take a variety of junk flies (Squirmies, Mops, larger nymphs with hotspots). Other considerations should be larger Stoneflies (which can be paired with a smaller offering to help get your rig down) as well as Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Perdigones, Caddis Larvae, Hare’s Ears, and Waltz Worms. Look for Blue Winged Olives to be the most prevalent hatch this time of year. For streamer fishing, trout aggression will increase with warmer water temperatures, so try fishing articulated flies paired with sinking lines. Vary retrieves, starting fast and then slowing down to see what the trout prefer. 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186500

Housatonic River

Flows have dropped to 979cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. This will improve and open more areas for wading. In addition, the Housatonic was stocked this past week along with the Shepaug. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, ect. The main hatches will be Blue Winged Olives, Stoneflies, and Caddis. Bringing a variety of Black Stonefly and Caddis patterns in sizes 12-20, and 16-24 BWOs, this will have you covered for warmer afternoons, which is when you can expect the hatches. With the increase in water temperatures Hendricksons have just started to hatch. For nymphs, having different sizes of Pheasant tails, Prince Nymphs, and Hare’s Ears (#12-18) will imitate Stoneflies and Hendrickson Nymphs well. 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. Other considerations will be 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 18-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, with longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and a drag free drift all critical to 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. Trout are starting to become more active with the increasing water temperatures, so don’t overlook faster water. During high water events, the fish will be pushed closer to the bank, which is a good opportunity to fish larger streamers. There are plenty of fish in the river with a combination of stocked fish and holdover fish from the last stocking during the Fall. Smallmouth and carp are starting to become more active in the larger and slower sections of the river.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


The Housatonic River is continuing to produce holdover Stripers and these fish are getting ready to drop back into Long Island Sound. Recently, striper activity has increased on the lower part of the river. The bass are also starting to become active during the night, so planning around an ideal evening tide could result in some great fishing. The most productive technique this time of year will be fishing different colored Clousers paired with an intermediate sinking line (1.2-2ips sink rate). Bringing brighter and flashier offerings, switching up your retrieve speed and pausing between strips should result in fish once you find the pace the fish prefer. Bringing some unweighted larger patterns, such as Deceivers, is a good choice to imitate larger Herring. For this fishery we prefer 20-30lb fluorocarbon leaders around 7’ in length. Having a shorter leader will help sink your fly when fishing an intermediate line, because it will reduce leader hinge, especially with unweighted flies. This rig will also be easier to cast in windier conditions. Westport will start to see an increase in Striper activity near the beaches, as well as Cove Harbor, and the outflow of Holly Pond. The Norwalk Harbor is also seeing a large number of Juvenile Bunker and Silversides, which is relatively early. Herring have also made an appearance in the 4” range, and there are plenty of Grass Shrimp nearshore. If fishing the coves by boat, bring some small EP Peanut Butters, paired with a sinking line to cut below the large schools on the surface. Striper activity has also increased in the harbors and coves. Targeting shallow areas with darker mud bottoms will prove useful, as these areas will warm up quicker during the morning hours. With a lot of options available via wading or boat, now is the time to get out there! Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

New York

Salmon River

Dropback Steelhead are now spread throughout the river, and there has been an increase in the number of fish brought to hand in the lower sections of the river. We’ve had even more steelhead activity reported this week, however not a lot of action on Smallmouth yet though some are being caught. On average, the water temperature has been in the mid 40s, which is increasing fish activity and improving odds of catching fish swinging intruders and streamers. Try ishing some of the faster water and the head of runs. If swinging flies, consider Brown, Olive, Chartreuse, White, and Black flies. Flows are currently 673cfs at Pineville which is lower than average. If nymphing, egg flies will continue to work with Chartreuse being a popular color this time of year. Other considerations are Pink Squirmies and Black Stonefly patterns paired with a red hotspot. Stoneflies are hatching all over the system in sizes 12-14 on warmer afternoons. Scattered rain is expected for this weekend, with sunnier conditions in the 50s expected for the week. The tributaries will still be fishing well, and some anglers are finding Brown Trout in the mix. The morning hours during first light are generally the most productive, especially if there is a sunny afternoon ahead.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000


Overall, river conditions are slightly below average which will open some sections for easier wading. Water temperatures will start in the mid 40s during the morning and increase into the low 50 during the afternoon on the mainstem. The mainstem at Lordville is reading 5090cfs. The East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is 2360cfs, while the West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 1580cfs. This is a slight drop in water levels compared to last week’s flows. Articulated streamers will still be productive paired with a sinking line. White is the predominant color given the abundance of Alewives in the system. Switch up retrieves (fast to dead drifting) to see what the fish prefer. Warmer temperatures will bring the Early Black Stoneflies in sizes -18 and Small Tan Caddis in 16-18 to the surface, as well as Blue Winged Olives in 18-20. Blue Winged Olives will be the most prevalent hatch during the afternoons and there have been some surprisingly large sizes coming to the surface. Other considerations are Blue Quills 16-18, and more recently Hendricksons in sizes 12-14. With low water temperatures, having a variety of Stonefly Nymphs, Caddis Larva, Zebra Midges, and Mayfly Nymphs in size 14-24 will be most of the menu in the morning. The Willowemoc and Neversink are clear and fishable, while the Beaverkill is still high so use caution wading. Slightly overcast conditions with temperatures in the mid-50s are expected for this upcoming week. Outside of Saturday, the wind should not get above 12mph.

Rhode Island

While things are relatively quiet around the Rhode Island Coast, the most noticeable change is an increase in holdover Striper action and size. More Stripers are also starting to show up around the beaches, but again it is relatively early. The good news is that squid have started to show up, and their numbers will increase as water temperatures continue to warm. Fishing the tidal estuaries and salt ponds will still be the most productive option, and try smaller baitfish imitations (such as Peanut Bunker and Silversides) until most of the Herring run arrives. Pretty soon it will be worth fishing squid patterns with sinking lines near structure and the rips. Using Clousers and flies that imitate Alewives are a good option when heading out there.