April 22, 2020 11 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Statewide closures of businesses are still in effect, but just a reminder: we can take orders over the phone (or web) 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 and we will bring it right out to your car. As always we appreciate your business.
Lastly, a quick note about traveling to fish. Hardly a day (hour?) goes by that we aren’t thinking about or impacted by COVID and fishing is certainly a great way to relax and de-stress from all of it. In fact, that’s part of what motivates us to provide these reports for you, to help get out on the water and make the most of your time and those precious days off. That said, if there was ever a time to be conscientious, this is it. As you’re likely aware, many state governments are discouraging interstate travel of any kind and some are even enforcing it with closures and issuing fines. So, please make sure to use the information below responsibly. That means fishing locally and limiting your travel. The fish will still be there when this whole thing passes but risking your life and the lives of others for a few fish just isn’t worth it. If you must travel, do so with the utmost care. Use disposable gloves and hand sanitizer if you stop for gas or food. Always wear your mask in and around public spaces, and keep plenty of distance between you and other anglers. Even if you are not personally at great risk, that does not mean the others around you aren’t and you could be spreading Covid without showing any symptoms. We have many fellow anglers, friends, and family members who are at high risk so please be mindful of others. We’re all in this together.
New York trout streams are fishing very well right now though things are a bit complicated in New York State. The Governor has urged non-locals to refrain from fishing popular areas such as the Catskills and the Salmon River. Apparently, local law enforcement and NYDEC have done likewise, discouraging anglers from accessing popular fishing spots. Now, this is all shop talk but be aware that if you are traveling into the state, fishing may be restricted. We recommend fishing locally to help stop the spread of Covid-19 which will allow all of us to get back to normal sooner rather than later. With that out of the way, New York tailwaters are fishing very well at the moment and large trout are being taken primarily by nymphing. These fish have been getting a ton of pressure so stealthy presentations are key. Many of these streams have been stocked quite heavily but the amount of pressure has resulted in very educated fish. Be sure to fish midges at this point, either as your primary fly or as a trailer. Do not be afraid to move around and find some new water. The well-known spots and holes will get hammered most often. Moving away from the crowds and finding less pressured water can make a huge difference.
The Catskills continue to improve. The Beaverkill and the Willowemoc are fishing quite well. With the recent rain last Monday the flows were quite high but as these rivers do, they go up fast and come down fast. There was some good streamer fishing as the water began to come down last week and nymphing continues to take plenty of fish. Both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc are getting up to 48 degrees during the day and a few fish have been seen rising on Blue Quills or Quill Gordons. The Hendricksons have just begun to show. It is still quite early in the hatch but they have started. The next few weeks will continue to see an increasing hatch provided the weather continues to trend warmer. If you do decide to fish these rivers be sure to have Hendrickson dries, emergers, nymphs and spinners just to be on the safe side. Nymphs will be most productive for the time being.
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 with the occasional fish rising on them. 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 on these bugs. 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 like they are elsewhere across the Northeast. A few bugs are popping on the main stem and lower East and West. But it is not a definitive hatch just yet. But it is certainly close. Reports are mixed as it is still a bit early for this system but there are certainly fish to be caught.
The Striper fishing along the coast of New York is still going strong. We are now in the heart of the Spring Striper run. The larger fish continue to move in as they prepare to spawn. The night time surfcasters are getting into some very big fish and while the fly anglers are not catching as many, we are hearing that some very big fish have been taken on the fly recently. Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic side of Long Island are great places to get on some early season Stripers. Turtle Cove continues to produce 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 sinking 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 then 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 do just fine. Having a few sizes to choose from is helpful though not a dealbreaker.
It seems like Long Island is where most of the fly fishing action is. And for good reason as 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 too. 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, we got a bead on a few Tiger Trout. It seems that the upper Naugatuck has been stocked with Tigers last week and a few guys we talked to have brought a few to hand. The DEEP is still keeping Tiger stockings a “secret” to keep anglers away from each other so if you do venture out to the Naugatuck, please remember to keep your distance from other anglers.
It seems like most of the Tiger stockings are in ponds and lakes. Not great for us fly anglers but there are numerous rivers that have gotten them. So keep an eye out and maybe do some exploring.
No significant changes to last week’s report. The smaller stockie streams should hold out for the next month or so. As fish get harvested and the water temperature increases 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 updates the map on 4pm on Fridays, however sometimes they will do it a bit early so it’s worth checking on 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. There have been a lot of spin anglers out there taking fish so get some fishing in locally while you can. Typically, by the end of May these streams are completely fished out. The link to the stocking map can be found here:
The Farmington continues to build. The heavily stocked areas are providing plenty of action to those who seek them out. This river gets more fish than any other in the state so the action has been quite good recently. These stockies are typically quite accommodating and will take a wide variety of flies. Junk flies are taking fish but as the pressure continues, you definitely want to begin downsizing your flies. The one exception will be Hendrikson and Stonefly nymphs. As the fish become accustomed to their new surroundings, they will act increasingly like wild fish and can, at times, be surprisingly selective. Switch flies frequently and take into account that different times of the day may call for different flies. The Hendricksons have started and even though this past weekend had Hendys coming off, the fishing was a bit slow. As the hatch built throughout the week the fishing became more and more consistent. This weekend should prove to be some good dry fly fishing if the temperatures hold. The hatch has also moved up into the Catch and Release area. Down toward Collinsville will be the strongest hatch due to the warmer water but make no mistake, the hatch is upstream as well. When it’s in full swing it will typically take place around 12pm. It is occurring a bit later at the moment but depending when you go, it is good practice to be where you want to fish around 11am. Before the bugs come off consider fishing a Hendrickson nymph in a size 12, though a variety of patterns will work such as a pheasant tail dark hare’s ear. As the hatch begins it is a good idea to fish emergers or wet flies. Even though the fish may look like they are taking bugs off the top, they will most likely be taking the emerging Hendricksons. Once the hatch is in full swing then switching to Duns will be advantageous. You can tell pretty clearly when they will be hitting the egg-laying females or the spent males. The upright wings are a dead giveaway.
Saturday looks like it will have perfect conditions so get those flies ready and remember to bring dries, emergers, wets, and nymphs so that you have enough flexibility out there. Water temperatures are peaking just shy of 50 degrees with a low of 44. Later in the day is when the fish will be most active so consider concentrating your efforts from 12pm onward. Although the mornings can be productive, especially with the stocked fish, later in the afternoons will be when all fish are most actively feeding. Keep in mind that weekends will be absolutely mobbed with anglers as is the norm with this river. We are hearing crowds are especially bad already so get there early!
Still no positive change on the Housey when it comes to trout fishing as we are still waiting for water levels that are safe. 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. As I urged the last few weeks, never venture out past knee deep there, as the 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 as well as 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. If you have access to a drift boat then flows are pretty good at the moment. Banging the banks with streamers will certainly yield a few fish as will deep nymphing. But have those dry flies ready. It is still a bit early for Smallmouth so not much information on that fishery just yet. The one glimmer of hope is that the Pike should be off the spawn. They will begin to feed much more aggressively as the water warms up. Post spawn Pike are quite aggressive and although you will need to cover water, you could have a great day in the coming weeks if you put the time in
Pogo Pike Report
Everything is starting to look more fishy in the next week. The flows are on the higher side but absolutely fishable, and water temps are going to climb into a prime area in the coming days as air temps starts to stabilize this weekend. Trout are moving and eating, and I’m seeing boats floating and people fishing the shores with success. Pike are finally post spawn and conditions are looking better every day. For daily updates check out my IG: @Pogo_Pike or my website www.pogopike.com. Smallmouth are also heating up as water temps stay above 50 degrees and will be feeding heavy leading up to their spawn in another 2-3 weeks.
The Striped Bass fishing is now in full swing! There is no doubt about it. The Housatonic, Connecticut, and the Thames are still the hot spots. The fishing has been lights out when conditions allow. We have had multiple cold fronts moving through making the wind a challenging factor but when we have had a good weather window, there have been plenty of fish brought to hand. Double digit days are common. Granted, many of these fish are the 25” and under schoolie class, but there are plenty of larger fish around. On the Housatonic there have been big fish busting on herring in the mornings and fly anglers have been taking quite a few nice fish. Both Short Beach and the Bird Sanctuary have been fishing well. It seemed like the Bird Sanctuary fished better earlier but now the numbers of fish are so substantial that it does not matter which side you decide to fish. Clouser Minnows in a size 1/0 have been extremely effective, and to be honest that is really the only fly you need. We recommend a few color options. Something natural and something bright for differences in turbidity but that should be all you need. Deceivers will work as well but more often than not a weighted fly will out fish an unweighted one. Getting down deep enough is the key. An intermediate sinking line with a weighted fly seems to be the sweet spot. Colors we recommend are Olive/White and Chartreuse and White. However, these fish are quite aggressive toward many patterns and colors. The key is really in getting the fly out far enough and deep enough. The falling tide has been the top producer but that does not mean the rising won’t produce as well. Really as long as you have moving water you will be ok. A 20 pound leader is all you need and will be heavy enough should you hook a larger fish. The bigger 30+ inch fish are definitely around. You will need to work through the schoolies but there is a real chance to hook a very nice fish right now. We have had some inquiries as to whether or not it is advantageous to fish a larger fly to target the larger fish and our answer is not necessarily. All of the bigger fish we have taken or seen taken have been on a standard 1/0 Clouser. Fishing a larger fly won’t keep the smaller fish off the fly either, as schoolies are aggressive and will readily strike a big fly. You could go up to something in the 2/0 range if you felt so inclined but we have found that it does not make any difference. If you get a 1/0 Clouser or Deceiver in front of a big Striper, it is going to eat it.