Northeast Fishing Report: 4/23/21 - The Compleat Angler

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April 23, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The fishing has been great over the past week. The Striper bite has taken center stage and anglers are capitalizing. All long the coast reports have been phenomenal with plenty of fish being caught and released. Some bigger fish are in the mix as well for the savvy fly anglers who know where and when to target them. The trout fishing has been great as well with the arrival of the Hendricksons. This is the first good mayfly hatch of the year and it is beginning on numerous streams in the region. As a bonus, pike are taking flies on a regular basis and smallies are very active at the moment too. It is all happening right now. It's time to get out there!

New York

Freshwater

New York state is fishing extremely well. The State has stocked multiple rivers and the fly fishing has been lights out. While we are hearing that a lot of spin anglers are out and killing fish (unfortunately) if you are willing to move around or go on a weekday, the fishing can be exceptional. We recommend fishing as soon as you can, in order 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 should take a wide variety of flies. Smaller streamers are a safe bet as these fish will more than likely be fairly uneducated. Another option is indicator nymphing with mops, wormies, stoneflies -- really anything reasonable will work.

Catskills

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 1700, the East is low at 815, and the West Branch is low as well with a CFS of 522 (as of 4/23). 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. The Hendricksons have also begun and while it is a bit early, the hatch will build over the next few weeks and should lead to awesome dry fly fishing. With the weather we have on the way, the fishing should really pick up in the next week or so. The lower water has stifled the streamer bite. While working deeper sections of river may yield some strikes, best to stick with dries until we get a good bump of water. As always, keep an eye on those gauges. That is half the battle with the Delaware. 

Beaverkill/Willowemoc

The Willow and Beaverkill have come down quite a bit. The Beaverkill is around 400 CFS and falling. The Willowemoc is at 126 and falling as well. This is a great wadable level but again, the rain forecasted for Sunday could change that immediately. The Hendricksons have been making appearances on warmer days and the fish have been on them. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc will be warmer than the Delaware making them a great option earlier in the season.

Connecticut

Local Streams

There have been some recent stockings that should keep our smaller, local streams fishing well for the next few weeks. While many of the streams throughout the state are being fished out, if you know where to look, fly fishing can still be very good. The seasoned vets who are doing well are moving around quite a bit. They have been fishing in areas that are not as popular and getting there early. As always, smaller flies fished sub-surface are the name of the game. If you come across some freshly stocked fish then a wide variety of flies will work, however most fish will be on the educated side. So be sure to keep some midges in your fly box. The Stoneflies are pretty much done. We are hearing that some are still popping on any given day but smaller midge dries, caddis, and BWO’s will be a much better option if you are looking for surface eats.

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

The Farmington received another stocking in the catch and release area. That, coupled with the perfect weather we have coming up, means the fishing should be darn good. 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 as well that hold really nice wild 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 and with the appearance of the Hendricksons, it is the perfect time to fish the Farmy. There are some BWOs coming off on the overcast and warmer days as well. Water temperatures are approaching 50 degrees highs, which is a great temp. Keep in mind that 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, it may be best to get there super early to get a prime spot. That said, 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 advice last year from the Farmy Vets. While it is a bit early for those nicer fish to have spread out, in a month or so consider deploying this tactic, especially as crowds swell to peak in May, June, and July. 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

Well, when the Housatonic is not blown out it has been fishing very well. Last week’s rain jacked the water up to around 2500 cfs making it impossible for wading. As of 4/23 the CFS is 1500. The DEEP has just stocked it as well which means fishing should be awesome when the water comes down. The water temperatures are sufficient enough that the fish will 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 Hendricksons have begun hatching up there signaling the beginning of dry fly season. Size 14 and 16s are what you should be throwing right now and have a good mix of duns and emergers. The rising water temperatures should have the fish creeping into feeding lanes too, as they move out from slower and deeper holding water to actively feed. While the fastest riffles will be devoid of fish, moderately paced water should be holding 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 fish and 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. This larger body of water and some technical wading means this river will fish 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. The surge in CFS made the water far more turbid than in previous weeks which shut the fish down a bit but if you knew where to look, the fishing was still good. We are also hearing that the Smallies have turned on in a big way. While this is not a very popular target species by most fly anglers 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, expect these fish to become much more active in the weeks to come 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

Striper fly fishing is in full swing and the bite is on! Many fly anglers have been having banner days out there when the weather cooperates. The mouth of the Housatonic has been the most popular and the fishing has been great, albeit a bit inconsistent with the cold fronts that keep rolling through. The crowds are not helping either. The word is out and there are lots of anglers out there. We highly recommend getting out there early if you can. With the cold fronts we have had moving in recently, the fishing has been on and off. On warmer days, the bite is great and when it gets cold and rainy the bite has been shutting down. So keep that in mind as you plan your Striper outings.

Connecticut Striped Bass

All along the coast the action has been great. Like I mentioned last week, we are hearing of fish all over the place. Greenwich, Branford, Connecticut River, Thames River, Byram, and Stratford are all reporting lots of fish with some larger ones mixed in. There are spots that are hotter than others but there is no one best area. The fishing has been awesome all along the coast. Amidst the action, some anglers are doing well and others are struggling, and the major difference has been a willingness to check multiple spots. Doing that on a good tide is critical. Moving around, changing flies, and doing your best to locate fish will make all 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. The shorelines, beaches, rock piles, and inshore structure will all be holding fish. The fish will be looking for the warmest water so keep that in mind. As I mentioned it is still 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 advantageous.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.


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