April 26, 2024 10 min read

Hello Compleat Angler Friends! The most significant improvement this week is that flows are finally dropping back down to average levels. This will help boost dry fly activity during the afternoons, with the possibility of spinner falls in the evenings. The weather is lining up nicely for a great weekend of fishing: warm weather, slightly overcast, and low winds. While there are still some Stoneflies and Blue Winged Olives hatching, these are giving way to Hendricksons and Blue Quills, while Caddis and Midges remain relevant. Flows are now ideal for all our local options, as well as the Farmington and Delaware Rivers (with the exception still being the Housatonic) so there are plenty of options for this weekend and the week ahead. Steelhead season on the Great Lakes is slowly wrapping up, though anglers are still finding them in the lower portions of the river mixed in with Smallmouth. On the saltwater side, migratory fish are starting to show up along with Bunker schools in New York and Rhode Island, while anglers are awaiting the anticipated Squid Run in Rhody. In our local waters the fishing has been most consistent from Darien to Rye, while our wade anglers are still catching fish at the mouth of the Housatonic. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

We have had significant improvements in flows during this past week, and all options will be average, clear, and wadable for the weekend. For example, the Saugatuck is steadily reading 150 CFS after dropping. In addition, the weather is lining up well for fishing with a high of 60 on Saturday, and 67 on Sunday with minimal winds. Expect a morning shower on Sunday, which may give way to a good Blue Winged Olive hatch. You can expect a fair number of Caddis and Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 14-18. The next prevalent insect will be Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20 (on your overcast days), as well as some midges in a similar size. Depending on where you fish you may start to see some Hendricksons hatching in sizes 12-14, as well as Blue Quills in 14-18. We are also coming up on terrestrial season, so bring a few ant patterns to switch things up.During mornings and overcast days fish will be more willing to chase streamers from Wooly Buggers in 4-10 to larger articulated flies. Anglers are still doing well on streamers and try switching colors to see what is working. The usual Wooly Buggers in Olive, Black, and Brown will often get the job done, however, experimenting with flashy or different colors such as Purple, Chartreuse, Yellow, or a Kreelex fly may get attention. Many anglers are nymphing during the mornings and are having good success before the majority of hatches. Some of our favorite patterns include Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms, and Perdigones in sizes 14-18, as well as Zebra Midges in sizes 18-20. Many of this Spring’s stocked trout are keying in on the river’s natural forage, however some are still being fooled on Mops and Squirmies. Swinging soft hackles can be a good method for fish keying in on emergers, and your standard CDC or Partridge flies in 14-18 will work. For most of our nymphing and dry fly scenarios we prefer 5x-6x, and in areas with tight brush a 7.5ft leader will work well, such astheRio Powerflex in 7.5ft. Areas to consider are the Saugatuck, the Mill River in Fairfield, the Aspetuck River, and the Norwalk River. Plenty of ponds and lakes were also stocked, which is a good opportunity to take the kids fishing. Some areas are seeing a second round of stocking so there are a ton of options no matter where you are in the state.

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck has also dropped to an ideal level for wading, which is reading 684 CFS at Beacon Falls. All sections of the Naugatuck were stocked, and the TMAs have received their second round of stocking already. Fish will be forgiving in terms of fly selection, so larger and brighter nymphs will work, as well as Mops and Squirmies. Now that fish have been in the system for a couple weeks they will start to key in on more naturals as well, and coupled with lower flows, they could be rising this weekend. Look to fish Small Black Stoneflies, Midges, Caddis, and Blue Winged Olives as your main hatches. With respect to other insects, having a range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. Bring similar patterns to the local rivers and streams reported above. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01208500

Farmington River

Flow cuts at the dam currently have the West Branch reading 438 CFS while the Still River is adding 180 CFS. Flows are clear and good for wading, and good weather is in store for this weekend. Water temperatures are currently fluctuating in the low to mid 40s. All these factors should make for some great dry fly activity. You can expect Hendricksons in sizes 12-14, Caddis in sizes 16-20, Blue Quills in sizes 16-18 and Midges in sizes 20-24. During the overcast days Blue Winged Olives will be more prevalent in sizes 16-18, and there are still some Black Stoneflies in 16-18. During average flows, and especially when fishing smaller flies, we recommend a leader 9’ or greater for dry flies in 5x-6x. These fish see quite a few imitations this time of year as more anglers are fishing. The holdovers and wild fish are going to be more difficult but persistence and a more natural selection of flies will help even the odds. Nymphing is going to be the most productive method during the morning before a majority of the hatches start. For nymphing, you will want to bring Stoneflies in sizes 8-12. One technique is to use these larger flies as your point nymph paired with a smaller dropper nymph: Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-20, Caddis Larva 14-18, Perdigones 12-20, Hare’s Ears 14-18, Waltz Worms in 14-18, and Zebra Midges in 18-24. In terms of rigging, look to use 5x-6xFluorocarbon when nymphing. Smaller nymphs in sizes 18-20 will pair well on a dry/dropper rig. For Streamer fishing you’ll want to bring some Wooly Buggers and jig style streamers in sizes 8-10 in a variety of colors: Olive, Black, White, and Brown. Fishing articulated flies on a sinking/sink tip line can be another useful tool to include in your arsenal. Weighted Sculpin patterns are another consideration and can be fished on a floating line. Now is a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to use Scandi heads and polyleaders during these average flows. Try swinging some wet flies onless aggressive sinking tips, as insects will become more active during the afternoon.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

The Housatonic River is starting to shape up slowly but steadily. While the river is still currently high for wading, reading 1520 CFS at Falls Village, once flows drop to 1000 CFS and under conditions will be safe to wade. During this time you can expect some Hendricksons in sizes 12-14, Midges in sizes 18-24, Small Black Stoneflies in sizes 14-18, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Streamer fishing and nymphing will be your most productive technique during the mornings or times of decreased hatch activity. Nymphs to consider bringing include Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Scud patterns, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24, will fool fish under most conditions. Streamer fishing can also be a fun and productive technique. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, etc), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. For our floating line Streamer Anglers, consider drab colored Conehead Woolly Buggers paired with a 9ft 2x leader. Now is also a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to consider throwing larger patterns during the afternoon in combination with swinging soft hackles in the mornings and evenings. Trout Spey is a good way to cover and search water, especially in the wider stretches. During the mornings nymphing still remains the most effective method. For nymphing with an indicator (we’ve had great feedback on theOros Stike Indicators), a 9ft taperedfluorocarbon leader in 5x-6x is recommended. Nymphs to consider bringing include Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24 will fool fish under most conditions.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


Anglers are starting to catch their first Stripers of the season at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Stripers are starting to drop back down with more regularity and have been ranging from schoolie sized into the mid 30” range. This week has been a quantity over quality scenario, as most of the schoolies have been small but plentiful. For this fishery we recommend using a 9 or 10wt rod paired with an intermediate sinking line. For your leader a shorter 7.5ft section of 20-30lb will turn over easily when paired with a Clouser. For colors consider bringing Olive and White on clear sunny days. If the river is stained, bringing brighter colors such as Chartreuse and White will help stand out in dirty water. Larger Herring Patterns are also a consideration this time of year for our boat anglers fishing near the rivers, and while there may still be some Herring around Alewives will also become a consideration. These are best imitated with small and wide profile flies in White/Grey, Deceivers and EP flies in 3-5”. There have been some Stripers filtering in around the coves, harbor and around the mouth of rivers. Fishing further towards the Western portion of the sound has been the most consistent, from Darien to Rye NY. Focusing on rocky structures and points when fishing from a boat is crucial and wait until the flats warm during the afternoons and into the evening to see more Striper activity in these spots.

New York

Salmon River

Flows at the Pineville gauge are currently 628 CFS which are ideal for clarity and comfortable wading. Anglers that have been successful in the lower portion have been working hard for their Steelhead and bringing a couple to hand each day, while Smallmouth are showing up with more regularity. Covering water and moving around to different sections will aid in your success. Where you catch one fish you will find more, as the Spring dropbacks tend to pod up and concentrate. Many different techniques will work, whether you are swinging flies with sinking tips or nymphing. For nymphs consider Stoneflies in sizes 6-12, as well as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, and Squirmy Worms. A variety of egg patterns will be working from Estaz Eggs, Glo Bugs, and Sucker Spawn to 6-8mm beads. Switching files, sizes, and techniques will help you identify what the Steelhead are keying in on during that day. Many anglers are still finding fish at the heads and tails of runs, which are prime traveling lies for fish moving downriver, so don’t overlook sections where flows increase in speed, and sometimes Steelhead will be suspended higher. Anglers are having the most success downriver as opposed to Altmar as the remaining Steelhead are finishing their journey. When Nymphing, having amicro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, as well as aid in quicker rerigging during breakoffs and snags. For our two handed anglers, Skagit and Scandi techniques have been working, and we like Rio’sSkagit Max Power head combined with either amono orcoated running line. Have a variety ofMOW Tips andVersileaders so you can fine tune the depth of your fly based on flows, depth, and current speed, to aid in your success. For tippet, we like usingMaxima Ultragreen in 10lb when swinging flies on Skagit. For Scandi a 12-15ft leader tapered down to 3x is key. Having a variety of colors to rotate between is the name of the game: Brown, Olive, Black, Blue, Purple, and Pink are all good considerations.

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200

The Catskills

Flows have steadily dropped and improved for our wade anglers this week. Currently the Mainstem at Lordville is 3390 CFS, while the West at Hale Eddy is 1060 CFS, and the East 1360 at Fish’s Eddy. Water temperatures are improving and are currently fluctuating in the mid-40s on the main. Both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc are in good shape for wading and clarity. Depending on where you’re fishing you will still find Small Black Stoneflies hatching in sizes 16-18, as well as Blue Winged Olives in sizes 16-20 and some Black and Tan Caddis in 16-18. Most notable is an improvement in Hendricksons in sizes 12-14, as well as Blue Quills and Quill Gordons in 16-18. Most of the activity is in the afternoon, however don’t overlook the Hendrickson spinner fall in the evening. It will help to bring a variety of options, as there are many different bugs hatching throughout the day, and trout will change flies that they are keying in on. Most anglers are fishing streamers and nymphs during the high water and during the morning, and are bringing a few fish to hand, so bring some articulated streamers paired with a sinking line. The focus moving forward, however, should be an improvement in hatches as flows drop to more average levels. Some streamer colors to consider are White, Yellow, Chartreuse, Black, Olive, and Brown. For nymphing, consider Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Perdigones, Waltz Worms, etc.., in sizes #14-#20. During the warmer afternoons you may have luck swinging soft hackles. During the colder mornings stick to your subsurface patterns, until the afternoon when you may see some fish rising in the slower pools.

New York Saltwater

Holdover Striper fishing has seen an improvement while anglers are still waiting for migratory fish to show up in more numbers. The good news is that Bunker schools have arrived along with migratory Stripers. Focusing on the bays and salt ponds is going to be your best bet unless you’re able to find these first pods on Bunker. For the back bays you will want to bring some smaller Clousers in #2 and a variety of colors, small Deceivers, Sand Eel patterns and Grass Shrimp. Fishing poppers early mornings on a floating line can be a blast, such as Bob’s Bangers and Gurglers. Most of the holdovers you will find are in the 20-30” size with a few high 30” in the mix. During the afternoon the flats can be a good option for sight fishing for cruising Stripers. If searching for migratory fish, bring some larger flies to imitate adult Bunker paired with a sinking line to cut below the schools. Look for signs of nervous and faster moving bait as Stripers will be pushing below them.

Rhode Island Saltwater

Again, sticking to the salt ponds and bays is going to be the most productive for holdover Stripers, and don’t overlook the beachfront near these areas as Stripers filter out with the tide. Anglers are also starting to find migratory fish moving in with the increase in bait. While the larger fish are still few and far between, the squid run should help improve things which should be expected in a few weeks. The flats in bays and coves are a good choice to sight fish as they are the first areas to warm during the afternoon.