Northeast Fishing Report: 4/30/21 - The Compleat Angler

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April 29, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The fishing this past week spectacular. It seemed like it did not matter what species anglers targeted, it was great across the board. The Striper fishing is at its peak. We are in the middle of the spring run and it seems like fish are being caught literally everywhere. The trout fishing was impressive as well. The Hendricksons are just getting going and even more stockings are in. Connecticut and New York have provided awesome fly fishing. Pike and Bass are also heating up for those anglers who want to do something a little different. Read on for more!

New York

Freshwater

New York state streams have continued to fish well. The water levels have been a bit low however. We need a shot of rain. The forecast for next week looks promising with some good rain forecasted for almost the entire week. While that will likely blow out most of the rivers, once they come down the fishing should pick right back up. The Hendrickons have been seen in quite a few places and despite the cold-ish and cloudy weather that has somewhat stunted the hatch, once it clears up then it should turn on. This next week will be a great time to throw streamers. Keep an eye on those flows and adjust accordingly.

Catskills

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 1200, the East is low at 495, and the West Branch is low as well with a CFS of 425 as of 4/30. 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 295 CFS and falling. The Willowemoc is at 126 and falling as well. This is a great wadable level but again, the rain forecasted for next week will likely change that. 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

Our local streams have received another round of stockings and the fishing has been awesome! While the surface activity is few and far between, any concerted effort fishing flies sub-surface will yield good results. We are hearing that the fish are not very picky just yet so get creative with your fly selection. Mops and wormies are a good option if you are fishing new or recently stocked water. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, and beadhead caddis (all in size 16 and 18) are also proven options. If you are struggling then, as always, switch to a midge. These fish can’t refuse a well drifted midge. The Mianus and Saugatuck both received fish this past Tuesday so they will be your best options for rivers near the shop. However, there are a few other rivers that received fish recently which should provide some good action. There are also plenty of lesser known rivers that have been very productive lately as well. Long story short, there are plenty of options. If you do see fish rising they will be on smaller bugs. Midges, caddis, and smaller BWOs will be the majority of the insect life hatching right now. If you do decide to fish on top, 7x tippet and flies size 20 or smaller will be the best option. And in more welcome news, the crowds have been dwindling somewhat as other fisheries open up. That means any weekday should find you with plenty of water to fish. Weekends are still a bit tough but getting better. If you do fish on the weekend it is still best to get there as early as you can. The DEEP has been doing a great job of keeping fish in the systems with great stockings this year. We should see the fishing hold until Memorial Day. After that it really tends to tail off so get your fishing in now. The weather is perfect, the flows are great, and there are lots of fish in a lot of different locations. Go get em!

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

There is no real change to the Farmington report compared to last week. The Catch and Release section will be the best stretch to fish moving forward into the Summer but there are some really good sections below that which hold really nice wild fish so don’t be afraid to move around. The Hendricksons are the talk of the shop at the moment. While the hatch has been light in the C&R section, down below that the hatch has been building nicely. Size 12 and 14 Hendys are the sizes you will want and both light and dark options with some red quills will cover flies for this hatch. Klinkhammers and other emerger-type patterns are always a safe bet as the hatch begins. After about an hour, transitioning to duns will keep you in the action. In the late afternoons switching to spinners can often result in the best fishing and largest fish. Having a mixture of patterns and sizes is the key here. Those anglers that tend to do the best have a good selection of flies and switch them at the appropriate moments. There are some BWOs coming off on overcast and warmer days. There have also been some caddis and midges as well. We are just at the start of dry fly season on the Farmy. Serious dry fly anglers eagerly await the Hendricksons every year and it’s happening right now! Water temperatures are approaching 50 degrees as a high, 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, 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, a strategy that worked well last year for 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, 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 has been fishing very well this past week. The CFS has dropped below 1000 CFS making it a great time to get out there and wade. The water temperatures are sufficient enough that the fish will be looking up. The Hendricksons have begun hatching as well signaling the beginning of dry fly season. Size 14 and 16s are what you should be throwing right now and make sure you have a good mix of duns and emergers. While the Hendricksons are not a huge hatch on this river, if you see them, the fish will be on them. Rising water temperatures should have the fish creeping into feeding lanes as well, as they 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. 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 benefit of the Housey is that there is a large area of Catch and Release Only. This larger body of water, and technical wading means this river will fish well into the early summer. The Pike fly fishing has been picking up too. Water temps are looking great and these toothy predators are on the feed. The drop in CFS has made the water far clearer than last week. That will make the fish a bit more shy but makes covering water far more productive as the Pike will be able to see the fly from much further away. It is prime time for Pike right now and any real effort spent trying to catch one should prove successful. 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 fly and Spring is a great time to target them.

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 season is in full swing. It seems like everyone we have talked to is catching a bunch of fish. There have been some nicer ones caught as well. The mouth of the Housey is still one of the hot spots but the crowds have been making it tough. With the number of fish in the area there is no reason to pack into one spot. 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. Many anglers are doing well and if you are struggling, the key is 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 of the difference. Standing in one spot all day without a bite is futile. If you don’t get any action in 30 minutes, it is often best to move.

The 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. Time and tide are critical considerations at this point and fishing the falling tide during lower light hours will be the most advantageous. Depending on what the weather and water does, having bright and natural options for flies is always good practice this time of year. The water can go from cold to warm, turbid to clear, or calm to choppy from day to day so picking the right day and conditions is everything. If you can, be methodical in assessing conditions and picking the right times to go. Fly selection has varied from angler to angler. Some have caught big fish on bigger beast-style flies while others are using the proven Clouser and picking up nice fish as well. Deceivers have come into their own as more and more fish push into the shallows and unweighted flies become a more critical component. There are so many fish around in so many different places that now is the time to “catch 'em how you want to.”

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


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