May 12, 2023 11 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! While freshwater fishing remains consistent with improved flows for wading, the saltwater fishing scene has been the hot talk. Larger migratory fish are being brought to hand, and there has been more consistent action for wade and boat anglers. The beaches off of Southport, around the Norwalk Islands, and the Westport beaches are all holding fish now. While the primary forage is adult Silversides, fish have been spotted chasing Bunker and Herring around the bays and open water. The Connecticut River also has improved holdover Striper action, and the mouth of the Housatonic is still consistent with schoolies and the occasional fish over 30”. We have great weather in store this week whether you are heading to the salt or the river! Read on for more…


Local Rivers

Clarity and average flows have returned to our local rivers since last week’s rain. All our local options have been consistent so far this season, and anglers are catching some quality fish. Since flows have subsided, you should consider adjusting your fly choice and size. Switching back to more imitative and smaller nymphs in sizes 14-24 will cover most of the natural forage for our trout. This certainly doesn’t mean streamers and larger/more attractive nymphs won’t work, though it is usually best to try these patterns in the morning. For hatches, some of the main bugs you will encounter are Paraleps, Blue Winged Olives, Hendricksons, and Sulphurs for Mayflies in sizes 12-18. In the mix there will be Black/Tan Caddis (sizes 14-20), Stoneflies (sizes 12-18), as well as midges (sizes 18-24). Another consideration is Ant Patterns, which are more viable now with the warmer weather. In addition, step down nymph sizes to smaller patterns (14-28) such as Zebra Midges, Caddis larvae and Pupa, Perdigones, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, and Waltz Worms. For your rig, sticking to your 5x and 6x leaders will cover most dry fly/nymphing scenarios. Fish are going to be in a variety of water types, therefore don’t overlook the faster, more oxygenated water. Flows are 109cfs at the Saugatuck, suggesting we are back to our normal flows, techniques, fly size, and holding water. Areas to consider are the Mianus, Saugatuck, Mill, and Norwalk Rivers. All local options have been stocked at this time. Trout Parks and ponds are also a great option to take the kids fishing as they have been stocked more recently.

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck flows have also dropped to a comfortable 554cfs for wading. Focusing on the same techniques I outlined for our local rivers should result in success as the water is clearing. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and look to fish the same offerings we are using on our local streams when flows subside: 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. Since stockings occurred a month ago, use more imitative flies as the trout have become more acclimated to their natural forage. With the increase in water temperature now is also a good time to throw streamers during the mornings and evenings.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01208500

Farmington River

Many sections on the Farmington are now holding fish, so there are a variety of options and water types. Most areas were stocked at least twice. The West Branch flows are currently 315cfs from flow cuts at the dam, with the Still River adding 135cfs from recent rain. Water clarity is good. Target the larger and slower pools for dry fly action, and if the weather is cooler the majority of the bug activity will be pushed into the afternoon and evenings. The West Branch water temperature is slightly above 45F, 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. Hendricksons are starting to hatch further upriver as water temperatures increase, and having flies imitating different stages of the hatch is recommended. During the sunny warmer days, it is best to stay into the afternoon and evening if you’re timing the Hendrickson hatch, as they will be most prevalent during these times. The weather this week should bode well for hatches too, with the forecast calling for warm air temperatures and plenty of sun. Bringing smaller midges in sizes 18-24, and Winter/Summer Caddis in the same sizes should also be considered for morning hatches. Terrestrials are another option to have in your box this time of year. Anglers that are looking to target larger holdover fish will have increased odds by fishing smaller nymphs during these flows. In terms of technique, look to nymphs/streamer fish in the morning before most of the hatches start. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success while nymphing. For 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 find 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 and a short leader. 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 gradually dropped to 1120cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. The Housatonic was stocked as well as the Shepaug. The TMA by Bull’s Bridge will be fishing well on the Housatonic under normal flows. Bring a variety of small nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, as well as junk flies (Mops and Squirmies). The larger junk flies will perform well during high water and on stocked fish. Golden Stoneflies will start hatching soon so it is a good idea to bring nymphs in sizes 6-12. The main hatches will be Blue Winged Olives, Hendrickon, and Caddis. Bringing a variety of Hendrickson and Caddis patterns in sizes 12-20, and 16-24 BWOs will have you covered for the warmer afternoons, which is when you can expect the hatches. With the increase in water temperatures Hendricksons have just started to hatch in the afternoons and evenings. 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/Summer Caddis, I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers, as trout have been sipping on emerging BWOs frequently. Focusing on your small sizes 18-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, so utilize longer leaders, step down to 6x tippet, and make sure you get a drag-free drift. With water temperatures on the rise, fish are starting to spread out in the river and feed in different water types. Focusing on nymphing and streamer fishing during the mornings before any hatches is a good strategy and look for rising fish in the afternoon and into the evening. For streamers 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 the faster water. During high water events, the fish will be pushed closer to the bank, which is a good opportunity to fish larger streamers paired with a sinking line. 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 and lake systems as well.

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. Lately the Striper activity has increased on the lower part of the river, and tide movement is crucial. Fish the outgoing tide, and if you have the time also fish the tide switch to incoming too, which will produce more fish. Our anglers indicate that the fish are spread all over the river, above the I-95 bridge down to the mouth. Stripers 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 with 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. A lot of schoolies are being brought to hand, with some fish 30” and over in the mix. Westport will start to see an increase in Striper activity near the beaches, as well as Cove Harbor, and the outflow of Holly Pond. There are a lot of adult Silversides around the Norwalk Islands, and larger fish are being caught around rock structure. Herring have also made an appearance in the 4” range, so bring some larger 4-6” flies in case you find pods of Stripers chasing them. If fishing the coves by boat, bring some EP Peanut Butters, Deceivers, Clousers, and Half and Halfs in the 4” range which will be the most effective. Also bring a variety of colors in Chartreuse, White, Olive, Blue, and Black/Purple for the evenings. Targeting shallow areas with darker mud bottoms will prove useful, as these areas will warm up quicker during the morning hours. For boat anglers the beaches and coves around Southport are fishing well, as well as structure near some of the buoys, which suggests migratory fish are holding nearshore. Larger 40” and over Stripers are being marked and caught using big flies, and this is a game of quality over quantity. For the most part they are in deeper water toward the middle of the sound and they will be chasing Bunker near the surface on occasion. Those that are putting in the time and effort are being rewarded. 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

Flows at the Pineville gauge are currently 512cfs, and flow cuts have opened the lower river to fishing again. Anglers are still catching dropback Steelhead with some large Smallmouth in the mix. During this time Steelhead will be in a variety of water types, so don’t overlook the traveling lanes and the faster heads of some runs. These areas will hold fish traveling down river, especially with the increase in water temperature. On average, the water temperature has been in the high 40s, which is increasing fish activity and improving the odds of catching fish swinging intruders and streamers. Steelhead will be suspended further off the bottom (compared to winter) with warmer water temperatures. If swinging flies, consider Brown, Olive, Chartreuse, White, and Black flies. An ideal setup for swinging flies will be to bring a variety of sink tips or fishing a sinking line. Flows are currently 673cfs at Pineville which is lower than average. If nymphing, egg flies will continue to work with Chartreuse and Cheese being popular colors this time of year. Other considerations are Pink Squirmies and Black Stonefly patterns paired with a red hotspot. Stoneflies in sizes 12-14 are hatching all over the system on warmer afternoons. There are still some fish to be had in the tributaries, and some anglers are finding Brown Trout in the mix too. The morning hours during first light are generally the most productive, especially if there is a sunny afternoon ahead. Otherwise, overcast days have the most Steelhead activity reported throughout the day. These next upcoming weeks will be the last of the Steelhead season as dropback numbers start to taper off, however the Smallmouth fishing will remain strong. This weekend air temperatures will be in the 50s-60s with sunny conditions.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000


Overall, river conditions have dropped with flows still above average. Water temperatures will start in the low 50s during the morning and increase into the high 50s during the afternoon on the mainstem. The mainstem at Lordville is reading 3780cfs. The East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is 1600cfs, while the West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 1800cfs. The dam is still spilling and fishing from a driftboat would be the best option. The dry fly season is upon is, with a lot of fantastic hatches occurring during the afternoons and into the evenings. The most prevalent hatches are Hendrickson, Blue Quills, Red Quills, Paraleps, and Caddis. March Browns are making an appearance and are now a part of the normal hatches, and spent Caddis are a good choice. The trout seem to be mostly keyed in on the Hendricksons in sizes 12-14 during the late afternoons. Other considerations are Blue Quills size 16-18, Red Quills size 14, and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 16-18. When dry fly fishing, presenting the fly downstream, so the trout will see your fly first as opposed to the leader, will improve your odds. Adding a reach cast in can also be an effective way to get a better and longer drift, coupled with a longer 10-14” 5x leader. During the morning hours, nymphing has been the most productive with Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, etc. Streamer fishing with sinking lines also continues to be good, and colors to consider are Chartreuse and White. The Willowemoc, Beaverkill, and Neversink flows are at a good level for wading.


Striper season is underway, and many anglers are catching their first fish of the season. Bluefish have also made an appearance in large numbers along the South Shore. Anglers are starting to catch fish on topwater, and the most prevalent bait nearshore is Bunker and Silversides. When fishing by boat, focus on structure around the bays and look for birds/baitfish as Stripers will be blitzing. Bringing some poppers, like a Bob’s Banger will result in some Blue and Striper action during dusk and dawn.

Rhode Island

More migratory Stripers are starting to show up around the beaches, and anglers are reporting more activity, especially around Cape Cod. The good news is that squid have started to show up, and their numbers will increase as water temperatures continue to warm. Fishing topwater at dusk and dawn has resulted in nice fish up to 30lbs. Fishing the tidal estuaries and salt ponds will still be productive, and focus on 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. Bringing EP Peanut Butters, Clousers, Deceivers, and Flatwings will have a variety of baitfish species covered. Fishing the Herring run will produce some larger fish slot size and greater. The overall trend is that there is more larger Striper activity and plenty of schoolies to catch along the beachfronts.