Northeast Fishing Report: 5/14/21 - The Compleat Angler

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May 14, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The action continues this week and conditions have been quite good. After last week's rain some rivers are still a bit on the high side but have fished well as they settle down a bit, with strong hatches and a variety of bugs to go along with the Hendricksons. We're also seeing some March Browns make their way into the picture too. In the salt, the fish have continued to disperse a bit along the coast and but the action has also been excellent with anglers reporting good fish in terms of numbers and size both. It's a great time of year to be out there there on the water! Read on for details!

New York

Freshwater

New York rivers continue to fish well despite some high flows. Wade fishing may be a bit dicey at the moment given high water but anglers who are out there or floating are still doing well. The Hendricksons are starting to wane but there are other bugs popping up including a few March Browns, as well as a mix of BWO’s, caddis, etc. The nights have been cooler which may continue to hold off the hatches a bit but as soon as things warm up a bit it should be game on for dry fly anglers. As it stands there is still plenty of action subsurface in addition to the odd rising fish. Keep an eye on those flows and tailor your approach to conditions for the best results.

Catskills

The Delaware

We fished the Delaware earlier this week and the action was great, with lots of surface action. The flows are a bit high still, but we saw Hendrickson, Spinners, Paraleps, Apple Caddis Pupae, and a few March Browns which should strengthen as the season rolls on. The Mainstem is running around 6,350, the East is high at 2,130, and the West Branch is high as well with a CFS of 2,700 as of 5/13. As mentioned, These are great for floating, but wading is going to be tricky in most places, so plan accordingly. As the conditions settle and temps rise we should see a proliferation of bugs, so fingers crossed that the weather and flows cooperate over the next week. As always, keep an eye on those gauges, as that is half the battle with the Delaware.

Beaverkill/Willowemoc

The Willow and Beaverkill are generally fishing well. The Beaverkill is around 829 CFS and the Willowemoc is at 249. The Hendricksons have been hatching well 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. But again, keep an eye on the gauges.

Connecticut

Local Streams

Not much change to our local stream report from last week. They are still hanging in there. 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 becoming more educated by the day, which is to be expected. However, you can still get creative with your fly selection. Mops and wormies are good options 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, try switching to a midge, as these fish can’t refuse a well-drifted midge. 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 your best options. As we wrote last week, the crowds are continuing to dwindle somewhat as other fisheries open up, which always provides some welcome relief. Any weekday should provide 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. 

Remember if you do see any poaching or spin fishing in Fly Fishing Only areas; 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 Farmy has settled down nicely after the slug of rain last week, with good water levels and clarity. The Hendricksons are still going strong but will start to wind down soon. The Catch and Release section will be the best stretch to fish moving forward into the Summer, but there are some really good sections down below that hold some nice wild fish, so don’t be afraid to move around. As to those Hendricksons size 12 and 14 are what you will want along with both light and dark options with some red quills as cover flies. Klinkhammers and other emerger-type patterns are always a safe bet as the hatch begins. After about an hour, transitioning to duns will keep the rod bent. In the late afternoon switching to spinners can often result in the best fishing and larger fish, so keep an eye out for suitable spinner conditions. In terms of strategy, having a mixture of fly patterns and sizes is the key, as always. Those fly 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, as well as some caddis and midges. The Hendricksons are starting to wane a bit, so hopefully you were able to get in on the action during the heart of this hatch. Keep in mind, as the water warms, the fish will also 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. As we keep saying, with the crowds now, it may be best to get there super early to get a prime spot. Church, Chair Factory, Halfords, Greenwoods, Pipeline, and the Boneyard are all putting up some really nice fish. These bigger and wild Browns are what you go up there for, but getting those will mean a very early morning and then having to hold it. 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: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

Reports are still a bit thin from the Housy, but it’s starting to clear nicely after getting entirely blown out last week. As it settles we should start to see some good insect action and an assortment of mayflies, caddis, and midges. If you spot Hendricksons, reach for them in size 14 and 16s and 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 typically be on them. Rising water temperatures should have the fish creeping into feeding lanes as well. They will move from slower, 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. While stockie bashing is fun, there are plenty of places to fish and 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 setup. The benefit of the Housy is that there is a large area of Catch and Release Only. This larger body of water and technical wading means that the 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. While high and turbid water will prove a challenge for Pike, once it clears back up the fishing should improve quite a bit. It is prime time for Pike right now and any real effort spent trying to catch one should prove successful, provided conditions improve. 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 at 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: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357. 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The striper report this week is essentially the same as last week, and that is welcome news. There is still plenty of action along the shoreline and that has been keeping everybody busy. Anglers have continued to do well in terms of numbers and size. As expected, the fish have continued to spread out a bit so while that means a bit more searching to find them, it’s nice not to have to crowd into the hot spots. Greenwich, Branford, Connecticut River, Thames River, Byram, and Stratford are all reporting lots of fish with some larger fish mixed in. The fishing has been awesome all along the coast. 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. Time and tide are also critical considerations at this point. Fishing the falling tide during lower light hours is the most advantageous. The Stripers have definitely begun their transition into low light feeding behavior. On bright sunny days fishing midday will be tough. Early in the morning or dusk would be the most productive. Depending on what the weather and water do, having bright and natural options for flies is always good practice for this time of year. The water can go from cold to warm, turbid to clear, or calm to choppy from day to day. Picking the right day, time, and conditions is everything. Fly selection has varied from angler to angler. Some have caught big fish on bigger beast-style flies while others using the proven Clouser have been 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 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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