Northeast Fishing Report: 5/27/21 - The Compleat Angler

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May 26, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The fly fishing has been hit or miss depending on what you were targeting. The trout rivers across the Northeast are very low. We are in deseprate need of rain and as such, rivers are warming and the fish are far less active than in the past few weeks. Tailwaters such as the Farmington are still fishing well however and the Housatonic is about as good as it will ever get. Spectacular dry fly action on both of these rivers have kept most anglers very happy. The Stripers have made up for any shortcomings on the freshwater side of things. Bass are all over the place and some very big fish are mixed in. Stripers are hammering Bunker and with the weather we have coming up, the saltwater fly fishing should be lights out.

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Rhode Island is improving daily. As we mentioned last week, there are schoolies moving in all along the coast. The beaches, back bays, and river mouths have been consistent this past week with fish up to 30 inches. Smaller flies and intermediate sinking lines have been taking the majority of fish. Don’t be dissuaded by the size of fish however. The Cinder Worms have begun to show. It is still a bit early, but as they appear, some really large Bass will move into the salt ponds to gorge on these aquatic anomalies. When the Stripers are on the worms, they will not take anything else, and they do often refuse many Cinder Worm patterns. It is best to tie a multitude of sizes and colors, and plenty of them. Matching the hatch perfectly is key and if you are able to do so, the fishing should be lights out. Rhodie is very special in the quality of the Cinder Worm hatch and anglers travel from all over the Northeast just to fish it. If you are thinking about hitting this hatch, be prepared. Have a lot of flies and time your trip for the days around the Full Moon. Also consider throwing a floating line. May and June are when this hatch really happens so now is the time to prepare! 

New York

Freshwater

Many of the New York streams are running low, and the fish are very educated as well. Low water tactics with smaller flies will be the best use of your time with fish that are not rising. Smaller subsurface midges, mayfly patterns, and caddis will be good options. The Hendricksons are done in most places. At this point it may be more of a caddis, midge, BWO hatch for the next few weeks. Smaller flies and 6 or 7x tippet will be a good option. Do not be afraid to cover water and locate less pressured pockets of fish. 

Catskills

The Delaware

The Delaware is very low - too low. There was a bump in CFS after Wednesday night's rain but we could use more. There is some rain predicted for the weekend so hopefully things improve. The Mainstem is running around 1400, the East is low at 570, and the West Branch is also low with a CFS of 550 as of 5/27. These are great flows for wading the upper branches, but not great for fly fishing. The fish will be hunkered down and not nearly as active as they are with higher water. Agian, the rain on the way could change all of that. If you do plan on rolling the dice, there are a bunch of bugs to have in the fly box. Midges, stones, BWOs, Sulphurs, and assorted caddis are coming off. The March Browns are the larger Mayflies at the moment, but the Drakes should not be far behind. The Hendys are done. The March Browns have begun on the lower sections of the Mainstem and should be working their way up. The lower water has stifled the streamer bite. While working deeper sections of river may yield some strikes, it is 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.

Catskill Brown Trout

Beaverkill/Willowemoc

The Willow and Beaverkill are extremely low. The Beaverkill is around 237 CFS and falling. The Willowemoc very low is at 71 and falling. This is just too low. The fish will be inactive until we get a good bump of CFS. I would recommend fishing elsewhere for the next few days at least. When the water comes back, remember the Hendricksons are done, but the March Browns are beginning to show. There are multiple caddis hatching as well as Sulphurs. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc will be warmer than the Delaware, which means that the fish will be the most inactive at midday. Your bite windows will be in the mornings and afternoons.  

Saltwater

No change to last week’s report. Little Neck, Jamaica Bay, and all the way up Long Island have seen some awesome fishing. There are a mixture of smaller Bass, larger Bass, and Gator Bluefish up for grabs. The large Blues have moved into the back bays of Long Island and are aggressively feeding before the spawn. They are seeking out the warmest water and on a high and falling tide, if you locate these fish the action should be stellar. These are awesome fish to target on fly and while it may take some searching, if you do run across these fish, you have no problem hooking up as long as you strip the fly as fast as you can. A proven tactic is to search with a hookless popper and tease the fish in close to get a shot with the fly. Make sure you are using 10wts as these fish can tip the scales at 15 pounds or more. Not only that, but large and flashy flies are key, making a 10 the minimum weight rod for these situations. The Stripers have been literally all over the place. Water temperatures are perfect for shore based fly fishing. While the larger fish seem to holding in 40 feet or deeper, some are being found in the shallows in the early morning and late evening hours. There are plenty of schoolies around as well to keep the rods bent, but always be prepared for a cow Striper to suck down your fly this time of year. You never know what you are going to hook! There are substantial numbers of larger fish infiltrating into New York and they will continue to do so for the next month. So, keep those larger flies in your box and with any concerted effort, you should be able to get into some larger class fish.

Connecticut

Local Streams

Low and warming water does not bode well for our smaller local streams. While the Norwalk was the only stream near us that has been stocked recently, it has still been tough fishing. Hatches, BWOs, caddis, and midges are making up the majority of the bug life. Most of the action has come sub-surface with tiny flies. Beadhead midges have been the most productive. While some larger caddis or mayfly patterns may take the occasional fish, keep your flies on the smaller side for the best odds of success. Remember to fish these flies on 6 or 7x. The state is done stocking, so it will be a better use of your time to fish elsewhere. As such, we will be removing this section from our report until the Fall.

Farmington River

The Farmington has been fishing well. That is in part because water levels have stayed nice and stable. The dam is putting out just over 300 CFS with an additional bump from the Still river. That is just about perfect. While the crowds have been no joke and this Memorial Day weekend will be anarchy out here, the fishing should be awesome. Make sure to get there early if you plan on fishing the Farmy this weekend. There are lots of tan, green, and sedge caddis coming off. Expect to see midges in the mornings and fish rising on them in the softer sections or eddies. BWOs are always a factor as well, especially on cloudier days. You may also see a March Brown or two pop down lower. 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 these spots will mean a very early morning and then having to hold it. That being 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. Especially as crowds swell to peak in late May, June, and July, this tactic can make or break your day. We certainly heard that last year from the Farmy Vets. The water temperatures are great right now and the larger fish are beginning to spread out. 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

The Housey has been fishing exceptionally well. The water is falling and with a little precipitation predicted for the next few days, we should have great wadable levels coming up. A few March Browns have been showing up - it is still a bit early, but the hatches have been substantial. Cahills, Isos, BWOs, and assorted caddis are all coming off in great numbers. It is a dry fly anglers paradise out there right now and with the water levels we have, there is no time like the present. A wide variety of nymphs will take fish on this river as well, if the hatches are a bit stifled for whatever reason. Mayfly, stonefly, midge, and caddis imitations will all have their moments. A pheasant-tail type pattern imitating a March Brown is a good starting point, as is a beadhead caddis. If you are fishing faster and heavier water, a big ole stonefly nymph is tough to beat. If you do see fish rising, they will likely be on caddis. Size 18 tan or olive caddis are good options, until the mayflies show up again. The Pike are still holding their own and taking well-presented flies to those willing to heave heavy rods all day. Covering water has been the key to success, as has matching the appropriate fly to the conditions. The Smallmouth have really come into their own. They are hammering poppers in the mornings and afternoons. Right now is the best time to target these fish on surface flies, which is an absolute blast. Midday tends to find the Smallies the least active. However, fishing weighted streamers with sink tips should keep those rods bent. The Housey is fishing exceptionally well and is our top pick for this week.

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

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

No change to the saltwater side of things. Greenwich, Milford, Branford, Byram, Stratford, and Niantic are all reporting lots of fish, including some large fish. Some spots are hotter than others, but there is no one best area. The fishing has been awesome all along the coast. Some anglers are doing well while others are struggling. The key is to check multiple spots on a good tide. Moving around, changing flies, and doing your best to locate fish will make all the difference. 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 hold fish.

The well-known mouth of the Housatonic has cooled down quite a bit as most of the fish have proliferated outward. Shorelines with good structure and currents are places to target in the weeks to come. Time and tide are critical considerations at this point as well. Fishing the falling tide during lower light hours is the most advantageous. The Stripers have definitely begun their transition into low light feeding behavior, so bright, sunny, mid-day fishing will be tough. Fishing early in the morning or at dusk is the most productive. 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. Picking the right day and conditions is everything. Fly selection has varied from angler to angler. Some have caught really big fish using larger 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.” Early in the mornings, poppers are beginning to take fish. The water temps are just right and with the fish being as active and aggressive as they are, now is a great time of the year to get some surface eats. There are also some really big fish on Bunker schools and if you want to do the bait-n’-switch thing with hookless poppers, now is a perfect time to start doing so.

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


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