May 27, 2022 9 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and while the weather forecast looks a bit marginal, the fly fishing is anything but. Wide-open saltwater action from New York to The Cape has all the salty fly rodders out there excited and doing very well. From shore the options are endless. Back bays, river mouths, beaches, and open water are all fishing very well. Whether wading or fly fishing from a boat, anglers are reporting lots of fish around and plenty of opportunities to hook up. The Striper bite has really developed on Long Island which seems to be the epicenter of the action right now. Mid-long island is seeing some large migratory fish being taken by fly anglers who know how to target these fish effectively. The Gator Blues have shown up as well. These fish are both in deep water as well on the flats/back bays of Long Island. A very cool fishery, these fish will smoke poppers and flashy flies in shallow water. Northeastern freshwater fly fishing is also probably at its peak right now and the next month will see the best fly fishing all year. From the Catskills to small streams in Connecticut, hatching bugs are providing some awesome dry fly action. Flows and water temps are great so provided it is not too windy this weekend, the fly fishing should be lights-out. A little reminder: crowds will be substantial over the next few days so if you plan on fly fishing this weekend get there extra early. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Read on for more!
Rhode Island has come into its own. There are plenty of fish around. The salt ponds, rock piles, and back bays have been fishing consistently with fish in that 20-30 inch range. The falling tide has been the top producer (no surprise there) however as long as the water is moving, there is a good chance of finding fish. Around Watch Hill, the bite has been more consistent than say Point Judith. However, the fish are pushing East so don’t expect that to be the case for long. Deceivers and Clousers will get the job done on any given day. You don’t need to get crazy with your fly selection. The fish are hungry after a long Winter/migration so anything reasonable should get bit. We are seeing the lower light hours becoming more critical. The fish are starting to become tougher to locate during mid-day and high sun. For that reason, falling tides in the morning or afternoon are best. Unless it is overcast then go whenever the tides are good. There have been some very large migratory fish moving into the area as well, so it is always a good idea to have a 10wt with larger flies ready to go.
The state has completed its last fish stockings for the season. 30 rivers and streams have received the last of the stocking this past week providing plenty of options for late season fly anglers. These fresher fish are very willing to hit a wide variety of flies. Mops, worms, PTs, Hares Ears, streamers, soft hackles, and other assorted larger nymphs will work great for these fish. The water is getting a bit warm in the smaller rivers so mornings and afternoons should be the top producers. For you dry fly anglers, it has been a small caddis, midge, and BWO game lately. These are smaller bugs that can be challenging to fish but if you have a good drift and the right size, you should be able to get some fish to take a dry. The forecast for this weekend is not great but with Memorial Day on Monday, I would expect to see record crowds at many of the popular spots so get there nice and early. Being first to the spots will make a big difference in the quality of fishing. The crowds have been substantial and while most fly anglers tend to play nice and give you space, most of the good water will be occupied by 9am. Please be respectful of other anglers. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. We have been seeing a lot of anglers being disrespectful and crowding anglers who are already fishing in a spot. There are plenty of fish around and plenty of water to fish. If someone is fishing a hole, just move on and find other open water. If there are no holes open, get there earlier next time or wait until one opens up. Poaching tends to be rampant this weekend so please report any suspicious activity to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Farmington is at its peak right now. This month will be the best fishing the river has to offer. With lots of freshly stocked fish as well as active wild fish, there will be some great fishing in the weeks ahead. The past few weeks you have had to pick your days but when the conditions have been good, the fishing has been awesome. This is the time of year when the fishing tends to get really hot. The trout are moving into feeding lies and a wide variety of techniques will take fish. The flow out of the dam is around 157cfs. The Still is coming in at 77ish. That is a little on the low side so hopefully we get some water soon. It looks like we could get precipitation this weekend so fingers crossed. Water temps are fluctuating depending on the air temperatures but this weekend should be just shy of 55 degrees during the afternoon. The farther away from the dam you get, the warmer the water will be so starting down low in the morning and moving up in the afternoons can be very effective. Nymphs will most likely be the best option. No surprise there. Larger patterns such as junk flies and attractor patterns should produce as these fish will be actively searching for food. That is doubly true for the stockies that will try anything once. The Hendrickson’s are done but there should be some Vitreus flying around. The majority of the hatches will be smaller bugs. Caddis, Midges and certainly BWOs should be flying around this weekend. You can expect fish to be rising in the mornings provided the water doesn’t blow out or this wind isn’t ripping. So bring those dries just in case. Make no mistake, the fly fishing can be nothing short of spectacular this time of year. The fish are active, hungry, and there is no shortage of options as far as technique goes. This Memorial Day weekend you will want to get to the water extra early. There will most likely be record crowds fishing this weekend so if you have a favorite spot in mind I would recommend trying to get there at or before sun-up. It is time to start playing those games to try and beat other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic is looking good! The flows are great at 600 and falling. That, coupled with great water temperatures and recent stockings mean that it is game on. We know how fickle this river can be. It goes up quickly and tends to stay up for a long time so if you want to fish this river, do not wait. This weekend is your window. The fly fishing only section on the TMA is where you should focus the majority of your attention. It is loaded with a lot of very nice sized fish. The recently stocked fish will take a wide variety of flies as well. All of the junk-style nymphs will certainly work as well as more natural patterns. With the cloudy conditions this weekend you can expect to see BWOs hatching and fish rising on them. There will be a ton of caddis as well. There could also be some Vitreus. Definitely bring the dry fly box. As long as it is not too windy, the bugs should come off. That said, nymphs will most likely be the way to go for most of the day. The Smallie fishing down low has been great as well. The fish are starting to look up and willing to take poppers in the mornings and afternoons. While that will certainly take a few fish, streamers fished on sink tips will be far more productive for the entirety of the day. The Pike have begun to spread out making fishing tough. If you cover enough water odds are good of a sub-25 inch fish taking your fly but larger fish have been tough to come by.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Striper bite is still wide open all across Connecticut. Fly anglers are getting into plenty of fish in a wide variety of locations. The river mouths are slowing down and the fish are spreading out and keying in on any structure associated with warmer water. These areas also tend to have the larger fish as well so keep that in mind. We have seen an influx of those larger 35” plus size fish moving in this past week. The big migrators are pushing through and while they can be tough to pin down, they are certainly here. There is plenty of bait around as well so a multitude of flies should work. However, a Clouser Minnow or Deceiver is tough to beat right now. The fish are feeding very aggressively so don’t get too caught up on fly selection. As long as it’s close it will get bit. The falling tide has been the most productive (no surprise there) but the rising will still produce as well, especially from a boat. The one major change is that the fish are becoming much more light-sensitive. Mid-day is seeing very little action while the low light hours are producing well. So, get up early or stay out late. It makes a big difference. Tidal fluctuations are also becoming far more important. The strongest tides of the month are when you should really be focusing your attention for shots at larger fish. However, as long as the water is moving, you will have feeding Stripers (provided you are in the right area). Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a high probability of success. There have also been some very large Bluefish around as well. It can take some effort to find these fish but if you do, they will smoke almost any reasonable fly. These fish are big so be sure to use the 10wt. Pick your weather windows and the fly fishing should be lights out. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills are starting to fish very well. The East, West and upper Mainstem of the Delaware are starting to see March Browns and this weekend should have these bugs coming off. It is all weather dependent but a few warm days should kick that hatch off. Grey Foxes, Yellow Sallies, and Sulphurs are all present as well (depending on where you are fishing.) There have been some Apples flying around and the fish have been taking the emergers. Other assorted caddis and BWOs will round out your hatches. As such, you will want to bring a bit of everything and be prepared to switch flies often. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill are a bit warmer and fishing very well. There are similar hatches for these rivers and while the flows are low across the board, that will open things up for wading this weekend. The Catskills are a great option right now on the right day. This weekend it could be a bit of a zoo up there but there will certainly be some awesome fly fishing opportunities.
The Stripers have been moving East after the spawn and Long Island is becoming a hotspot. All the way up to Montauk, there are large migrating Stripers that can be targeted from shore or by boat. Both the North and South side have been seeing some spectacular fishing on the right day. Some East wind recently had shut the fishing down but we should see things pick right back up for the weekend. The forecast does not look great in terms of wind, however if you do go out, there should be plenty of fish to greet you. Smithtown Bay and Fire Island seem to be the epicenter of the larger fish action with the bulk of the fish in this general area. However, the whole New York coastal area will be producing for the next few weeks so now is the time to get after it. Jamaica Bay has been another hot spot. Bait is piled up in there and Stripers are back in there gorging on anything they can find. Especially on a falling tide, as the water rushes out the fish have been stacked up and feeding heavily. It will only get better in the next few weeks as the fish continue their push East. The Gator Blues have shown up as well. They can be found out in 50 feet of water or back in the bays on the flats of Long Island. They will readily take a large and flashy fly making them a great option this time of year. Teasing them up with poppers has been deadly. No shortage of options right now. Big Stripers around and Gator Blues to keep it interesting. Go get ‘em!