May 31, 2024 10 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! This week the good news is that fishing has been holding up on all fronts, whether you’re in freshwater or saltwater. The shot of rain last week bumped flows just enough to help keep trout happy, and while local rivers and streams are below average, water temperatures are in good shape and so are the hatches. Cooler air temperatures have also helped the Delaware maintain fishable temperatures in many areas. Hatches have been steady, with Tan Caddis and Sulphurs stealing the show, followed by Blue Winged Olives and March Browns. Trout are coming up for dry flies, and the stocked fish are keying in more on the natural forage. In the saltwater the Striper bite continues to be strong, and an influx of Sand Eels and Bunker are improving the fishing on our side of the sound. We’re starting to see more Bluefish filtering into our area, as well as more migratory Stripers. The recent full moon has fueled some Cinder worm hatches in Rhode Island and New York, and the hatches continue to be strong with Stripers gorging on them in the evenings. This is a great time to get out and fish, as our options are plentiful. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

Flows are on the drop and back down below average on our local rivers and streams after this past week’s rain. Conditions are clear and easy for wading, and we recommend using a stealthy approach when wading during low conditions. For instance, the Saugatuck is reading 77.1 CFS. Fishing continues to be good thanks to the last of the spring stockings, and anglers are catching fish on a variety of flies and presentations. For dry fly fishing one can expect a fair amount of Tan Caddis in sizes 16-18, Blue Winged Olives (especially on overcast days) in sizes 18-20, Midges in sizes 20-14, and Ant Patterns. Sulphurs and Light Cahills are hatching with more frequency in sizes 12-18. Stocked fish are now rising on naturals, so it will help to fish a more natural variety of forage (as opposed to Mops and Squirmies). If you’re fishing near low hanging trees, trout will be keying in on green inch worms. For low and clear water we recommend using 9’ leaders in 6x. Having a drag free drift is especially important now that fish have seen a fair number of flies. Nymphing will be most productive in the morning, and it will help having a variety of different bead sizes (in brass and tungsten) or split shot, as it will help using lighter weight in the slower pools. Some of our favorite patterns include Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms, and Perdigones in sizes 14-18, as well as Zebra Midges in sizes 18-20. Streamer fishing is holding up very well, and many anglers are finding fish using Wooly Buggers and other small streamers. The hot colors are currently White, Chartreuse, Black, Olive, and Grey. Streamer fishing can prove a little trickier in lower flows, so stick to smaller sizes. During the afternoons and into the evenings fishing emergers and swinging soft hackles can be an effective technique. Areas to consider are the Saugatuck, the Mill River in Fairfield, the Aspetuck River, and the Norwalk River. Plenty of ponds and lakes were also stocked, which is a good opportunity to take the kids fishing. There are plenty of options and fish thanks to our state's stocking program

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck River is also lower than average which makes conditions clear and easier for wading. Flows are currently 413 CFS at Beacon Falls. As a result dry fly fishing has improved with the main hatches being Tan Caddis in sizes 16-18, Blue Winged Olives (especially on overcast days) in sizes 18-20, Midges in sizes 20-14, and Ant Patterns. Sulphurs and Light Cahills are hatching with more frequency in sizes 16-18. For nymphing the usual suspects will work well, Caddis Larvae, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Waltz Worms and Perdigones in sizes 16-18. Also consider bringing Zebra Midges in sizes 18-24, Mop Flies, and Squirmies. All sections of the Naugatuck were stocked, and the TMAs have received their second round of stocking already. Now that the fish have been in the system for a couple weeks they are keying in on more naturals as well, and coupled with lower flows, they will be rising with more frequency. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01208500

Farmington River

Flows have been on the drop since this past week’s rain and are currently holding at 251 CFS on the West Branch in Riverton. The Still River is currently 109 CFS and steadily dropping. Flows are ideal for wading and water clarity is good with water temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s in Riverton, and slightly warmer downriver. Water temperatures and conditions are great for hatch activity, and there has been an improvement in dry fly fishing. The main hatch now is Tan and Olive Caddis in sizes 14-18, along with Blue Winged Olives in 18-20, and Midges in 20-24. March Browns have been hatching in sizes 10-12, and Sulphurs have started in the lower river in sizes 14-16. It will also be worth bringing Ants, Beetles, and Hoppers. There has been some good dry fly action towards the afternoon and evenings. During reduced and normal flows we recommend using 9’ or greater leaders in 5x-6x. Swinging wet flies, such as a Caddis Pupae, can be effective since Caddis are currently the most active, and this can be an effective afternoon searching technique. The holdovers and wild fish are going to be more difficult but persistence and a more natural selection of flies will help even the odds. That said anglers are finding some quality fish and are having good success. Nymphing is going to be the most productive method during the morning before most of the hatches start. For nymphing, you will want to bring Pheasant Tails and Prince Nymphs in sizes 12-20, Caddis Larva 14-18, Perdigones 12-20, Hare’s Ears 14-18, Waltz Worms in 14-18, and Zebra Midges in 18-24. The most recently stocked fish will more readily take Mop flies and Squirmy Worms. In terms of rigging, look to use 5x-6xFluorocarbon when nymphing. Smaller nymphs in sizes 18-20 will pair well on a dry/dropper rig. For Streamer fishing you’ll want to bring some Woolly Buggers and jig style streamers in sizes 8-10 in a variety of colors: Olive, Black, White, and Brown. Fishing articulated flies on a sinking/sink tip line can be another useful tool to include in your arsenal. Weighted Sculpin patterns are another consideration and can be fished on a floating line. Now is a good time for Trout Spey anglers to use Scandi heads and polyleaders during these average flows. Try swinging some wet flies onless aggressive sinking tips, as insects will become more active during the afternoon.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

The Housatonic is back down to fishable levels at 818 CFS in Falls Village. The shot of rain this past week is helping ward off warm water temperatures. Current conditions will bode very well for dry fly fishing, and March Browns, Light Cahills, and Sulphurs are hatching with more frequency in sizes 12-18. You will also want to bring your Caddis in sizes 14-18 and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-20. Consider bringing different stages of these patterns from emergers to spinners. During cloudy and overcast days, you can expect more Blue Winged Olives, while Caddis will be prevalent during the sunnier afternoons. Nymphing and Streamer fishing are still the most effective methods, especially during the mornings. For nymphing, consider bringing Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Caddis Larvae, Scud patterns, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Perdigones, and Yellow/Golden Stoneflies in sizes 12-18. For smaller nymphs, Zebra Midges in 18-24 will fool fish under most conditions. Streamer fishing can also be a fun and productive technique. If you are fishing articulated neutrally buoyant streamers (Mini Dungeons, Drunk and Disorderly, Circus Peanuts, etc), you will want to pair these with asinking line and a short 5’ leader tapered from20lb to 10lb. For our floating line streamer anglers, consider drab colored Conehead Woolly Buggers paired with a 9ft 2x leader. Smallmouth are more active as they get ready to spawn, so now is a good time to target them. Now is also a good time for our Trout Spey anglers to consider throwing larger patterns during the afternoon in combination with swinging soft hackles in the mornings and evenings. Trout Spey is a good way to cover and search water, especially in the wider stretches. During the mornings nymphing still remains the most effective method. For nymphing with an indicator (we’ve had great feedback on theOros Stike Indicators), a 9ft taperedfluorocarbon leader in 5x-6x is recommended.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


Striper action continues to increase with a few Bluefish showing up. The most prevalent bait is currently Silversides, Sand Eels, and the recent arrival of larger Bunker pods, and fish can be found on top when you find the birds and bait. Another larger class of fish has arrived thanks to the last full moon cycle, and more migratory fish are showing up along our side of the sound. This will improve fishing from Greenwich to Old Saybrook. This is more common in 5-20ft of water, so focusing on areas around the Norwalk Islands, the beaches off Westport, and the coves and mouths of rivers from Milford to Stamford. Most of the fish being landed by our fly anglers are small schoolie sized to mid 30” fish. More recently we’re seeing Sand Eels off some of the beaches around Westport, and Penfield is fishing well. For our saltwater fishery we recommend using a 9 or 10wt rod paired with an intermediate sinking line. For your leader a shorter 7.5ft section of 20-30lb will turn over easily when paired with a Clouser or other larger wind resistant flies. For colors consider bringing Olive and White on clear sunny days. If the water is stained, bringing brighter colors such as Chartreuse and White will help stand out in dirty water. For our boat anglers bringing larger Bunker to juvenile Silverside Patterns and Sand Eels will be key as there is a variety of bait and sizes out there. Some of the salt ponds, such as Holly Pond and Old Mill, are seeing more action recently with Silversides being the predominant forage. Focusing on rocky structures and points when fishing from a boat is crucial and you may want to wait until the flats warm during the afternoons and into the evening to see more Striper activity in these spots. The deeper water ledges are receiving more fish, and sometimes they may be on top crashing bait. If there’s no surface activity, marking fish with sonar and using full sinking lines will also work. For this fishing we recommend a 4-6” Deceiver in Olive/White. Please be safe out there and respectful of other boaters!

New York

The Catskills

Water levels are dropping but are currently higher than average on the Mainstem of the Delaware which is reading 2300 CFS at Lordville. The good news is that water temperatures are cooling on the mainstem and are now fluctuating in the low 60s, any increase will add additional stress to trout. The East Branch is back near average after dropping to 1140 CFS at Fish’s Eddy, and the West Branch at Hale Eddy has dropped below average to 529 CFS and water temperatures are in the low 50s. Currently all sections are fishable on the Delaware, however, keep an eye on stream temperatures as flows lower and air temperatures increase again. Weather will be partly cloudy, reaching into the mid-70s during the afternoon. Hatches have been good, and you may encounter Tan Caddis in sizes 16-18, along with some March Browns in sizes 10-12, Sulphurs in sizes 16-18, and Grey Fox in size 12 throughout the day. During the overcast days Blue Winged Olives are more prolific in sizes 16-10. You can expect to encounter Sulphurs in the evening, so it is worth staying until dark. Isonychia are starting to hatch in some areas in sizes 8-12. Streamer fishing will be tricky during these flows, but swinging soft hackles and emergers, as well as nymphing will be effective. For nymphs we recommend bringing Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larvae, Perdigones, Waltz Worms, etc., all in sizes #12-#20. If trout are on Caddis, try fishing some emergers just below the surface film if they’re refusing the adult. We have good weather in store for the weekend, with temperatures reaching into the high 70s with minimal wind. Anglers have been finding some good size Brown Trout around 20” and there are more Rainbow Trout being brought to hand. Both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc and in good shape for wading are giving up some impressive fish as well.

New York Saltwater

Eaton’s Neck and other areas along the North Shore have been fishing well with Migratory and resident Stripers chasing Silversides and some Bunker that are starting to push in. Sand Eels are also starting to show up in the harbors. Along the South Shore beaches and into Montauk Stripers have been in the surf and holding in deeper water structure, when they’re blitzing on top they’re either on Mackerel or Adult Bunker. Squid patterns are also working into the rips. The salt ponds, coves, and flats are also fishing well so there’s plenty of options and fish in different scenarios. For the back bays you will want to bring some smaller Clousers in #2 and a variety of colors, small Deceivers, Sand Eel patterns and Grass Shrimp. More recently Cinder Worms have been prevalent. Fishing poppers early mornings on a floating line can be a blast, such as Bob’s Bangers and Gurglers. Most of the holdovers you will find are in the 20-30” size with a few high 30” in the mix. If searching for migratory fish, bring some larger flies to imitate adult Bunker paired with a sinking line to cut below the schools. Look for signs of nervous and faster moving bait as Stripers will be pushing below them. Bluefish are starting to show up in the mix. Depending on your tide, night fishing has been great. Jamaica Bay is still seeing a lot of Striper action with the predominant forage being adult Bunker. Smithtown has also seen an increase in action with Stripers chasing both Bunker and Mackerel. There are tons of great options at the moment!

Rhode Island Saltwater

Squid are starting to show with more consistency in the rips around Point Judith, so it’s time to bring some squid patterns and sinking lines. More migratory fish are filtering in chasing Adult Bunker, especially around the bays. Narragansett Bay, Providence, and Newport have improved with topwater action. Both night and daytime fishing along the beachfronts is improving, and anglers are catching fish more consistently. While far and few, some Bluefish are being caught. Both the flats and bays around Cape Cod are seeing an improvement as well, and our anglers are catching some fish in the mid 30”. Both Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay are areas to focus on moving forward. Watch Hill is also seeing more migratory fish with the largest being up to 40”. The salt ponds are seeing some great Cinder Worm hatches with Stripers gorging on them.