May 05, 2023 10 min read

Hello Compleat Angler Friends! It’s no secret that this past week's rain has most of our rivers running high. Now is the time to throw larger streamers, and many anglers have still been catching fish. Clarity should improve this weekend and into next week, and most of the flows are dropping. Things have been improving every week for saltwater fishing, and anglers are finding holdover as well as migratory fish now. The most noticeable improvement has been for our boat anglers, who are finding fish around Fairfield, Stamford, and Norwalk. In addition, the Housatonic River continues to fish well. Bring your standard assortment of flies: Clousers, Deceivers, and Peanut Bunker, as well as larger Herring patterns if targeting rivers and estuaries. Before the rain, there has been a ton of bug activity on the Delaware River, namely Hendrickson and Apple Caddis, with Blue and Red Quills in the mix. High flows should prove useful for streamer fishing but look for surface activity to improve as the flows drop to more normal levels. The Steelhead season is starting to wind down, however the Smallmouth action remains strong on the Salmon River. Read on for more…


Local Rivers

It’s no surprise the flows are high this week from all the rain we’ve seen. Flows at the Saugatuck are currently 394cfs, down from 1570 on the 1st of May. Flows are dropping quickly and should reach average by the beginning of next week. However, the water is clearing, and anglers that have been fishing streamers along the banks are catching fish. During these high-water events fish will push closer to the banks where a lot of the slower seams will be, so it pays to fish the edges before wading into the river. Larger and gaudier nymphs/junk flies will also work (Mops, Squirmies, Frenchies, Stoneflies, and Flashback nymphs). In terms of streamers, larger profiles in dark colors, or very flashy flies like a Kreelex, will get a trout’s attention. When flows return to normal look to fish Midges (sizes 16-24), small Tan and Black Caddis (sizes 14-20), and Ant Patterns (sizes 12-16) as surface presentations. In certain rivers Blue Winged Olives and Hendricksons will also be present. In addition, step down nymph sizes to smaller patterns, such as Zebra Midges, Caddis larvae and Pupa, Perdigones, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, and Waltz Worms. Our anglers have caught some great fish this season, suggesting larger fish were stocked during some of the second stockings. In addition, all our rivers will be fishing well, and most were stocked twice with some receiving a recent third stocking. Trout Parks are also a great option to take the kids fishing as they have been stocked more recently. Areas to consider are the Mianus, Saugatuck, Mill, Hammonasset, and Norwalk Rivers.

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck River flows are currently 1260cfs at Beacon Falls, which is still relatively high. Focusing on the same techniques I outlined above will help result in success as the water is clearing. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and look to fish similar 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 a good time to be throwing streamers during the mornings and evenings.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01208500

Farmington River

A lot of sections on the Farmington are now holding fish, so there is a variety in terms of options and water type. Most areas were stocked at least twice. The West Branch flows are currently 1110cfs from dam release, with the Still River adding 382cfs from recent rain. Water levels are high but dropping. Good tactics during high water are nymphing and streamer fishing, and the dry fly action will be slower during these flows. 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 44F, 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. During sunny warmer days, it is best to stay into the afternoon and evening if you’re timing the Hendrickson hatch, since they will be most prevalent during these times. Bringing smaller midges in sizes 18-24, and Winter 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 of streamer fishing during these high-water events. In terms of fishing techniques, look to use nymphs or streamer fish in the morning before most of the hatches start. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success for nymphing. For Trout Spey Anglers, look to fish larger streamers or intruders paired with faster sinking tips in the morning. Once the afternoon hatches hit, fishing a wet fly swung on a less aggressive sinking tip can pull 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 (they 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, start fast and then slow 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 increased to 2610cfs on the Housatonic at Falls Village. While the flows are gradually dropping, the Housatonic is currently too high to wade. The Housatonic was stocked along with the Shepaug, and the Shepaug would be the better option if fishing this weekend. 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. Streamer fishing while flows are high will be a good option for Trout and Smallmouth. 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 TMAs and areas by the park, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. Other considerations will be Midges and Winter Caddis, and I would bring a variety of sizes in the adults and emergers as the trout have been sipping on emerging BWOs frequently. Focusing on your small sizes 18-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, with longer leaders, stepping down to 6x tippet, and getting a drag free drift all critical. With water temperatures on the rise, the 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 streamer 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 Fall. Smallmouth and carp are starting to become more active in the larger and slower sections of the river as well.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


The Housatonic River is continuing to produce holdover Stripers. These fish are getting ready to drop back into Long Island Sound and Striper activity has increased on the lower part of the river. Our anglers indicate that 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 retrieving 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. The Norwalk Harbor is also seeing some striper action up into the river, and fishing near structure will improve your odds. Having a full sinking line would be ideal, but letting an Intermediate line sink before your retrieve will suffice. Herring have also made an appearance in the 4” range, and there are plenty of Grass Shrimp nearshore. If fishing the coves by boat, bring some EP Peanut Butters, Deceivers, Clousers, and Half and Halfs in the 4” range which should be the most effective. Bring a variety of colors in Chartreuse, White, Olive, Blue, and Black 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. They will be chasing Bunker near the surface on occasion. 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 1020cfs, 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 pushed to the slower seams, but 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 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 include bringing 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 is still some fish to be had in the tributaries, and some anglers are finding Brown Trout in the mix. The morning hours during first light are generally the most productive, especially if there is a sunny afternoon ahead. Otherwise, the 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. We will see mainly overcast conditions for this upcoming week with air temperatures in the mid-60s.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000


Overall, river conditions are very high, but the flows are gradually dropping. On the mainstem water temperatures will start in the high 40s during the morning and increase into the low 50’s during the afternoon. The mainstem at Lordville is reading 10,700cfs. The East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is 5340cfs, while the West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 4650cfs. If you’re fishing this weekend, the West Branch will be a better option, and flows will continue to drop. During these high-water events Streamer Fishing from the boat will produce fish. The dry fly season is also upon is, with a lot of hatches occurring during the afternoons and into the evenings. The most prevalent hatches are Hendrickson, Blue Winged Olives, and Apple Caddis. The trout seem to be mostly keyed in on the Hendricksons in sizes 12-14. Other considerations are Blue Quills size 16-18, Red Quills size 14, and Apple Caddis in sizes 16-18. March Browns will start up soon so it’s best to have some in your box. 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. Streamer fishing with sinking lines also continues to be good, and colors to consider are Chartreuse and White. The Willowemoc and Neversink are stained but fishable and clarity should improve into the weekend. The Beaverkill is still too high for wading.

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 the tidal estuaries and salt ponds will still be the most productive, and try using 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. Using Clousers and flies that imitate Alewives are another good option when heading out there. 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.