Northeast Fishing Report: 5/7/21 - The Compleat Angler

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May 07, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The Stripers have been the focus of most fly anglers lately. The arrival of larger fish in the 30 to 40 inch range (or better!) has resulted in some spectacular fly fishing all along the Northeastern Coast. There are still plenty of schoolies to keep those rods bent. As the fish spread out, so do the anglers, making for a much more enjoyable experience as competition for a few spots diminishes. The trout game has been a tough one this past week. Wind, rain, and substantial increases in CFS have kept most anglers off the water. Many of our better rivers are blown out and until that changes, Stripers will prove the most fruitful quarry.  

New York

Freshwater

The only change to the New York streams has been high water levels. Despite this, the New York state streams have continued to fish well for those who have adjusted accordingly. Once the levels come down the fishing should pick right back up. The Hendricksons have been seen in quite a few places. The cold-ish and cloudy weather has somewhat stunted the hatch, but once it clears up the hatch will be back on. The next few days will be a great time to throw streamers. Keep an eye on those flows and tailor your approach to conditions for the best results. 

Catskills

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 6,700, the East is high at 3,700, and the West Branch is high as well with a CFS of 3,380 as of 5/6. These are great for floating, but wading is out of the question. We are hearing good things in terms of dry fly action. Midges, stones, BWOs, Paraleps, and some apple caddis are popping. The BWOs seem to have been the hot fly recently. The Hendricksons have also begun hatching. While it is a bit early, the hatch will build over the next few weeks and lead to awesome dry fly fishing. With the weather we have on the way, the fishing should really pick up in the next week or so. 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, as that is half the battle with the Delaware.

Beaverkill/Willowemoc

The Willow and Beaverkill have come up a lot. The Beaverkill is around 2,010 CFS and rising. The Willowemoc is at 728 and on the way up. That is too high to wade. I would recommend fishing elsewhere for the next few days at least, until the water comes back down. The Hendricksons have been making appearances on warmer days 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. It is ripping right now. If you must go out, streamers will be your best bet. Just be very careful. With the levels right now, it will be treacherous wading. 

Connecticut

Local Streams

The local streams are 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. 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. The Mianus and Saugatuck both received fish this past Tuesday, so they will be your best options for rivers near the shop. However, there are a few other rivers that received fish recently and that should provide good action too. There are also plenty of lesser known rivers that have been very productive lately as well. 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. In more welcome news, crowds have been dwindling somewhat as other fisheries open up. That means any weekday should find you with 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. The weather is perfect, the flows are great, and there are lots of fish in a lot of different locations. Go get em!

 

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

All of Connecticut got whacked with rain and water levels are up across the board including the Farmy. It is still pretty high, so streamers will be the name of the game. It is not ideal for nymphing or fishing dry flies. 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. The Hendricksons are well into the C&R section, but the weather and bump in CFS has stunted the hatch quite a bit. We need the water to come down a bit and clear up before we see another good push. When that does happen, size 12 and 14 Hendys are the sizes you will want. Both light and dark options with some red quills will cover flies for this hatch. 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. Having a mixture of fly patterns and sizes is the key here. 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. There have also been some caddis and midges as well. We are just at the start of dry fly season on the Farmy. Serious dry fly anglers eagerly await the Hendricksons every year and it's happening right now! Water temperatures are approaching 50 degrees as a high, which is a great temp. Keep in mind, as the water warms, these fish will 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 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. 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

The Housy is blown out. Not much to report. The first Hendricksons were reported last week, but have faded out since the bump in CFS. When the water comes down and clears up, size 14 and 16s are what you should be throwing right now. 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 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 Stripers have been keeping everybody busy, and the action has been stellar. While last week’s weather made it a bit tough, those who have timed their fishing well have been getting double digits on a regular basis. That, coupled with some really nice fish over 32” being caught in the last few days, means that we are in for some of the best fishing of the year. Since last week the fish have been spreading out quite a bit and there is no real hotspot anymore. That is a welcome change as the Housatonic has been seeing 30 or 40 anglers per tide on the Bird side. With the amount of fish in the area there is no reason to pack into one spot. 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. Some anglers are doing well and others are struggling. The key is to be checking multiple spots and doing so on a good tide. 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.”


Long Island Striped Bass

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


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