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June 14, 2019 14 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers, welcome to this week's report! The good news is that not much has changed since last week and conditions are still very good for fresh and saltwater anglers alike. Schoolies have been plentiful from New York all the way up through southern Maine, and rivers are in that great sweet spot with reasonable flows, attractive water temps, and pleasant weather. We know we sound like a broken record, but it's true - now is the time to get out there and make the most of it. Here's the roundup from South to North...
The Catskills are fishing well! Recent rain has made the Beaverkill and Willowemoc a bit on the turbid side though it is still wadable and fishable. Anglers on both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc have been doing quite well. The conditions are ideal right now with good flow, decent clarity that should improve over the next few days, and great hatches. The March Browns are in full swing - big bugs are coming off and the fish are on them! We are seeing hatches from 2pm on and a great spinner fall around dusk. These are big flies and they are a blast to fish. We recommend a size 10 or 12 for the March Browns. An emerger has been very effective as the hatch begins. Duns will work as well but a spinner fly during the fall has been by far the most productive. A lot of anglers have been leaving the water early and missing the best part of the hatch - we highly recommend staying until dark as that is when you will see the most rising fish. Trout also seem to become a bit less selective during the failing light and fishing can be spectacular if you are willing to stay out a bit longer. You will also see Sulphurs and Vitreus coming off, as well as caddis and BWOs. Make sure you have a few of each of these flies just in case. You never know what the fish will key on day-to-day. It can change in the blink of an eye.
The Delaware system has been fishing very well too and the Green Drakes are the talk of the town. This is not the most prolific hatch at the moment but these flies are huge! The fish have been taking Drake spinners right at last light. For those anglers who want to catch a fish on a Green Drake, now is the time! It will end any day now so do not be surprised if you get up there and they are nowhere to be found. That is how that hatch goes. You will have a better shot at this hatch on the Mainstem, Lower East and Lower West. We are seeing Isonychia starting to come off as well. They are still in the early stages, and the hatch is intermittent at best, but it is on the way so it would be wise to begin tying Isos. The predominant hatch right now are March Browns and Sulphurs. These hatches are going strong and are your best bet at the moment. The fish are up and on these flies and they will take emergers, duns, and spinners readily. The Spinner fall in the evening has been incredible and it seems like every fish is up and gorging on the March Brown Spinners. If you are up on the Delaware do not leave until dark - right before dark will be the best fishing! The Sulphurs have been very consistent as well. It seems that fish will take a March Brown before a Sulphur but if you present a Sulphur well over a fish, they will rarely refuse it. Depending on where you are on the Delaware you could also see assorted caddis, Grey Foxes, Blue Sedge Caddis, and Yellow Sallies. Now is a good time of the year for terrestrials as well. An ant or beetle might just do the trick. The Delaware is a very technical river and you need to be prepared for anything. Having a few of all of these flies is not a bad idea. It is better to be overprepared than underprepared, especially on this river.
New York saltwater fishing is in full swing and all along Long Island has been fishing phenomenally well. Blues and Bass are around in good numbers and the action has been pretty much constant. The entirety of Long Island has plenty of stripers. Most of the fish being caught by fly anglers are schoolie sized. Huge schools of Sandeels are being found right offshore and the birds have made them easy to find. The fish are up and crashing bait making for some exciting fishing. If you get on a good pile of bait with fish on them, you can catch as many as you want. The Sandeels are about 3 inches long so as long as you have something close to that length, you will have no problem hooking fish. There have been smaller blues on the Sandeels as well. They are a lot of fun but be prepared to throw on some wire. If you get bit off, throw on some wire immediately or move if you are not interested in catching blues. Larger Blues are being caught off Long Island as well. They have typically been in deeper water on schools of Bunker. We recommend a 10 weight if you run into bigger blues. These fish fight like crazy and an 8wt is just too light for these fish. Bigger bass up to 30 and 40 pounds are here as well. These fish can be notoriously hard to find but now is when you have a real shot at it. Looks for Bunker schools as well as structure. If you can find Bunker on structure that is ideal. Throw big flies with a full sink line. You could be rewarded with a Cow.
Well, unfortunately, the local stockie streams are winding down and reports are slim to none this past week. The water has warmed up to the point that the fish will be quite lethargic. There are only a few fish being caught and they seem to be spread out quite a bit. These local streams have been hit very hard and it is time to start thinking about fishing elsewhere. It is not all doom-and-gloom though. If you do plan on fishing locally, you can certainly catch a few fish if you have the right approach. Whether that be the Mianus, Saugatuck, or Norwalk make sure you cover a lot of water. Finding a fish or two is the name of the game here. There will not be holes of 20 or 30 fish that you can hammer. There will be a 1 or 2 in the deeper holes and eddies but the fish will be spread out quite a bit. A smaller streamer is actually a good option this time of year and a S10 Woolly is about as good as anything. Black, brown, olive, and white are good color choices. A small streamer is a good “searching pattern.” You can cover a lot of water quickly and pick apart the stream much more effectively using streamers as opposed to nymphs or dries. That being said, this is a good time of the year to fish dries too if and when there are fish rising. If you do find rising fish we recommend one of four flies: A S18 BWO, a S16 ant, S14 beetle, or a S18 tan caddis. You could also try a Griffith’s Gnat in a size 18 or 20. These are all great choices but remember, you need a good section of 7x tippet with these flies. You can get away with 6x for a beetle but we highly recommend 7x for everything else. If all of that fails to yield a fish or two then it’s time to get down and dirty with nymphs. Size 20 zebra midge is all you need, or some variation of it. Something small and not too flashy will certainly get bit if presented correctly. We recommend using spit shot to get down and the smallest indicator you can get away with. The bites will be subtle. A big ole’ airlock will spook the fish and you may not even detect a strike. This time of year, it is all about subtlety and finesse in regards to both your presentation and fly selection. Your flies will dictate your terminal tackle and that means light stuff with these small flies. If you get all of this right you have a good shot at doing reasonably well fishing our stockie streams late into the season.
The Farmington is this week’s hot spot. Everyone we have talked to is catching tons of fish on the Farmy. Reports are that anglers are catching of plenty of stockies and a few wild fish as well. It doesn’t seem to matter what you are fishing with or where you are fishing, as long as you switch your flies up you will catch them. The tight line guys are hammering the fish with double digit days being the norm. There are also some really nice being caught as well. The occasional 20+ plus inch fish are being taken and is why we all go up there. Nymphing in the morning and switching to dries has been the most productive method. The hatches are good right now so it is definitely worth having both rigs ready to go. As far as hatches are concerned, we are seeing a few different bugs at the moment. March Browns are the main hatch. These Mayflies are big and a blast to fish. They were up in the Catch and Release Only section this past weekend and expect them to hang around for the next week or so. Fish were definitely on them. They were taking emergers and duns but the spinner fall right at dusk was awesome. If you can stay until dark this is the best time to fish dries. There are also Vitreus and Suphurs hatching as well. Expect to see tons of caddis too. Although not the best hatch to fish right now, the caddis hatch is a good indicator of what nymphs and emergers to fish. There are tons of caddis in this river and during the down periods in between hatches a beadhead caddis nymph is about as good as anything. Torrey Collins from UpCountry has a killer pattern up on YouTube that should be in every angler’s box up there. He may also have some for sale in the shop so stop in and see if there are any left! It’s a great pattern that produces big fish. Perdigones are working well for the tight line anglers and swung wets are also taking a bunch of fish. Right now is a great time to be up on the river. The water temps are perfect, flows are perfect, and the fish are eagerly taking all manner of flies. And anytime you fish the Farmington there is the potential to hook a really nice fish over 20 inches. We highly recommend fishing the Farmington sooner rather than later. In our opinion, it is the best month to fish up there.
The Housatonic is down and fishable! The water has come down substantially and the river is accessible in all of the usual spots. If anything, it is actually a bit low. The fish are concentrated in the deeper holes and trout fishing has been great recently! Dry fly fishing has been awesome. Light Cahills, March Brown, Vitreus, and Sulphurs have all been coming off. The trout are up and feeding and will readily take a well-presented dry. Late afternoon until dark has been the sweet spot for dries. The Spinner fall of March Browns seems to be when the fish are most active. A size 10 or 12 spinner has been deadly recently but do not discount fishing an emerger as the hatch begins. Early in the morning and throughout the day has been primarily a nymph fishery. March Browns or Sulphur nymphs have been taking a lot of fish recently. Wets have been very effective as well. Its seems like it doesn’t really matter what you throw as long as it matches the hatch or is something the fish have not seen before. The fish are grabby right now and it is a great time to get up there. The Smallmouth and Pike fishing is still going strong. The Bass have been taking poppers a bit more readily but a sub-surface streamer is still your best bet. The Pike are being Pike. You will need to cover water to get on them but if you find them, they will more than likely eat. As it warms up the Pike will get more lethargic along with the Smallies and trout. If you are considering getting up there, now is the time. Don’t wait until it is too warm.
Here is the latest from our friend Pogo Pike:
This week water temps are ranging from 65 to 69 degrees depending on the day and water depth of the lakes and rivers. Pike are still strong and happy, spread out and still eating consistently! Can you say SMALLMOUTH? They are done spawning and everywhere! Rivers have come down and clarity is great. The rain this week has been missing us for the most part, keeping the rivers in excellent condition with a bit of fresh water to keep this fish happy. The trout bite has been amazing as well!
The fishing is spectacular right now, and there are lots of fish and big ones mixed in. Some really nice bass are lurking around at the moment! The big post-spawn fish are in Long Island Sound and definitely targetable all along the Connecticut coast. They are being found on bunker schools as well as structure. To find these bigger fish you need to move around quite a bit and probe a lot of different areas. They are moving North (East through the Sound) as the water warms and one day they will be there, the next day they are gone. The anglers who are getting on them have been spot-checking bait schools, birds, and structure. The schoolies are everywhere. They are up and feeding on school of Silversides. You can certainly blind cast structure and beaches with a high probability of success. However, the birds are up and working now, making it nice and easy to locate schools of fish. Mornings and late afternoons have been the hot times for blitzes depending on the tides. You will more than likely find schoolies under birds but every now and then you will find bigger fish as well. It’s good to see some Bluefish around, particularly since last year was pretty tough as far as Blues were concerned. There were significantly fewer fish around and hopefully this strong initial showing is a good indicator of things to come. Both gators and Harbor Blues are being caught. They are spread a bit thin but they are definitely here. We are not seeing any Blues being caught from shore but if you have access to a boat you can certainly find them if you run and gun. The larger Bluefish have been found out in the middle for the most part so if you are looking for Gators begin your search in deep water. Long story short: the fishing is great right now and it is certainly worth getting out there.
Water levels in Western Mass continue to settle into excellent fishable levels and we're hearing reports of quality fishing on many popular rivers including the Swift, Westfield, Millers, and, of course, the Deerfield.
Eric Gass, of GS Outfitting, continues to do well on the Deerfield with a combination of streamers and dries (March Browns, Tan Caddis, and Sulphurs have all been decent options lately). As usual streamers and nymphs continue to produce as well and the fish have been hungry and active. Flows are settling in nicely and it's about the most pleasant time of year to be out there on the water. If you're looking to mix it up, the shad fishing on the Connecticut continues to be strong as well - worth a look if you've got a boat and are in the area.
Reports are still decent from Cape Cod, with word of plenty of schoolie action, though there does seem to be fewer big fish around for this time of the year. It could be a later arrival than usual or perhaps it's simply a feature of this years run of fish. Anglers who have been hoping to target the big boys haven't had as many opportunities. That said, far be it from us to turn up our noses at plentiful schoolies, so there is still plenty of fun to be had. As of this writing, we're hearing of plenty of action from anglers seeing fish on the lower cape going after mackerel, and additional action on the south and bay sides as well. We've heard reports of a few big fish showing up in Buzzards Bay too, hopefully a sign of things to come.
From Nantucket, our friend Corey Gammill of Bill Fisher Outfitters has the latest:
We always look forward to the middle of June, specifically June 15th as this is the date when stripers typically start coming into their full glory. Well goodness me, these fish have outperformed so far this year and are here and are active. The island is now officially surrounded with fish being caught off the south shore and east side as well as the harbor and the north shore. If you take a boat around the island you will find piles of birds every couple of miles and under those birds are sand eels and squid and stripers and some blues chasing them around.
As for where to go: If you are in a boat, just drive around the island. The western edges have fish, miacomet rip has fish, old man has fish, sankaty has fish and great point has fish. Great point is not as consistent as the southern edges, but there are fish there. And likely, on your way anywhere, you will see piles of birds on bait…Fish these as well. If you are fishing in an edge, you are going to want to fish something with a higher profile, a Squid fly pattern, 9-10 inch Hogy or Albie Snax or Sluggo. Try and leave the treble hooks at home as the single hooks work and are way better for the fish. If you are fishing birds, go for a low profile lure such as a small hogy paddletail or a deadly dick, something that mimics the sand eels.
On Martha's Vineyard, Abbie Schuster, of Kismet Outfitters, reports the following:
The island has been very windy the past few days, but the fishing has been good. To get cover from the wind we have been fishing inlets and finding schoolies with little sand eel patterns. The rips are also fishing well and the squid are still in strong. There are some bigger fish moving in, but we have not seen anything huge yet. The bluefish have also started to appear. Most people have been getting them off the shore on the south side of the island. I have not seen many by boat yet.
Maine and New Hampshire have started fishing well with rivers starting to settle down nicely into more manageable levels and anglers being able to switch from large streamers to the odd surface fly. Slightly northern latitudes and plenty of rain this spring seemed to put the trout season a little behind schedule, but it has been looking good. In the salt, it's a similar story to destinations further south. Plenty of schoolies to be had if you can find bait, though not many really big fish yet. Stay tuned.
In Northern New England, Nate Hill, of Hill Country Guides, has the latest:
It was a late start to the season for the Andro fishing but the flows have dropped to below average. This is ideal for both nymphing and dry fly fishing. While hatches were sporadic early this June they have gotten more consistent over the last few days and we’ve had good luck nymphing mayfly, caddisfly and stonefly patterns. We’ve had a few fish rise to mayfly dries but not much for consistency on top yet. The good news is that with the cooler spring and low flows we should see a banner year for the famous Alder fly hatch. This is the bug that can bring up trout measured in feet not inches and we are looking forward to hunting for them on dries soon!
Right now the Saco is still a streamer game for larger trout. Hatches are just starting on the Saco and Ellis and fish should be looking up very soon if they have not already. I’m really looking forward to the dry fly fishing of late June and July. I’m predicting that this July is going to be one of the best for fly fishing that we have seen in years. It is looking like water temps will be ideal and with all of the water we have had insect hatches should be prolific.
We're getting reports from southern Maine about strong schoolie and even small keeper action that has been consistent along the coast. Fish have been active pursuing alewives and sand eels and anglers are having success in estuaries and other spots where bait are concentrated. We're still not hearing much about big fish yet, so it's still a waiting game if you are trying to target a trophy. We'll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on that front but it will likely be another week or two at the earliest.
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