June 21, 2019 13 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Well the beat goes on here in the Northeast, in terms of quality fishing and a little rain both. No, we haven't had crazy rain like we did this spring, but we've had enough to make trout anglers keep an eye on the flow conditions. That said, the fishing conditions, with the exception of some of the smaller stockie streams, continues to be really strong, and saltwater anglers also had very strong action this week. Here's the roundup from south to north...
The Catskills conditions are perfect right now. Last week we needed a bit of rain and we finally got it. The water is cool, clear, and the fish are responding accordingly. Good hatches of March Browns, and Sulphurs have kept the fish up and eating. The dry fly fishing has been spectacular on both the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc. The March Browns are beginning to tail off but right on their heels are Isonychia. They have begun to show themselves and expect the next few weeks to be awesome. These flies are big! Size 8 and 10 are what you want to be fishing when the Isos come off. This is also a great time to be fishing a big Iso nymph. Anglers who have been fishing Iso nymphs have been catching a ton of fish. That said, a wide variety of nymphs are also working right now. Sulphurs will be the most prolific hatch at the moment so make sure you have flies for this hatch.
The Delaware system is still fishing very well. Where you are fishing will dictate the hatches and, in turn, your flies. The consistent hatches are March Browns and Sulphurs. Whether you are fishing the East, West, or Mainstem you can count on seeing these bugs. Emerger style flies have been very productive early on in the hatch. As the hatch progresses you can switch to duns and then switch to spinners in the evening. The spinner falls have been strong and some of the best fishing around. The Lower East and Mainstem are also seeing Green Drakes consistently right now. It is not raining drakes but they are coming off steadily and fish are eating them. We recommend an emerger pattern for this particular hatch. They seem to shy away from the duns for some reason but will readily take an emerger. These flies are huge. A size 8 or 10 is right on the money. It is a very cool hatch to fish and it's fun throwing a fly that you can easily see from a long way off. There are also good hatches of Blue Sedge Caddis and BWOs. It is a great time of the year to fish the Delaware and definitely worth the trip.
Long Island has been fishing exceptionally well. Anglers are finding lots of bait and lots of fish. The sand eels have been prolific. On a good moving tide, birds have been working over busting fish. Mostly schoolie sized Stripers and smaller Blues have been under the birds but occasionally bigger bass have been under them as well. Locating birds is the best way to find fish right now, especially if you are just looking to bend a rod. The bait, birds, and fish have been less than a mile offshore making them very accessible. There are plenty of fish around and the action has been constant. If you are targeting bigger fish then you will need to head out to deeper water. They key here is locating Bunker schools. They are out there in decent numbers. If you find Bunker schools you have the potential of finding the bigger Stripers. A bait and switch technique is the way you can get one of these bigger cows on a fly. It will take some teamwork but it is the most consistent way of catching a big fish on the fly. Remember that a moving tide is key.
As far as our local stockie streams are concerned, it is time to fish elsewhere. Reports are poor from those who have attempted to fish this past week. The Mianus is devoid of fish it seems. Although there may be a few fish around, they are spread thin. Chubs were the catch of the day on the Mianus and if you are looking to do some trout fishing, the Farmington and Housatonic are going to be your best bet at this point in the season. The Norwalk and Saugatuck are the same story. Few fish, tough fishing. The few fish that may be left are either very educated or have displaced into the nooks and crannies and will be difficult to locate. We are not saying that there are no fish left, as we are sure that there a few fish in all of these streams. However, with as well as other fisheries are fishing right now it would be more productive to fish elsewhere in the state. Moving forward we will not have any reports on the local streams as there won’t be much to talk about. We will pick back up in the Fall when conditions improve and Fall stockings commence. It has been a great season locally. Fishing was on fire, the state stocked plenty of very nice fish, and we got them earlier than expected. Thank you to the CTDEEP for all their hard work! All our anglers put up big numbers and some really nice fish as well. The newly imposed mandatory Trout Stamp has seemed to improve the quality of our fisheries and we hope that it continues to fund great fishing opportunities throughout the state. We will keep you posted on fishing local Fairfield County fishing opportunities as we get into Fall.
Our Class 1 Wild Trout Management areas are winding down as well. Although still very consistent at the moment, water levels are dropping and the streams are getting warmer. Even though we have had some good rain recently, these little Brook Trout need to be protected. As the water warms it is more ethical to fish colder tailwaters. Stressing out these fish as the water warms results in an increased post-release mortality rate and here at the Compleat Angler we're big believers in conservation-minded angling practices. So please do the trout (and ultimately all us anglers) a favor and let these smaller wild trout streams rest until fall rolls around. We are very lucky to have these Class 1 streams and letting the fish relax during the warmer months will ensure a healthy fishery for years to come.
Now for the good news. The Farmington River is fishing very well! Not only are anglers catching a lot of fish, they are catching big fish as well. The general consensus is that this one of the best springs on the Farmington that we have had in a while. Double digit days are the norm right now. Stockies, holdovers, and wild trout are all being consistently caught on a wide variety of flies and tactics. The Euro-nymphing anglers are doing very well up there right now. A good tight-line presentation will provide action all day. Switching flies and working every little feature in a run will yield impressive results. The water temperatures are ideal right now and the fish are responding accordingly and feeding heavily. As long as you have a decent presentation and switch flies, you will catch plenty of fish. The anglers who are catching those bigger wild fish are downsizing flies. Smaller caddis or mayfly nymphs will become more and more effective as the river receives more pressure. Really, the key to this river is keeping in mind that it gets hit hard. The fish see a lot of flies and get caught a lot. You must factor that into consideration if you are targeting larger fish. Think about fishing less pressured stretches of river, fishing smaller flies, and fishing unique and natural looking patterns. This can make all the difference when it comes to those trophy Browns. That being said, there are so many fish in the river right now that it doesn’t matter where you decide to fish (within reason). Like we have said before, this is probably the best month to fish the Farmington and it has been living up to its reputation as one of, if not the best, trout streams in the state. The dry fly fishing has been phenomenal as well. There are a lot of bugs on the water at the moment and if nymphing is not your thing, the Farmington is still a great option right now. Isonychia are beginning to pop all over the Northeast and the Farmy is no exception. Still in the early stages and primarily in the warmer water around Collinsville, the Isos will work their way up in the coming weeks. March Browns are still around as well. This hatch is on the decline but the fish will still be on them if they come off where you are fishing (keep a few in the box for the next week or so just in case). The big hatch right now are Sulphurs and Vitreus. This is probably the best hatch at the moment in terms of numbers of bugs and consistency. Emerging Sulphurs have been very effective as the hatch begins and you can’t go wrong with a Sulphur Spinner in the evening. Size 14,18, and 18 for these flies. There are of course various caddis flying around too, both green and tan from a size 14 all the way down to a size 24. Swung wets have also been very effective. It is not as common a technique as say nymphing or fishing dries but man, does it produce. It is a perfect way to imitate emerging flies and a great way to show the fish something different. A series of soft hackles that imitate Sulphurs, caddis, or a bigger Mayfly will catch plenty of fish. We highly recommend going to the Farmington now! It is fishing incredibly well.
The Housatonic has come into its own this past week and the fishing has been great! All of our anglers are reporting excellent conditions and plenty of fish. The recent rain has jacked the water back up so we could see a change in the fishing but as of the past few days it has been fishing very well. There are a lot of fish being caught. These fish are less pressured than other fisheries around the state due to recent high water and it shows. They are readily taking flies. Nymphing has been very productive and many of the standard patterns are catching fish. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, Beadhead Caddis, and Stones are all good options right now. That being said, this is an outstanding dry fly fishery and most anglers are going to the Housey for the dry fly fishing. The hatches are the same as the Farmington.
“Isonychia are beginning to pop but still in the early stages. March Browns are still around as well. This hatch is on the decline but they fish will still be on them if they come off where you are fishing. Keep a few in the box for the next week or so, just in case. The big hatch right now are Sulphurs and Vitreus. This is probably the best hatch as the moment in terms of numbers of bugs and consistency. Emerging Sulphurs have been very effective as the hatch begins and you can’t go wrong with a Sulphur Spinner in the evening. Size 14,18, and 18 for these flies. There are of course various caddis flying around. They are both green and tan from a size 14 all the way down to a size 24.”
We recommend having all of these flies with the exception of the smaller caddis. You won’t need them. Focus on the Sulphurs. That is the predominant hatch and the fish are responding accordingly. Having a wide variety of patterns will be advantageous. Emergers, duns, cripples, and spinners are all good to have. This allows you follow the hatch and give the fish exactly what they are keying on. Fish have been taken on streamers and wets as well. Again, with less pressure, these fish will take a wider variety of flies. Keep an eye on the CFS gauge. If the water stays below 1000 then it’s a great option this time of year. The Smallmouth and Pike fishing has also remained consistently good and anglers targeting both of these species are doing quite well. Often overshadowed by the trout fishery, the Smallies and Pike are a great option if you are looking to mix it up. The water temperatures are perfect right now so if that is something you have wanted to try, now is the time.
Saltwater fishing remains great! All along the Connecticut coast fishing continues to improve. There are schoolie Stripers everywhere. They have been busting on a wide variety of bait just offshore. Many of our anglers have been fishing blitzes with birds working. The fish seem to be on a few types of bait: Bay Anchovies post-spawn, Silversides, and a few Sand Eels have all been on the menu recently. You do not need to go crazy trying to “match the hatch” though. A size 2 olive/white or tan/white clouser and a Surf Candy will get the job done. It's more about having the right size as opposed to a perfect match. Bluefish have been sporadic but definitely around. Everything from one-pounders to gators have been caught. The smaller Blues have been mixed in with the Stripers and most of the larger Blues have been out in the deeper water. It is no secret that the big bass are around. 30+ pounders are around on bunker schools. If you plan on targeting these fish focus on the bunker schools. The best way to target these fish on the fly is a bait-and-switch technique with a big plug. Teasing the fish up and putting a fly behind the plug is really the only consistent way to hook up with these larger fish. Now is the perfect time to try this.
A little rain raised flows on a few of Western MA's favorite trout rivers over the last week, though on the whole conditions were pretty good. The Swift, Millers, and Westfield have all been fishing pretty well, and anglers wade and float fishing the Deerfield continue to have strong fishing. In short, conditions are very good and may well continue to be promising relatively deep into the summer. Fingers crossed!
The Deerfield has continued to fish well with good temps and an increase in surface action with Caddis and Sulphur bringing fish to the top. Last weekend, a friend floated the Deerfield and the fishing was lights out, so much so that they went out to the Connecticut in the afternoon to target shad just to top things off. As always with the deerfield, keep your eyes on the flows, which can change quickly, and particularly with recent rain. Hopefully the flows will come down slightly this weekend and make for excellent wading and floating both.
The fishing has strengthened in and around the cape, and the big news this past week were the huge schools of squid that turned up and brought some monster stripers in their wake. They turned up in strength in the canal and in cape cod bay both, and anglers had some fantastic shots at trophy fish. Schoolies continue to remain strong as well and are giving anglers plenty of fun light tackle action.
Abbie Schuster, of Kismet Outfitters, reports that conditions remain good out on Martha's Vineyard:
Yes we are finally seeing some blues! We have been getting blues from both shore and the rips. We even caught an 11+ pounder yesterday which brought us to the backing multiple times! Poppers in the rips have also been working well and bigger fish are moving in more and more everyday. Small sand eels are also starting to show up and the fish are starting to key in to them.
Out on Nantucket, Corey Gammill of Bill Fisher Outfitters, also reports that conditions continue to be very strong:
We can not say enough good things about the fishing over the last month, we can only hope that it continues. Luckily water temps are still in the high 50’s low 60’s and we are continuing to get a mix of weather which are keeping the bass around. Our waters are also loaded with bait which is awesome. The squid boats are out there, but the squid are still sneaking through, some herring are around and the sand eels are in full force keeping the stripers active and happy. If you spend anytime on the south shore or run a boat along there you will see pockets of birds all the way along. This is incredibly healthy and there are fish underneath all of these birds.
Over the last week we have seen an uptick in both bluefish and seabass as well, meaning those stocks are starting to fill in. There are some big seabass around, which is awesome. As for blues we are hearing more and more being caught off the beach and each trip on the boat we are now catching 3-4 fish which is an uptick from last week.
From the beach, fishermen are still having a great deal of success. The X factor is avoiding the red weed that seems to be all over the place. As for where is producing the south shore continues to be very good. Surside/Nobadeer/Cisco all seem to be constants. Wauwinet up towards great point on the east side also seems to be producing as well, again, as long as there is no weed… The north shore still has fish tight to the beach on both the coatue and the dionis side. Blues have infiltrated Dionis and 40th pole in a good way. This makes fishing eel point even more fun, as you have a shot at either specie.
As for the boat, Great Point has fish, rumors of Monomoy are starting to fly around and Old Man Shoal has fish as do the western edges. And as mentioned before, if you find birds there will be fish underneath, so keep your eyes open. My one HUGE piece of advice for all fishermen is don’t let another boat be a magnet for you. This time of year it is rare that one small corner is holding fish. Over the last week, virtually everyday I have been fishing an edge and a boat has come right up on me and fish right next to me because of the rods are bent on my boat. Meanwhile, if they just went to 200 yards down the edge they would not blow up one spot, they would be fishing all on their own and everyone would benefit. No one owns the water, but we should all respect someone who is there before us. We don’t teach our kids to steal or cut lines, so nor should we do the same when fishing. If you get to a beach or an edge, give the person there first some space.
The word in Northern New England, at least for saltwater anglers, is that things are finally starting to kick into gear despite cooler water temps. Anglers in southern Maine have started to see some larger stripers show up and schoolies are still prevalent, both targeting mackerel. As the water warms we expect things to get even better in terms of quality and quantity of fish. Keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine during the next week or two.