June 04, 2020 10 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers!
Well things are beginning to loosen up statewide. We are now open to foot traffic and as long as you wear your mask, you are more than welcome to come into the shop and browse. As always, stay safe. And again, thank you so much for your support and patronage.
We understand that our fishing reports get a lot of you excited about going out to do some fly fishing. That is certainly one of our goals as well as providing you with broad strokes enabling you to make the most of those precious days on the water. However, with the current Covid situation across the country please use the below information responsibly. We’re all in this together.
On to the fishing!
The Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Esopus, and Neversink are clear, wadable, and now have the big bugs! The March Browns have moved into all of these systems and if you get the right overcast day with little wind the hatch of MBs will get these fish fired up. There are also caddis all over the place and the fish have been taking s18 tan, olive, and apples providing targets all day. The dry fly fishing has been rock solid and providing some of the best fishing we will see all year. All four rivers are clear, cold, and very easy to wade at the moment. Provided you find a good holding area, the fishing will be awesome. There are also some Sulphurs popping as well. They are showing up later in the afternoon and will become more frequent earlier on as the week progresses. So definitely have some in the box. It is a veritable smorgasbord of insects right now making the dry fly fishing exciting, at times challenging, and definitely worth the drive.
March Browns baby! We have MBs on the entire East, West, and Mainstem Delaware at the moment. These are the third largest mayfly we will see only surpassed by Isos and the infamous Green Drake. So as far as dry fly fishing goes, it is a lot of fun right now. Size 10s and 12s in a wide variety of ties are critical for this watershed. Emergers, cripples, duns, and spinners are all very important for these very selective fish. 12 foot leaders and very accurate casting are all important elements to a successful day so make sure you are dialed in. Caddis are also coming off by the millions. Apples and assorted caddis are throughout the system and will get those fish up around 2pm. Tan, olive, and apple caddis all in 16, 18, is another very important fly to have at the moment. The fish will move off the big bugs and switch to caddis halfway through the day so be prepared for that. Before the spinners are coming off at dark the fish switch to BWOs in a size 18. The water is a bit low but conditions look great for the weekend despite the rain. The rain will get those BWOs up in a big way so if you plan to fish this weekend be sure to have a few patterns and sizes to choose from.
Post-spawn Stripers are slowly making their way into the waters off of Western Long Island. Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic side of Long Islands are great places to target some of these larger Stripers. All of the Bays East of Jamaica will also have plenty of schoolies at this point as well as some larger fish mixed in if you time it right. If you are fishing from a boat be sure to have a full sinking line and a weighted fly. Getting down to the fish is equally important as fishing during the right tide. If you are fishing from shore then an intermediate line is plenty but a weighted fly is always advantageous. These fish will not be that picky this early in the season so almost any fly will work. A standard issue Clouser Minnow in a wide variety of colors will work. Have a few sizes to choose from as well. It seems like Long Island is where most of the fly fishing action is. It is more accessible, easier to fish, and much nicer to look at. Rockaway Point (Breezy Point) on the Western end of Long Island has been fishing very well. Rockaway Park just to the East and the adjacent Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge have seen a bunch of fish recently, mostly schoolies but there are some larger fish as well. Silver Point on East Rockaway Inlet is another good option as is Rockaway Beach itself. We are also hearing murmurings of large Bass popping up on the flats in the Eastern End of Long Island. They have been seen on the Flats which goes to show that there are big fish all over the place right now. You just need to know where to look or get lucky!
Well, the state is done with its stockings signaling the beginning of the end for the local small stream fishing. No more fish will be put in these local streams moving forward. As they become systematically fished out by spin anglers, the fishing will continue to decline for the next week or so until the streams are fished out completely or the water temperatures are too warm to fish ethically. As such, we will be removing this section from our report for the rest of the year. We had a great spring with a few bumps in the road but very good early season fishing overall. There were plenty of fish caught, a great stonefly hatch, and it was a great way to dust the cobwebs off before the bigger water came into play. While the fishing will still hold out in the larger rivers, as the water drops, temps go up, and the fish are plucked from the water, these smaller streams will be unfishable within a few weeks at most. We would like to say a big thank you to the Connecticut DEEP for their continued hard work providing us great fly fishing opportunities throughout the state. This year especially, with the many complications that Covid presented, stockings still went off without a hitch and that effort was not lost on us. So, thank you for another great season DEEP! We would also like to thank all the local anglers who support these fisheries by practicing catch and release and buying their fishing licenses. You help keep the fishing great of all of us and we appreciate it!
We are settling into summer conditions on the Farmington which means the fishing will be very good for fly anglers in the coming months. My favorite month on the Farmy has always been June. The water temps are great, flows are typically right on the money, and there are a variety of active insects both above and below the surface that gives you a wide range of angling options. This time of year many of the spin anglers have also gotten the worm drowning out of their system and some of the angling pressure subsides. It is typically a more technical time of the year, but that often weeds out the less dedicated, opening things up for the undaunted. So, knuckle down and put time on the water. You will not be disappointed if you fish hard enough. Also keep in mind that the colder water in the mornings and late evenings will be when the fish become most active. This is the opposite of the early part of the season when targeting the early afternoon was often best.
Nymphing will also come into its own for the next few months. Sure, it’s always effective but with cooler water temperatures being the windows of opportunity, early morning nymphing can be super effective. Tight-line or indicator methods will all yield fish. The Farmington has become a tight-lining stronghold and this method will produce more fish than the indicator due to the amount of pressure this river gets. All bets are off with pattern selection as a result. Caddis, stoneflies, mayflies, worms, mops, sculpins, and midges are all on the table. Perdigones are taking a ton of fish and are a core pattern for most tightliners. The Farmington has great diversity in terms of insect species so don’t be afraid to fish all manner of flies. What most anglers have indicated to us is that unique patterns are often the key to success. You need the right size and profiles to imitate a particular type of insect, sure. But often getting creative with colors and materials can be the difference between a few fish and a lot of fish. Especially when it comes to those trophy wild fish everyone is after. A tan beadhead caddis is a staple up there and will produce a lot of fish. A large stone is notorious for fooling a larger fish or two up in the fast water and midges somewhere in the system are a must. You might be surprised how selective these fish will get. There will be days where a black beadhead Zebra Midge will be the only thing that gets bit, and often the top producer on others. Red midges are a good back up as well especially when the sun is high. Don’t discount those wet flies either. Swinging flies will yield good results especially early and late.
Please note that thermal Refuges are now in effect for the Housatonic. As of June 1st no fishing of any kind is allowed near any stream flowing into the Housatonic. 100 foot exclusion zones are established to keep the fish alive through the warmer months. It is imperative that these exclusion zones are respected and left alone. That way we all have fish to catch this fall.
Same report as last week. Not much of change for this river which is great! The Housey is looking perfect. And it has only received a fraction of the angling pressure seen on many streams throughout the state. Reports of 20-30 fish days came roaring into the shop two weeks ago with happy anglers telling us the fishing was lights out. The same can be said for this past week as well. Lots of fish, lots of bugs! Flows have come down quite a bit and are perfect for wading. A good shot of rain bumped the flows a bit and kept those trout fired up. There was a good pop of caddis and BWOs throughout the day. The BWOs really came off well during the lighter periods of rain and the fish were on them. There are a good number of Sulphurs starting to show and March Browns are hatching well. The March Browns are the hot fly and the most prolific hatch at the moment but the Sulphurs are not far behind. Light Cahills and Pink Ladies are here as well. The larger and lighter mayflies will get hammered if and when they come off, especially right at dark. The hatch has begun and is pretty much guaranteed at this point. A large light-colored mayfly pattern is a great option right now for dry fly anglers. Size 14 will do it but 12s and 16s are not out of the question depending on the day. Fish these flies late in the afternoon when the sun gets low and you should have good results. Spinners will be coming off at dark so be sure to have some in your box if you plan on staying late. The Isos are also beginning, and they will be out around right at dark. For the best dry fly fishing, stay until dark. The pools will come to life during the last few hours of light.
The Smallmouth have put the feedbags on! The bite has picked up substantially and now is a great time to target these fish. With the lower CFS, the water will warm up faster and later in the day fish activity will spike. A lot of Smallies have been caught by anglers targeting trout with streamers so any concerted effort to target Smallmouth specifically should pay off big. Nothing fancy with Smallmouth as far as flies are concerned. Any reasonable streamer will work. Clousers are a solid go-to fly in a size 1 or 2. Anything in that family will produce fish. As will Crawfish patterns.
The Pike fishing has remained solid. There has been a bit of a tail off since the post-spawn spike in activity but the fish are still solidly active. The water temperatures are still optimal and the fishing should remain very good too great for the next few months. Plenty of fish are being taken on big streamer flies. Water levels are a bit low but this will concentrate fish into deeper holes with good ambush points making them easier to find. Don’t get too complacent though, as covering some water and switching flies frequently is still a good practice with these fish.
The Big girls are on the move! The larger spawning females are post-spawn and making their way toward us as we speak. Large fish from the Hudson subpopulation have been reported in the Western Sound and Western end of Long Island on both the Sound and Atlantic sides. The Chesapeake fish are creeping into New Jersey and are a few weeks to a month out. Tough to target on fly, the best approach will be to look for Bunker schools in the weeks to come. Of course, that will be mostly a boat game leaving the shore guys few options to target these large fish. If you have any shot from shore it will be very early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or at night. Big flies fished deep is the name of game if big bass is what you are after from shore. For you anglers with a boat, fish those Bunker schools with intermediate or full sink lines and throw full sized bunker patterns. As for the “inshore” fishing, the schoolies are everywhere. They are certainly on the beaches, rips, rocks, and harbors so almost anything goes when it comes to locations to fish. Fish could be off a beach one day and miles away the next so keep spot checking locations and do not be afraid to try multiple spots on any given day. Overcast days are advantageous and smaller flies in the size 1 range are perfect. We are also seeing schoolies feeding on bait in 40 feet of water all along the coast. Birds will be on these schools in the A.M. so listen for the terns and fish the birds. If you find them it should be a double-digit day in the matter of hours.
The Falling tide is always the top producer for shore-based anglers but that does not mean the rising won’t produce as well. This goes for you boat anglers as well. As long as you have moving water you should have actively feeding fish provided the area you are fishing is holding some. In the week to come as larger migratory fish move into the area it is advantageous to begin probing areas now. There is a pretty short window for the fly anglers in terms of targeting these larger fish. Find where bait is holding, where you are marking fish, and begin tying flies. These scouting missions pay huge dividends when the fish show up.