Well the fishing has stayed strong in the northeast over the last week. A few rivers, especially some of those prone to higher pressure, have seen a lot of anglers over the last stretch but that's to be expected when the fishing is good. Best of all the saltwater fishing has only gotten stronger with good numbers of stripers up and down the coast and anglers seeing plenty of action. As with last week, it's a good time to be out there. Here's the roundup, from south to north...
The Catskills have been fishing exceptionally well lately. Flows are down, water is clear, and fish are rising. The Beaverkill is fishing quite well. The March Browns have moved in and the fish are on them. Size 10 March Brown emergers have been taking a bunch of fish. There are Sulphurs around as well. The fish are more keyed on the March Browns but that does not mean they won’t take a well-presented Sulphur. The March Browns should also get stronger as the week progresses. The Willowemoc is the same story. Great water levels and fish rising to March Browns. There will be caddis flying around mid-to-late afternoon so a spent caddis may be productive as well. Now is as good a time as any to get up there and give it a shot. If you can time it with a slightly overcast day be prepared for some lights-out fishing.
The Delaware system has been incredible recently. Depending on when and what branch you are fishing, the fishing has been spectacular. The Lower East, Lower West, and the Main Stem has seen a strong March Brown hatch this past week. Fish are coming up on big bugs and a size 10 emerging March Brown has been taking a bunch of fish. Spinners have been coming off strong in the late afternoon so also be prepared for that. Fish are taking them aggressively and are a bit less selective as the light fades. There are also Green Drakes on the lower branches right now! They are hatching at night currently though we could see them during daylight hours any day now (I would not bank on it being the predominant hatch, however you could get lucky). It would be wise to have a few Green Drake nymphs, emergers, and dun or two just in case. There are also plenty of caddis flying but the fish have not been on them. A spent caddis mid-day might be a good choice. The upper East and West are starting to see March Browns as well. The fish up there are hitting the March Browns but are taking a wider variety of bugs. Until the March Browns really come down in good numbers, we recommend having a variety of flies to choose from. There have been some Sulphurs, BWOs, caddis, and spinners. It would be wise to have all of these flies in emergers, duns, and spinners. Regardless of where you decide to fish, expect great conditions. The fish are up, rising, and active. Now is a great time to get up to the Catskills.
It’s time to grip it and rip it! The fishing has been hot along the New York cost. Western New York is seeing some great fishing with Long Island being the hot spot. All along Long Island, both the Atlantic side and Sound side are seeing plenty of fish. It is a mixed bag of schoolies and larger fish. There are some big fish around and if you know what to look for you can get into some much nicer fish this time of the year. The most productive way to locate larger fish is to find the Bunker schools and sit on them very quietly. The larger fish will be on the bait schools. If you wait for a good moving tide and start to throw big flies around the edges you have the chance to hook a giant. Off Long Island the Bluefish have arrived! Gator blues have been found busting on bunker and are readily taking flies. Off of Jones beach has been a hot spot recently. It seems that the Atlantic side is seeing more action that the Sound side but there have been Blues found in Long Island Sound as well. The key is running and gunning. Motor around until you find fish aggressively hitting bait. This time of year in the Sound you may find finning blues. These fish will be lazily cruising the surface and as tempting as it may be to throw at them it’s best to bypass them since they rarely eat. Stick to targeting actively feeding fish. It will be well worth your time. Oyster Bay has been producing some really nice Stripers recently. This is always an early season hot spot. There is good rocky bottom here and if you can get out on a boat, you have the opportunity to hook up with big bass. A sinking line and a big fly is key. The most productive way is to either target Bunker schools or drift blind and tease the fish up with a big plug. The ole’ bait and switch is a great way to get these bass fired up. Keep an eye on the sonar and look for both structure and suspended bait or stripers. If you locate fish begin to fish hard. Let that fly get down and pause the fly frequently. It is often on the pause that the bass will inhale the fly.
Reports have been sparse from our local stockie streams. It seems that we are in the last few weeks of fishable conditions that this point. Numbers of fish caught have dropped dramatically in the past week. There are surely fish around but you will need to work for them. Yet, despite the low numbers this can be a good time to get out there and avoid the crowds. Many of the spin and bait guys will move on to other rivers to fill their coolers. This makes the local waters a nice quiet place to fish. Especially on the weekdays. After some time, the fish will calm down and be very approachable. This is also a great time to throw dries. Ants are especially effective as summer approaches. Water temperatures are creeping up. As it gets above 65 degrees the fish will become more inclined to find that faster and more oxygenated water. Target those areas and be patient. The “bite” will become more stratified as it warms. The coolest temperatures will be when the fish will be the most active. Early morning seems to be the best time to fish as the water has cooled overnight. Late afternoon will be productive as well with the middle of the day being tough. Especially on a warm day with clear skies.
We have not heard much from the Mianus River. There are certainly fish tucked in throughout the stream but they will be very educated at this point. Small midges and assorted nymphs in a s18 or 20 will be as crazy as you want to get. You will want to cover a lot of water and pick apart the stream for the best chance of success.
The Saugatuck and Norwalk Rivers are fishing a bit better. The anglers who well versed in fishing for pressured trout have been doing fairly well. 4 to 6 fish days are what we are seeing from these guys. But again, it is all about covering water. Switching flies frequently and fishing small stuff is the name of the game. The water is getting a bit on the low side so if you are nymphing make sure to use 6x or 7x tippet with a small indicator so as not to spook the fish. Tight lining will be the best method for this stream as the fish will want a perfect presentation. There will be also some dry fly activity. Ants, BWOs on the cloudy days, small caddis, and midges will be the predominant hatches. 6x and 7x tippet are critical when fishing these dries. A longer leader of 9 feet or better will greatly improve your chances as well.
Here's the latest from Northwestern Connecticut from guide Pogo Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org / 619-518-8750):
Northwest CT, fishing is awesome! Trout, Bass, Pike, and Carp are all in their happy place. Water temps are between 62 and 68 degrees, which is making them very strong. The fights and bent rod action are epic right now. Top water is just around the corner for Pike and Bass! Flows & clarity are perfect and early June is looking great (just reach out if you'd like to get a day on the water, I still have some June openings).
The Farmington is fishing exceptionally well! This River is really starting to come into its own. As the local stuff heats up and becomes less productive, the Farmington just gets better. One of our favorite months to fish this river is June. Water temps are great, flows are typically low to moderate which is perfect for wading, and there are plenty of hatches for some exciting dry fly fishing. If you don’t already know, the Farmington is a tailwater. The bottom-release from the dam keeps that water nice and cool throughout most the summer. The water temps on the Farmington are ideal right now. Up toward the dam the water is in the mid-40’s with downstream temps of mid 50’s The fish are active, feeding and very comfortable as a result. The March Browns have begun to show up in good numbers, especially in Collinsville. Expect this hatch to move upstream as the water warms a bit. It only takes a few degrees. There are also Sulphurs hatching well in the afternoons. If you hit the hatch, the fish will be on them. There are also plenty of caddis and BWOs hatching as well. Nymphing will be, by far, the most productive method right now. The fish will be feeding all day sub-surface and tight-lining will produce the highest numbers. But keep a dry fly rod ready. When the flies pop nymphing productivity will drop off. If you have not hit the Farmington this year we highly recommend going. This is one of the best months to fish up there and the flows are great right now. The flows may be a bit on the low side but that makes almost all of the water fishable.
The Housatonic is finally wadeable! We have great water levels at the moment. It was a long time coming but the time have finally arrived. We are at the point now where unless we get a biblical deluge, the water should remain fishable even with moderate precipitation. The Smallmouth Bass fishing has remained consistent. Plenty of fish have been caught recently and even some on poppers! The Smallies are beginning to look up and now is a good time to get out there and have some fun with these fish on topwater flies. The Pike are on the chew as will. These fish can take warmer water a bit better than most fish (within reason) and the fishing should remain good for the next few months. Pike are a great way to switch it up after trout fishing all spring and we highly recommend giving it a shot. As far as the trout are concerned, fishing has good. The past week has been a bit inconsistent due to the fluctuations in the water levels. But as the river settles in to its lower average flows, expect fishing to pick up quite a bit. A few days back there were Light Cahills coming off and fish were on them. There have also been Sulphurs and a few March Browns. If conditions remain the same we can expect some phenomenal fishing in the coming week. If you can, plan on being on the water during those cloudy or overcast days. The fish will be far more active. Trout take both dries and nymphs more recklessly than they do on the bright sunny days. Nymphing early in the morning will be very productive as the trout have not seen much pressure with the high water this spring. We recommend stoneflies, March Browns, and beadhead caddis for your subsurface patterns. You can fish bigger flies right now. Size 10,12,14,and 16 are not unreasonable at the moment. Especially with stoneflies or March Browns. But remember, as the fish get more pressure you will need to downsize. The Housatonic is also a good option if you don’t like combat fishing. Some of the other streams can be very crowded on the weekends. As a general rule, the Housey is harder to wade and to fish than other rivers in the state. This will keep a lot of people off the river. So if you are looking to avoid the weekend warriors this may be a good option.
The Saltwater fishing along the Connecticut coast has been great recently! There have been a lot stripers around as well as Bluefish. The Bluefish have moved in recently and finning blues have been sighted on a daily basis out in the middle. Early in the morning on a good moving tide stripers and blues have been blowing up bait mid-sound. As usual, there is about a 45 minute window to get these fish to eat a fly. Typically right in the middle of the tide is your best shot at these fish. The Blues have been a bit more forgiving but are still uncharacteristically docile this time of year. It is best to find actively feeding fish as opposed to casting at finning blues. They rarely eat and can waist a lot of your prime tide. The schoolies have been everywhere. Schoolies blowing up on small bait in tight has been a common sight all along the coast. More and more fish are being found on beaches but structure seems to be where the majority of these fish are still holding. Fly fishing from shore has been great recently. Some nicer fish have been mixed in as well. The 30lb fish are here and despite being hard to target on the fly, it is certainly worth your time to give it a shot. If you can get out on a boat, that will give you the most flexibility. But fishing from shore is still awesome right now. Regardless weather you are fishing from shore or a boat, it is happening right now!
Last weekend was the 2nd Annual Jim Gariepy Memorial Fly Fishing Tournament on the Deerfield River, which coincided with Free Fishing Weekend in Massachusetts. It's always a great event that brings out many a Deerfield aficionado. Conditions continue to be good across most of western Massachusetts with good water flows and enough bugs around to keep the fish active.
Eric Gass (617-697-6733) of GS Outfitting reports that the playbook has been more or less the same. Lots of float trips with clients and working streamers and nymphs with the occasional dry fly action. Plenty of hungry fish and quality fishing to be had. It's a great time to be out there (and, as always, watch the dam release info here on the deerfield).
It's also a great time to take in some other opportunities. Eric has been taking clients shad fishing on the Connecticut River and getting plenty of action. The shad run can be easily overlooked but when the action is on, it's a fantastic time. Here's a little video from one of Eric's recent floats...
On the islands the action is cooking! Here's the latest from Corey Gammill of Bill Fisher Outfitters, who has been having tons of great fishing on Nantucket:
June is here and it feels like June. The weather is all over the place, the stripers are active, the island is buzzing with activity and …. a bonito was caught…. Huh? Crazy right? Well, as we have been saying for the last month, get out and fish, you do not know what is going to happen. Now we firmly believe this was a rogue bonito, but there is plenty of bait and last year late in June we had a little surge of fast fish, so you never know. This fish was caught on the west end of the island.
As for Stripers, this is the time of year to fish for them and they are here. Boat fishermen are doing well, but beach guys seem to be crushing them as well. This is because the water is still cold enough that the fish are staying in the shallows for warmth and are pushing the bait up to the shoreline. While the majority of fish are still schoolies there are keepers mixed in.
There are some bluefish and shad around as well, there are not enough to “target” them but don’t be surprised if you catch one.
Fish are now being caught in the harbors, on the north shore and along the entirety of the south shore. Bottom line, they are everywhere, you just have to get out and work for them. We have been saying this for the last month, what is important is not where you start fishing, but that you work a shoreline while you fish. As for flies, the standard are clousers and they are working. In fact, this time of year you can almost catch more fish on a fly than a spin rod as it matches the bait perfectly.
The other fun development is that the squid have begun to show and are filling in the western rips. This is so much fun as the visuals are better than the hook-ups. The advice here though is that these edges are tough to fish unless you know what you are doing. The fish are not big, but they are aggressive. As for what is working in the rips, we are heavily encouraging anglers to fish single hooks as much as possible. We have been using lots of soft baits as the fish come back and continue to attack if they miss the first time. Albie Snax has a squid replica soft bait, which seems to be out-fishing other soft baits.
If you have any questions, come see us in the shop and go ahead and take the impromptu trip to the island and fish. Don’t put off for another day what you can do today!
On Martha's Vineyard, Abbie Schuster (860-944-5225) of Kismet Outfitters is also seeing improved fishing conditions as well. She reports that the squid are in full force and the rips have been fishing well. Sand eel patterns have also been working well and bigger fish are starting to move in.
Here's a shot of some of the striper action she's getting clients into...