July 10, 2020 10 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers!
Your weekly reminder that 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 over the last few months.
In general the trout fishing could use a little rain to freshen things up, but the bass and pike fishing has been good on our non-tailwater rivers. The Farmington, as usual this time of year, continues to fish well. In the salt, the action has shifted to Montauk, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but anglers are still finding action along the Connecticut Coast and throughout Long Island Sound. In short, anglers may need to be a little more strategic in selecting where to fish, but plenty of good options abound. Read on for all the details!
The Beaverkill and Willowemoc are too warm to fish at this point. The trout are lethargic and trying to survive the Summer. Please fish elsewhere.
The Delaware system has been challenging of late. Given the amount of angling pressure it is receiving this year, the West has been especially tough. The fish are a bit beat up and are extremely selective. The East Branch is very low but the upper sections are cold and a good option if you want to avoid the crowds. The hatches are strong right now and we have transitioned from the evening Sulphur to the mid-day Sulphur. The dorothea in a size 16 and 18 is the Sulphur hatching at the moment. The fish will certainly be on them so be sure to have some of these patterns in the fly box. There are Isos trickling out as well. The Isos are typically coming off later in the afternoons. Size 10 and 12 for this fly. The Caddis are still around as are the BWOs. Caddis in a 16 to 20 in tan and olive are a must for these rivers. It does seem as though the fish are moving off of the caddis however. During the middle of day anglers are reporting good success with ants and beetles when nothing else seems to be working. Streamers will take fish early and late so it’s wise to have a sink tip rigged up and ready if things are tough.
Things on the Western End and Sound Side of Long Island are similar to that of Connecticut, namely, settling into a typical Summer fishery. Big fish are scattered, Harbor Blues are all over, Schoolie Stripers are chasing bait early and late, and Gator Blues are around but inconsistent. However, out East off Montauk and the Hamptons things are lighting up! The big migratory fish are off the rips and rock piles, many of which will call Montauk and the surrounding area home for the Summer. July is one of the best months to fish Montauk because of the sheer number of fish that hold here. The Bathymetry and currents create an ideal location to target these fish with a ton of structure and locations to choose from. If you want to target these larger Stripers on the fly, Montauk to Block Island is the spot for the next month. They are there in large numbers and mixed with some really big Bluefish. Plenty of Harbor Blues are mixed in as are the schoolie Stripers which will be in tighter to shore. You really can’t miss off of Montauk right now. As long as you pay attention to time, tide and wind direction, the fishing should be off the charts. If offshore action is your thing, the tuna are here and the bite has been phenomenal. It’s a difficult endeavor on a fly as these fish move fast and are often larger than you would want to hook on a fly rod, but anglers are definitely getting some. 40 to 80lb Yellowfin are very prevalent and some smaller Bluefin are around as well. We are coming off of the Full Moon and the fishing this past week has been great. The stronger tides had the Bass and Blues feeding actively and some really nice fish are being caught right now. This is our top pick again for this week. Montauk is fish extremely well right now!
The Farmington is looking great! Anglers are reporting great albeit challenging fishing at times. This is a great time of the year to fish this river. The water temps are great, the flows are typically conducive to wading, and there are plenty of fish to be had. The Isos and Sulphurs are still going. The Isos are big and size 10 and 12 is where you want to be. Fish it up in the riffles and faster water as they are seldom in the slow stuff like many of their smaller brethren. The Attenuata have also shown up and that has been the hot fly recently. Often mistaken for a big BWO or Sulphur, they actually have an almost fluorescent green/yellow body that fades very quickly to brown so if you grab one it will not appear green. Rest assured though, that if you fish the Attenuata make sure that it has an almost fluorescent greenish body and in a size 18-20. As we keep saying, the Farmington gets a ton of pressure so often a unique pattern is the key to success. The Light Cahills are still popping intermittently as well. These will come off late in the afternoon so as the light begins to fade be prepared to tie on a large lightly colored mayfly. We recommend having a wide variety of patterns to choose from as these fish a quite selective at this point. Having emergers, duns, cripples, and spinners in multiple species is good practice on this river. Having a few unique patterns is advantageous. Terrestrials are also becoming a factor. Ants are especially effective this time of year. During the midday lull, lob an ant out there and if fished correctly, it should get smoked. Anglers have also been doing really well on Chernobyls and Hopper patterns, and Stimulators in size 6 and 8 have been taking quite a few fish in the fast stuff. Odd, as there are few if any hoppers up there but the fish don’t seem to care. So, if you are perplexed during the mid-day doldrums, try something really big on top.
For nymph anglers, you know the drill: Caddis, stoneflies, mayflies, worms, mops, sculpins, and midges are all on the menu. Perdigones are taking a ton of fish and a core style for most tight liners. The Farmington has a great diversity 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. A tan beadhead caddis is a staple up there and will produce a lot of fish. So will a Frenchie, a top fish producer and a core fly for many anglers up there. 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 other days it will be something else entirely. 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.
Be aware. 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 within the TMA. 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.
The water is too warm to ethically trout fish. Please respect that these fish are trying to survive the Summer.
There have been a ton of Smallmouth caught recently. The bite has picked up substantially and now is a great time to target these fish. They will take a wide variety of flies and are a blast on the fly. Poppers will work early and late when the light is low (or if you get overcast conditions they will take surface flies all day). Typical frog and fish poppers in a size 4, 6 and 8 will get the job done. Have light, dark, and brightly colored options if the fish are uncharacteristically picky. White, black, and chartreuse are a safe bet. The same color options will apply to streamer selection as well. Have a few choices and sizes depending on the water clarity and ambient light/weather conditions. The streamers should be size 2, 4, 6, and 8. Clousers and Woolly Buggers will work just fine. The key is getting deep enough. These fish will be right on the bottom so a sinking tip line is the bare minimum. An intermediate sink or some type of hover is ideal. If lined correctly a 6 or 7wt will be a fun rod to fish for Smallmouth but an 8wt will work too. Look for deep holes where the current is prominent but not too fast. The fish will be hunkered down around rocks and structure typically at the tail end of these seams and into the flat slow-moving water.
The Pike fishing has picked up with the influx of rain we had last week. The cloudy and rainy conditions are very good for Northerns as they seem to feed much more actively when these fronts move through. Again, target the deepest holes and cover water. Big flies that imitate Smallmouth or trout are a good starting point. But really something big, flashy, and a few color options are really all you need. The Flashtail Whistler is a staple Pike fly and should produce if you spend enough time covering water.
No significant changes to last week’s report for Connecticut and Western Long Island Sound. There are still some larger Stripers trickling in but they are more prevalent in deeper water. The Schoolies are thick one day and sparse the next. As are the larger Blues. Some days it can be very good and on others they are nowhere to be found. Harbor blues are all over the place and can be a day-saver. They are also a blast on an 8wt. Really, the key to Striper success has been working less pressured structure and blind casting rocks, rips, and reefs has been producing some very nice fish of late. Larger Deceiver-type patterns have been accounting for the majority of fish.
Early mornings have been producing fish quite regularly and we are hearing that the morning bite has been a bit stronger than the afternoon (however, later in the evenings the fish have been quite active as well). Shore fishing has been tough unfortunately and we are not hearing much from shore anglers. The water is warming and seems to have forced the bait and Stripers out. That does not mean they are not in shallow water but rather that shallow holding water needs to be adjacent to deeper and colder water to have any shot of holding fish. Cover water, work good structure associated with deeper channels or holes, and you should have a high probability of success. If you have access to a boat that really helps. Even a kayak or paddle board really opens things up. Just be aware of the thunder storms that have been rolling through in the afternoons. Keep a vigilant watch on the radar and be safe!
Rhode Island is another great place to be fly fishing right now. The big migratory Stripers have moved in thick and are about as prevalent as they will be. They will be everywhere from in tight to out in 100 feet of water on bait. So, move around during a falling tide to locate them. Big Bunker sized flies or hollow-style patterns are what you’ll want to have at the ready. The Blues are numerous off of Rhode Island as well. Off of Watch Hill, East Beach, and Point Judith there have been everything from harbors to gators. Early mornings off the beaches have had a mix of blues and bass but typically nothing huge. However, the action has been great. Birds working and fish pushing bait right up onto shore have been making for some exciting mornings. Block Island has been very strong as far as the big Bass go. Early in the mornings and late in the afternoon these fish can be teased up with big poppers or plugs and tricked into whacking a big fly. Same can be said for the Gator Blues. The same technique will yield results, provided the presentation is faster. Blind casting structure has also been very effective recently and taking some cows. Full sinking lines with big flies are proving very effective if you can get away from the fleet and fish unpressured stuff. Right now is prime time off of Rhode Island. There are a lot of options and even some Bonito trickling in!
The Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket are all fishing well! The Macks are around as well as Bunker and some Large Stripers have been on them. Action has been a bit inconsistent off the New Moon but expect things to pick back up as we approach the Full. Off Monomoy the schoolies and harbors have been providing tons of action early and late. There have been a few 30+ inch fish mixed in but the majority are those sub 30” fish which are very accommodating to fly anglers. The Rips are now fishing very well. There have been a lot of 25+ inch fish taken as of late and some very large Bass mixed in. Full sinking lines are key here. You need to be able to get down to the fish. A 10wt is recommended and a variety of flies. The Stripers have been on some pretty small Sandeels so be sure to have a few patterns in the box to match. Shore fishing has been solid off the beaches and back in the bays. Buzzards Bay and Vineyard sound had some Gators on top last week and should see those fish around for the next month though they can be a bit scarce. If Gator Blues are the target then be prepared to do some searching but they are certainly around. Really, whether you are fishing the beaches, bays, open water, structure, from a boat or from shore, the fishing is very good at the moment. There are tons of opportunities for fly anglers and even some Bonito around already! Things are really heating up out East and now is the time to get out there. The Cape, Vineyard, or Nantucket are all solid options right now.