Hello Compleat Angler friends! Significant rain early in the week caused many of our rivers to blow out and most are still quite high. Many areas issued flood warnings and unfortunately, with thunderstorms in the forecast for parts of the region over the next few days, anglers may have to wait a bit longer for things to settle down to more fishable levels. Hopefully when they do and when the turbidity clears, the water temps will be a bit cooler and prolong what has been a pretty good season, especially this deep into the summer. Striper fishing remains consistent, with many schoolies still claiming territory around the islands and coves. Bunker are pushing closer into the harbors and nearshore, and during the early mornings you may see large Bluefish or Stripers blitzing on them. Also, some of our night fishing friends have been doing well in many of the coastal tributaries from the shore. The consensus is that every day has been different, some days are lights out while others not so much. Rhode Island is still experiencing large numbers of adult Sand Eels nearshore and larger Stripers have moved into the area. Overall, there are still plenty of great angling options if you are looking to get out on the water right now. Read on for more…
The Saugatuck has been dropping steadily since it crested early in the week and the gauge is now reading around 30 cfs. As with last week, our anglers are still reporting good local fishing and that the trout are up and happily eating on the surface and just below. Keep an eye on your water temperatures, as the hot weather can make the afternoons pretty tough on trout. We advise refraining from fishing once the water temps pass the 70F threshold. The most consistent bug the trout are keying in on seem to be small Caddis around size 20. Try fishing the adult form or pupae if they are slowly sipping. Nymphing and throwing dry/dropper rigs has been the most productive technique. Pairing a nymph on a dry dropper rig will help with a more subtle presentation to avoid any splashing of indicators. We recommend using fluorocarbon between your nymph and dry fly. More imitative and smaller nymphs in sizes 14-24 are going to cover most of the natural forage for our trout. This certainly doesn’t mean streamers and more attractive nymphs won’t work, but it is usually best to try these patterns in the morning and during higher flows. For hatches, some of the main bugs you will encounter are Sulphurs, Caddis, Cahills, and more recently you will encounter some Isonychia with the most common sizes being 12-18. Other considerations are Ant patterns, Beetles, and Green Inchworms when fishing under overhanging trees or after a steady rain. For your rig, sticking to your 5x and 6x leaders will cover most dry fly/nymphing scenarios. Fish are going to be in a variety of water types, therefore don’t overlook the faster, more oxygenated water. When nymphing, let your rig swing in the current at the end of your dead drift, as this will emulate an emerging insect that the trout will sometimes key in on. Areas to consider are the Mianus, Saugatuck, Mill, and Norwalk Rivers. All local options have been stocked at this time and are holding plenty of fish. Trout Parks and ponds are also a great option to take the kids fishing as they have been stocked more recently. There are still plenty of fish to be had in our local rivers.
The Naugatuck flows are very high, reading 800 cfs at Beacon Falls after hitting north of 2000 CFS early in the week. If you are planning to fish here, keep an eye on the gauge so you’ll be ready when it drops to a more reasonable level. Once it does, focusing on the same techniques I outlined above for our local rivers should provide success as most of the insect activity will be similar. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and look to fish similar offerings we are using on our local streams: Sulphurs, Cahills, Caddis, Midges, Blue Winged Olives, and Terrestrials. A range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. In addition, the Shetucket was stocked more recently with trout so a wide variety of flies will work. Since third stockings occurred earlier this month on the Naugatuck, use more imitative flies as trout have become more acclimated to their natural forage. With the increase in water temperature now is a good time to throw streamers during the mornings and evenings.
Flows are high on the Farmington with the West Branch reading around 1000 cfs at Riverton with the Still River adding another 573cfs. With flow this high sticking to the river's edge may be the safest bet. Also, If they start releasing water over the damn wading could get dodgy, so again, keep an eye on the flow charts if you are planning on venturing out. Once the flows do subside, a lot of sections on the Farmington are still holding fish from completed stockings, however you will probably want to start by targeting the slower seams which will be along the banks. The West Branch water temperatures are starting in the low 50s, reaching the high 50s by the afternoon. These are ideal temperatures for trout and bug activity. During these flows you can get away with throwing larger and gaudier nymphs (Mop Flies, Squirmies, Green Weenies, ect.), which work well paired with a smaller more imitative offering in sizes 16-20. The most active bugs in the system are going to be Caddis (Tan and Olive) in sizes 16-20, Sulphurs in sizes 16-18, Isonychia in sizes 10-12, and Midges size 20 and smaller. Other considerations are Blue Winged Olives (16-24) during overcast/rainy weather, and Terrestrials (Ants, Beetles, Inchworms, Hoppers). Larger streamers in a range of colors and delivered with a sinking line should work well in these higher flows. Try neutrally buoyant flies such as Mini Dungeons and D&Ds. Other considerations are Sparkle Minnows and Woolly Buggers. Some anglers are finding some larger Kamloop Rainbow Trout that were stocked by the FRAA more recently in New Hartford. In terms of fishing techniques, look to fish nymphs/streamer fish in the morning before most of the hatches start. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success while nymphing. If dry fly fishing, using a 12ft 5x-6x nylon leader, such as the Trout Hunter Finesse Leaders will aid in a stealthy presentation and a more drag-free drift. With the variety of bug activity, swinging wet flies can be a productive option as well. For our Trout Spey Anglers, look to fish larger streamers or intruders paired with a faster sinking tip in the morning. Once the afternoon hatches hit, fishing a wet fly swung on a less aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish. The same can be said for those nymphing with single handers: swinging nymphs at the end of your drift can simulate an emerging insect. Other considerations should be larger Stoneflies (can be paired with a smaller offering to help get your rig down) as well as Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Perdigones, Caddis Larvae, Hare’s Ears, and Waltz Worms. Sulphur nymphs have been active subsurface. For streamer fishing try fishing articulated flies paired with sinking lines and a short leader. Twitching jigged streamers through a run can also be a deadly technique, and good colors to try include olive, black, tan, and white. Your odds will be better with streamers during the morning hours. Vary retrieves, starting fast and then slowing down to see what the trout prefer. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful to other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic River is currently blown out and registering almost 5220 CFS at Falls Village. A trip to Bulls Bridge to get a look at the flow would be a pretty awesome sight. But getting in or near the water at those levels could have consequences so please be careful, and we advise waiting until the flows settle down to more reasonable levels. Once it does, we will hopefully continue to see the fantastic hatches we’ve been having, with lots of bug activity occurring in the evenings. When the time comes, bring a variety of nymphs: Caddis larvae and Pupae, Waltz Worms, Stoneflies, Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Golden Stoneflies, as well as junk flies (Mops and Squirmies). When the dry fly action starts back up the main hatches will be Blue Winged Olives, Caddis, Cahills, Sulphurs, and hopefully the continuation of good hatches of Alder Flies. Alder flies should hatch from late morning into the late afternoon. Bring a variety of Sulphur and Caddis patterns in sizes 12-20, and 16-24 BWOs, as there had been a ton of Blue Winged Olives hatching before the rain. Spinners have been good during the evenings laying eggs, and as a rule, you can expect most of the bug activity in the afternoons and evenings. For nymphs, having different sizes of Pheasant tails, Prince Nymphs, and Hare’s Ears (#12-18) will imitate Stoneflies and a variety of Mayfly nymphs well. Focusing on areas by the park and TMA’s, especially if you’re looking for rising trout, should result in some fish during the warmer afternoons. Other considerations will be Midges and terrestrials. Focusing on your small Midges 18-24 should result in some success. Presentation is key, so use longer leaders, step down to 6x tippet, and make sure you get a drag free drift. Swinging wet flies/soft hackles is also a productive strategy when there is a hatch occurring. With water temperatures on the rise, fish are starting to spread out in the river and feed in different water types. Focusing on nymphing and streamer fishing during the mornings before any hatches is a good strategy and then look for rising fish in the afternoon into the evening. For streamer fishing, having a sinking line or sink tip is the key to success. The trout are starting to become more active with the increasing water temperatures, so don’t overlook the faster water. There are plenty of fish in the river with a combination of stocked fish and holdover fish from the last stocking during Fall. Many anglers are switching over to Smallmouth fishing due to the increasing water temperatures and have been catching good numbers of them.
The report this week is pretty similar to last, with some variability in the action but still plenty of good fishing for those who pick their spots wisely and put in the work. While many of our Stripers have continued to migrate East, there are still schools of fish hanging around. Some anglers are having great mornings catching Stripers and Blues that are chasing bunker pods. Many of these pods have moved in close to the harbors with Stripers and Blues crashing them. This tends to be an early morning low light game, especially this past week. Stripers are starting to become active during the night, so planning around an ideal evening tide could result in some great fishing. Water temperatures in the middle of the sound are in the mid 60s suggesting warmer water nearshore and outflows. The most productive technique this time of year will be fishing with different colored Clousers, or larger bunker imitations (Deceivers, for instance) paired with an intermediate sinking line (1.2-2ips sink rate). Switching up your retrieving speed and pausing between strips should result in fish once you find the pace the fish prefer. For the open water boat game, anglers are having success with bigger flies/poppers in the 6-8” range. For this fishery we prefer 20-30lb fluorocarbon leaders around 7’ in length. Having a shorter leader will help sink your fly when fishing sinking lines, because it will reduce leader hinge, especially with unweighted flies. This rig will also be easier to cast in windier conditions. A lot of schoolies are being brought to hand by shore anglers, with some fish 30” and over in the mix. Westport beaches have continued to see an increase in Striper activity near shore, as well as Cove Harbor, and the outflow of Holly Pond. Resident fish have been pushing bait in coves and salt ponds, and New London is seeing schools of baitfish with Stripers underneath them. In addition, Penfield Reef is fishing well for this time of year. The mouth of the Connecticut River has seen an improvement in Stripers recently. Bluefish have been spotted from Old Saybrook to Greenwich, with some days being tougher to locate them. Look for nervous schools of Bunker moving quickly and you should find fish beneath them. Bringing wire leader in at least 20lb will help avoid break-offs. If fishing by boat, you will see them finning during the mornings. Fishing poppers for Bluefish can be a blast, and while a fair number of Stripers have moved East, there are some bigger fish still hanging around deep water structure towards the bottom. Stripers have started holding around the rocky points on the Norwalk Islands. The issue is trying to get through the large number of Bluefish at the moment. Anglers that are marking fish on sonar and using the most aggressive sinking lines have been catching trophy fish in 20-40ft on 6-8” flies. If fishing the coves by boat, bring some EP Peanut Butters, Deceivers, Clousers, and Half and Halfs in the 4” range which will be the most effective. Also bring a variety of colors in Chartreuse, White, Olive, Blue, and Black/Purple for the evenings. Rocky points will hold Stripers especially well and look for gulls to give away the location of the bait. Fish will also be pushed on the flats during either side of the high tide. For our boat anglers the beaches and coves around Southport are fishing well, as well as structure near some of the buoys, which suggests migratory fish are holding nearshore. With a lot of options available via wading or boat, now is the time to get out there! Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills were spared much of the heavy rain and flooding that affected some areas in the Northeast earlier this week. Flows at the mainstem at Lordville running at 1630 cfs. West Branch flows at Hale Eddy are currently 601 cfs, while the East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is registering 656cfs after topping 1,000 cfs earlier in the week. The Neversink and Beaverkill have fallen back towards seasonal norms. With thunderstorms in the forecast however, make sure to keep an eye on the weather if you are planning on fishing here this weekend.Dry fly fishing has been on a hit or miss basis, with a variety of hatches going on depending on where you’re floating or wading. Fish will be up, but sometimes they can be finicky. This time of year, overcast skies coupled with cooler temperatures and low wind are ideal conditions for bug activity. The main hatches are Sulphurs in sizes 16-20, Blue Winged Olives in 16-20, Caddis (Tan and Olive) in sizes 16-18, and Light Cahill in size 14. Isonychia are making an appearance in larger numbers, so it will be worth bringing those in size 12 to fish the faster water during the evenings. Look to fish Spinners in the evenings depending on what insect has been the most prevalent. Trout will be keyed into any of these bugs, so bringing a variety of patterns (especially Sulphurs) will help your odds of success. Boat anglers that are floating the upper and lower portions of the mainstem have been seeing some great hatches and getting into fish. Water temperatures have been starting in the low-60s during the morning and reaching the high-60s by the afternoon. During the afternoons and evenings is when you will encounter most of your hatches, and anglers that are nymphing and streamer fishing in the morning are having success. During the morning hours, nymphing has been the most productive with Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Caddis Pupa, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms, etc. Streamer fishing with sinking lines also continues to be good, and colors to consider are Chartreuse, Olive, Black, and White. When dry fly fishing, presenting the fly downstream, so the trout will see your fly first as opposed to the leader, will improve your odds. Adding a reach cast in can also be an effective way to get a better and longer drift, coupled with a longer 10-14” 5x leader. One the Willowemoc, Beaverkill, and Neversink you can expect Rusty Spinners, Caddis, Sulphurs, Isonychia, and Cahill.
This week’s report is similar to last week’s, as Bass continued to inundate the South Shore, along with large schools of big Bluefish. Anglers are catching fish on topwater, and the most prevalent bait nearshore are Bunker, Silversides, and Sand Eels. When fishing by boat, focus on structure around the bays and look for birds/baitfish as Stripers will be blitzing. Bringing some poppers, like a Bob’s Banger, will result in some Blue and Striper action during dusk and dawn. Night fishing is also improving, and anglers fishing from shore are finding large Stripers as well. Looking for fish pushing bait to the surface in the rips will result in some fish 30lbs and over by boat. If there is no surface action, you can use an aggressive sinking line paired with a larger Clouser to get deeper. Fishers Island and around Gardiners have also seen Bass crushing Bunker on the surface. The back bays on the Northshore are still seeing plenty of Bluefish.
We are continuing to see consistent Nearshore Stripers in Rhode Island with plenty of schoolies in the 20-30” range. Many fish are being caught by shore and boat anglers. Fishing topwater at dusk and dawn has resulted in nice fish up to 30lbs, and the most important part of the equation is locating the schools of bait. It will be worth fishing squid patterns and Sand Eels with sinking lines near structure and the rips, as there are plenty of adult Sand Eels nearshore. There has been some good fishing in Narragansett Bay. Some larger Stripers have started to show up with more frequency, and every day has been different. In Watch Hill, Stripers are inundating the beaches, breachways, and salt ponds and bigger Bluefish are cruising the beaches. Bringing larger EP Bunker patterns, topwater flies, Flatwings and Deceivers should also be considered to imitate a variety of the baitfish you will encounter. The ledges off Block Island are still fishing well, with large Stripers and Bluefish on Sand Eels in the rips. Some of the flats are seeing slot size and over fish cruising in shallow, with the most effective pattern being crab flies.
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