Northeast Fishing Report: 7/16/21 - The Compleat Angler

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July 16, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! Well, if you were hoping to cast a fly for trout last week, you were likely disappointed. The Tropical storm caused major flooding across the Northeast and all of our rivers from the small creeks to larger rivers blew out in a big way. The repercussions of the torrential rain are still being felt as many tailwaters are releasing water to get the reservoirs down. The Farmington, for example, is unfishable and most rivers throughout the Northeast are in the same condition.  While the high water is a slight nuisance at present, it should be very beneficial for the trout over the coming weeks. And the tropical storm did have a positive effect in the short term too, as the saltwater fly fishing was lights out last week. Water temps along the coast were brought back into the low 70s and the big Stripers really responded. They came in shore and some very large fish were caught. We are on the back side of that good push of fish though, so expect tougher fishing ahead. Read on for more...

Massachusetts

No change to the Massachusetts report. There are plenty of slot and sub-slot fish in tight to shore - making it a great time to fly fish from the beaches and flats. The larger Bass will be just offshore in deeper water congregating around rips and drop offs. Early mornings and afternoons have seen the most action. The larger fish are definitely thick in the area by now. We are hearing that most outings to target these larger fish have been paying off. Martha’s Vineyard has been one of the hot spots recently for larger Stripers. The Bluefish have begun to show up as well. Nantucket has been seeing more and more gator Blues. They are plentiful and matching the hatch has paid off for most fly anglers. The Rips off Monomoy are producing a lot of fish right now as well. While most are using spin gear to get down, full sink lines with bigger Bunker, Mackerel, or squid patterns will produce. The Squid are showing up in strong numbers, so be sure to have some squid patterns in the box. The Larger fish are pushing through the Canal and as such, Cape Cod Bay will start to see more and more large fish as the weeks pass. The fish are pretty thick up there at this point!

Rhode Island

Saltwater

Rhode Island is still fishing very well. The tropical storm that rolled through kicked things into high gear for sure. Cooler water temps and cloud cover had the Bass on the feed. Fly fishing was rock solid the 3 days after the storm and seems to be tapering off. There are still plenty of Bunker and Sandeels around. Sandeels seem to be losing out in favor of larger patterns in the past few days. Anglers were throwing the big stuff with great results. While we are currently on a downturn, Rhodie will fish very well next month. One of the hot spots will be Block Island. The fish will be stacked amongst the rocks and will crush a well casted fly in the mornings and evenings. The Bluefish numbers have been consistent. While most of these fish are in the 2 to 4 pound range, you could run into Gator Blues off Rhodie if you are fishing from a boat. So, best to keep some wire and flashy flies just in case. Point Judith and surrounding areas have been inundated with larger Bass. While they are difficult to locate at times, they are certainly in the area and out to Block Island. Watch Hill and Point Judith are seeing larger fish tucked in tight on the higher tides in the low light hours. Mornings and evenings have been fishing exceptionally well if you are in the right place. It seems to be more of a boat fishery for the larger fish however. Covering water has been the key to success. “Searching” with a hookless popper and throwing the fly when fish respond is the most efficient method. It is prime time off Rhody right now. No doubt about it!

New York

Catskills

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 4000, the East is at 2000, and the West Branch is at 1200 CFS as of 07/16. These are great levels across the board. While those levels are a bit too high for wading, those of you on drift boats will be in hog heaven. This bump will also cool the water down quite a bit, which is a very good thing. I would venture to say that the East, West, and Upper Mainstem will all fish well this weekend. The streamer fishing should be pretty darn good in the morning and afternoon. We had our customer and friend Sal go up there with his buddy and catch 2 Stripers the other day! Both on streamers. 

Delaware River Striped Bass

For you dry fly anglers, dries will still be coming off too, so don’t worry. The most prolific hatch will be Sulphurs. They are prevalent in upper Main and in both branches. Iso Bicolor, Cahills, caddis, and BWO’s will make up the rest of the insects coming off this week. Fishing has been very tough recently, so this is a much-needed bump. The fish on the West Branch have been beat up pretty good. There are a lot of anglers out there right now and the fish are educated. This increased water will push a lot of waders out and leave more room for the drift boats. And while that is great for the boat anglers, the fish will still be selective as they always are. Having multiple patterns of one type of bug is very advantageous right now.

Saltwater

Not much change to the New York report. Montauk, The Race, Plum Gut, and surrounding areas are the place to be. Same as elsewhere, the tropical storm churned things up and fishing was outstanding this past weekend into mid week. From now on, the further East you go, the better it should be - in theory. The rocks around Gardner’s Island are seeing some great action. While the larger fish hold in 40 feet or deeper, they are in the shallows in the early morning and late evening hours. There are plenty of schoolies around to keep the rods bent, but always be prepared for a cow Striper to suck down your fly. You never know what you are going to hook! Substantial numbers of larger fish are infiltrating into Eastern New York and will continue to do so for the next month. So, keep those larger flies in your box and with any concerted effort, you should be able to get into some larger class fish. They have been on Bunker and Sandeel schools. Using the bait and switch with hookless poppers has been working well in taking some larger fish on fly when they are on Bunker. If they are on Sandeels, throw larger Sandeel patterns. The Bluefish have come in thick. While most are not huge, there are plenty of them. They seem to be the 2 to 4 pounders. A great 8 wt fish, but make sure you have wire on and durable flies. For the shore based anglers there have been no shortage of options. Back bays, harbor mouths, beaches, breachways, and salt ponds have all been producing. Shinnecock bay has been loaded with schoolies as well. But again, remember to fish low-light hours.

Connecticut

Farmington River

Until the flows change, the Farmington is essentially unfishable from the banks. The flow is 1400 CFS out of the dam without any input from the Still. The Still is putting out an additional 400. It is coming down but it is still very high. With those flows, if you plan on fishing this weekend then it will be almost exclusively a streamer game from a raft. Do not attempt to wade this river right now. These flows are too high to wade most places and realistically the fishing will be so poor that it is best to fish elsewhere. From a boat or raft it is a different story. The streamer bite should be pretty good if you are one of the first few boats down the river. Remember that covering water is key and banging the banks is often the best approach. The fish are tucked in tight to the banks and waiting to ambush prey. But in order to find the right fish, you need to cover a lot of water. Lower light hours will typically produce better as well. When the water comes back down, expect tougher fishing. Months of angling pressure has left these fish weary. Even the stockies know what's up and are very selective. You need to be dead on with your fly selection. Also keep in mind that the Farmington is the only game in town as far as trout streams are concerned and as such, angling pressure tends to peak right around now. For dries, there are certainly lots of options depending on where you are on the river. There are lots of tan and green caddis coming off. Expect to see the caddis coming off in the mornings and fish rising on them in the softer sections or eddies. Caddis will hatch throughout the day and into evening. BWOs are always a factor as well, especially on cloudier days. The strongest hatch will be Sulphurs. There are some Isos coming off, but it’s a trickle hatch and can be a bit muted on the Farmington. Also consider bringing the terrestrial box from now on. There are certainly ants and beetles crawling around, as July is the“terrestrial month.” During the middle of the day, fishing an ant or beetle in the blind can be surprisingly effective. If nothing else it is a great searching pattern that will move fish and allow you to get a bead on them. From there you can deploy a more precise tactic or drop a nymph below it. Church, Chair Factory, Halfords, Greenwoods, Pipeline, and the Boneyard are all putting up some really nice fish. These bigger and wild Browns are what you go up there for, but getting these spots will mean a very early morning and a long day. That being said, there is plenty of water on this river and anglers have been doing well by fishing on the move. Fishing “B” or “C” water and hitting multiple pockets while covering water has often been the key to success. That is certainly the case now. Water temps are good and the fish will be spread out into faster feeding lies. Consider deploying this tactic from now on, especially as crowds swell to peak in July. As mentioned before the Farmington has a long Catch and Release Only section making it a great choice this time of year. While you can expect a lot of spin anglers to be up there as well, there is plenty of water to fish where there will be fewer anglers around.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

 

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

The Housatonic is blown out. After the rain, it bumped up to around 4600 CFS. That is not a huge hit since trout fishing is done until the Fall. The water is too warm making it unethical to trout fish at this point. The thermal refuges are now in effect and the trout should really be left alone for the rest of summer. There is a great fly fishing opportunity for the Smallmouth Bass though. Right now, targeting these fish with surface flies is an absolute blast. Mid-day tends to find the Smallies the least active. Fishing weighted streamers with sink tips should keep those rods bent. With the flows we have, I would recommend fishing elsewhere this weekend. Wait until the water comes down.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The tropical storm that rolled through Friday gave us what is most likely to be a last gasp of big Striper activity for the Summer. Cooler water temps and cloud cover after the storm had fish tucked in tight and taking big flies. Since then the action has simmered out with most of the fish vacating the area. The tide is not great as well. While there are always bigger fish somewhere, expect them to be tough to pin down.

The majority of the activity there is made up of numerous smaller Blues. Schoolies are on structure making them easier targets for the boat guys. The majority of the larger fish have moved to the East, but there are still some straggler larger Bass around. Those fish are very scattered and pinning them down has proven difficult. The next few months will prove to be the most challenging as those fish will typically be looking for deep, cold water. The bite will also be very much in the early morning and the late afternoon into the evening window. Smaller Blues and schoolie Bass will make up the majority of the action for the shore-based fly anglers. But again, mornings and evenings are still the bite window. Very little is happening mid-day. The majority of our serious anglers are headed East. While the Sound still provides some good opportunities on the right day, it may not be a bad idea to look East from now on.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.


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