Greetings Compleat Anglers!Well, it was bound to happen, as it does every year. The Summer doldrums are upon us, reflected in the challenging freshwater scene and localized saltwater action. If you are thinking about fly fishing for trout, tailwaters are the only option. However, low water and concentrated angling pressure leaves a lot to be desired. If you are hankering to get out there, the tailwaters are your best option but many anglers are waiting until we get some much-needed rain. Similar story for the Saltwater fly fishing. If you are out East, the fishing is probably pretty good. If you are in Long Island Sound or West of that, chances are it has been difficult. Rhode Island and Montauk are really where you want to be. Cooler water and more prevalent bait all contribute to better fishing. The bite has been hot out there and with the New Moon Tides, the fishing should be great this weekend and into next week. Saltwater is certainly the safe bet in the weeks to come unless some dramatic happens with water levels across the Northeast. If you’d like to get a few more ideas about how to make the most of your fishing this time of year also be sure to check out our Compleat Guide to the Summer Doldrums. Read on for more...
Rhodie is still the place to be at the moment. Most of our Stripers have holed up off of Rhodie making it one of the epicenters of the big Bass game. There are big fish all over the place right now. That, coupled with the New Moon tides, suggest some pretty awesome fishing in the coming days. Lower light hours are absolutely critical as we get deeper into Summer. The fish are starting to become tougher to locate during mid-day and high sun. For that reason, falling tides in the early morning or evening are best (unless it is overcast then fish whenever the tides are good). The night-time bite has been the hottest with big fish willing to hammer large poppers or bigger streamers. While certain areas tend to be hot-spots, make no mistake, they are peppered all over the place. We are seeing a ton of these larger fish on Sandeels. There are tons of them around and the larger variety is blitzed on in the mornings and evenings. These fish are anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds so, for that reason, it is a good idea to have a 10wt or 11wt with some larger flies ready to go. The salt ponds such as Ninigrit are still producing good numbers of Stripers. While the majority are smaller, schoolie sized fish some bigger fish have been sneaking in at night to feed on the smaller forage. The other option is the Gator Blues which are all over the place. They have been found mostly in deeper water making them a more viable target for boat anglers. However, off the jetties and beaches you could run into the fish at any given time so be prepared with wire leader and sacrificial flies. They have been so prevalent that it has been tough to get through them for a decent shot at the Stripers. However, they are big with fiah at or above 16lbs almost a guarantee. So, if a big Blue on fly is what you are after, give Rhodie a shot. The beaches and back bays have also been producing well. Again, take your shots during the low light hours. The night-time bite is by far the best with fish in the 30-inch range a common occurrence on a fly. There are a ton of options off Rhody at the moment. Whether from shore or boat, the fly fishing is great right now.
The Farmington is starting to get pretty tough. It is the only game in town at this point and anglers know it. With all of the small streams burning up, low, and poached out, tailwaters are the only viable option if you want consistent trout fishing. However, flow out of the dam is around 120cfs. The Still is putting in another 14cfs. That is very low and far from ideal. We desperately need some water. Water temps are fluctuating depending on the air temperatures but this weekend should be around 56 degrees during the afternoon. The farther away from the dam you get, the warmer the water will be so consider staying higher up. The fish are very educated and spooky due to pressure and low water. We are hearing that the fishing has been extremely difficult. As such you will need to switch flies often, move around a lot, and get unorthodox with your approach. For dry fly anglers, Sulphurs are still hanging in there up in Riverton. The Isos have been trickling out in the C&R section and popping in the late afternoon. You can expect fish to be rising in the mornings on BWOs, Attenuatta, small caddis, and midges provided the water isn’t super low. Terrestrials are also becoming a factor. Ants and Beetles will start to take fish so definitely have those in the box at this point. Wet flies are also starting to be very effective for trout spey anglers. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. The only hindrance is the water levels and angling pressure which have been making it quite challenging. We are hearing crowds have picked back up and finding a decent spot to fish can be tough. I would recommend getting to a favorite spot early in the morning to find good water. Remember to not high or low-hole anyone. We have been seeing a lot of anglers being disrespectful and crowding anglers who are already fishing in a spot. There is plenty of water to fish. If someone is fishing a hole, just move on and find other open water. If there are no holes open, get there earlier next time or wait until one opens up. Remember that many anglers may be dry fly fishing and could be fishing 50 feet up and down from where they are standing. So, when in doubt ask them what their game plan is and see if it is ok to slide in above or below. I can’t believe I need to put this in our reports but two of our employees have been low-holed in the past weeks and numerous customers have been telling us how inconsiderate other fly anglers have been. You know who you are if you have been doing this. Let’s keep it clean out there. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic is low. The flows are around 210cfs and falling. That is a safe flow for wading but the warm water means one thing: it’s time to give the trout a break. Thermal refuges have been in effect since June and with water temps getting over 68 degrees by the afternoon, it is unethical to trout fish at this point. That said, flows are great for wading and the smallie fishing down low has been good. While we could use another 200cfs, the fish are looking up and willing to take poppers in the mornings and afternoons. Transitioning to streamers fished on sink tips will be far more productive for the rest of the day. We are in the prime month for Smallies. Water temps are perfect and the fish will take any reasonable streamer. This is a great option when conditions are less than ideal or other rivers are just too crowded. A 6 to 8wt rod with an intermediate sink or sink tip line will get the job done. This is a great time to target these fish with double digit days not uncommon.
It is getting tough out there. The fishing seems to be waning with few positive reports. Sure, there are schoolies around but it is difficult trying to find any larger fish that will eat a fly. As the water continues to warm, the fish will head for deeper water or push East to Rhode Island or Montauk. The further we get off the Full Moon, the more difficult the fishing will get. However, with larger fish moving out of the area there will be plenty of schoolies around to target. There is plenty of bait around as well so a multitude of flies should work. The falling tide has been the most productive (no surprise there) but the rising will still produce as well, especially from a boat. We are seeing good surface activity early in the mornings with smaller fish blitzing on silversides and other assorted small bait. The one major change is that the fish are becoming much more light-sensitive. Mid-day is seeing very little action while the low light hours are producing well, so you’ll want to get up early or stay out late. It makes a big difference. Tidal fluctuations are also becoming far more important. The strongest tides of the month are when you should really be focusing your attention for shots at larger fish. However, as long as the water is moving, you will have feeding Stripers (provided you are in the right area). Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a good chance of success. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills are not looking great. The water is getting low and they did not get the rain we had last week, which is a shame as that whole area really needs it. However, if you put the time in you could pick away at some fish. Angling pressure and warming temperatures are creating a feast-and-famine type situation out there. Some rivers are fishing reasonably well, whereas others are quite challenging. The key to success seems to be locating colder water, fishing at the opportune times, picking the right days to go, and targeting the prime locations. It is certainly a bit of a guessing game since conditions change daily but if you hit it right, the fly fishing can be spectacular. For hatches, the larger bugs will be Isos, and Sulphurs. There will be varying degrees of hatches depending on what system you are on. After that comes the BWOs and assorted caddis. Terrestrials are coming into their own as well. Ants and Beetles are on the menu and can often take fish when nothing else will. As such, you will want to bring a good variety of flies and be prepared to switch them often. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill are getting very warm and really starting to slow down. I would stay away from these rivers at this point. The Catskills are still a great option right now on the right day. Another positive is that crowds seem to be dwindling. There have not been mobs of anglers up there making it a great weekend spot.
Montauk, Montauk, Montauk. The Striper bite is wide open on the Eastern end of Long Island. The further East you go the better the fly fishing will be at this point. Big Bass have been hammering Sandeels and other forage species. In the low-light hours, fly-rodders are putting up some really big fish. Long Island Sound seems to be slowing quite a bit. While there are plenty of fish scattered all over the New York coast, the epicenter of the action will be out toward the Hamptons and Montauk where the water is colder. This is where the majority of the fish will spend the summer, moving inshore and offshore to feed on the numerous baitfish species abundant in the area. There are large fish pushing in daily and if you want a larger Striper, Montauk and the surrounding area is the place to be. The key is to fish during low light hours. These fish are far more active at night. You can get schoolies throughout the day but those fish over 30” really begin to shut down when the sun gets high. It is wise to start throwing larger flies at this point. They don’t have to be huge but flies 4 inches or bigger seem to be the go-to. Use black-and-purple for low light conditions, and white or white-and-olive for brighter conditions. The beaches are seeing good action in the mornings and afternoons. The salt ponds and inlets are also a very good option as well. Most of the larger fish seem to be taken by boat anglers as these fish are hanging around deeper structure. Teasing fish up with a popper and then throwing a fly has been the most productive way to get these fish. There are also plenty of Gator Blues around. An awesome target on fly, the tease-and-switch with a popper is a great way to connect with Blues over 10lbs. The forecast looks great for the weekend so this will be a great time to capitalize on the Full Moon tides.
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