July 30, 2021 8 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! A difficult week for most fly anglers out there, especially those targeting trout. While the rivers have come down, many are quite warm. Even the tailwaters are getting up there. The fish are spread out and hunkered down trying to make it through the warmest water of the year. As such, most anglers have opted for other species or are focusing on a few key fisheries that are still fishing well. The saltwater side of things has certainly had its moments over the past week, but is tough as well. The saving grace has been the larger Blues out East that have provided awesome action on the fly. Smaller Blues are numerous all along the coast as well and are almost a sure thing. The poor tides have stifled the Striper bite in a big way. The Striped Bass are lethargic and finicky making them a secondary target for most throwing a fly. Read on for the details...
The Cape is fishing well. While things seem to have slowed down a bit since the last Full Moon, there are still options. Sandeels, mackerel, squid, and Bunker are all prevalent. Stripers will be keyed on all of these so be prepared with a good selection of flies. The larger Bass will be just offshore in deeper water congregating around rips and drop offs. Early mornings and afternoons have seen very consistent action and the night bite is the most productive. The larger fish are definitely thick in the area, but have been hard to get to commit with the poor tides we have. Martha’s Vineyard has been one of the hot spots recently for larger Stripers so if you are hedging your bets, that would be a good place to begin your search. There are also plenty of smaller fish hanging around structure if you want to have fun with poppers in the mornings and evenings. The Bonito seem to have thinned out. It may still be worth a look around the South end of the Vineyard as they could show up any day. Remember, it is still a bit early, but they typically show up in decent numbers this time of year. Nantucket has been seeing more and more gator Blues. They are plentiful and teasing these fish up with poppers has been very effective. A large flashy fly should be effective in drawing strikes. Bonito have shown up off Nantucket as well. The Rips off Monomoy are still producing a lot of fish right now too. While most are using spin gear to get down, full sink lines with bigger Bunker, Mackerel, or squid patterns will produce. The larger fish have pushed through the Canal and as such, Cape Cod Bay has good concentrations of larger fish. The fish are pretty thick up there at this point and the Cape/Massachusetts is a great place to be right now. There are a lot of options with everything from Big Striped Bass to Bonito.
Rhodie tailed off a bit over the past week. No surprise there with the tides we have. There has also been an influx of Mackerel, which are becoming more numerous by the day. With mackerel around there are certainly Bonito around as well. It is a bit early for these fish, however to the East around Newport anglers have already seen fish popping up. Smaller flashy flies on sinking lines will do the trick if you run into these fish. The Striped Bass fishing has slowed down with the weak tides. Block Island, which had been hot recently, has cooled. However, this is as good a place as any to be searching for that 40 pounder. The fish will be stacked among the rocks and will crush a well casted fly in the mornings and evenings. With the tides though, you will really need to convince them. Slowing down your retrieve and getting the fly down deep should help stack the odds in your favor. 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 on any given day 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 good numbers of larger Bass as well. While they are difficult to locate at times, they are certainly in the area. Covering water has been the key to success. The most recent development has been the arrival of smaller bait as Bay Anchovies and other “rain bait” have shown up just offshore. Striper and Bluefish blitzes are becoming more numerous as the days pass and pretty soon they will be a common occurrence. These fish will be notoriously picky, so it is best to have some smaller 2-inch-long flies just in case. Color doesn't really matter, as it is more of a size thing.
The Mainstem is running around 2000 and falling, the East is at 800, and the West Branch is at 800 CFS as of 07/30. These are good levels across the board - good for waders and okay for the drift boats. With the lower water and sunny conditions this Saturday, expect fishing to be tough. The Main is warming up as the water falls, so if you plan on fishing here only fish the upper sections. The East is alright in the morning, but flirting with 70 degrees by mid-day. Best to let these fish rest after 12pm. Your best option will be the West Branch - no surprise there. However, crowds have been quite substantial, so best to get there early or be prepared to move around quite a bit. Sulphurs are still the hot fly on most days. Dropping down to size 18 or even 20 has been very effective of late. Iso Bicolor, caddis, and BWOs will make up the rest of the insects coming off. Fishing a big Iso emerger in the blind has been taking fish as well. Early last week the fishing was pretty good, but apparently things are getting tougher. The best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Terrestrials are not a bad option as well.
New York has seen a bit of a slowdown, as has the rest of the Northeast. The tides are not great and with warming water, you will want to be very cognizant of where and when you fish. Anglers who are doing well with Stripers are fishing at night. Early mornings and late in the afternoon seem to be okay as well. If you are fishing to the West, it will be a bit of a grind. There are some decent sized Bluefish out in the middle feeding on very small bait. Birds will give these fish away and a decent run in the early morning hours should have you on these fish in short order. Downsize your flies as these fish are on very small bait. You can still find schoolie Stripers on structure in tight, but remember that low light hours are key. A moving tide is critical as well and they are pretty weak right now. Out to the East, the fishing is certainly better. It has slowed out here too, but cooler water and most of the biomass means that odds are higher for having a good day on the water. In and around the Race have seen flurries of Gator Bluefish action in the AM and PM. There have been some bigger Bass around as well. Plum Gut is another hot spot with lots of surface action in the mornings. The Montauk Light has been producing as well. The rips off the Light will consolidate bait and the larger predatory fish will be waiting. We have a pretty windy forecast for the weekend, but early next week looks pretty darn good.
Not much positive on the Farmington. The water has come way down, but is still a bit on the high side. The flow is around 450 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still and the Still is putting out an additional 100. The predicted “great-post-flood-fishing” never really materialized. It has certainly improved, but by no means is it lights out. The fish are still finding their footing after prolonged flooding and are quite scattered. We are hearing about skinny and smaller fish being caught with the occasional larger fish brought to hand. Numbers are not there either with a 4 or 5 fish day being the norm. The water is getting a tad warm - 64 degrees for the high and reaching up to 66 in days previous, which could be the reason things are not great. But, hey at least it is fishable! For hatches, there are Sulphurs and some Isos coming off. There are lots of tan and green caddis hatching as well. 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 the evening as well. BWOs are always a factor as well, especially on cloudier days. The strongest mayfly hatch will be Sulphurs. Also consider bringing the terrestrial box from now on, as there are certainly ants and beetles crawling around. 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. Smaller streamers may be a good option on cloudier days. Moving forward, keep an eye on those flows and be safe out there.Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housy is running around 2000 CFS, which is still too high to wade. The water is too warm anyway, making it unethical to trout fish at this point. The thermal refuges are now in effect and the trout should be left alone for the rest of summer. Once, and only once, the water subsides to under 1000 CFS will there be a great fly fishing opportunity for Smallmouth Bass. The flood will have cooled off the water a bit and once things clear up, the Smallie bite should be pretty darn good. I would expect these fish to be willing to take almost anything after a few weeks of very high water.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
It is tough fishing down here in the Western Sound. Poor tides and warming water means only one thing - the dreaded summer doldrums. Fly fishing in the Sound will be tough for the next month, no doubt about it. However, if you play your cards right and capitalize when conditions are right, you can still get into some decent fishing. At this point, you should only be fly fishing early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Time that with decent tides and you should have a good shot at finding fish. The big fish have been thinning out quite a bit. While there are always bigger fish somewhere, expect them to be tough to pin down. It seems like there are a lot of smaller Blues around making up most of the activity out there. Schoolies are on structure as well making them easier targets from a boat. The majority of the larger fish have moved to the East. Smaller Blues and schoolie Bass will make up the majority of the action for shore-based fly anglers. But again, mornings and evenings are the bite window. We have been seeing some Harbor Blues crushing bait on the beaches locally. They are a blast on light gear, so if you are looking to bend a rod, comb the beaches and look for blitzing fish or birds. 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.