July 09, 2021 9 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! We finally received some much needed rain in quantities that made a difference. While many of the smaller rivers across the Northeast are still too warm, the tailwaters are looking very good. A recent stocking on the Farmington means that it should be fishing well, provided the water does not get any higher. And the saltwater fly fishing to the East of us has been crazy good. Big fish and strong tides means that, depending on the weather, fishing should be awesome over the next week. Read on for more...
The Cape is fishing extremely well. 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. Expect the fishing to only get better over the next 2 weeks. The Bluefish have begun to show up as well. The numbers are building and it is only a matter of time before the fishing gets really hot. Nantucket is starting to see some gator blues and while the numbers are thin, they are around and moving in. Sandeels seem to be the “buzz bait” right now. 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 is still fishing very well. With the New Moon tides expect this weekend to be awesome, if the weather cooperates. The big fish are all over and the fly fishing has been rock solid. The influx of large schools of Sandeels and Bunker have kept the fish on the feed. Sandeels still seem to be the go-to baitfish imitation this week. The fish are gorging on these baitfish and will continue to do so for the next few weeks.
One of the hot spots will be Block Island. The fish will be stacked among 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 anytime 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. Morning and evening hours have been fishing exceptionally well, if you are in the right place. However, it seems to be more of a boat fishery for the larger fish. 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 Rhodie right now - no doubt about it.
Finally, some rain and a good bump in CFS! The Mainstem is running around 5300, the East is at 4900, and the West Branch is at 800 CFS as of 07/09. While those levels too high for wading, those of you on drift boats will be in hog heaven after the storm passes and water comes down. 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. Dries will still be coming off so don’t worry. The most prolific hatch will be Sulphurs. They are prevalent in upper Main and well in both branches. Cahills, caddis, and BWO’s will make up the majority of the rest of the insects coming off this week. There are Iso Bicolors coming off as well. 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.
The Willow and Beaverkill are too warm. Water temps are well into the 70s. That is just too warm to ethically trout fish. We recommend staying off these rivers for the remainder of the summer unless something dramatic happens weather-wise. If youmust fish these rivers, only fish in the early morning and evening. However, It is still very warm even in the early and late hours. It is best to give these fish a much-needed break so there are some in the Fall and next spring. “If you love 'em, leave 'em alone.”
No change to the New York report. Montauk, The Race, Plum Gut, and surrounding areas are the place to be. While West of there, things have been slowing quite a bit; out East has been a very different story. They are seeing some really nice fish out East. The rocks around Gardiner’s Island are seeing some great action as well. While the larger fish seem to hold in 40 feet or deeper, they are being found in the shallows in the early morning and late evening hours. There are plenty of schoolies around as well 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 to catch 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.
The Farmington got a good shot of rain the other day. Flows were bumped up to 350 out of the dam on Thursday. It has come down to 330 but going up again. The Still is putting in around 1000 CFS and rising as of 07/09. That’s around 1400 CFS total, which is blown out-ish for this river. There is even more rain forecasted for the next few days, so we will see what that does to flows. With those flows, if you plan on fishing this weekend then it will be almost exclusively a streamer game. Sure you could nymph the pockets and banks, but streamers will be the best option for Saturday and Sunday. 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. You will have to cover a lot of water to find the right fish. Do a lot of walking and you should be rewarded.
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, which means that angling pressure is peaking 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 as well. BWOs are always a factor, especially on cloudier days. The strongest hatch will be Sulphurs. There are some Isos coming off as well, but it’s a trickle hatch and can be a bit muted on the Farmington. 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, 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 is the key to success now. Water temps are good and the fish will be spread, so consider deploying this tactic from now on. It can make or break your day, especially as crowds swell to peak in July. 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.
The Housatonic is blown out. After the rain, it bumped up to around 3,000 CFS. However, that is not a huge hit as trout fishing is done until the Fall. The water is too warm, which makes 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 in the Smallmouth Bass though. The Smallies have been more than making up for declining trout fishing. Right now, targeting these fish on surface flies is an absolute blast. The Smallies are the least active at mid-day. 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.
Not much new to report for the Sound. The only change this past week was a small uptick in larger fish activity. It seems like there are a lot of smaller Blues around, which are making up the lion’s share of the activity out there. Schoolies are on structure as well making them easier targets for the boat guys. The majority of the larger fish have moved to the East. There are still some larger Bass stragglers around, but we are past the meat of the big fish push. The large fish that are here are very scattered and pinning them down has been difficult. The next few months will prove to be the most challenging as the straggler fish will typically be looking for deep, cold water. The bite will also be mainly in the early morning or the late afternoon / evening. 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 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.