August 13, 2021 9 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Saltwater fly fishing has been great this past week and looking forward, things will only begin to improve. We are at the beginning of the best two months of saltwater fishing in the Northeast, and it is all starting to happen. The smaller "rainbait" are balling up in huge numbers and attracting the attention of Bass, Blues, Mackerels, and Bonito. Surface Blitzes are becoming more common by the day with Stripers being the frontrunner in terms of popularity and numbers. They are all over the place and while they are notoriously picky on these smaller bait, fly anglers have a serious advantage being able to throw tiny imitations that will get bit. Montauk, the Cape, and Rhode Island are all seeing big schools of blitzing fish in the mornings and afternoons so now is the time to get out there. At the very least everyone should be preparing feverishly. The floodgates will open any day now. Bonito are beginning to show up more constantly off the Vineyard and Nantucket, the true signal that the time is now. On the Freshwater side of things, the trout fishing have been poor across the board. The water is low and warm for almost every river in the Northeast. That, coupled with months of constant angling pressure, means that the trout are very weary and it would be best to give the trout a break for the next month. Read on for more...
There was some great fly fishing this past weekend. Conditions were perfect and reports were excellent. The Cape, Buzzards Bay, and Nantucket all saw increasing numbers of nice bass in a wide variety of locations. Sandeels, mackerel, squid, and Bunker were all prevalent. Those who seemed to do well were prepared with a good selection of flies. The larger Blues were around as well. In the week to come, start to look back around deeper water. 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 with the night bite being the most productive. The larger fish are definitely thick in the area and should turn on with the tides we have. Martha’s Vineyard has been one of the hot spots recently for larger Stripers so if you were 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 come in nicely around the bars and drop offs in deeper water. We are not hearing much about Bones in tight but it is only a matter of time. It will be worth a look around the South end of the Vineyard as they could show up any day. This is when they tend to show up in good numbers so have at least one rod rigged for Bonito. 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 has been effective in drawing strikes. Bonito have shown up off Nantucket as well. The Bonito Bar and the Hooter are consistently producing fish. The Rips off Monomoy are still 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 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. The Cape/Massachusetts is a great place to be right now. There are a lot of options right now and the fishing is hot!
Bass, Bass, Bass. There are Stripers everywhere off of Rhodie right now with blitzes from Watch Hill up to Newport. These fish are feeding hard on tiny bait so be sure to have very small flies to match the hatch. Bay Anchovies and young of the year Silversides/Spearing seem to be the majority of the bait around right now so be sure to have patterns that mimic them. There has also been an influx of Mackerel which are becoming more numerous by the day. The bass are on these smaller baitfish as well and are a blast on 7wts.
With mackerel around there are also Bonito around as well. It is still a bit early for these fish, however to the East around Newport anglers have already been seeing them pop up. Smaller flashy flies on sinking lines will do the trick if you run into these fish. 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 still 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. Early mornings and late afternoons are still the best times to be on the water, even with the amount of bait and blitzing going on. We are seeing far less activity during the mid-day hours. The next month off of Rhode Island will see huge Striper Blitzes, Bonito, Mackerel, Gator Blues, and the first appearances of False Albacore. Now is the time to be getting ready because it will happen fast.
No change to the Delaware report. The Mainstem is running around 1300 and falling, the East is at 400, and the West Branch is at 600 CFS as of 08/13. Low levels across the board. These levels are good for waders and ok for drift boats but the fishing will be tough as the low water will have these fish on the skittish side. That could be offset by the cloud cover we have. Your best option will still be the West Branch. No surprise there. However, the East and Main will fish well too. Crowds seem to be dwindling which is a good thing. Weekends have been tough but during the week there is plenty of water to fish. So no need to get there early. Sulphurs are still the hot fly on most days with BWOs in a close second. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective of late. Iso Bicolor and caddis will make up the majority of the rest of the insects coming off. Fishing a big Iso emerger in the blind has been taking fish as well. Reports from our anglers are that things are getting much 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 either. The key moving forward is going on the right days. Low water and bright sun are the exact opposite of what you are looking for. Cloudy days and any dip in temperature will be when to focus your efforts. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly.
Out East, in and around Montauk, the fishing has been great this past week. There have been lots of Bass feeding on top. Similar to Rhodie and the Cape, the majority of these fish are feeding on tiny Bay Anchovies, Silversides, or Spearing. There are Bunker and Mackerel around but it seems like the majority of the fish are opting for the easier target. As such, very small flies are compulsory. The Blues don’t seem to care much but the Bass will. It is best to have flies that imitate these as these fish can get notoriously selective on smaller baitfish. You will find schoolie Stripers on structure in tight with the cooler weather we have had but remember, low light hours are key. A moving tide is critical as well since they are weak right now. Out to the East, the fishing is certainly better than it is in the Western Sound but there was an uptick in activity on the Western End. Back bay and beaches are fishing well as fish have pushed in on the flood tide. In and around the Race has seen flurries of Gator Bluefish mornings and afternoons. 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. The forecast is looking alright for the weekend and if you are fishing out East, things should be pretty darn good.
No change to the Farmington report. The flow is still around 450 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. The Still is putting out an additional 50. The fishing has been very tough the past few weeks. Reports are pretty bleak. One fish days are not uncommon and few larger fish have been taken. Even the euro-nymphing mob is having difficulty from what we are hearing. The water is getting warm which could be one of the reasons things are not great. We are seeing 68 degrees for the water temperature high in Riverton. That coupled with months of relentless angling pressure are starting to show as the fish are ultra-selective. For hatches, there are still some Sulphurs and Isos coming off but these hatches are dwindling. Isos are essentially done, and a few Sulphurs are hanging in there up toward Riverton. There are some tan caddis hatching on the right day. 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, especially on cloudier days. We are hearing Tricos have begun to show up as well but from what our anglers are seeing, it is not consistent yet. Smaller fish are rising in the mornings and afternoons in the softer sections. These are perfect 3wt fish and can offer at least some action. The terrestrial box is a must from now on. 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. Swinging soft hackles seems to be the most productive from the anglers who have deployed it. There is a good number of anglers with trout spey rods that are covering water with soft hackles and are doing better than most. August and September are tough months on this river. It may be best to give these fish a much-needed break and target other species.Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic is down to a nice wadeable level at around 600 CFS. The water is too warm to ethically 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. However, we have a great fly fishing opportunity for Smallmouth Bass. The water has cleared up and with the cloud cover we have, the fishing should be very good. These fish will hit poppers in the morning and evening with mid-day being a streamer game. Fish the deeper holes and runs with sinking lines and smaller streamers. Anything in a size 2 or smaller with some weight should get the job done. The Pike fishing seems to have tailed off a bit. These fish are on the more lethargic side and, as such, the bite window is narrow. Early mornings and late in the evenings will be when you have the best odds of success. Remember to cover a lot of water. That is the key with Northerns.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The tides and conditions saw a little flurry of activity along the Connecticut coast this past week. Stripers were feeding well around structure and while most of these fish were 26” and under, there were plenty of them around. Beaches, points, back bays and estuaries all seemed to have fish moving in and feeding. The nighttime bite was just as good if not better. Some nice fish were taken over 30” by fly anglers willing to put the time in. As with last week, Bluefish still seem to be the best option for the fly anglers right now. They are consistently feeding out in the middle, given away by the birds. They are feeding on very small bait but teasing them into a frenzy with a popper and throwing a larger fly will still produce. They have been finicky with daylight as well. After around 9am the bite dies so be out there early. The evenings have been good as well with 5pm or later seeing some good activity. 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 later in the afternoon. Time that with decent tides and you should have a good shot at catching fish. 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 crashing 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. 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.