Hello Compleat Angler friends! We had big spikes in flows from this morning’s rainstorms and many of our rivers are blown out. Unfortunately many of our local rivers and streams have also seen temperatures at 70 degrees and above, so they're currently unfishable. The Farmington looks to still be fishable at this time but be mindful of the high water temperatures and make sure to get out there early. Water is coming out of the dam at 67 degrees. On the saltwater front the Striper and Bluefish bite remains consistent. Blitzing fish tend to be an early morning game before they hunker back down in deeper, cooler water. This time of year can also be productive for night fishing with larger flies in Black/Purple. Read on for more...
As of this writing the Saugatuck flows have spiked, and are cresting at around 1000 CFS, so best to steer clear for the time being. Once conditions settle we expect things to normalize and for the fishing to continue to be an early morning and evening game, mostly due to water temperatures, which had been crossing that 70F threshold. The most consistent bug the trout have been keying in on is small Caddis around size 20. Try fishing the adult form or pupae if trout are rising. Nymphing and throwing dry/dropper rigs has been the most productive technique. We recommend using fluorocarbon between your nymph and dry fly. More imitative and smaller nymphs in sizes 14-24 are going to cover most of the natural forage for our trout. In the morning streamer fishing can potentially pull more aggressive fish so don’t overlook running a streamer through a pool after you’ve used other techniques. For hatches, some of the main bugs you will encounter are Sulphurs, Caddis, Cahills, and more recently you will encounter some Isonychia with the most common sizes being 12-18. Other considerations are Ant patterns, Beetles, and Green Inchworms when fishing under overhanging trees or after a steady rain. For your rig, sticking to your 5x and 6x leaders will cover most dry fly/nymphing scenarios. The fish are going to be in a variety of water types, so don’t overlook the faster, more oxygenated water (under normal flows). When nymphing, let your rig swing in the current at the end of your dead drift, as this will emulate an emerging insect that the trout will sometimes key in on. Areas to consider are the Mianus, Saugatuck, Mill, and Norwalk Rivers. Trout Parks and ponds are also a great option to take the kids fishing and there are still plenty of fish to be had in our local rivers.
Similarly, the Naugatuck is cresting at more than 4000 CFS and will be unfishable until water levels recede considerably. When they do, we expect similar August conditions and their corresponding techniques should work best. Fishing early to take advantage of the coolest water temperatures is a good idea, and make sure to check your stream temperatures via a thermometer, as the temps can cross that 70F threshold easily this time of year. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs should fish well and look to fish similar offerings to what we are using on our local streams: Sulphurs, Cahills, Caddis, Midges, Blue Winged Olives, and Terrestrials. A range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. In addition, the Shetucket was stocked more recently with trout so a wide variety of flies will work. Since third stockings occurred earlier in May on the Naugatuck, use more imitative flies as trout have become more acclimated to their natural forage. The above average flows will be a good time to throw streamers during the mornings and evenings. Some of our anglers are switching over to Carp as water temperatures have increased.
The Farmington is fishable but only in the early mornings. It’s low and hot sitting above ~100 CFS with a consistent 66 degrees water temperature. The Still is running at just below 200CFS and so will add some additional flow. Keep an eye on temperatures if deciding to fish downriver near New Hartford, as temperatures can approach 70 degrees or more by the afternoon. Your coolest water temperatures will be further up towards the dam. In terms of technique, downsizing and using more drab/imitative flies will work best. Hatches have been relatively light, so nymphing has been the most productive strategy. If hunting for rising fish, fly considerations should include Terrestrials (Beetles and Ants), Isonychia (sizes 10-12), Cahill (sizes 12-20), and Tricos which should be hatching with more frequency soon (sizes 20-24). Other options to have in your box include Blue Winged Olives (sizes 20-26) and Midges (sizes 20-26). Further towards the dam you might encounter some Sulphurs still hatching. Some anglers are still finding larger Kamloop Rainbow Trout that were stocked by the FRAA this Spring in New Hartford. For strategy, look for rising fish in the morning and evenings, and in the diminished hatches of the afternoon try nymphing in well-oxygenated water to pick up additional fish. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success while nymphing. If dry fly fishing, using a 5x-6x 12ft nylon leader, such as the Trout Hunter Finesse Leaders, will aid in a stealthy presentation and a more drag-free drift. Staying into the evening can result in some good spinner falls. With all the variety of bug activity, swinging wet flies can be a productive option as well. For our Trout Spey Anglers, look to fish larger streamers or intruders paired with a faster sinking tip in the morning. Once the afternoon hatches hit, fishing a wet fly swung on a less aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish. The same can be said for those nymphing with single handers: swinging nymphs at the end of your drift can simulate an emerging insect. Other considerations should be larger Stoneflies (can be paired with a smaller offering to help get your rig down) as well as Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Perdigones, Caddis Larvae, Hare’s Ears, and Waltz Worms. Sulphur nymphs have been active subsurface. Twitching jigged streamers through a run can also be a deadly technique, and good colors to try include olive, black, tan, and white. Your odds will be better with streamers during the morning hours. Try various retrieves, starting fast and then slowing down to see what the trout prefer. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful to other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic is running high, and is clocking in around 1400 CFS as of this writing. While the trout fishing has been tricky thanks to higher water temps, the smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent. Trout have been moving into protected thermal refuge areas which are off limits to fishing to help trout survive until main temperatures drop to more comfortable levels. If trout fishing, bring a stream thermometer to check temperatures. There are plenty of White Flies hatching, so look for rising fish during the mornings. As noted we’ve seen some excellent Smallmouth fishing recently, with anglers easily catching double digits within a day. Using weighted streamers or poppers on a floating line will work well or consider neutrally buoyant streamers on a full sinking/sink tip line. Woolly Buggers in Black and Olive are always a good choice, along with Crayfish patterns. Leader length can vary depending on whether you’re fishing a floating or sinking line. For floating lines consider 7-9ft in a 8-10lb leader, and when fishing sinking lines shortening your leader to 4-5ft will reduce any hinge between your line and the fly. Pike and Carp are also a great consideration for this time of year, and both can be found in slower sections of the river, as well as back bays/coves. For sight fishing for Carp, consider using an 8lb fluorocarbon leader in 9ft length as they can become weary, and using egg flies, small nymphs, crayfish patterns or hoppers can work depending on their feeding behavior. Leading the fish is a must to avoid spooking them. For Carp, we recommend 6-8wt rods with a weight-forward floating line (a Bonefish Taper line works well). When targeting Pike, bite wire or a heavy fluorocarbon section is a must. While floating lines will work, it helps to get subsurface with a full sinking line. A variety of flies will work in 6-10” (a flashtail whistler is always a good option) in different colors. Rods in 8-10wt are ideal for casting large flies and sinking lines.
Our local saltwater game has stayed relatively consistent, with the stripers generally down deep making it an early morning and evening game. The blues have been around throughout the day. Some anglers are having great mornings catching Stripers and Blues that are chasing bunker pods. Many of these pods have moved in close to the harbors with Stripers and Blues crashing them. This tends to be an early morning/evening low light game, especially this past week. Stripers are starting to become active during the night, so planning around an ideal evening tide could result in some great fishing, especially as we approach conditions suitable for Cinder Worm hatches in the bays and coves. Water temperatures are currently warm in the mid 70s, so any surface action that’s happening will tend to slow down once the sun comes up and Stripers stray closer to the bottom for cooler water. The most productive technique this time of year will be fishing with different colored Clousers, or larger bunker imitations (Deceivers, for instance) paired with an intermediate sinking line (1.2-2ips sink rate). Switching up your retrieve speed and pausing between strips should result in fish once you find the pace the fish prefer. For the open water boat game, anglers are having success with bigger flies/poppers in the 6-8” range. Poppers that work/cast well will include Gurglers and Bob’s Bangers. For this fishery we prefer 20-30lb fluorocarbon leaders around 7’ in length. Having a shorter leader will help sink your fly when fishing sinking lines, because it will reduce leader hinge, especially with unweighted flies. This rig will also be easier to cast in windier conditions. Bringing a wire leader, such as Rio’s Toothy Critter, or spooled wire will be useful if you get into Bluefish on the surface. A lot of schoolies are being brought to hand by our shore anglers, with some fish 30” and over in the mix. Westport beaches have seen an increase in Striper activity near shore, as well as Cove Harbor, and the outflow of Holly Pond. Resident fish have been pushing bait in coves and salt ponds, and New London is seeing schools of baitfish with Stripers underneath them. In addition, Penfield Reef will be fishing well for this time of year. The mouth of the Connecticut River has seen an improvement in Stripers. Bluefish have been spotted from Old Saybrook to Greenwich, with some days being tougher to locate them. Look for nervous schools of Bunker moving quickly, and you should find fish beneath them. Bringing wire leader in at least 20lb will help avoid break-offs. If fishing by boat, you will see them finning during the mornings and fishing poppers for Bluefish can be a blast. Stripers have started holding around the rocky points on the Norwalk Islands as well. The issue is trying to get through the large number of Bluefish at the moment. Anglers that are marking fish on sonar and using the most aggressive sinking lines have been catching trophy fish in 20-40ft on 6-8” flies near deep water ledges and rips. If fishing the coves by boat, bring some EP Peanut Butters, Deceivers, Clousers, and Half and Halfs in the 4” range will be the most effective. Bring a variety of colors in Chartreuse, White, Olive, Blue, and Black/Purple for the evenings. Rocky points will hold Stripers especially well and look for gulls to give away the location of the bait. Fish will also be pushed on the flats during either side of the high tide. For our boat anglers the beaches and coves around Southport are fishing well. With a lot of options still available for this time of year, it is still worth getting out there! Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills got hit with heavy thunderstorms so rivers are high. It will be a couple of days before they are fishable. Hale Eddy is at 5610 CFS and dropping. There is basically no wading on any of the branches or the main. If you decide to drift, look for streamers and dry flies in the softer eddies. This time of year, overcast coupled with cooler conditions and low wind are ideal recipes for bug activity, especially Blue Winged Olives. The main hatches are Sulphurs in sizes 16-20, Blue Winged Olives in 16-20, Caddis (Tan and Olive) in sizes 16-18, and Light Cahill in size 14. Isonychia are making an appearance in larger numbers, so it will be worth bringing those in size 12 to fish the faster water during the evenings. Look to fish Spinners in the evenings depending on what insect has been the most prevalent. Trout will be keyed into any of these bugs, so bringing a variety of patterns (especially Sulphurs) will help your odds of success. Swinging wet flies can also be a productive method to try when fish are rising and are picky. Boat anglers that are floating the upper and lower portions of the mainstem and west branch have been getting into fish and some decent hatches. The consensus is that the Sulphur hatches are not as strong as earlier this summer. Water temperatures have been starting in the low-60s during the morning and reaching the high-60s by the afternoon, cooler overall when compared to last week. During the afternoons and evenings is when you will encounter most of your hatches, and anglers that are nymphing and streamer fishing in the morning are having success. During the morning hours, nymphing has been the most productive with Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Caddis Pupa, Cadis Larvae, Waltz Worms, etc. Streamer fishing also continues to be good with sinking lines, and colors to consider are Chartreuse, Olive, Black and White. When dry fly fishing, presenting the fly downstream, so the trout will see your fly first as opposed to the leader, will improve your odds. Adding a reach cast in can also be an effective way to get a better and longer drift, coupled with a longer 10-14” 5x leader. The Willowemoc, Beaverkill, and Neversink flows are back down to good levels for wading, and you can expect Rusty Spinners, Caddis, Sulphurs, Isonychia, and Cahill.
Striper season has been steady so far. Stripers have inundated the South Shore, along with large schools of big Bluefish. Anglers are catching fish on topwater, and the most prevalent bait nearshore are Bunker, Silversides, and Sand Eels. When fishing by boat, focus on structure around the bays and look for birds/baitfish as Stripers will be blitzing. This tends to be a low light scenario. Bringing some poppers, like a Bob’s Banger, will result in some Blue and Striper action during dusk and dawn. Night fishing is also improving, and anglers fishing from shore are finding large Stripers as well. Looking for fish pushing bait to the surface in the rips will result in some fish 30lbs and over by boat. If there is no surface action, you can use an aggressive sinking line paired with a larger Clouser to get deeper. Fishers Island and around Gardiners have also seen Bass crushing Bunker on the surface. The back bays on the Northshore are still seeing plenty of Bluefish. There is also an abundance of Bluefish in the bays around Montauk, which can be seen hitting small sand eels on the surface. False Albacore have been reported up off on the cape so it won’t be long. Come in and get rigged for football season!
Nearshore Striper fishing has been consistent, and there are plenty of schoolies in the 20-30” range. Many fish are being caught by shore and boat anglers. Fishing topwater at dusk and dawn has resulted in nice fish up to 30lbs, and the most important part of the equation is locating the schools of bait. It will be worth fishing squid patterns and Sand Eels with sinking lines near structure and the rips, as there are plenty of adult Sand Eels nearshore. There has been some good fishing in Narragansett Bay. Some larger Stripers have started to show up with more frequency, and every day has been different. In Watch Hill, Stripers are inundating the beaches, breachways, and salt ponds and bigger Bluefish are cruising the beaches. Bringing larger EP Bunker patterns, topwater flies, Flatwings and Deceivers should imitate a variety of the baitfish you will encounter. The ledges off Block Island are still fishing well, with large Stripers and Bluefish on Sand Eels in the rips. Some of the flats are seeing slot size and over fish cruising in shallow, with the most effective patterns being crab flies. There have been a few reports of Bonito and Albies starting to filter nearshore, however it is still early so they should continue to push in over the next few weeks.
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