August 01, 2019 14 min read
Well considering that it's now august, the fishing has been fairly decent. Not great, of course, because it is pretty darned hot out there after all, but given the conditions we’ve been surprised at how well some folks are doing. Yes you’ll need to be more selective in where you fish and when - early mornings, later in the evenings - all part of the drill for this time of year. But for folks who are targeting wisely, there is definitely some action around. If you’re easing back on your fishing this time of year it’s also a great time to get some autumn fishing lined up when things get a little cooler. Okay, without further ado, here’s the roundup, from south to north...
We had some good fishing over the past weekend. With the rain last week, the fish were comfortable however turbid water made things a bit challenging initially. As the water cleared over the weekend and early into this week, the fishing improved. Lots of nice fish were caught all on dries. Since then, things have dropped down and the water is back to undesirably low levels. Both the Willowemoc and Beaverkill are warming up making the fishing quite difficult. We will see what happens with the rain this weekend but at this point we recommend fishing elsewhere. Be aware that effective July 1st, the Beaverkill River from Horton Bridge downstream to the highway overpass is now closed to all angling! This is a refuge for wild trout in the event of a drought or conditions that may be a detriment to trout survival on the Beaverkill. Although conditions are great at the moment, this restriction is now in effect regardless of conditions. To ignore these laws, one risks a hefty fine and/or suspension of fishing their license.
It is all about the West Branch and everybody knows it. A good shot of rain last week came right when we needed it and a lot of anglers were out on the West Branch this past weekend. Both waders and drift boats came out in force. Reports were that the crowds added difficulty to an already technical time of year. The Sulphur hatch remains the most prolific. Isonychia are still hatching as well. The fish are quite picky and the low, clear water is not helping. Many of our anglers are coming back with reports of one or two fish hooked and very challenging conditions. The hatches are happening in the late afternoon until dark with the spinner fall being lackluster. It seems that the spinners are either coming after dark or early in the morning. This has made fishing even more demanding. Blue Winged Olives seem to be a viable option on the cloudier days when the hatch is strong. The fish seem to be taking these flies more readily than the Sulphurs. Some anglers have also reported that a spent caddis or terrestrial fished in the faster water mid-day has been producing some nice fish. This time of the year on the Delaware can be testing. Although this is a spectacular fishery by any measure, it may be time to take a little break until they get a good amount of rain.
The early morning bite off Montauk has been strong. Both Stripers and Blues have been seen good numbers right at the lighthouse and surrounding area. There are a lot of big bass around but most of these fish are deep and being taken by spin guys fishing bait. That being said if you are able to find the right school of bait there is the potential to hook a big fish on the fly. Some larger Blues have moved into town as well. These are a much more accommodating fish to fly anglers and a great option this time of year. They are big, fight like maniacs, and will absolutely hammer a popper. This adds up to some of the most exciting fly fish we have in the Northeast. They get a bad rap for destroying flies or taking them altogether when fishing for Stripers but, they are an amazing gamefish in their own right. This time of year, when small Stripers are a dime a dozen it is worth running and gunning for these larger gator blues. We have the New Moon approaching so expect the fishing to get really hot this weekend and the coming week. With the moon comes big tides so expect the fish to be actively feeding. This is the weekend you want to be fishing.
The Farmington remains the only real game in town as far as Connecticut trout streams are concerned. Nice cold water and a little bump in flow last week saw the fishing improve over the past weekend. Lots of nice fish are being caught by anglers using a wide variety of flies and techniques. The Permanent Catch and Release section seems to be where the majority of fly anglers are spending their time with very good results. A close second is Riverton up through Hogback Road. These two areas will have the coolest water and tend to fish a bit better throughout the day whereas farther downstream can get a bit warm making the fish more sluggish. Regardless of where you decide to go, the early morning and late evening are when the fish will be the most active. The mornings are especially good as the water has been cooling down all night. As a general rule, mornings will be best for nymphing and dries will be better in the afternoon. There are of course exceptions but going deep early and fishing on top late is a proven method. Focusing on that deeper, holding water with nymphs early has been taking the majority of the bigger fish for our customers. A big stonefly is good option early as are Isonychia nymphs. Target the riffles at the top of deep holding pools where the fish are congregating. These flies need to be fished up in the fast stuff right on the edge of the drop offs. The larger fish will jockey for position in these prime feeding locations and a well drifted nymph will often get smoked as it drifts over the ledge. More often than not, the largest fish will be at the head of the run. They force the smaller fish into the B and C water and can often be right against the banks or in some pretty shallow water. Make sure you don’t go clog dancing out into the middle of the run. Spend some real time working the close seams and pockets. If this is something you are not familiar with, you might be shocked at how many fish are tucked right in where you would normally be standing. Often it is the larger fish as well. As the morning progresses and the sun gets higher it is wise to begin to downsize your flies. By 12:00 or 1:00pm we recommend having worked down to size 18, 20, or 22 size nymphs. No real secret patterns for this time of day. Simple midges, beadhead caddis, pheasant tail variations, jigs, perdigones, hare’s ears, all of it will work. It is more about a perfect presentation and giving the fish something they may not have seen before. Swinging wet flies has also been producing quite a few fish for our anglers. Two or three small caddis and/or mayfly wets are a great way to cover water and find pockets of actively feeding fish. Again, no real secret here. Smaller wets in a size 16, 18, or 20 are a good choice. Both beadhead and unweighted are working well. Tying on one of each is a good way to cover different water depths and give you an idea of what the fish are willing to hit. The dry fly fishing has tailed off a bit. The sulphurs are waning and this hatch will be isolated around Riverton and upstream. There are still Isonychia sporadically popping in the evenings and plenty of assorted caddis. Needhami are hatching in the morning and the fish are definitely on them. A size 24 will get the job done and remember to downsize the tippet to 7x when fishing these flies. There are Stenos and Light Cahills occasionally as well in the upper stretches of the C&R section. Long story, we have plenty of bugs right now but many of them are the smaller variety so be prepared for that. Terrestrials will work as well. A well drifted ant or beetle can be very effective from mid-day until the evening. Right now the fishing is great. This time of year affords you the opportunity to fish a wide variety of flies in a number of different ways. Now is also a great time to mouse or throw streamers at night. There is a lot going on, the river is alive with bugs, and if you are flexible you can have a really great day on the water. We recommend not focusing on just one technique. Have a few set-ups rigged for different styles of fishing and experiment. If you are a one rod type of angler than bring a stick that does a bit of everything and be willing to swap out full rigs. Keep an eye on what is happening on the water and adjust based on what the fish are doing. Mixing it up can often turn a good day into a great one.
Up and down. The Housey got a good kick of water last week which cooled things off a bit. We saw fishing improve a lot last week into the weekend. We are now back into typical low water conditions. The smallmouth bass fishing remains great, and that shot of water really had the fish fired up. Double digit days were the norm and the bite lasted until about mid day. There was a little bit of a lull during the middle of the day but the fishing was about as good as you could hope for. The pike also came to life a little bit as well. The fish seemed to be more active with the cooler temps and a few nice fish were caught. The only fishing that the water seemed to hinder was carp. Growing in popularity, fly fishing for carp is both extremely challenging and exciting. These fish are exclusively sight-casted to and the high water did not do the Carp guys any favors. But we are back to great carping levels now as the influx of last week’s water mixed things up so expect to find mudding and tailing Carp actively feeding in the shallows. If you are thinking about trying to catch a carp for the first time, please do not use your trout our smallmouth bass gear. It will be too light. We recommend a 7wt rod as the absolute minimum. An 8wt is ideal and a 9 would not be overkill. Carp are a great “filler fish” for this time of year when other fisheries are mediocre or too hot to ethically fish. Again, keep in mind: The Thermal Refuges are in effect, and will be for the rest of the Summer. All forms of angling are prohibited within 100 feet of any posted location. These areas are closed to help protect the trout during periods of warm water detrimental to the trout’s survival. They are clearly posted and be sure to give them a wide berth. Failure to do so one risks and hefty fine and/or suspension of their fishing license.
And our friend and guide Pogo Pike reports the following from Northern CT:
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SPECIAL! 🎣 Making memories & teaching the next generation of fishermen! Catch & release and nature at its finest! This little man crushed it today! 🎣🙏 #pogopike #smallmouthbass #pike #fishingguides #flyfishingguide #svsfishing #whyknotfishing #catchandrelease #stealthcraftboats #fishingnewyork #connecticutfishing #freshwaterflyfishing
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“The rivers are low and hot. Right now my advice is to fish lakes and saltwater & pray for rain! Besides carp in the river right now or bass early am and evening, that’s about the only game going for the health of the fish.”
The saltwater scene remains consistent. The only new development is an influx of nicer sized Bluefish that are being seen out in the middle (finally!) They typically show up this time of year but with previous reports across the Northeast being intermittent at best, it is nice to see some fish finally show up. Even better news, there are some real gators mixed in. Those 16+ pound fish are trickling into the sound and we are expecting the fishing to get good in the next few weeks. These fish are in deeper water terrorizing bunker schools. With the good tides we have right now, look for surface activity. These Blues will be on bigger bait and you will often not see birds on them. Keep an eye out for nervous bait. There is plenty of it out in the sound right now. Running from school to school should get you on the fish. Schoolie Stripers are still a good option early and will readily whack a popper. There are good numbers of harbor Blues around, typically mixed in with the smaller bass. Some larger bass can be found in the shallows early if you know where to look. The larger Stripers are hanging around the bunker as well. There is a ton of bunker out in the sound right now but not every school will have bass on it. Move around from school to school to hopefully locate the larger stripers. Expect this weekend to fish very well with the new moon tides. They will be the strongest of the month and should push in both bait as well as gamefish.
The main rivers in Western Massachusetts have held up pretty well during the summer heat, and anglers are doing surprisingly well especially when they target cooler parts of the day. The Millers has healthy flows for this time of year and the East Branch of the Westfield, despite some low water, has been fishing fairly well too. The Swift had a recent bump in flows and, though technical this time of year, is a great stop if you are in the area. All in all, for the time of year we’ve been pretty lucky and are getting pretty good reports from the area.
The Deerfield continues to fish well. There are plenty of nice large wild browns in the river and a mix of dries, nymphs, and streamers is working well for lots of anglers. If you haven’t done it before, it’s a nice time of year to think about booking a late summer or early fall trip when the temps start to drop a bit and the fishing improves. The upper section of the Deerfield is one of the prettiest rivers in New England and floating it with a guide (Eric Gass of GS Outfitting is a great option) is well worth it.
The Monomoy rips continue to be the hot spot for striped bass. The storm shut things down a bit at the end of last week into the weekend, however this weekend and the coming week should be quite good. The New Moon will be bringing with it the strongest tides of the month which means the bass will be feeding aggressively. Be prepared! Have squid, herring, bunker, and smaller baitfish flies such as sandeels ready to go. If you are fishing the rips make sure you are fishing full sink lines. T-14 tips or 400 to 450 grain lines on a 10wt will get the job done. With the increased tidal current, getting down deep is critical. Intermediate sinking lines just won’t cut it. We are hearing that some larger blues have moved in as well. They will most likely be on the rips too so have wire bite tippet on hand just in case they show up. The flats are fishing well and although the fish are not huge, there are plenty of them. Early morning during a good tide should give you plenty of shots at stripers cruising the shallows. The beaches have been loaded with stripers as well. Again, early in the morning will be your best shot at these fish as they move into deeper water as the sun gets higher.
Blues have moved in and anglers have a real shot at catching some larger fish right now. Big blues have been prevalent and as far as action goes, this is your best bet for the next few weeks. There are plenty of schoolie stripers around and bonito have shown up sporadically too. The bigger stripers are feeding almost exclusively at night. The majority have stacked up on the rips and shoals in deeper water and are not easily accessible with a fly rod. There have been some reports of larger fish in shallow early in the morning but the odds of running into these fish are low. It will be much more productive to focus on the bluefish for the next few weeks.
The Bluefish action has been hot this past week. It seems like Nantucket has the most consistent bluefish bite right now and fly anglers are taking full advantage. Everything from Harbor Blues to the big 16+ pound fish are being found on a regular basis. From Great Point all the way down to the South Side, beaches have seen strong numbers of fish and it has not taken a lot of searching to find them. Schoolies have been found along the South Side beaches as well, harassing bait early. Some bonito have shown up as well so have a bonito rig ready and keep an eye out.
The fishing off of Rhode Island is going strong. Big blues have finally shown up. Bluefish up to 16 pounds and even bigger have been caught recently so keep an eye out. These fish have no problem hitting a popper so get those 10wts out! Point Judith Light is a good place to start looking for these fish. They are on the rips right now so check all the typical spots when you have a good tide. There are still big stripers around but we are hearing it has been a nighttime and live bait bite primarily, which is making it difficult for fly rodders. None of our customers have said anything about bigger bass on the fly. There are plenty of schoolies as well as harbor blues to keep the rods bent early in the morning and late afternoon. Fish can be found along the beaches crashing bait and with the New Moon approaching expect a phenomenal weekend of fishing. Bonito have already begun to show up as well! We have had multiple reports of Bonito busting on the early morning tide right off the lighthouse. Bonito are still very much hit or miss but we recommend having your bonito flies within arm’s reach from now until the end of August. Fishing in Rhode Island is hot right now and expect things to improve over the weekend into next week. Block Island is essentially a mirror of the R.I. coast report. Plenty of schoolies, big blues around, and bonito starting to show. It seems like the larger blues are a bit more prevalent off of Block Island so if that is what you are looking for it may be worth the run out. Regardless you should have a great day on the water this weekend.
Trout fishing remains solid on some of Northern New England’s rivers despite the heat. The fish here have at least a little advantage over their brethren further south, and are a bit less thermally stressed, even with plenty of hot days. Anglers we’ve talked to who have fished in the area recently report fairly good success in the early morning before things get too hot, and have done well targeting wild brookies on some smaller tribs in the evening. Not a bad way to go for August fishing.
As guide Kyle Schaefer noted last week “bass are sparse but present” and that’s the word for this week as well. August isn’t typically prime time and it’s been plenty hot the last few weeks which has made things a little tougher on anglers, who have really needed to be in the right place at the right time. Fortunately bait seem fairly plentiful which is a good sign, and with a cooler stretch of weather the fishing will hopefully pick up a bit. Just this week one of our anglers was kayaking in the mid-coast and came upon a huge school of herring, though didn’t see much in the way of predatory fish on them. We recommend targeting some cooler parts of the day and keeping your eyes peeled.