August 20, 2021 10 min read

Greetings Compleat Anglers! As Tropical Storm Fred ripped through the Northeast yesterday, the days proceeding it were stellar on the salt. Out to the East of our shop it has been lights out. From Massachusetts to Montauk, there have been wide variety of fish to catch in a wide variety of locations. Out around Nantucket and the Vineyard, Bonito have moved in en masse and fly anglers have been putting up some great numbers and fish up to 10 pounds. There have also been some False Albacore caught already. The Bonito have trickled down into Eastern Rhode Island but are difficult to pin down. It's still a little early. Stripers and Blues of all sizes have been keeping fly anglers busy too, and Spanish Mackerel are becoming more numerous by the day, even down in the Western Sound. It's all starting to happen. We will see what this NorEaster does to the fishing after the weekend. Trout anglers are probably not very happy at the moment. Low and warm water coupled with dwindling hatches have resulted in poor fishing, if any. Even the mighty Farmington is 69.5 degrees due to weeks of high water releases which has resulted in a very warm reservoir. This has rendered Connecticut's premier tailwater unfishable. Read on for more for the full report...


We had a solid week off Massachusetts. Conditions were perfect. Off the Cape, Buzzards Bay and Nantucket saw good numbers of Nice Bass in a wide variety of locations. Sandeels, mackerel, squid, and Bunker were all prevalent. Those prepared with a good selection of flies did well. Teasing fish up with poppers seemed to be the go-to method. The larger Blues were around and fell for this tactic as well. Early mornings and afternoons have seen very consistent action. These are the two best bite windows with the exception of the night time bite, which has been very good for the Bass. The larger fish are definitely in the area thick and should be easy enough to pin down. Martha’s Vineyard has been a hot spot 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.

Striped Bass Blitz

The Bonito have come in around the bars and drop offs in deeper water. The Bonito are in good numbers as well. The Hooter and Bonito Bar are putting up great numbers of fish. They have been proliferating outwards from there and can be found along the Cape as well. It will be worth a look around the South end of the Vineyard as they are definitely in the area. 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 as well. They are plentiful and teasing these fish up with poppers has been very productive. A large flashy fly has been effective in drawing strikes. False Albacore have shown up off Nantucket as well. They are very sparse, but a few have been seen and caught this past week! 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. Bonito are popping up here as well. The Cape/Massachusetts is a great place to be right now. There are a lot of options and the fishing is hot. Hardtail season is upon us, so get ready!

Rhode Island


Same report as last week. There are Stripers and Blues everywhere off of Rhodie right now. There have been blitzes from Watch Hill up to Newport this past week. 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, so be sure to have patterns that mimic them. The Macks are still around with some Spanish Mackerel mixed in, which are becoming more numerous by the day. They are on these smaller baitfish and are a blast on 7 wts. There are certainly Bonito around as well. There seems to have been a good push of Bonito this past week, especially to the East around Newport. A few Albies have been seen as well. 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. 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. The forecast this weekend looks pretty poor with the wind, but next week should be quite good.

New York

The Delaware

No change to the Delaware report. The Mainstem is running around 1800 and falling, the East is at 1000, and the West Branch is at 670 CFS as of 08/20. These are good levels for fishing for sure. It will be a bit high to wade the East, the West is wadable, and the Main right on the line of unwadable. I would say the Main is drift boats only for the most part. The cloud cover we have and the bump in water could see some good streamer fishing over the weekend. Your best option will still be the West Branch. No surprise there. 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 as a close second. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective as of late. Iso Bicolor and caddis will make up 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. 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. 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 are ideal. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly.


No real change to the New York report. Out East, in and around Montauk; fishing has been great. 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 most 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 the fish can get notoriously selective on smaller baitfish. You will find schoolie Stripers on structure in tight with the cooler weather, but remember that low light hours are key. A moving tide is critical as well. All along the South shore of Long Island there have been a ton of Bunker along the beaches. While there are not a lot of large predatory fish on them, sharks and even some Bluefin have been seen busting on these schools. Not really targets for fly anglers, but it is still cool to see. Occasionally there are some gator Blues and Bass in the mix, but not many. 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 bays and beaches fish well as fish have pushed in on the flood tide. In and around the Race has seen flurries of Gator Bluefish in the 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. Out East things are great, while on the Western End it seems more like a dead zone. That will hold true for the next month or so.


Farmington River

Some unfortunate developments for the Farmington this past week. We all know the river is getting warm. We are seeing 69 degrees for the water temperature high in Riverton. That is well above an average temperature this time of year. What we are hearing from the Metropolitan District of Connecticut (MDC) is that there is no more thermal stratification in the reservoir due to weeks of dumping water. The water is warm from top to bottom and because of that, we will not see trout friendly water temperatures until the Fall. Yikes! All of that releasing of water was due to high rainfall this past July. As a result, the water turnover has been so great that the deepest water has not been given time to cool down, which has led to a reservoir- wide stagnation of temperature. That does not bode well for the months to come. The flow is still around 440 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. The Still is putting out an additional 250. The fly 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. That, coupled with months of relentless angling pressure are starting to show as the fish are ultra-selective. With the most recent revelations regarding water temperatures and reservoir temperatures, we are recommending fishing elsewhere until things stabilize. We will keep you posted on any developments or changes as they arise but for now, fishing the Farmington is not a responsible angling practice.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.


USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

No change to the Housy report. The Housatonic is down to a nice wadeable level at around 500 CFS, but the water is too warm to ethically trout fish at this point. The thermal refuges are now in effect and the trout should 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. Not much to report. These fish are on the more lethargic side and as such, the bite window is narrow. Early mornings and late in the evening will be when you have the highest 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000


A little tail off for the Connecticut Coast this past week. Reports are sparse for the Western Sound. It is a bit of a dead zone out there right now. To the East, around Niantic, it is a completely different fishery. The action has been consistent. Stripers are 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.

Long Island Sound Fly Fishing

The night time 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 have been both out deep and in tight. They will be 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 9am the bite dies, so be out there early. The evenings have been good with 5pm or later seeing some good activity.

Long Island Sound Bonito

Out towards Niantic there have been Bonito popping up as well. Fly fishing in the Western 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 onto 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 catching some fish. But again, the majority of the action will be to the East. Smaller Blues and schoolie Bass will make up the majority of the action for the shore-based fly anglers. The mornings and evenings are the bite window you will want to aim for. 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.