Hello Compleat Angler friends! Our freshwater fishing has improved this week with wadeable flows and better clarity. Most of our local options are now in fishable condition, however make sure to check your stream temperatures and limit your fishing to the morning hours if temperatures are pushing 70 degrees. By the afternoon most will approach that 70-degree mark, including below the Still River on the Farmington, so during the afternoon we advise fishing closer towards the dam. The overall trend is that the dry fly fishing has been lackluster, and nymphing continues to be the most productive technique. On the saltwater side of things, many anglers are eagerly waiting for Bonito and False Albacore. There have been some hotspots out in Rhode Island now with some briefly showing up in Long Island and Block Island. We should expect to see some Albies locally in the next few weeks, however it is still fairly early. In the meantime, there are large Bluefish up to 15lbs cruising our part of the sound, with plenty of bait to feed on. Topwater flies have been producing well, especially during the morning hours when blues can be seen finning on the surface. There are plenty of Stripers out East, as well as local resident fish that are in their summer lies. Conditions for local saltwater will be fair this weekend, with gentle winds reaching up to 12mph from the N-NW and sunny conditions with air temperatures reaching the 80s. Read on for more…
Flows have subsided on our local rivers after the large amount of rain from last week, and the Saugatuck is running at an average flow of 46.3 CFS (it reached a high of 1030 CFS last week). While flows are good for wading, check your stream temperatures because during the afternoon they will be too warm to fish. We advise fishing during the morning when water temperatures are at their coolest and only if they’re below 70 degrees. That said, anglers have been finding fish in the Norwalk and Saugatuck Rivers. The trout will be looking towards the surface again, so bring small Tan Caddis in sizes 18-20, Midges (Griffith’s Gnats) in sizes 18-20, Ants and Beetles in size 14, and Sulphurs and Cahills in sizes 12-14. For nymphs, having a variety of different forage options will have you covered because there will be different insects subsurface that aren’t necessarily hatching. Prince Nymphs in sizes 12-18 will imitate Stoneflies and some Mayflies well. Other nymphs to bring include Caddis Larvae in sizes 16-20, and Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails in sizes 14-20. For your rig, sticking to your 5x and 6x leaders will cover most dry fly/nymphing scenarios. Fish are going to be in a variety of water types, so don’t overlook the faster, more oxygenated water. 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. During the afternoons when water temperatures are too hot for trout fishing, hitting ponds for Bluegill and Largemouth can be a good way to keep the action going, as they will readily hit small poppers and streamers.
The Naugatuck has also dropped to clear and fishable levels, reading 258 CFS at Beacon Falls. Focusing on the same techniques I outlined above for our local rivers should provide success as most of the insect activity will be similar. Check your stream temperatures before fishing as they will approach 70 degrees by the afternoon. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and look to fish similar offerings 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. Some of our anglers are switching over to Carp and Smallmouth as water temperatures have increased.
On Monday water was released at the dam to increase flows which are currently holding steady at 186 CFS in Riverton, with the Still River adding an additional 55 CFS. Water temperatures are starting in the mid-60s during the morning and reaching 70 degrees by the afternoon in Riverton, which means that temperatures are warmer downriver. Early morning is ok to fish downriver, however during the afternoon when temperatures approach 70 degrees we advise fishing above the Still closer to the dam where there is cooler and more oxygenated water. Hatches have been slow this month, however you might encounter Yellow Sallies in sizes 14-16, Tan/Olive Caddis in sizes 18-24 and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24 during overcast and rainy days. During the evenings look to fish Isonychia sizes 10-12 in faster water, and Cahills sizes 14-20. For Nymphing, considerations should be larger Stoneflies (which 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, Waltz Worms, Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs. In terms of strategy, look for rising fish in the morning and evenings, and once the afternoon hits, the hatches will be diminished so nymphing in well-oxygenated water will 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 will aid in a stealthy presentation and ensure a more drag-free drift. Staying into the evening can result in some good spinner falls. With 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. 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. 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. Vary retrieves, starting fast and 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 has dropped back down to 725 CFS at Falls Village and the river has cleared with improved conditions for wading. With water in the river (as opposed to last summer) things are on track for good Fall fishing, and streamer fishing should start to pick up for trout. While trout are still holding in thermal refuges, there is plenty of oxygenated water in these refuges to help fish survive into the Fall. These refuges are off limits to fishing in order to help trout survive until main temperatures drop to more comfortable levels. Trout have been rising near the parks with the main hatches being Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, Cahills in sizes 12-20, Midges in sizes 18-20, and Caddis in sizes 18-24. Other considerations are Isonychia in the evenings in sizes 10-12 as well as Terrestrials. There has been some excellent Smallmouth fishing recently, with anglers easily catching double digits in 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 this time of year, and both can be found in slower sections of the river, as well as back bays/coves. When sightfishing for Carp, consider an 8lb fluorocarbon leader in 9ft as they can become wary, 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” in different colors (a flashtail whistler is always a good option). Rods in 8-10 wt are ideal for casting large flies and sinking lines.
While the fishing has been hit or a miss, everyone is anticipating an exciting Fall season. The most common bait in the sound have been Silversides, Adult Bunker, Peanut Bunker, and Small Butterfish. Larger Bluefish have moved into the area and can be found finning in the mornings in and around coves, as well as blitzing on bait in deep water structure. Our anglers have reported some impressive Bluefish being landed around 15lbs, and fishing poppers remains an effective and exciting way to get into the action. We recommend bringing wire leader in 20lb (knottable wire is easy to work with when adding a section to your leader). Striper activity will remain most prominent during the mornings and throughout the evenings until water temperatures start to cool down (which should occur in a couple weeks). Deceivers, Clousers, Half-n-Halfs, and gurglers continue to fool Stripers, and don’t be afraid to throw larger patterns in the 6-8” range since there are still plenty of Bunker nearshore. For leaders we prefer 5-7’ of 16-30lb fluorocarbon if using sinking lines, and if using poppers, you may extend your leader by a couple more feet. Water temperatures are currently in the low 70s, so any surface action that’s happening will tend to slow down once the sun comes up and Stripers stay closer to the bottom for cooler water. Salt ponds continue to hold resident fish, as well as rocky points near the Norwalk Islands. For wade fishing some considerations are Calf Pasture, Old Mill Beach, Compo Beach, Burying Hill Beach, Penfield Reef, and the surrounding beaches. We are all holding our breath for the Albies and Bonito to show up, and they should start to make an appearance within the next couple of weeks.
The Salmon River report is officially back as the first Salmon of the season was landed recently in the lower part of the river. While it is still early, reports of small pods of Salmon are making their way up from the estuary and into the lower parts of the river, however these fish are very fresh and have been difficult to land. Each day more fish have been observed pushing up into the river, which means the Fall run has started! With recent rain and release the Pineville gauge is currently reading 1400 CFS, which is above average and will help push more fish into the system.
The mainstem on the Delaware River has steadily dropped to 2490 CFS at Lordville which is still running above average. The West Branch is flowing 816 CFS at Hale Eddy, while the East is reading 1200 CFS. Overall flows are above average which will prove well for floating. You may encounter different hatches based on where you’re fishing. On the upper river you will still have Sulphurs in sizes 16-20 as well as Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, and on the lower sections of you will see Isonychia in sizes 10-12, Blue Winged Olives, and some Cahills in sizes 14-20. During the evening hours Isonychia will be hatching in faster currents. Temperatures on the mainstem have been fluctuating between the low-to-mid 60s so temperatures are ideal. The consensus this week is that a lot of smaller fish have been rising, however those anglers that are persistent are able to bring some 18”+ fish to hand. This time of year, overcast skies couple with cooler temps and low wind are ideal recipes for bug activity, especially Blue Winged Olives. Other patterns to consider are Tricos and Little Yellow Sallies which are starting to hatch. Look to fish Spinners in the evenings depending on what insect has been most prevalent. Trout might be keyed into any of these bugs, so bringing a variety of patterns (especially Sulphurs) will help your odds of success. We’d also recommend having 12-14’ nylon leaders in 5x which will allow for a stealthier presentation when coupled with a reach cast so the fish will see the fly before the leader and fly line. 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, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms etc. Streamer fishing has been hit-or-miss, however the action should improve as we approach Fall. The Willowemoc, Beaverkill, and Neversink rivers have all reached safer levels for wading and water clarity has improved. Look to fish similar offerings: Isonychia, Sulphurs, Cahill, Caddis, and Blue Winged Olives. Conditions are sunny with occasional cloud cover and low winds for the weekend, and early next week will bring occasional showers with minimal winds.
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 is 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. Early reports of Albies indicate that they are moving into the area, and while the pods are sporadic and small, a few lucky anglers have caught their first of the 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. Anglers are catching Bonito and Albies near Charlestown, the West Wall, and in Block Island in the rips.
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