Greetings Compleat Anglers! It is all about the saltwater this week. If you want a high probability of bending a rod, Rhode Island or Eastern Long Island is the name of the game. Stripers have been feeding on micro-bait in the mornings and evenings. It has been a wide-open bite and while you might need to burn some fuel to find the fish, once you do, the fishing should be awesome. Smaller flies are a must as these fish are very picky. However, if you have the right flies, the fishing should be spectacular. There is very little positive to say about our rivers and streams at this point. Low and warm water means that tailwaters are the only game in town. These tailwaters are all low, warming, and being hammered by anglers, all of which have made the fly fishing very challenging. Best to leave the trout gear at home and get on some of the awesome saltwater fishing we have going on right now. Read on for more…
Rhode Island is really starting to come into its own. While the past month has been great, the fly fishing will only get better in the month to come. Striper blitzes and rafts feeding on tiny bait have been a regular occurrence in the mornings and afternoons. The main forage has been young-of-the-year bunker, porgies, and anchovies. These baitfish are small. By that I mean an inch or less so smaller albie-style flies are key. These fish have been super picky and will not hit anything larger. You must “match the hatch” perfectly here to have any shot of a hookup, I can’t stress that enough. These flotillas of Bass have been very prevalent and any concerted effort to locate them should pay off. The salt ponds, inlets, and back bays are still producing good numbers of Stripers. While the majority are smaller, schoolie sized fish some bigger fish have been sneaking in at night to feed on the smaller forage. The other option are Gator Blues which are all over the place. Block Island seems to be the hot-spot right now and they have been found mostly in deeper water making them a more viable target for boat anglers. However, off the jetties and beaches you could run into the fish at any given time so be prepared with wire leader and sacrificial flies. If you do find them, fish at or above 16lbs are almost a guarantee. So if a big Blue on fly is what you are after, give Rhody a shot. The key here is locating larger bait. There is so much small bait along the coast that going further out will put you in range of the larger bait that these blues are feeding on. The beaches have also been producing well during the low light hours. The night-time bite is by far the best with fish in the 30-inch range a common occurrence on fly. There are a ton of options off Rhody at the moment. Whether from shore or boat, the fishing is great right now.
The Farmington is still low. So low in fact, that thermal refuges have been established to protect the fish as the water warms. Compounding that problem is the fact that it is the only game in town at this point and anglers know it, so be prepared for crowding and educated fish. The flow out of the dam is around 95cfs. The Still got some water this week and bumped up to 100. It is back down to around 10cfs making the total around 105. By the weekend you can expect that number to be lower as well. That is very low and far from ideal. We desperately need some water. Water temps are fluctuating depending on the air temperatures but this weekend should be around 56 degrees during the afternoon. The farther away from the dam you get, the warmer the water will be so consider staying higher up. The fish are very educated and spooky due to pressure and low water. We are hearing that the fishing has been extremely difficult. As such, you will need to switch flies often, move around a lot, and get unorthodox with your approach. For you dry fly anglers, the Isos have been trickling out in the C&R section and popping in the late afternoon. You can expect fish to be rising in the mornings on BWOs, Attenuatta, small caddis, and midges provided the water isn’t super low. The Tricos are popping now as well. Terrestrials are also a factor. Ants and Beetles will start to take fish so definitely have those in the box at this point. Wet flies are also starting to be very effective for trout spey anglers. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques are concerned. A cool thing to try is targeting the Palominos that are sitting in the Chair Factory Pool. There are 4 or 5 of them and they are decent sized fish. They are super educated but you can see them from a mile off and they offer some cool sight fishing opportunities. The hindrance is the water levels and angling pressure which have been making it quite challenging. We are hearing that the crowds have picked back up and that finding a decent spot to fish can be an issue, especially on weekends. I would recommend getting to a favorite spot early in the morning to find good water. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. We have been seeing a lot of anglers being disrespectful and crowding anglers who are already fishing in a spot. There is plenty of water to fish. If someone is fishing a hole, just move on and find other open water. If there are no holes open, get there earlier next time or wait until one opens up. Remember that many anglers may be dry fly fishing and could be fishing 50 feet up and down from where they are standing. So, when in doubt ask them what their gameplan is and see if it is ok to slide in above or below. I can’t believe I need to put this in our reports but two of our employees have been low holed in the past weeks and numerous customers have been telling us how inconsiderate other fly anglers have been. You know who you are if you have been doing this. Let’s keep it clean out there. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
It is a bad situation on the Housatonic. The river is extremely low. The flows are around 130cfs and holding. That is a safe flow for wading but the warm water means one thing. It’s time to give the trout a break. Thermal refuges have been in effect since June and with water temps getting over 76 degrees by the afternoon, it is unethical to trout fish at this point. We have heard from one of our customers that while he was smallie fishing, he saw numerous dead trout float by belly-up. That tells you everything you need to know. Stay off this river. Even the Smallmouth Bass are starting to struggle, as the fish are lethargic and catch rates are way down. They have been struggling for a few weeks now. The water is approaching 80 degrees and they are not taking anything off the surface and rarely taking streamers. It is time to give this river a break. Until the situation dramatically changes, fish elsewhere.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Nothing exciting to report locally. Sure, there are schoolies around but it is difficult trying to find any larger fish that will eat a fly. A few fly anglers are getting on some bigger fish in key locations but that is certainly the exception to the rule. As the water temperature reaches its peak right now, the fish will be firmly entrenched in deep water, seeking colder temperatures. If you do decide to roll the dice, the falling tide has been the most productive (no surprise there) but the rising will still produce as well, especially from a boat. The one bright spot is that we are occasionally seeing good surface activity early in the mornings with smaller fish blitzing on silversides and other assorted small bait. Mid-day is seeing very little action while the low light hours are producing far better (albeit sporadically). So get up early or stay out late. It makes a big difference. Tidal fluctuations are also becoming far more important. The strongest tides of the month are when you should really be focusing your attention for shots at larger fish. However, as long as the water is moving, you will have feeding Stripers (provided you are in the right area). Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a high probability of success. Just remember that it may take considerable effort to locate them. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills are not looking great. The water is getting low and they did not get the rain we had last week. It’s a shame as that whole area really needs it. However, if you put the time in you could pick away at some fish. Angling pressure and warming temperatures are creating a feast-or-famine situation out there. Some rivers are fishing reasonably well, whereas others are quite a challenge. The key to success seems to be locating colder water, fishing at the opportune times, picking the right days to go, and targeting the prime locations. It is certainly a bit of a guessing game as conditions change daily but if you hit it right, the fly fishing can be good for this time of year. For hatches, the larger bugs will be the Isos and Cahills. There will be varying degrees of hatching depending on what system you are on. After that comes the BWOs and assorted caddis. Terrestrials are coming into their own as well. Ants and Beetles are on the menu and can often take fish when nothing else will. As such, you will want to bring a good variety of flies and be prepared to switch them often. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill are too low and way too warm to ethically fish, so stay away from these rivers at this point. The Catskills are still a great option right now on the right day. Another positive is that the crowds seem to be dwindling. There have not been mobs of anglers up there making it a great weekend spot. But stay on the tailwaters, stay up high, and pick the right days. If you do that you could still have some decent late-season fly fishing.
Montauk is a great saltwater option right now. In general, the further East you go the better the fishing will be. That is just how it is this time of year. The larger Stripers have been scarce in the past few weeks. That is not to say they are not around. In the low-light hours, fly-rodders are still getting a few but it has been tougher getting the larger fish dialed in. Bass foams are becoming more prevalent as they feed on tiny bait. While there are plenty of fish scattered all over the New York coast, the epicenter of the action will be out toward the Hamptons and Montauk where the water is colder. The Stripers are moving inshore and offshore to feed on the numerous baitfish species abundant in the area at the moment. The key is to fish during low light hours. These fish are far more active at night. You can get schoolies throughout the day but those fish over 30” really begin to shut down when the sun gets high. When it comes to flies, reach for black and purple during low light conditions and white or white and olive for brighter conditions. You will certainly want some very small patterns if you do find those larger Bass Blitzes as they are almost certainly on micro-bait. The beaches are seeing good action in the mornings and afternoons, and the salt ponds and inlets are also a very good option as well. Most of the larger fish seem to be taken by boat anglers as these fish are hanging around deeper structure. Teasing fish up with a popper and then throwing the fly has been the most productive way to get these fish. The forecast looks good for the weekend so this will be a great time to capitalize on the late Summer bite. The most dramatic change has been the arrival of the smaller bait that is now very prevalent off of Montauk. The Bass have been on them and throwing a fly that is very close to a natural baitfish has been absolutely critical. A fly 1 inch in length or less is an absolute must.
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