With the migration of the Hardtails on every saltwater fly angler's mind, we are all anxiously waiting to see how Hurricane Henri will impact our fly fishing. It is still too early to tell how things will shake out. While things will certainly recover, most are wondering how long it take. The water has been churned up and is quite turbid. While that will stunt things a bit, the fishing has been good off of Nantucket and the Vineyard. Bonito and False Albacore are in and if you are willing to spend the time searching, the hardtail action should be great. Things in the Western Sound things have improved quite a bit. The Hurricane helped cool down the water, which brought Bass and Blues into fly casting range for shore-based anglers. Mornings and late afternoons have been seeing lots of fish in tight and willing to take well-fished flies. Most of the trout streams are still too warm to fish despite the water we received. The one exception is the Delaware, which got a good shot of rain and will certainly improve. The streamer bite was good early in the week and as the water clears, expect the dry fly fishing to improve considerably. Read on for more for the full report...
Massachusetts fared pretty well during hurricane Henri. Some rain and wind with a deteriorating sea state, but nothing crazy. No one was on the water this past weekend, but this week saw some decent fishing. It seems that things are still stabilizing after the storm. The bait is a bit scattered and, as such, the blitzes and action have been sporadic. This weekend should see things return to normal. The hot fish right now are the Bonito. Before the storm fish were off the Vineyard and Nantucket in solid numbers. Fish up to 11 pounds were being caught with reasonable consistency. The other big news is the influx of False Albacore around Nantucket and the Vineyard. On Tuesday the first big push of Albies showed up and multiple anglers got on them. We saw some big fish in the mix as well. It looks like the storm pushed fish in tight. With the water temperatures we have, the fishing should be hot off Massachusetts this weekend. They are here and it's go-time! The Hooter and the Bonito Bar are always hot spots and good places to check. Fish were also being caught around Falmouth, Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and into Buzzards Bay. The Islands are certainly the epicenter of the Hardtail push at the moment. This weekend will hopefully see things recover elsewhere and a big push of fish on the backside of this weather. We are moving off of the Full Moon this weekend and the fishing should be good on the Waning Gibbous and start to slow into next week. Bluefish have been prevalent around the Cape and Nantucket. The Stripers are still very much around and fairly easy to pin down. Fishing structure during low light hours will prove fruitful. Full sink lines and larger baitfish patterns will take larger fish. Rock piles, rips, and beaches will find lots of smaller Bass feeding on small bait. Poppers have been taking fish in the mornings off the beaches. Monomoy is still a great place to target Stripers. The various Mackerel species are thick as well. A light-tackle target, these fish will be feeding on smaller bait making them perfect for fly anglers. The next few weeks will see Hardtails moving in thick, provided the weather does not do anything crazy. The Vineyard, Nantucket and the Cape will be the hot spots, so plan your trips now!
Rhode Island got hammered by Henri this past weekend. They took a direct hit and are still recovering from the storm. With trees down, power outages and road closures, it will be some time before things return to normal. That could be said for the fishing as well. The water was churned up pretty good and with the runoff from the rain, turbidity will be an issue. Reports this week are sparse - not many anglers on the water. It seems as though most are waiting for the water clarity to return and to see how this storm shuffled the deck. The hope is that the water temperature dropped a degree or two and that the water clears up quickly. If that is the case, the fishing should rebound well. Before the storm things were going very well. Bonito had moved in and while still a bit more difficult to pin down, they were being caught from Narragansett to Watch Hill by those willing to run and check any surface activity. One of the hot spots for Bonito was Block Island. Anglers reported that Block Island was the most consistent area for these hardtails. There was even an Albie caught (on spinning gear) with multiple other sightings. However, the few reports we received early in the week indicated that things were looking pretty bleak. The hordes of rainbait seen previously were down on the bottom and scattered. Some smaller Bluefish had some bait balls pushed up on the surface along the beaches, but there weren’t any Bonito or Bass with them. We need things to settle a bit. Water clarity is key this time of year and with the turbidity we have, I would expect the fishing to be a bit muted. But you never know, it could clear up and the flood gates could open. Block Island was still putting up some really nice Stripers before the storm and once things stabilize this will be a great place to target these fish. Big Blues were also found along the beaches hammering smaller bait. I would expect that to recover more quickly than most other fisheries. What we need now is a nice week-long stretch of no rain or crazy wind and things should get back on track. Fingers crossed.
The Salmon River
The water came back down on the Salmon River. It came down to 350 from 2200 and that should bring some fish into the system - maybe even some Atlantics. While Mid-September will typically have the most fish on this river, getting on these fish early provides a few benefits. First off, these fish will be as “fresh” as they can get. They are brighter, stronger, and certainly more attractive to the eye. The fight on fresh Kings is quite different from a “mud shark” that has been in the river for a while. They are more explosive with far more runs and jumps. Secondly, there will be far fewer anglers to contend with. The Salmon River is famous for its astronomically huge crowds. And while that will be unavoidable in the coming weeks, getting to the party early will ensure a much more pleasurable fishing experience. That said, the DSR is private and patrolled. You need to pay to play there, but this means that the majority of anglers are respectful and there are plenty of places to fish. Cohos will be next, followed closely by Steelhead and lake-run Browns. If you plan to get in on the early season action, the lower sections of the river will be far more productive, with the DSR being the best of the best. If you are new to the Salmon fishery, 8 and 9 wts are ideal. Something 10 feet or longer to help mend line and drift correctly is necessary. Big and bright flies are the most popular. Giant egg style patterns or even bright streamers will work. Pinks, Chartreuses, Orange, and Peaches are the colors widely regarded as the go-tos. This is a phenomenal fishery and a blast when the fish are running. If you are planning on heading up there, now is the time to begin preparations. The big push could only be weeks away and there are already fish running up the river.
The Hurricane dumped some much-needed water onto the Delaware. The Mainstem got up to around 9000 CFS and is now falling. The East came up to almost 6000, and the West Branch was at 1600 CFS. The East and the Main are un-wadable and it is drift boats only for these two branches. The West is falling fast and should be wadable this weekend. The East will still be too high for wading, but will be great for boats. The bump in water could see some good streamer fishing over the weekend. With the rain, the water has cooled off quite a bit. Even on the Main, temps are looking ok for the upper section, which means the trout will be nice and active. With the clouds we have predicted for this weekend, the fishing could be very good. The crowds seem to be dwindling too, which is a good thing. Weekends have been tough, but during the week there is plenty of water to fish - no need to get there early. Sulphurs are still a good option on most days, with BWOs a close second. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective of late. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, and Caddis will make up the rest of the insects coming off. The Flying Ants will be a factor as well. There has been a good “hatch” of these guys recently so bring a few cinnamons with you. The best practice is to be prepared with multiple sizes of multiple patterns with the emphasis on smaller sizes. Terrestrials are not a bad option either. 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.
Montauk got clipped pretty good by the storm, but certainly fared better than Rhodie. We can expect to see a bit of a recovery period as the water clears up and the fish settle back into their routines. As of right now, bait is scattered and holding deep. We are hearing that there is very little surface activity off Montauk, but that could change quickly. If you head out this weekend, the Race and Plum Gut will be spots to check. No surprises there, as they produced consistent action before the storm.
This weekend could see things trending in the right direction, especially off Montauk as the clean ocean water tends to clear things up a bit faster. The rips off the light will still be holding bait, so this spot and the surrounding area should recover faster than most. As such, this will be a good spot to hit this weekend if you plan on fishing. There will most certainly be some Gator Blues in the area. The beaches will have Stripers on them as well. Remember that these fish are on smaller bait and it is important to have flies that match these anchovies, spearing, and silversides. These Stripers get very picky and will not hit larger patterns. We will have to see how things shake out after the storm. Things will certainly recover, but how long will it take? That is the question. As there are Albies off of Mass at the moment, I would give it another week or 2 until there are Albies all over Montauk. Time to get ready!
Despite all of the rain we received thanks to Hurricane Henri, the Farmington is still too warm. We are seeing 69.5 degrees for the water temperature high in Riverton, which is well above the average temperature. In case you missed it, here is what we explained in our last week’s report.Water coming out of the dam is at 67.9. On the 21st the water peaked at 72 degrees in Riverton! What we are hearing from the Metropolitan District of Connecticut (MDC) is that due to weeks of dumping water, there is no more thermal stratification in the reservoir. 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 around 1100 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. It has been yo-yoing over the past few days, so that could change. The Still is putting out around 800 CFS. Even before the hot water temps, fly fishing had been very tough the past few weeks. One fish days were not uncommon and few larger fish have been taken. Even the euro-nymphing mob was having difficulty. That, coupled with months of relentless angling pressure, has made the fish 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 currently fishing the Farmington is not a responsible angling practice. This will be the report for the foreseeable future. We will update you on any changes, but please give the trout a break.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Hurricane Henri pushed the water up to over 4000 CFS. That is just as well as 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, if you have a drift boat or raft, this is a great fly fishing opportunity for Smallmouth Bass. The water will be stained and the streamer bite for Smallies should be pretty 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. That said, you should be able to bump the size up a bit. The Pike fishing seems to have tailed off, but should see an uptick in activity with the higher water. These fish should be a bit more active, but the bite window is still 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. We have a few cloudy days this weekend, which should make it a bit better for Pike fly fishing.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
As opposed to Rhode Island and the East End of Long Island, this storm should be a net benefit for the Sound. While turbidity will certainly be a factor, once the water clears, Henri will have cooled the water down a few degrees. This will bring fish in tight and we should see an improvement in fly fishing for all species. The cooler water will certainly drive Stripers in tighter to feed on smaller bait. The storm shuffled bait around, including the Peanut Bunker which have been hunkered down in the harbors. As they move into new safe havens, the Bass will intercept them, making the Bass easy targets for fly anglers with the right flies. This weekend will be a good time to probe any structure with deep water adjacent to it. Rock piles, points, reefs, and even harbors should be holding good numbers of fish depending on the day. Smaller Blues will be prevalent as well. These fish will typically be out in deeper water, given away by birds and blitzing. A good target for 8 wts, these fish can keep the rod bent on the tougher days. We have been hearing that there are some larger Blues in and around Green’s Ledge Lighthouse off Westport. They have been popping up early and late in the afternoon. These fish are pushing 12 pounds and a blast on fly. Covering water and looking for birds or blitzes is the best way to locate them. I would be checking from Stamford East to Westport if you are trying to get on these fish. The really dedicated anglers have been getting into some really nice Stripers on the fly at night. Some 20 pound fish were taken before the storm along the coast from fly rodders who were wading. While we won’t spot burn these guys, any area with deeper drop-offs or channels near points will be worth a few casts during a falling tide. There are plenty of smaller Stripers mixed in to keep things interesting. I would say that this will be the best approach in the coming weeks for some great action. And you never know - there are just enough big fish around to make it worth it!
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
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