August 06, 2021 8 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! We've seen some spectacular fly fishing off of Montauk, Rhode Island, and the Cape this past week. The New Moon tides, cooler temperatures, and cloudy conditions are ideal for this time of year. The fish have responded positively and are on the feed. Bluefish, Stripers, Bonito, and Mackerel are all up for grabs. Blitzes are common and larger fish are in tight and feeding, which makes them a possibility for both shore-based and boat anglers. Our trout fisheries have been a different story - it is tough fishing across the board. The water has been low pretty much everywhere and the cooler temps coupled with overcast cloud cover have only moved the needle slightly. Read on for the details...
Great New Moon tides should kick things into overdrive. That, coupled with partly cloudy conditions, cooler weather, and a ton of bait will mean some spectacular fly fishing in the week to come. Sandeels, mackerel, squid, and Bunker are all prevalent. Stripers will be after all of these so be prepared with a good selection of flies. The larger Bass will be just offshore in deeper water congregating around rips and drop offs. Early mornings and afternoons have seen very consistent action, but the night bite is the most productive. The larger fish are thick in the area and should turn on with the tides we have. Martha’s Vineyard has been one of the hot spots 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. The Bonito seem to have thinned out, but I would not be surprised if an influx of fish comes in the next few days. It will be worth a look around the South end of the Vineyard as they could show up any day. When they show up in good numbers have at least one rod rigged for Bonito. Nantucket has been seeing more and more gator Blues. They are plentiful and teasing these fish up with poppers has been very effective. A large flashy fly works in drawing strikes. Bonito have shown up off Nantucket as well. The Rips off Monomoy are still producing a lot of fish right now. While most are using spin gear to get down, full sink lines with bigger Bunker, Mackerel, or squid patterns will produce. The larger fish have pushed through the Canal and as such, Cape Cod Bay has good concentrations of larger fish. The Cape/Massachusetts is a great place to be right now. There are a lot of options - everything from Big Striped Bass to Bonito.
Rhodie should be on fire this week. No surprise there with the tides we have. There has also been an influx of Mackerel, which are becoming more numerous by the day. There are Bonito around as well. It is still a bit early for these fish, but they have already been seeing fish popping up East around Newport. Smaller flashy flies on sinking lines will do the trick if you run into these fish. The Striped Bass will almost certainly pick up this week off of block as well. The cloudy forecast and cooler temps we have all point to a very good bite. The fish will be stacked amongst the rocks and will crush a well casted fly in the mornings and evenings. 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 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.
The most recent development has been the arrival of smaller bait. Bay Anchovies and other “rain bait” have shown up just offshore. Striper and Bluefish blitzes are becoming more numerous as the days pass. These fish will be notoriously picky, so it is best to have some smaller 2-inch-long flies, just in case. Color does not really matter; it is more of a size thing. Flotillas of fish blitzing on “rain bait” is now a common occurrence. These could be Blues, Bass, or Bonito, so be prepared. Being rigged for all three will make the most of your time on the water.
The Mainstem is running around 1600 CFS and falling, the East is at 600 CFS, and the West Branch is at 672 CFS as of 08/06. These are low levels across the board. These levels are good for waders and okay for the drift boats, but the fishing will be tough. Low water will have these fish on the skittish side. That could be offset by the lower temperatures and cloud cover. Your best option will still be the West Branch - no surprise there. However, the East and Main will fish well too. 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 - no need to get there early. Sulphurs are still the hot fly on most days. Dropping down to size 18 or even 20 has been very effective as of late. Iso Bicolor, caddis, and BWOs will make up the rest of the insects coming off. There have also been a few Golden Drakes in the mix. Fishing a big Iso emerger in the blind has been taking fish. Early last week fishing was pretty good, but things are getting 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.
Out East is looking juicy for this weekend and next week. A good wind forecast will give the shore-based anglers a great shot at some larger fish from the rocks. The waves look pretty good - 3 feet or less means that it will be a great weekend to get out there on your boat. Overcast or partly cloudy conditions coupled with New Moon tides should kick the fish into high gear. Big Blues and Stripers will be a real possibility off of Montauk. Many of these fish are feeding on smaller bait, so be prepared for that. The Blues don’t seem to care much, but the Bass will. Sandeels and Anchovies are already quite prevalent. It is best to have flies that imitate these as the fish can get notoriously selective on smaller baitfish - especially the Stripers. You will find schoolie Stripers in tight on structure with the cooler weather, but remember that low light hours are key. A moving tide is critical. Out to the East, the fishing is certainly better than it is in the Western Sound, but this week’s forecast should improve things on the Western End. Back bay and beaches should improve quite a bit with fish pushing in on the flood tide. In and around the Race has seen flurries of Gator Bluefish action in the morning and evening. 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. We have a pretty windy forecast for the weekend, but early next week looks pretty darn good.
No change to the Farmington report. The flow is still around 450 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. The Still is putting out an additional 100 CFS. The fishing is still on the tougher side. A four or five fish day seems to be the average with mostly smaller fish. The water is getting a tad warm, which could be the reason things are not great. We saw a high of 67 degrees recently, but at least it is fishable.
For hatches, there are still some Sulphurs and Isos coming off, but these hatches are dwindling. There are lots of tan caddis hatching. Expect to see the caddis coming off in the mornings and fish rising on them in the softer sections or eddies. Caddis will hatch throughout the day and into evening as well. BWOs are always a factor, especially on cloudier days. Tricos have begun to show up. Also consider bringing the terrestrial box from now on, as there are certainly ants and beetles crawling around. During the middle of the day, fishing an ant or beetle in the blind can be surprisingly effective. If nothing else, it is a great searching pattern that will move fish and allow you to get a bead on them. Smaller streamers may be a good option on cloudier days. Moving forward, keep an eye on those flows and be safe out there.Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housy is running around 1400 CFS, which is still too high to wade. The water is too warm anyway, making it unethical to trout fish at this point. The thermal refuges are now in effect and the trout should be left alone for the rest of summer. Only after the water subsides to under 1000 CFS, will there be a great fly fishing opportunity for the Smallmouth Bass. The flood will have cooled off the water a bit and once things clear up, the Smallie bite should be pretty darn good. I would expect these fish to be willing to take almost anything after a few weeks of very high water.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
No change to the report for the Connecticut coast. Tough fishing down here in the Western Sound. However, the New Moon tides should give us a much needed shot of activity. Bluefish seem to be the best option for the fly anglers right now. They are consistently feeding out in the middle, 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 around 9am the bite dies so be out here early. The evenings after 5pm have been seeing some good activity. Fly fishing in the 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 later in the afternoon. Time that with decent tides and you should have a good shot at catching some fish. The big fish have been thinning out quite a bit. While there are always bigger fish somewhere, expect them to be tough to pin down. It seems like there are a lot of smaller Blues around making up most of the activity out there. Schoolies are on structure, which makes them easier targets for the boat guys. The majority of the larger fish have moved to the East. Smaller Blues and schoolie Bass will make up the majority of the action for the shore-based fly anglers. But remember, mornings and evenings are the bite window. We have been seeing some Harbor Blues crushing bait on the local beaches. 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. Very little is happening mid-day. The majority of our serious anglers are headed East. While the Sound still provides some good opportunities on the right day, it is a good idea to look East from now on.
Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.