Hello Compleat Angler friends! Flying ants are now on the menu with consistency during the afternoons on the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers. Trout fishing has started to improve on the Housatonic while Smallmouth fishing remains steady. Flows are currently on the drop after this week’s rain but are quickly approaching average flows. The Delaware River received more rain than our local options, and the dry fly action continues to be a hit-or-miss with anglers steadily catching some fish. Persistence is the name of the game when targeting fish 20” and over. Remember to check stream temperatures, as most of our local options will be too hot to fish during the afternoon, as are the sections below the Still River on the Farmington River. Saltwater fishing has seen an improvement, with more Stripers and large Bluefish being found blitzing on small bait, which suggests that Fall patterns have started. While it’s still early for Bonito and Albies, some anglers have found sporadic pods below bait in Rhode Island at their typical Fall hotspots. The action should only continue to improve as more fish push inshore. In upstate New York, the Salmon season has improved as most anglers are seeing a steady increase in Kings moving into the Salmon River with an occasional Steelhead or two being caught. Read on for more…
A small amount of local rain this week has local rivers currently dropping in flows, with the Saugatuck reading 36.6 cfs. Overall flows are slightly above average. While flows are good for wading, check your stream temperatures during the afternoon as they will likely 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. Cooler evening temperatures will help drop river temperatures as we approach Fall. As temperatures start to drop, streamer fishing will pick up again. That said, anglers have been still finding fish in the Norwalk and Saugatuck Rivers. Fish 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, 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 is currently at average flows, reading 205 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. The above average flows provide an opportunity to throw streamers during the mornings and evenings. Some of our anglers are switching over to Carp and Smallmouth as water temperatures have increased.
Flows on the West Branch are currently 170 cfs with the Still River adding 69.4 cfs to the mix. 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 they are improving. You may 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. Tricos have been hatching with more consistency in size 22-26 spinners. The main improvement is larger numbers of flying ants being taken on the surface during the afternoons. 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. For strategy, look for rising fish in the morning and evenings, since once the afternoon hits the hatches will be diminished and your options will be nymphing in well oxygenated water to pick up additional fish. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds for success for nymphing. If dry fly fishing, using a 5x-6x 12ft nylon leader will aid in a stealthy presentation and a more drag-free drift. Staying into the evening can result in some good spinner falls. With all 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.
With the recent rain the Housatonic has increased to 909 cfs at Falls Village. Clarity is still good, though use caution when 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. Trout fishing has seen an improvement, and anglers are still reporting good Smallmouth fishing. 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 and Terrestrials. There is an abundance of flying ants that trout have been rising to. There has been some excellent Smallmouth fishing recently, with anglers easily catching double digits within 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 for 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 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” (a flashtail whistler is always a good option) in different colors. Rods in 8-10wt are ideal for casting large flies and sinking lines.
Striper fishing has improved this week, with the large amount of bait in the Western Sound keeping the fish around. 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, and 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 of 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 stray closer to the bottom for cooler water. Salt ponds continue to hold resident fish, as well as rocky points near the Norwalk Islands. Some of the coves and salt ponds are seeing hatches of Cinder Worms. 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.
Reports of Salmon moving up the system have been more consistent as many anglers are starting to hook into fish. Because these Salmon are very fresh they have proven tough to land, with many anglers able to pull single digits numbers to hand. Pineville is flowing below average at 264 cfs, so clarity will be good with easy access for wading. Some Steelhead have been pushing into the system with the Salmon, however they are still few and far between with no Brown Trout reported yet. Salmon activity has been at its peak during the morning hours and later in the day. The most popular flies for Kings have been dead-drifting egg sucking leeches, and some anglers are having success fishing large bright intruders in Pink, Black, Purple, and Blue/Chartreuse while swinging the lower parts of the estuary.
Flows are up on the mainstem, reading 3600 cfs at Lordville. The East and West branches have also seen a bump in flows, but are now on the drop with the West Branch at Hale Eddy flowing 816 cfs, while the East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is currently 1820 cfs. 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. Lower sections of the river 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 current. 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” and over fish to hand. This time of year, overcast coupled with cooler conditions 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 the most prevalent. Trout will be keyed into any of these bugs, so bringing a variety of patterns (especially Sulphurs) will help your odds at success. In addition, having 12-14’ nylon leaders in 5x 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 a hit or miss, however the action should improve as we approach Fall. While the Beaverkill is still too high to fish, the Willowemoc has been improved and should be fishable in the next day or two. Look to fish similar offerings: Isonychia, Sulphurs, Cahill, Caddis, and Blue Winged Olives. No flying ants have been reported yet, however they should start soon.
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 and Bonito 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 on the incoming tide. 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 also be considered to 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 have spotted Bonito and Albies near Charlestown, the West Wall, Watch Hill, and Block Island in the rips. They have been spotty so far but look for birds and bait on top as fish might not be blitzing but can be caught as they work below the bait balls.
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