Hello Compleat Angler Friends! Cooler evenings during these upcoming weeks should prove useful for Fall freshwater fishing, so look for improvements in Trout and bug activity soon. Due to rain, our local rivers received quite a bit of water, and the Housatonic currently has poor wading and clarity. Flow cuts at the dam have the Farmington lower than average, so be mindful of your water temperatures. Early mornings have been safe, however you should consider fishing closer towards the dam once the late morning hits as temperatures in Riverton are still reaching 70 degrees. In upstate New York the Salmon River continues to see a push of fresh Kings and Cohos daily, and the middle sections of the river are becoming more active. Meanwhile, the Delaware flows have increased which hasn’t helped the lackluster hatches this month, so consider streamer fishing until flows are more normal. Rhode Island saltwater continues to be the most productive for Albies and Bonito, and the Bass and Bluefish bite has remained consistent towards the Western Sound. The furthest West Albies were reported was off Old Saybrook, so we should see them more westerly in a couple of weeks. This weekend we are going to experience high winds from the hurricane offshore, so please use caution and pay attention to weather reports! Read on for more…
Due to the thunderstorms that rolled through last week it’s no surprise that local rivers are running higher than average. For instance, the Saugatuck River is flowing at 98.9 CFS, which will be slightly off color, but rivers will be on the drop throughout the weekend. Cooler air temperatures at night reaching 60 degrees will help improve water temperatures for fishing. No stockings have occurred thus far, but once water temperatures decrease there will be some Fall stocking. Check your stream temperatures and avoid fishing when water temperatures approach 70 degrees. There will still be some spring holdover fish in our local rivers as trout have fared decently with the amount of rain we had this summer. Common insects that you may encounter when temperatures have reached safe levels include a variety of Caddis in Tan and Olive sizes 16-24, Isonychia in sizes 10-12, Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, as well as Tricos in sizes 20-26. Terrestrials are still around with plenty of ants/flying ants. As Fall progresses streamer fishing will start to improve as trout look for high caloric intake before Winter. Areas to consider for the Fall include the Mianus, Saugatuck, Norwalk, and Mill Rivers.
The Naugatuck capped out around 4500 cfs this week but is currently on the drop and reading 1660 cfs. While the water will be too high and stained to fish during these flows, the water level is dropping quickly so look for an improvement in conditions soon. Once temperatures reach safe levels to fish, look to fish similar offerings we are using on our local streams: Sulphurs, Cahills, Caddis, Tricos, 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 will be a good time to throw streamers during the mornings and evenings. Some of our anglers are enjoying fishing for Carp and Smallmouth as water temperatures are too hot for ethical trout fishing. Check your stream temperatures and limit targeting trout to the mornings until afternoon water temperatures are below 70 degrees.
Water levels have been dropping over the past couple days on the Farmington, and Riverton is currently 82.6 CFS, while the Still is adding 106 CFS from our recent rain. Water temperatures have cooled on average in Riverton this past week, however during the afternoon these temperatures will still approach unsafe levels to fish for trout. During the morning water temperatures are around 64 degrees and will approach 70 during its peak in the afternoon. This means that during the morning the areas around Riverton will be fishable, however during the afternoon you will have to fish closer to the dam to find cooler and more oxygenated water. Water temperatures downstream in New Hartford will be warmer on average, so these areas are best avoided. Combined with lower-than-average flows, it would be wise to avoid afternoon fishing in general. Hatches have been slow but are improving, and one may start to encounter more Trico hatches in sizes 24-26 once air temperatures start to cool. In addition, Tan and Olive Caddis in sizes 16-24, Flying Ants, Isonychia in sizes 10-12, Yellow Sallies in sizes 14-18, and Cahills in sizes 12-20 are all viable options for this time of year. Look to fish Isonychia dries or nymphs in the faster water during the evenings, which is when they are most active. 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, once the afternoon hits hatches will be diminished so nymphing in well oxygenated water will pick up additional fish if the temperatures allow. For other Terrestrials, in addition to Ant patterns, bring Black Beetle patterns in sizes 12-16. 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 the variety of bug activity, swinging wet flies can be a productive approach as well. For 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 but will improve as Fall progresses. 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, which is no stranger to high flows this summer, is up again reading 1110 CFS at Falls Village. Flows are currently tough for wading, so we advise waiting until flows have dropped to at least 750 CFS. Evening hatches have been picking up again which has improved the trout fishing, and the Smallmouth fishing remains consistent as well. 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 and Sulphurs in sizes 14-18. There is an abundance of flying ants that trout have been rising to. Water temperatures are still high during the afternoon, so look for improvement in trout fishing during the morning hours, as nighttime air temperatures will drop into the 50s. Larger streamers will fool more trout as Fall progresses, as fish will be looking for a high calorie meal before winter hits. Afternoon is a good time to switch over to smallmouth fishing, so bring your Woolly Buggers in a variety of colors, as well as crayfish patterns. Targeting Carp can also be a fun and challenging endeavor. For Carp, we recommend 6-8wt rods with a weight-forward floating line (a Bonefish Taper line works well) paired with a 9’ 8lb Fluorocarbon leader. Egg flies, small nymphs, crayfish patterns or hoppers can work depending on their feeding behavior. 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” lengths and in different colors (a flashtail whistler is always a good option). Rods in 8-10wt are ideal for casting large flies and sinking lines. Look for slower sections of river, coves, ledges, and weed beds when hunting for Pike.
Striper and Blue fishing continues to heat up with the large amount of bait around and the fish are blitzing on peanut bunker and smaller rain bait. Topwater is becoming more productive again too, which has signaled the start of Fall. There are no reports of Albies in the Western Sound but they will show up soon enough. Water temperatures are still in the mid 70s, so once the Sound cools we will start to see the arrival of hardtails. Currently the furthest West they have been spotted is in Old Saybrook. Larger Bluefish can be found finning in the mornings in and around coves and beaches, 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 weeks). Deceivers, Clousers, Half n Halfs, and Gurglers continue to fool Stripers. Now is the time of year to bring smaller patterns, as Bay Anchovies and Silversides will be more prominent and help fuel blitzes. 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. Since water temperatures are still warm 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. Some anglers have been seeing blitzes nearshore walking the beach, and it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. For our local boat anglers, posting up near the mouths of rivers has proven successful. Mornings are typically best with a focus on the higher tide stages. Some areas to consider are Calf Pasture and the beaches off Westport, Penfield Reef, and Holly Pond. Towards New London the Striper and Bluefish action has been consistent and should only get better.
Salmon reports continue to improve by the day, with a mix of Kings and Cohos entering the river. Many pods of fish are starting to hold in the middle sections of the river, with some anglers finding fish moving quickly up the lower sections. The Upper sections of the river are still relatively slow. Fish have been most active during the mornings before the bright sun. Some Steelhead and Brown Trout have also been pushing into the system, however their numbers are still pretty low. The most popular approach for Kings has been dead drifting egg sucking leeches and Woolly Buggers in various colors, and some anglers are having success fishing large bright intruders in Pink, Black, Purple, and Blue/Chartreuse swinging the lower parts of the estuary. Larger Glow Bugs in different colors will also take fish, so switching up flies/colors and techniques will be the key to success. This time of year, the first pods of fish entering the system are very fresh, so we recommend 16-20lb leaders and tippet as landing these fish has proven tough. Having a micro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, as well as aid in quicker re-rigging during breakoffs and snags.
The water is currently high and a little off color on the Delaware River, with flows currently at 2590 CFS on the Mainstem at Lordville. The East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is currently 976 CFS, while the West Branch at 971 CFS at Hale Eddy. With these current flows you will want to consider streamer fishing, as a lot of the bug activity will be diminished. With that said there have been some fish rising in the evenings, but the consensus is that this month’s bug activity has been low. Higher up on the West Branch you will find cooler and more oxygenated water with more bug activity from Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24 and Sulphurs in sizes 16-20. Cooler evenings will open most of the river to fishing and improved hatches. During the afternoons we recommend fishing higher up as water temperatures will be cooler to avoid stressing the Trout. On 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 currents. Other patterns to consider are Tricos, Little Yellow Sallies, and Flying Ants. Look to fish Spinners in the evenings depending on what insect has been the most prevalent. In addition, most of the river will start to see October Caddis with more regularity. Nymphing remains the most effective method, or fishing a dry-dropper rig. Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Caddis Pupa, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms, and jig style flies (like Perdigones) are all good considerations for subsurface angling. Overcast and rainy days will be your best bet for surface activity, and don’t overlook swinging wet flies and nymphs, such as an Isonychia, which will be the most active. For the Neversink, Willowemoc, and Beaverkill rivers bring similar patterns and add Light Cahills to your box.
The biggest improvement this week is the arrival of False Albacore along the South Shores, with some anglers finding pods of Bonito. Bluefish remain around the rips, especially in Montauk where the Albies are mixed in. Now is the time to start thinking about smaller flies as the most prevalent bait will be Bay Anchovies. Shore fishing has been a hit-or-miss with most anglers finding Bluefish, and if they’re lucky, some Bonito. When fishing by boat, focus on structure around the bays and look for birds/baitfish as Stripers, Albies, or Bluefish 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 has held steady for Stripers, especially around docks and lights, and anglers fishing from shore are finding large Stripers off the beaches. Looking for fish pushing bait to the surface in the rips will result in some fish 30lbs and over. Tide movement is crucial when looking for fish, as this will stack bait into the rips which will make for an easy meal. 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 and Albies are starting to filter in nearshore. The back bays on the Northshore are still seeing plenty of Bluefish, and some Albies are starting to filter in. With the abundance of bait and different species you will encounter, we recommend bringing some Deceivers, Clousers, Sand Eel patterns, and Popovic’s Surf Candies to imitate Bay Anchovies.
Rhode Island is seeing the most Albie and Bonito action so far, with most of the areas heating up around Watch Hill, Point Judith, Charlestown Breachway, and the West Wall. Covering ground is the name of the game as some anglers are finding Albies in deeper water as well as along the beaches. Everyday has been different, so cover ground and look for signs of bait on the surface. There have been really small Bay Anchovies in the 1.5” range so having some smaller Tan/White Clousers and Surf Candies will imitate these if fish are picky. The ledges off Block Island are still fishing well, with large Stripers and Bluefish on Sand Eels in the rips. Look for fish on top during tide movements during dusk. Some of the flats are seeing slot size and over fish cruising in shallow, with the most effective patterns being crab flies. If you are struggling to find hardtails, the consistent Bluefish action on topwater can save the day, as they are still nearshore in bays and salt ponds. With Stripers being caught up to 40”, Bluefish to play with, and the potential for Albies/Bonito, the Fall run is on!
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