Greetings Compleat Anglers! It is all about the saltwater bite right now. False Albacore and Atlantic Bonito have been inundating the Northeast. Rhode Island and Montauk are seeing good numbers of fish signaling the beginning of the Hardtail run. Fly-rodders have been getting into lots of fish and the fishing is only getting better by the day. Now is the time to really turn up the heat and start putting Hardtail trips on the books. The bite is wide-open. The Stripers have been playing second fiddle to the Albies but make no mistake, the Bass blitzes have been providing some awesome action when the Albies do not want to play. Rhode Island seems to be the epicenter of the action, however Montauk and the Eastern End of Long Island has been seeing more and more of these blitzes as well. The freshwater side of things have been alright. Nothing to write home about but relatively consistent. Tailwaters are where you want to focus your attention. The smaller freestones are still too warm. Read on for more…
The fishing in Rhody has been hot, hot, hot. And while the past week has been great, the 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. They will not hit anything larger. These fish have been super picky so you must “match the hatch” perfectly 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 False Albacore are also there in very good numbers. They are thick off Rhodie and peppered all over the place. Shore-based fly anglers have been getting into fish blind casting the jetties very consistently. Boat anglers have also been having a ton of success. We are hearing about double digit days from pretty much everybody which means that the bite is wide open! There have been a few hot-spots and if you locate one of these it is almost a guarantee you will find them. Now is the time to be putting some hours on the engine and hunting down some hardtails. As we know, the Fall can be fickle. The weather can change in the blink of an eye and if we get those big Easterly blows, it is game over for a while. So get out as soon as possible and get in on some Albies. The next 3 weeks will be the bulk of the migration so now is the time to get out there. If you are new to the Albie game, 10wts are highly recommended. 9’s are ok-ish too but nothing lighter than that. A wide variety of flies will work early in the season, everything from smaller Deceivers to Surf Candies and more, so don’t be afraid to experiment. The fish will tell you what they want. Back to the Stripers, the salt ponds, inlets, and back bays are still producing good numbers of fish. While the majority are smaller, schoolie sized fish some bigger fish have been sneaking in at night to feed on smaller forage. The other option is Gator Blues which are all over the place. Block Island seems to be the hot-spot. 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 the fly is what you are after, give Rhody a shot. The key 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 fish are feeding on. The beaches have also been producing, again, 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 the fly. There are a ton of options off Rhody at the moment. Whether from shore or boat, the fishing is great right now.
No real change to the Farmington. The release out of the dam is 90cfs, an improvement from last week. The Still is putting in another 10 cfs. The total is around 100cfs and falling. By the weekend you can expect that number to be lower unless the release from the dam increases. That is very low and far from ideal. We desperately need some water and for the release to stay up. 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 and we are hearing that 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 dry fly anglers, the Isos and Cahills 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 and assorted small caddis. The Tricos are popping now as well and the fish will be on them. Terrestrials are also a factor. Ants and Beetles will still take fish so definitely have those in the box. Wet flies have also been very effective for trout spey anglers. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. 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 game plan is and see if it is ok to slide in above or below. 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.
The Housatonic is at a great flow. It is at around 300cfs and ever so slightly falling. Those are perfect wadeable flows. However, despite the good flows, the water is still too warm to ethically fish for trout. Thermal refuges have been in effect since June and with water temps getting over 76 degrees by the afternoon, best to leave the trout alone at this point. Sure, the increased flow dropped the water temps into the low 70s, that is still way too warm to fish. 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 if trout is your target. The good news is that the Smallmouth Bass will see a dramatic increase in activity. The streamer bite should be awesome and the fish will be far more active than in the past month. This is a great window for those warmer water species as things will be slightly cooler, flows will spread fish out and have the fish on the feed. Now is a perfect time to target these Smallmouth with flies. With the higher water you will want sink-tip lines at a minimum. Darker colors will also be advantageous as the water is a little on the turbid side.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
We are starting to see some increased activity locally. While we are still about a month away from prime-time, the fishing has been slowly getting better. Before we get into what is going on, we have had a lot of people asking if the Albies are in Western Long Island Sound yet. The answer is most certainly no. We will not see those fish until October so if you want to get on some of these hardtails, you need to head East. With that out of the way, Schoolies are always around and with some cooler water brought on by the recent rains, expect an uptick in fish activity. The back bays and salt ponds should see plenty of fish pushing in on the rising tide and feeding on the falling. Lower light hours are still very important but again, we are hearing that it is not exclusively a night bite. Dawn and Dusk have been great producers so timing that with the falling tide should give you a good shot at locating feeding Stripers. A few fly anglers are getting on some bigger fish in key locations and the general consensus is that the targeting of larger fish has been better than usual. Especially in the past week, it seems some of these larger fish have been more willing to eat flies. Some days are good while others are a bust, but in general the fishing has been consistent. The best way to locate these fish is to check as many likely spots as possible during a good tide. There has also been increased surface activity early in the mornings with smaller fish blitzing on silversides and other assorted small bait. That is especially true out toward Niantic where the fishing is significantly better than the Western Sound. There have also been some Bluefish in the mix, some smaller harbor Blues mixed in with the Bass blitzes and larger Gators out in the middle. It seems that the Larger Blues have increased in number over the past few weeks and have been providing some exciting tease-and-switch action. But again, lower light hours are key. 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. The Bonito have shown up in Connecticut in stereotypically sporadic fashion. Out toward Niantic they have been more prevalent but there were fish this week off Darien and Greenwich. One fish was caught as most anglers did not know what they were looking at so keep those 9 or 10wts ready with some albie-style flies. If you are running around this area this weekend, keep your eyes open. You could run into them any day from now until October. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills received some much-needed rain this week and the fishing certainly improved. If you put the time in and go on the right days, the fly fishing should be good. Angling pressure and fluctuating water is creating a feast-or-famine type 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, good flows, 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 have been producing as well, and flying Ants have been prevalent and can often take fish when nothing else will. As such, you will want to bring a good variety of files and be prepared to switch them often. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill are too warm to ethically fish so stay away from these rivers at this point. The Catskills are still a great option on the right day however. Another positive is that 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 saw the first push of False Albacore this past week. The long-awaited Albie run has started and should see more and more fish push in every day until mid-October. Montauk is arguably the best place to target these fish as the hydraulics in the area jam bait up and create the perfect feeding scenario for these speedsters. So if hardtails are on your mind, now is the time to have those 10wts rigged and to start looking. The lighthouse and Gardner’s Island are the two hot-spots that historically get the highest concentrations of fish. So be checking these spots frequently. The Albies will most likely be on Bay Anchovies so be sure to have flies that imitate these baitfish. The Long Island side of the Sound seems turning on out toward Orient Point. 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, try black and purple for 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. They are almost certainly on micro-bait. The beaches are seeing good action in the mornings and afternoons. 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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