Northeast Fishing Report: 9/17/2021 - The Compleat Angler

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September 17, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! Cooling temperatures means that things are trending in the right direction for trout anglers out there. While there is not much going on right now, if the weather cooperates, we should have some decent trout fishing in about a month or so. All but a few of our rivers are still too warm and most have opted for chasing saltwater species. For good reason too, as the saltwater fly fishing has been awesome lately. False Albacore are up and down the East Coast in solid numbers. The meat of the run is in Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island, but Montauk is seeing strong numbers that are building by the day. Striper blitzes are also a common occurrence as they gorge on Bay Anchovies. Big Blues are around as well. It is all starting to happen. The other big news is the start of the Salmon Run in upstate New York as big Kings and Silvers have started their migration upstream to spawn and the fishing has been good! Many of our anglers are headed North to get in on the action. Read on for more...

Massachusetts

The Albies are still the hot fish off of Massachusetts right now. The fish seem to be pushing West and are all around the Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Cape. They are being caught with regularity and good numbers are being seen. The Hooter and the Bonito Bar are always hot spots and good places to check, but at this point the Albies are scattered all over. Fish were also being caught around Falmouth, Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and into Buzzards Bay. The Islands are still the epicenter of the Hardtail push at the moment. However, the weather has been tough. This past weekend high swells kept most anglers off the water and this week wasn’t much better. It was pretty windy out there unless you found shelter in the lee of wind and waves. The smaller boats stayed in waiting for a weather window. Bluefish have been prevalent around the Cape and Nantucket. A lot of smaller fish around with some bigger fish blitzing in the mornings and afternoons. The Stripers are still very much around and fairly easy to pin down. Fishing structure during low light hours should prove fruitful. Full sinking 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. The Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Cape will be hot spots, so plan your trips now!

Rhode Island

Saltwater

It has been a tough week for Rhode Island weather-wise. The False Albacore are certainly around, but high seas and strong winds have kept all but the most motivated anglers off the water. Last weekend had some very poor conditions, so few reports came in. This week was similar. There was a good weather window on Tuesday, but the wind kicked back up on Wednesday. That’s how it goes this time of year. You need to pick your weather windows wisely and go when conditions are good. However, this weekend is looking good. Saturday looks ideal (from a wind and waves standpoint) and any concerted effort to locate Albies should pay off. There are scattered thunderstorms forecasted, but that could change so keep an eye on it and be safe out there. The Stripers blitzes are becoming a more frequent occurrence. There are still tons of bait around so expect that to only get better. Bay Anchovies and Peanut Bunker are the two primary forage species for the Bass and Albies, so be prepared with flies that mimic both. The Stripers in particular are very selective when they are on Anchovies. Be sure to have small anchovy flies with you or risk blanking on an acre of Bass. It seemed like there were more Peanut Bunker to the East and to the West toward Watch Hill there were more Bay Anchovies. That could of course change. Block Island is still putting up some really nice Stripers. Typically, a bait fishing spot, you can still target these fish on fly with the tease and switch method early in the morning or late in the afternoon. On a whole, the Fall Run is shaping up nicely. The presence of thick and numerous bait schools, as well as a variety of species, is exactly what we want to see this time of year. As always, if you locate the bait, you will find the gamefish. Keep your head on a swivel and cover water. Having at least 3 rods rigged, one each for Blues, Bass, and Hardtails is a wise decision as you could run into all of the above on any given day. We recommend 10 wts across the board but 9s will be alright as well.

New York

The Salmon River

The Salmon River is down and running around 500 CFS. There have been good pushes of Kings and Cohos over the past week. While it is still “early season,” it seems as though most anglers are getting into some great fishing. The numbers of fish in the river are certainly increasing and the fishing has been very good to say the least. Some seriously large fish have been taken as well.  Even a few Steelhead have been caught in the lower sections of the river. Now is the time to really get serious about planning a trip up there as the fish are pushing into the river on a daily basis.

Salmon River Fish

While late 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 very different from the fight on a “mud shark,” which has been in the river for quite 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 more pleasurable fishing experience.

Salmon River Fish

If you plan to get in on the early season action, the lower sections of the river will be far more productive. 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. Now is the time to begin heading up there. The big push could only be a week away. You just never know and there are already fish running up the river. It’s game time in Pulaski!

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 2000 CFS and is now falling. The East is at around 1000, and the West Branch is at 1000 CFS. These are good wadable levels for the East, but the Main and West are a bit too high. Crowds seem to be dwindling, which is also a good thing. However, fishing has been tough. Months of pressure are making it even more challenging. For flies, nothing has changed in the past week. BWOs are a strong contender for the most productive. Especially on the cloudier days. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective as of late. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, and caddis will make up the majority of 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. 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. The fishing has been pretty darn good recently. Anglers are reporting double digit days, if you make the right moves. Location and making the right call on where to fish have been the keys to success when coupled with having a good selection of bugs.

Saltwater

Montauk is slowly becoming the place to be for Albies. More and more fish are pushing in daily. Reports are great with lots of blitzing fish and plenty of bait to keep the Albies around. The Lighthouse is still the epicenter of the action. The rip that forms on the lighthouse will suck bait into it and Albies will be waiting to ambush them. There are high concentrations of fish here making them an easier target than in other areas. Remember that there will be a lot of other boats there. This is not a run and gun fishery/spot. To be safe, stack up current and drift down. The Albies will come right to you. Once you get to the end, motor back up current well outside of the other drifting boats and stack back into the queue. Aside from Albies, the Bass have been blitzing on Peanut Bunker and Anchovies as well. The bait is on the move, headed South for their migration. The Bass will intercept them and blitz on the surface making them easy targets for fly anglers with the right flies. This weekend should be good weather-wise. There are a few thunderstorms predicted, but nothing major. However, that could change so be aware. There will most certainly be some Gator Blues in the area. The beaches will have Stripers on them. Remember that these fish are on smaller bait and having flies that match these anchovies, spearing, and silversides is key. These Stripers get very picky and will not hit larger patterns.

Connecticut

Farmington River

No change to the Farmington report. The water is still very warm. Despite having the water temperature drop a bit, we recommend giving the fish a break. We are seeing 68.5 degrees for the water temperature high in Riverton. That is well above the average temperature this time of year. In case you missed it, here is what we have found out, explained in previous reports.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 400 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. The Still is putting out around an additional 100 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. Months of relentless angling pressure were starting to show as the fish are ultra-selective. With the most recent revelations regarding water 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

The Housy has dropped to around 1500 CFS, which is too high to wade. Also Remember that the water is too warm to ethically trout fish. The thermal refuges are now in effect and the trout should be left alone for the rest of summer. However, we have a great fly fishing opportunity for Smallmouth Bass. Once the river drops and the water clears up 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. The Pike fishing seems to have picked up a bit with the increase in water and cooler temps. However, the bite window is 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, which is the key with Northerns. We have a few cloudy days this weekend that 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.

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

No change to Connecticut. It has been tough out there, especially in the Western Sound. The move has been to fish early and late on structure adjacent to deeper water. Rock piles, points, reefs, and even harbors should be holding good numbers of schoolie Stripers 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. However, as of late, it seems as though these fish have disappeared a bit. A good target for 8 wts, these fish can keep the rod bent on the tougher days, if you can locate them. The larger Blues are around, but seem to be on the bottom. The really dedicated anglers have been getting into some really nice Stripers on fly at night. 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. Out toward Niantic it has been a bit better. The Bass have been found foaming on Bay Anchovies. While these fish have been selective, they are perfect targets for fly anglers as smaller flies are a must. Some Albies have been moving into the area as well and while the storm this past weekend seems to have driven the fish out, I would expect them to rebound soon. If you are fishing Connecticut this weekend into next week, the further East you are, the better.

Keep in mind: Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.


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