Greetings Compleat Anglers! The word this week is all about Albies as saltwater anglers have turned their focus almost exclusively to these guys, and it's likely to stay that way over the next few weeks. Things were teed up nicely last week for Albies, and some anglers definitely had success. Fish were around, and we've been hearing about huge quantities of bait in the water. The challenge was weather, with Dorian providing some challenging conditions. With the forecast settling, it should kick into gear in earnest. Read on for more details!
The Catskills rivers are improving. The cooler temperatures have resulted in much better fishing. For many of the rivers across the Catskills, October 1st is the date that these rivers close to all angling. There are some exceptions but for the most part September 30th is the last day to fish most of the trout streams throughout New York State. So, with that in mind we would suggest getting your fishing in while you still can. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc water temperatures have dropped into the mid 60’s making the temperature marginal but fishable early. If the weather keeps trending the right way, expect fishing to be good this weekend into next week. Terrestrials have been the hot pattern lately. Ants are everywhere and the fish will readily suck down a well presented ant fly. There are still Isos and small Sulphurs hatching in the evenings with a decent spinner fall right before dark. On cloudy days, the BWOs have been prolific with fish hitting these bugs all day. Nymphing has been very productive as well. An Iso or Sulphur nymph will take plenty of fish as will a smaller midge pattern. We have less than two weeks left so the next two weekends will be your last chance to get some Catskills fishing in before Spring 2020. Be aware that effective July 1st, the Beaverkill River from Horton Bridge downstream to the highway overpass is now closed to all angling.
Montauk is fishing well. Last week’s weather made fishing difficult for several days but things have recovered well. You can expect to find Stripers blitzing all along the shore in the early morning hours and late in the evening. The South side beaches have had some nicer fish mixed in with schoolies crashing bait pretty much every day for the past week or so now. The blitzes have been absolutely crazy! These fish are on everything from silversides, to sandeels, and peanuts. Some of these bass have been on bay anchovies as well which are quite prevalent at the moment. Really, it about being at the right place at the right time. Keep an eye on the tide. That falling tide is best for stripers. Especially if you are fishing from shore. As we get further into Fall, the bite will become less of an early morning/late evening situation. The fish will actively feed during all hours of the day as long as the tide is moving so keep that in mind. There have been false albacore off Montauk fairly constantly. This past weekend had more boats than albies but they were definitely there. This week saw a serious uptick in albie numbers and it is safe to say they are here. The Lighthouse saw plenty of albies especially in the last two days. They are keyed in on tiny reddish colored bay anchovies at the moment. The fish were pretty selective and the weekend boat traffic did not help. They were splintered into smaller groups indicating the first few pushes of fish. This weekend should be prove to be excellent albie fishing with the weather window we have. Saturday is the day folks! Conditions look awesome. The wind direction is perfect. Now is the time to start really focusing on the albies and be sure to have smaller Anchovy flies ready to go. If you can get your hand on some with a pinkish red color that is ideal.
It is good news on the Farmington. The water was bumped up on Monday to 150 CFS. Not only that, but the State has stocked from Satan’s Kingdom down to the Unionville bridge. They have also stocked from Goodwin Dam down to the old foot bridge. So some good ole fashion stockie bashing should be pretty good on these stretches of river. These fish won’t be too selective. Junk flies such as mops, weenies, and worms will all take plenty of fish. Streamers are often extremely effective on these freshly stocked fish as well. The Farmington has been difficult the past few weeks so if you have a hankering to get out and do some trout fishing these stockies will be quite accommodating for the next week or so. The upper the sections are a similar story. Colder water and technical fishing. The cooler temperatures have been great for the fishing. The cloudy days as well. While it will not be a numbers game up top, there are still plenty of those bigger fish lurking in that pocket water. That is the name of the game if you want to target larger fish. Fish the pockets in the year-round Catch and Release water. The water is still quite low so a subtle approach is key. Lighter flies with a more natural look will eventually get bit but keep in mind that these fish are quite educated. It may take quite a few fly changes before you find a pattern they will hit. Really the key here is targeting that pocket water. Move a lot and fish as much water as possible. You will also pick a few smaller fish doing this as well. It is a good approach this time of year. For the dry fly anglers, it is still all about small bugs. There are still some Tricos up top, midges and BWOs. Really the safest bet will be BWOs especially on those cloudy days. If you fish late into the evening you may see some Isos, Cahills, or small Sulphurs but do not expect significant numbers. Terrestrials are still taking fish as well. There are also a lot of caddis flying around and various sizes and colors are hatching as they always are. A size 16, 18, and 20 in olive and tan will have you covered for the majority of the caddis popping right now. As we creep into late September and October, expect the fishing to pick up a bit before it gets into the 40s. The fall is a great time to fish the Farmington and the coming month should be excellent.
The Housatonic is picking up! The cooler temperatures and cloudy days have dropped the water temperature below critical levels. The trout are moving away from the thermal refuges and trout fishing is quite good! The DEEP has also stocked the Housey as well so the next month should see some great trout fishing. These freshly stocked fish will hit almost any subsurface pattern so you do not need to be picky. The fish certainly aren’t. Junk flies are about good as anything. Mops, worms, and weenies will all work for the first few weeks. As will a wide variety of caddis or mayfly nymphs. A good approach is to start with junk flies and larger stuff initially and downsize the flies as they get more and more angling pressure. Streamers will work as well. When the fish are first stocked they seem to whack anything but keep in mind they will get educated quickly. There are plenty of holdovers that will be on dries when the bugs hatch so have some caddis, BWOS, and Isos ready to go. Terrestrials will also take fish. A good ant pattern is about all you need. The Smallmouth fishery is still going strong and will only get better with the cooler weather, as will the Pike. Expect the end of the month to fish quite well and hold well into October. Now is a great time to fish the Housatonic. This river has been great this year and the next month should provide some of years best fishing as long as the weather and water levels remain good.
Well, the amount of Bunker in Long Island Sound is incredible. There is bait everywhere. Full sized adult Bunker, 2-3 inchers, and peanuts are all abundant. Schoolie Stripers are holding well on structure and pretty much a sure thing for the anglers who understand how to fish these areas. Intermediate and full-sink lines during the falling tide is key. With the amount of bait, you would expect to see more Blues and bigger Stripers on these schools however that has not been the case. There are very few larger fish around. The large Blues have been quite fickle. It seems like one day they are everywhere and the next day they are nowhere to be found. It is going to be a run and gun game for the next few weeks. No Albies yet as to be expected. They do show up early every once in a while but we have not heard anything yet. If you have any shot of finding them, Port Jefferson will be the area. This is always a consistent early season hot spot. But keep your eyes open. They are in strong numbers out to the East off of Old Saybrook. They will pop up in the next week or so if weather doesn’t do anything crazy. If you plan on fishing this weekend, the farther East the better your chances of running into the hardtails. The Long Island side should also be more productive than the Connecticut side as it always is early. For the time being, Schoolie Stripers and Harbor Blues will be the best use of your time.
We have had a lot of different reports coming in from Rhode Island. Some anglers were skunked recently and others had great fishing. That most likely had to do more with the weather than anything else. This past weekend there were good numbers of Spanish Mackerel caught right around East Beach and Point Judith. Albies were sporadic early in the week however they are being caught on the West Wall and surrounding area on a regular basis right now. The West Wall is perhaps the most consistent shore-based Albie spot in the Northeast so if you are on foot, we recommend trying this spot. It juts out over 1,000 feet into deep water and is as good as it gets for the shore based fly angler. If you are unfamiliar with the West Wall, it is off of Beach Row in Narragansett RI directly across from Galilee Beach Club. It is a little challenging to walk so having spikes is a good idea. It is also rocky so a stripping basket is a good thing to have. But it is a great and consistent spot for Albies. The past two days saw the Albies move in thick and as the week progressed the fish became more and more numerous. This weekend could be the big push so if you are thinking about going, now is the time to get on the water. If you are fishing by boat, make sure to cover good stretches of water. Check the normal spots such as Point Judith and Watch Hill but do not be afraid to run a good distance to locate them. The Stripers have been hitting bait on the surface around Watch Hill on that falling tide. Look for birds and you should have no problem finding fish. Blues have been intermittent but around. The fishing is really starting to pick up around Rhode Island and with Albies already around it is time to get on the water. None of our anglers or guides ran into Bonito but apparently there are still some around. If you are going to find them, Point Judith is the spot.
No news from the Deerfield this week, as we didn't get any fresh reports. Though with cooler water temps making the middle stretch of the river more viable, we're betting that it's probably pretty nice up there at the moment. This is one river where floating and chasing buttery browns amidst fall foliage is one of the more picturesque options in the entire region, and shouldn't be missed. We'll publish some more updated info as soon as we can get it.
Saltwater (Cape Cod & The Islands)
Monomoy is still fishing very well. Stripers are still being caught on a regular basis with some nicer fish mixed in. The Albies have moved into the Cape Cod waters and are now the primary target for most fly anglers. From Monomoy to Buzzard’s Bay has had strong numbers of False Albacore in the past week. Fishing is hot right now. Plenty of fish are being taken on a wide variety of flies. The fish are keyed in on small Bay Anchovies so any fly resembling these baitfish will work. It seems like the bulk of the migration is in this general area right now and lots of fish are being caught. Striper and Bluefish have been blitzing on the surface as well but certainly playing second fiddle to the False Albacore. Expect the fishing to hold for the next few weeks at least.
There are a lot of Albies off of the Vineyard right now. I would venture to guess that the Vineyard/Nantucket has the best of migration at this point. False Albacore are thick and in good sized schools making them very susceptible to fly anglers. We have received reports of double digit days on Albies. That seems to be the norm not the exception provided the weather cooperates. The nasty weather we had last week shut things down for a while but conditions have improved and the fish are back. There are plenty of Stripers and Bluefish mixed in as well but no reports of larger Stripers. They all seem to be that Schoolie sized age class with some fish around 28”. Larger Blues are a bit more abundant but still sporadic. That seems to be a recurring theme across the Northeast. Despite the smaller average size, the abundance of both Stripers and Blues makes a Slam a real possibility on any given day. There are still a few Bonito lurking around as well but numbers are tailing off.
Nantucket has been invaded by False Albacore. There are plenty of fish off of Nantucket at the moment. Just as the rest of the Northeast, the cold front last week shut things down for several days but things have started to rebound in a big way. On any given day, you could see huge blitzes of Albies. They are here and it is time to get on the water. Expect to find Blues and Bass busting on bait close to shore as well. This makes the Slam highly likely to those determined to do it. Some Bonito are still around making the Grand Slam a possibility as well. Nantucket is hot right now.
Maine and New Hampshire
No new reports this week from Maine or New Hampshire on the freshwater front, and last's weeks detailed information from Nate Hill should be more or less the same. The only major change is that flows on both the Saco and the Andro have crept down, so something to keep an eye on. As with trout fisheries elsewhere in New England cooler water temps have made for hungry active fish, that are no longer hiding out in thermal refuges, but are roaming and hungry.
Unfortunately, it's the beginning of the end of the striped bass season in Maine, as the season slowly comes to a close. Sure, we're still hearing reports of anglers getting into schoolies in southern Maine, but it seems that most of the big bass action is done, as they've headed further south. Many hardcore fly anglers in Maine are heading down to Cape Cod to target the False Albacore run, so you may have a bit more water to yourself if you're in the area these days. Though you'll need to be satisfied with schoolies. While it's not done yet, things are slowly turning off for the season.