Northeast Fishing Report: 9/24/21 - The Compleat Angler

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September 24, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! A tough week for the saltwater fly fishing. The first good push of Albies has definitely thinned out. The weekend warriors have been struggling to get on fish while those that can get out daily are doing better as they have more information. Across the board the fish seem scattered. Turbid water could be to blame, but who really knows. False Albacore have begun to trickle into the Western Sound, which bodes well for Connecticut and Western New York. The Bass blitzes have slowed, probably a product of turbid water as well. Bait seemed scarce of late making an already difficult situation tougher. However, do not let that discourage you. The conditions could change any day now. Water temps are great and once things clean up, the bite should be back on. Trout fishing has been lackluster - no surprise there. Warm water and high CFS has kept most off the water. At this point it is best to wait until mid-October. However, the Salmon run in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania is in full swing! Anglers from all over the Northeast and beyond are headed North for some of most exciting fishing of the year. Big Kings and Silvers are running right now with some giant Browns and Steelhead mixed in. Don't wait too long - the run is only on for another 3 weeks or so. Read on for more...

Massachusetts

No change to the Massachusetts report. 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. However it seems like they have been very scattered of late. It has been like that across the Northeast. The Hooter and the Bonito Bar are always hot spots and good places to check, but at this point they are scattered all over. Fish were also being caught around Falmouth, Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and into Buzzards Bay. It seems like the epicenter of the Hardtail push is Massachusetts at the moment, but it is hard to tell with such scattered schools of fish. Bluefish have been prevalent around the Cape and Nantucket. There are 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 will prove fruitful. Full sink 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.

Rhode Island

Saltwater

It has been a tough week for Rhode Island fishing. The False Albacore are certainly around, but they are very scattered. While some anglers are finding a few pods, others are blanking completely. It is not like it was a few weeks ago - that is for sure. Expect to run a lot to find them. The Stripers blitzes have stalled as well. Not much to report. Few, if any, fish are feeding on the surface lately. There is still bait around, so I predict it will return to normal, but who knows. The Fall Run has certainly stalled. 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 more Bay Anchovies to the West toward Watch Hill. However, that could 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. We are in a bit of a holding pattern. Something has the fish and bait scattered. Keep your head on a swivel and cover water - that is about all you can do. It is smart to have at least 3 rods rigged, one each for Blues, Bass, and Hardtails, 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. Hopefully the Fall Run will get back on track. Fingers crossed!

New York

The Salmon River

Happy Fall everyone! For many of us that means it is time for Salmon and Steelhead! The run in on in Western New York and any day now could be the big push we are all waiting for.  Reports are solid with most anglers catching plenty of fish. It has been feast or famine, but if you fish down low in the rivers you should run into plenty of fish. No one we have talked to has been blanked, so things are looking good! The Salmon River is still running around 500 CFS. There have been good pushes of Kings and Cohos seen 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. 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 get serious about planning a trip up there as the fish are pushing into the river on a daily basis. Like I mentioned, 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 bright flies are the most popular. Giant egg style patterns or even bright streamers will work. Pinks, Chartreuses, Oranges, 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 - it’s game time in Pulaski! 

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 17000 CFS and is now falling. The East is running around 9500 and the West Branch are around 1700 CFS. Nothing will be wadeable this weekend. The rivers are blown out for sure. I would give it a few days to come down before drifting. Crowds seem to be dwindling, however the fishing has been tough. Months of pressure are making it even more challenging. For flies, nothing 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 lately. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, and Caddis will make up the rest of the insects coming off. The Flying Ants, Hebes, and Attenuatta will be factors too. 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. The key moving forward is going on the right days. Low water and bright sun are the 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. Location is key, having a good selection of bugs, and making the right call on where to fish have been the keys to success. With the high water and cooler temperatures, streamers will be very effective in the days to come. 

Saltwater

Montauk is slowly becoming the place to be for Albies. More and more fish are pushing in daily. Reports are great - 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 in 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 peanuts 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 and 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

The DEEP shocked the river this past Tuesday. While shocking locations change slightly each year, assume that from the Still River down to Halfords (just above Church) has been cleaned out of larger fish. They have been doing this every year since the Housy went to natural flow as it is the only river in Connecticut that now supports enough Browns for broodstock. We have our own opinions about how the Farmy is managed, including shocking practices, but regardless of opinions the fishing in the TMA will be shot for a few months at least. Really the TMA never fully recovers until the following Spring when larger fish move up and stocking supplements what has been taken out. Almost every fish 16 inches and over is taken out of the river, so keep that in mind. They don’t hit every square mile, but most of the “good” water is picked clean. The smaller fish that are left tend to be quite stressed and will not recover for some time. On top of  the shocking efforts, the water is quite warm. However, there is some good news - the Farmington water temperature is slowly coming down. We saw a low of 64 degrees in the morning and a high of 69 on the 21st. While it is still getting quite warm during the day, if the temperatures hold; you could safely fish in the mornings. Just be very cognizant of your cut off times. I would say that if you are off the water by 12pm you would be within the bounds of ethical fishing. The DEEP cut the water way back for the shocking. The Farmy was running 73 CFS on the 21st making it far from ideal. It was pushed back up on the 22nd and was around 320 CFS. As of the 24th, the water is 447 out of the dam and 446 out of the Still. That is a combined flow of 893 which is quite high. Due to the water fluctuation and the shocking, I would say that fishing below the TMA is the best bet. But please be careful as the river is essentially in flood. You could also fish above the Still which will be far lower. Greenwoods or the Boneyard will be the best options down lower. Just remember that the farther down you go, the warmer the water. The hatches are not great either - some assorted caddis, BWOs, midges, and flying ants. Nymphs and smaller patterns like midges will most likely be the best options. We still recommend waiting a few weeks to let the flow return to normal and allow the fish to settle back. If you absolutely have to go fishing at the Farmington, then you should be okay as long as you are off the water by 12pm. With the higher water the streamer bite should be pretty good and with cooler temps we could things pick up quite a bit. 


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

USGS Water-data graph for site 01186000

Housatonic River

Well, the Housey is at 2500 and rising. It was blown out since the rain and will be unfishable for the next few days at least. Before the high water, cooler temperatures have resulted in an uptick in Pike and Smallmouth activity over the past week. While the trout fishing has been mediocre, the Smallies have been very active. Good, albeit high, water levels have kept the bass happy. Full sink lines have been taking quite a few fish. The largest bass have been below the TMA, however there are a lot of fish above that despite their smaller size. We are also right on the cusp of some really good fly fishing for Northern Pike. As the water cools down, the fishing will steadily improve. The fish will become more active and when conditions are right, odds of success will be high. The bite window is still  mornings and afternoons, however that is beginning to change as the water temperatures drop. It will become more of a midday bite window later in the Fall.

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

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

The saltwater fly fishing is beginning to improve in Long Island Sound. As water temperatures slowly begin to decline and the bait begins to move, larger gamefish are starting to respond. We are hearing that fishing is moderate at the moment and it may take some searching to find fish, but both shore based and boat based fly fishing is improving. For the boat anglers, big Blues are around and terrorizing bait schools. They have been predominantly out in the middle around 11B, but they have been found in tight as well. Large flashy flies will get the job done if you run into these fish. Schoolie Stripers have become more accessible. The cooler evenings have kept these fish in tight in the mornings and fishing structure with intermediate lines should take fish, provided you move around and locate the bait. Larger fish are in the area as well and while they are not in huge numbers, you could run into them on any given day. For the shore-based anglers, Stripers have been found off the beaches and rock piles in the mornings. They have been moving around a lot, but once you find them, the fishing tends to be pretty good. Penfield Reef has been a hot spot for Stripers with some Spanish Mackerel mixed in. The soft buzz in the shop is the arrival of False Albacore. While they are not thick by any means, they have been spotted in a few places in the Western Sound. Expect to run a lot to find them at this point, but they could show up thick any day now. This is around the time they should be showing up so keep the hardtail rod ready. 10 wts are best and smaller flashy flies tend to work in the Western Sound.

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


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