September 27, 2019 10 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! Like last week, this one is all about Albies as we head into the heart of the season. So far it's been a mixed bag: on the upside, there is lots of bait in the water and there are definitely fish around. On the downside, those fish seem unusually fickle and spread out, making for some real hit-and-miss fishing. This weekend, which should have favorable wind and tides, may tell us the real story of the season. Has it just been a tease thus far, with the best to follow? Or will it go out with a whimper? Only one way to find out...
This is the last weekend to fish many of the rivers in the Catskills! October 1st is the date that many of these rivers close, so you cannot fish on October first making the 30th the last day. In short, if you are thinking about going, this is your last chance. 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, and an Iso or Sulphur nymph will take plenty of fish as will a smaller midge pattern. We have two days left so the this be will your last chance to get some Catskills fishing in before Spring 2020.
It is the same report as last week. The Delaware is picking up. After a month of tough fishing, conditions have improved. More fish are being caught as temperatures in the lower East, lower West, and Mainstem drop. Recent reports are good! Plenty of fish are being brought to hand as angling pressure spreads out. The Mainstem has improved significantly over the past week. There has been a great ant hatch on the Main this past week. Ants are everywhere and fish are eagerly hitting a well presented ant fly. A back ant in a size 14, 16, 18 is all you need. Having a few variations is not a bad idea but you do not need to get crazy. Blue Winged Olives are another must-have fly. Especially on cloudy days, you will want to have a few different patterns in a few different sizes. Size 16, 18, and 20 seem to be the sweet spot. The Upper East and West are fishing well too. There will be Isos, Sulphurs and Light Cahills in evenings. The spinner fall has been strong with a lot of fish coming up during the late evening hours. For these larger flies, it seems that the Light Cahill is the hot fly. There are plenty of Cahills at the moment and the fish seem to be taking this fly a bit better than other bugs hatching in the evening. The next few weeks should see some great fishing on the Delaware so we highly recommend getting out there!
Montauk is fishing well. The weak tides made fishing difficult this past weekend but hopefully things will improve for this weekend. The falling tide Striper fishing remains good! These fish are on everything from Silversides, to Sandeels, and Peanuts. Some of these Bass have been on Bay Anchovies and small crustaceans 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 and this week was no exception. The weak tides made fishing difficult over the weekend and the fish were pretty selective with the bluebird conditions. They were splintered into smaller groups indicating that the bait was just not consolidated enough despite there being plenty of bait. This weekend should see an uptick in fish caught but it has been a weird year so far. The fish are a bit late and not nearly as numerous as they should be at this point. Now is the time to start really focusing on the Albies. Be sure to have smaller Anchovy flies ready to go.
The Farmington fished well this past weekend in to this week. The water subsided a little throughout the week but it did not seem to hinder the bite. The recent stockings kept those rods bent for the savvy anglers and the weather could not have been better. Up toward Riverton reports were particularly good! Lots of fish are being caught and some nicer holdover and wild fish as well. Ants have been the hot dry recently, with a flying ant imitation taking a lot of fish very consistently. A size 16 or 18 black ant has been the ticket. With the low water fish have been rising well and the dry fly fishing has certainly picked up with the cooler temps. As far as other flies you should have 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. Other terrestrials such as beetles are still taking fish as well. There are also a lot of caddis flying around. Various sizes and colors are hatching as they always are. A size 16, 18, 20, and 22 in olive and tan will have you covered for the majority of the caddis popping right now. As we creep into October, expect 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 see some great fishing.
The fishing on the Housatonic is hot! 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 also stocked the Housey last week so the next month should see some great trout fishing provided we don’t get too little or too much rain. The water levels are a little on the low side but at least this is making for very manageable wading.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 as good as anything, and mops, worms, and weenies will all work for the next week or so, 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. There have been a lot of anglers on the water so keep that in mind. Streamers will work as well. When the fish are first stocked they seem to whack anything but will get educated quickly. There are plenty of holdovers that will be on dries when the bugs hatch so have some caddis, BWOS, Cahills, and Isos ready to go. Terrestrials will also take fish. A good flying 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. In sum, now is a great time to fish the Housatonic. This river has been great this year and the next month should provide some of the year’s best fishing as long as the weather and water levels remain good.
Time on the water this past weekend confirms 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. That being said the large Blues are around.
There were some Albies around this past weekend but not many. A few Bonito were caught but the False Albacore have yet to arrive in larger numbers. If you have any shot of finding them, Port Jefferson will be the area, as this is always a consistent spot. But keep your eyes open. They were in strong numbers out to the East off of Old Saybrook about a week ago. If you plan on fishing this weekend, the farther East, the better chances of running into hardtails. We suspect that the Albies should show up any day so this weekend could have some fish locally. In fact, with stronger tides and a great weather window we would be surprised if they did not show up this weekend.
We have had a lot of conflicting reports coming in from Rhode Island. Some anglers were skunked recently and others had great fishing. The general consensus across the Northeast is that Albies were sporadic all week and Rhode Island is no exception. They are being caught on the West Wall and surrounding area on a regular basis right now but they are not as thick as they typically are this time of year. This week saw the Albies scattered, skittish, and in smaller groups. The majority of them seem to be very spread out. This weekend could (and hopefully will) be the big push. So, if you are thinking about going, this weekend will be about the best time to do so. The weather and tides look perfect. If you are fishing by boat, cover 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. If you are a shore-based angler then the West Wall is as good a place as any. The Stripers have 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 though if we do not see the Albies move in thick soon, it could be a bit of bust year. It is still too early to tell. Fingers crossed.
Again no news from the Deerfield this week, but that's because our usual sources are off chasing Albies! Once Albie fever subsides we'll loop back with an update.
Monomoy is still fishing very well. The weather was tough over the weekend but it is safe to say Stripers are still being caught on a regular basis with some nicer fish mixed in. The Albies are still the primary target for most fly anglers. From Monomoy to Buzzard’s Bay has had strong numbers of False Albacore in the past week. There was a bit of a lull this past weekend into this week with weak tides but there were definitely fish being caught. 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. Stripers and Bluefish have been blitzing on the surface as well but certainly playing second fiddle to the False Albacore. Expect the Striper and Blue fishing to hold for now. We are hoping to see more Albies move in this weekend.
The Albie fishing has remained decent recently. There are certainly plenty of fish around but reports are that the numbers are not what we are used too. Fish are being caught every day but it seems like those big masses of fish just have not materialized. The schools are small and scattered. This past week has included a lot of running on smaller pods of fish to get a few hookups. We have a really good tide this weekend which should tell us everything we need to know. If we do not see a big uptick in numbers this weekend and into next week then this could be as good as it gets until next year. Fingers crossed. Schoolie Bass and Blues are around in strong numbers. Some larger fish have been taken, predominantly on the stronger of the two tides and late in the evening.
Not much of a change from last week. There are plenty of fish off of Nantucket at the moment. It seems like we may be in the grip of an off Albie year. We are hearing from almost everyone that it has taken a lot of effort and time to locate Albies however Nantucket seems to have more fish than the rest of the Northeast. Either the fish are late or that weather we had a few weeks back pushed a lot of fish out of the area. Whatever the reason, there were strong numbers of Albies early which have now dwindled. They are still very much around but we are not seeing the numbers we are used too. It has been smaller schools of fish that are not consolidated. This weekend will be telling. If we do not see a good push of fish with the perfect weather and great tides it could signal a weak run for the rest of the season. That said, there are still plenty of schoolies and blues around to make a run out worth it. Early morning the Bass and Blues have been popping fairly consistently with some Gators mixed in.
About conditions in southern Maine, guide Kyle Schaeferwrites:
The pulse of the fall run in Southern Maine strengthens each day. Bass are targeting mackerel, pogies, and other bait as protein drains from our fertile, coastal estuaries into the unforgiving north Atlantic. The fall is a dynamic time in Maine and the fishing can change quickly. Fish are less spread out at this time of year and you may find a lot of water that isn't holding fish. Keep exploring though because larger groups of bass are on the hunt for vulnerable bait. If you can find a good concentration of bait along the coast, the bass shouldn't be far away. Targeting beaches where they meet large rocky outcroppings can be the ticket this time of year.
Bass are active and this dynamic time of year can offer some of the season's most exciting fishing. The crowds are gone from our coast and what's left is the fall migration.