Northeast Fishing Report: 9/3/2021 - The Compleat Angler

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September 02, 2021

Greetings Compleat Anglers! The Hardtails are here and the fishing has been on fire. It seems like it didn't matter where you were, there were False Albacore feeding aggressively on the surface. Confirmed Albies are in Nantucket, Martha's Vineyards, the Cape, Rhode Island, Montauk, and Niantic. Anglers have been struggling from shore, but boat anglers have been getting on them. We are seeing good numbers and good distribution, which is a great thing. There is not one real "hotspot." With the fish everywhere, angling pressure has spread out making it much easier to get on and stay on fish. The Striper blitzes have started as well. They are feeding on Bay Anchovies making them a great filler fish in between Albie blitzes. There are Blues all over with some gators mixed in. It's all starting to happen! Trout anglers, however, have been struggling as there are few good options available and those that are can be very crowded. Most trout anglers are giving the fish a break or targeting warm water species such as Large or Smallmouth Bass. Read on for more...

Massachusetts

False Albacore have arrived! All around the Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Cape, Albies have been caught with regularity. They are now outnumbering the Bonito by a healthy margin and are more consistent than hardtails. The Bonito have slowed quite a bit for some reason. Before the storm fish were off of the Vineyard and Nantucket in solid numbers. Fish up to 11 pounds were being caught with reasonable consistency. However, this past week saw far fewer Bonitos in the area. For both Bonito and False Albacore, the Hooter and the Bonito Bar are always hot spots and good places to check. Fish were also being caught around Falmouth, Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and into Buzzards Bay. The Islands are certainly the epicenter of the Hardtail push at the moment. This weekend will hopefully see things improve further and the fishing should be good on the Waning Crescent through the new moon and well into next week. Bluefish have been prevalent around the Cape and Nantucket with a lot of smaller fish around and some bigger fish blitzing on Bunker. 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. Monomy is still a great place to target Stripers. The various Mackerel species are thick as well. A light-tackle target, these fish will be foaming on smaller bait making them perfect for fly anglers. The next few weeks will see Hardtails move in thick, provided the weather does not do anything crazy. The Vineyard, Nantucket and the Cape will be the hot spots so plan your trips now! It is all starting to happen. 

Long Island Striped Bass

Rhode Island

Saltwater

The Hardtails are here and the bite is on! Bonito and False Albacore have definitely moved into Rhode Island. This past weekend saw the first good push of Albies and those who were there and had the right gear did well. There were no real hot spots. From Newport to Watch Hill there were sightings and fish caught. Those who were willing to run and check any surface activity were rewarded with some of the first Hardtails of the season. The bait was everywhere, which is probably why the fish were around in high numbers. The fishing seemed to tail off a bit this week, but they could pop up any day now. Bay Anchovies and Peanut Bunker are the two primary forage species for Bonitos and Albies, so be prepared with flies that mimic both. It seemed like to the East there were more Peanut Bunker and to the West toward Watch Hill there were more Bay Anchovies. However, that could change quickly. One of the hot spots for Bonito was Block Island, but they seemed to thin out this weekend. There were some spotted around Watch Hill, but they were up and down quickly. Block Island is still putting up some really nice Stripers. Typically a bait-fishing spot, you can still target these fish on the fly with the tease-and-switch method early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Bass blitzes are a common occurrence as well. Like the Albies, they are feeding on Bay Anchovies. These fish are very selective though, so be sure to have small anchovy flies with you or risk blanking on an acre of Bass. The Fall Run is shaping up nicely. That hurricane cooled off the water and it seems to have driven fish in tight. 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. Locate the bait and 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. Rhodie is fishing exceptionally well at the moment. Let’s hope it holds.

Long Island Sound False Albacore

New York

The Salmon River

The Salmon River is running around 900 CFS. Last week there were some Salmon making their way into the river. This past week a bunch of anglers caught some early season Kings. It is still a bit early, but some anglers are already planning trips up there for the early push of Kings. While Mid-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 than a “mud shark” that has been in the river quite a while. They are more explosive with far more runs and jumps. Second, there will be far fewer anglers to contend with. The Salmon river is famous for its astronomically huge crowds. While that will be unavoidable in the coming weeks, getting to the party early will ensure a much more pleasurable fishing experience. Cohos will be next, followed closely by Steelhead and lake-run Browns. 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-to's. This is a phenomenal fishery and a blast when the fish are running. Now is the time to begin preparations if you are planning on heading up there. The big push could only be weeks away and there are already fish running up the river.

The Delaware

The Mainstem is running around 4000 CFS and is now falling. The East is around 2000, and the West Branch is at 800 CFS. These are good wadable levels for the West but too high to wade the Main or East. The crowds seem to be dwindling, which is also a good thing. However, the fishing has been tough and the lower water will keep those fish wary. Months of pressure are making things even more challenging. For flies, Sulphurs are done. BWOs are a strong contender for the most productive. Dropping down to size 18, 20, or 22 for the BWOs has been very effective of late. Iso Bicolor, Light Cahills, and caddis will make up 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. The 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.

Saltwater

The first pop of Albies was seen off Montauk this past weekend. They are most definitely here and for the next month it is Albie season! Hooray! The hot spot will be the Lighthouse and the areas immediately surrounding it. The rip that forms on the lighthouse will suck bait into it and Albies will be waiting to ambush them. Remember that there will be other boats there. This is not a run and gun fishery. To be safe, start 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 a good one. There will most certainly be some Gator Blues in the area and the beaches will have Stripers on them as well. 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. We will have to see how things shake out after the storm. Things will certainly recover, but how long will it take? That is the question. With Albies off of Mass at the moment I would give it another week or two and there should be Albies all over Montauk. Time to get ready! 

Connecticut

Farmington River

No change to the Farmington. We are seeing 69.5 degrees for the water temperature high in Riverton. That is well above an average temperature this time of year. In case you missed it, here is what we have found out, explained in last week’s report. Water coming out of the dam is a bit cooler this week at 67 degrees. 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 the 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 140 CFS out of the dam before any input from the Still. The Still is putting out around an additional 900 CFS after the storm. That is pretty high and while it should come down quick, it is still quite dangerous right now. I would give it a few days if you plan on fishing. Even before the hot water temps, fly fishing had been very tough over the past few weeks. That, coupled with months of relentless angling pressure, has made the fish ultra-selective. With the most recent revelations regarding water temperatures and reservoir temperatures, we recommend fishing elsewhere until things stabilize. We will keep you posted on any developments or changes as they arise but for now, 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 for now, 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 Housey is running over 7000. That is way to hight to wade. The water is just 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 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 tailed off a bit. They are still active, but the bite window is narrow. Early mornings and late in the evening will have the best odds of success. Remember to cover a lot of water - that is the key with Northerns. We have a few cloudy days this weekend and that should make it a bit better for Pike fishing. 

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

USGS Water-data graph for site 01199000

Saltwater

Not much going on in the Western Sound. It has been tough fishing out there. Really the move is to fish early and late on structure adjacent to deeper water. Rock piles, points, reefs, and even harbors should be holding good numbers of fish 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. A good target for 8 wts, these fish can keep the rod bent on tougher days. We have been hearing that there are some larger Blues in and around Westport. They have been popping up early and late in the afternoon. These fish are pushing 12 pounds and a blast on fly. Covering water and looking for birds or blitzes is the best way to locate them. I would check from Stamford East to Westport if you are trying to get on these fish. The really dedicated anglers have been getting into some really nice Stripers on the 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.

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


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