September 06, 2019 10 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! The word this week is that we're now in that transition period as we start to see Albies popping up in the region in anticipation of prime time. Nantucket has been the hot spot this past week, with anglers reporting strong action and double digit days. Folks in Rhode Island and parts of the Cape have also seen some decent fishing too, though it has just been a bit on the sporadic side. As we always do this time of year, we're just ready and waiting for those Albies to kick into gear and waiting for the autumn rush!
No change for the Catskills rivers. We have had a few cooler nights and some rain which improved the fishing for a few days. That said, it is pretty late in the season and reports from the river are sparse at best. For the Beaverkill and Willowemoc there are still some Isos hatching as well as Sulphurs. The late afternoon has continued to provide the best dry fly opportunities. There are also midges, assorted caddis, and BWOs hatching depending on where on the river you are fishing. Nymphing has been productive early with Iso nymphs and small Sulphur nymphs. If you do plan on fishing this weekend focus on the morning bite. Be aware that effective July 1st, the Beaverkill River from Horton Bridge downstream to the highway overpass is now closed to all angling.
Same report as last week for the Delaware system. It is still low and technical. The cooler nights and a bit of rain will certainly help the fishing pick up a bit but do not expect a dramatic change in fishing quality. Sulphurs and small cream colored mayflies are still hatching regularly as are Isonychia. BWOs have been fishing very well taking quite a few fish lately. Those cloudy days we had this past week had the BWOs coming off hard and the fish were keyed in on them in a big way. The Delaware is still fishing well despite the pressure and conditions. The Upper East and West is where you want to be if you are thinking about going up this Labor Day weekend. There are plenty of smaller sub-fourteen inch fish being caught so consider bringing a 4wt. Larger fish are still being taken but it seems they are fewer and further between these days. It is still certainly worth the trip up there and persistence will most definitely pay off.
Montauk is still fishing very well. Big Bluefish are still around when the weather cooperates. Stripers can be found blitzing bait during a moving tide with the falling tide being more productive. The Bonito are winding down. It has been a great season for Bonito all along the coast and with some nasty weather this past week we should only see the Bonito around for a little while longer. Easterly winds have been keeping the fish spread out and down so it has been hit or miss. I expect we only have a week or so left before the fish are gone until next season. There have been Albies around but don’t expect a sure thing just yet. We are all eagerly awaiting the Albies but remember that the sweet spot is mid-September to mid-October. We are still a little ways away. The fish have just started popping up around Nantucket, Point Judith, and the Cape last week. That gives you an indication of where we are in the migration. With that being said, it is time to start preparing. It seems like Albies are all over one day and gone the next around Montauk right now. So keep that in mind. One day there could be no Albies in sight and the next day it could be loaded.
The Farmington is still low. We got a little bump in water over the weekend but not much. The report from last week still holds true. The only real change is that the fish should be settled back into their normal routine after the DEEP shocking that took place last week. Another development is the extension of the Catch and Release area. As of September 1st, from Goodwin Dam down 21 miles to the Route 179 bridge in Unionville is now all catch and release. This will hold until opening day next year which gives the fly anglers a good long stretch to fish. As far as flies are concerned, it is all about small bugs right now. Tricos, BWOs, Midges, and assorted caddis are all popping early in the A.M. These flies in sizes 20, 22, 24, and even 26 will improve your chances of a productive day on the water. Many of the fish being taken lately are on these smaller dries in the morning. Some of the larger bugs will be the occasional Light Cahill and Isonychias which will pop late in the afternoon/evening. Terrestrials will take fish as well during the heat of the day. Having a variety of all of these patterns is key. Dropping down to 6, 7, or 8x is imperative with these smaller flies. However, fewer and fewer anglers are on the water making it much more pleasant to get out on the Farmington. And there are still plenty of fish to be caught.
The Housatonic Smallmouth bite is still going strong. Early in the morning has been great. Smaller streamers stripped through deeper holes will almost always result in multiple hook ups. The rain over the weekend brought up the water a bit and cooled the water down a bit as well. This had the Smallmouth jazzed up and fishing has been great since then. The Pike have picked up as well with the influx of cooler water. The Housatonic Smallmouth fishing has arguably been the most consistent freshwater fishery throughout the state this Summer. Expect the fishing to hold and improve as we get farther into Fall and the water cools. Keep in mind: the Thermal Refuges for trout are in effect, and will be for the rest of the Summer.
The Connecticut coast has remained good albeit inconsistent at times. It is really all about that early morning bite. Plenty of schoolie Stripers are still being caught on top in the morning and afternoons. There have been quite a number of blitzes seen all along the coast. Most of the action has been Harbor Blues with some Stripers mixed in. There have also been bigger Bluefish around but it may take a fair bit of running around to find them. It seems like that deep water out in the middle is the most consistent for these Gator Blues while the inshore has bite has been very sporadic. No more reports of Bonito. We are coming to the end of Bonito run so there may be a few hanging around but it is a long shot. There is a ton of bait out there right now, especially Bunker. There are peanuts, 3 inchers, and full-size Bunker all over the place, and it is good to see them in all different sizes. That bodes well for the fall run. We are in a bit of a transitional phase at the moment. Albies are few weeks out and success on the Sound really depends on the day.
The Bonito bite was still going strong this weekend. The conditions this past weekend were not ideal but there were still plenty of Bonito caught. Point Judith was devoid of Bonito while the beaches just to the West down to Watch Hill had lots of fish busting on top. That was surprising considering Point Judith is normally a sure thing when the fish are around. It seemed like the East wind shut things down at the lighthouse and in the lee of Point Judith to the West, the calmer conditions had the Bonito up and working bait. East Beach was the epicenter of the action. The fish held here very well during that early morning rising tide but were constantly on the move. They would be on the beach one minute and in 30 feet of water the next but refused to leave the immediate area. Once that tide changed they were gone. Bonito like that rising tide and with the East wind it seemed like that rising tide shut them down completely. On the falling tide off of Watch Hill the Striper fishing picked up in the afternoon. The rips consolidated bait and there were birds all over the Stripers crushing bait on top. They seemed to be keyed in on Sandeels or Bay Anchovies. The action was fast and furious until every boat within 2 miles converged on the fray and put the fish down for good. Not much in the way of Bluefish but they are certainly around when conditions are right. Again, that East wind kept them down for the most part with the exception of Harbor Blues tucked in tight in the morning. We are in a bit of a transitional period right now. The Bonito will be gone any day now and it will be a few weeks before we see good Albie numbers. That being said, we got reports of Albies all over the place on Tuesday and Wednesday. It seems like it really depends on the day. Targeting Blues and Schoolie Stripers will be the most efficient use of your time this weekend. Keep an eye out for Bonito though. They may still be around. You never know. You could be there on the right day and find False Albacore as well.
Reports have again been sparse this week so not much intel to report, other than that we are looking forward to some dropping temperatures. There isn't much rain in the forecast this weekend either, so anglers may have to wait until at least the middle of next week for any fresh rain to freshen things up. We'll keep you posted if we get any good intel in the meantime.
Not much of a change for Cape Cod which is a good thing! Monomoy is still fishing well. The rips, flats and beaches are still producing great numbers of fish. The early morning top water bite has remained solid when the weather permits and fly anglers are catching plenty of fish on top when they time it right. Sandeels remain the predominant forage though Bunker are certainly around depending on the day. As we creep into fall and cooler conditions we will see the typical influx of bunker over the next few weeks and the fish will really key in on them. Early morning on the flats has tailed off a bit but it is still a good option if you are on foot. The Monomoy Beaches have been consistent as well. Early mornings have had Bass pushing bait right up on shore and are easily cast too with a fly rod. If you are going to fish the beaches be prepared to walk a bit to find the fish. However, once you do it should be fast action with hook up after hookup. There are Bonito still all over the Rips but it is beginning to tail off a bit. Bonito are still a viable option but expect decreasing numbers as the days pass. The high winds that we had this week with the associated sea state may have driven a lot of fish South. Bonito are like Albies in that any good storm will tend to force fish out or at least shut the fishing down for a while. So keep an eye out for Bonito but be prepared for the possibility that the fish have moved on. In typical Bonito fashion, the rising tide will yield the best fishing and the falling tide fish will be far less active if at all. There have been some False Albacore seen and caught in the past week as well. They are popping up out East quite a bit. They are few and far between but they should be showing up in a few weeks. Mid-September is always a safe bet when trying to predict the first good push of fish. There are Bay Anchovies and Sandeels around right now and the first sign that Albies are on the way. Keep an eye out if you are on the water and it may be a good idea to have a 10wt rigged with 12lb fluorocarbon and a Bay Anchovy Fly.
The Bonito are still around and this past weekend was great as far numbers were concerned. They will begin to dissipate quickly as they make their way South so now is the time to get your last few shots in. They will be gone before you know it. The Albies have shown up and are now fairly prevalent. It is still a bit early but reports indicate a very good push of fish early. A few anglers that we have talked to have caught close to 10 fish in a day and fish up to 7 pounds. A good size fish for this early! Schoolie Stripers are still going strong and Harbor Blues seem to be all over the place. Bigger Stripers have become a bit sparser for the fly anglers and the larger Gator Blues have been prevalent.
Still plenty of Bonito this past weekend but fewer and fewer fish indicate the last of the run. Double digit days had been the norm and it seemed that the fish were everywhere. Lots of fish have been caught this past week but they were a little on the smaller side, which is to be expected this late in the season. The big news is the influx of good numbers of False Albacore. They have moved in and are hammering Sandeels. Anglers are reporting double digit days when the weather lines up. Albie fever has taken hold with many anglers putting the Striper flies away and picking up the Albie gear. Nantucket is the best location at the moment if you are planning on getting in on the early season Albie fishing. With Bonito, False Albacore, Striped Bass and Bluefish all prevalent off Nantucket at the moment, now is that very narrow window where a Grand Slam is a real possibility. Bass and Harbor Blues will be popping along shoreline structure. The Larger Blues have been taken on poppers around the Bonito Bar as well. Nantucket has a lot going on right now and is our hot spot for this week. If you were thinking about making the run out to Nantucket, now is the time. Provided the weather holds and conditions remain stable, this weekend should be phenomenal for fly anglers willing to make the trip.
We don't have much to report on the freshwater scene this week other than that water levels seem to be settling in nicely. It may not hold if Dorian shows up and dumps a ton of rain, so you may want to get out there now in case we get a blow out.
The striper fishing in southern Maine has come on pretty strong thanks to cooler temps (though we'll have to see what happens with Dorian bearing down). Right now anglers are finding plenty of schoolies in the rivers and there are reports of big fish cruising found out in the surf. Sandeels, herring, and bunker patterns are all still working well. It might be a good idea to make the most of the pre-storm conditions as things may change in a hurry. So get out there!