September 08, 2023 11 min read

Hello Compleat Angler friends! The long awaited arrival of False Albacore and Bonito are here, with most Anglers running out East in pursuit. Rhode Island and some of the Beaches along the South Shore in New York are seeing the most action. The primary bait is small Bay Anchovies, so having a few patterns in the 1.5-2” range will have you covered. While it’s still early and finding them has been a hit-or-miss, some areas to focus on include Watch Hill, Point Judith, Charlestown, and the West Wall. Other areas to consider include Block Island, Fire Island, and Fisher’s Island, where you will also encounter Bluefish and Bass. Hot and dry weather this week make for tough conditions in our local rivers along with the Delaware and Farmington. However, rain is expected in the forecast this upcoming week, which, coupled with cooler temperatures, should improve our trout fishing. This Saturday is our Grand Reopening Party featuring representatives from major fly-fishing brands, raffle prizes, food and drinks, so stop by to say hello. We hope to see you there!


Local Rivers

With the hot and dry weather we’ve had over the past couple of days, some of our local options will be too low and warm to fish, especially in the afternoons. Flows are below average, with the Saugatuck, for example, reading 20.5 CFS. We advise fishing during the morning when water temperatures are at their coolest and only if they’re below 70 degrees. Rain this weekend into next week will certainly help. The Saugatuck, Mianus, Mill, and Norwalk Rivers will all improve as daytime temperatures start to drop as Fall progresses. Currently, you will still encounter some terrestrials on the river as Ants/Flying Ants become more active. The main hatches that you will encounter include a mix of Caddis in sizes 16-24, Isonychia in size 12, and Sulphurs and Cahills in sizes 12-18. You may also encounter Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24 on cooler and overcast days, and Tricos are starting up with more regularity. In terms of subsurface flies, Midges and Caddis are always abundant, so having some Zebra Midges and Caddis Larvae in sizes 16-24 can be productive. In general, having a variety of different forage options will have you covered because there will be different insects subsurface that aren’t necessarily hatching. Prince Nymphs in sizes 12-18 will imitate Stoneflies and some Mayflies well. Other nymphs to bring include Caddis Larvae in sizes 16-20, and Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails in sizes 14-20. For your rig, sticking to your 5x and 6x leaders will cover most dry fly/nymphing scenarios. Fish are going to be in a variety of water types, so don’t overlook the faster, more oxygenated water. When nymphing, let your rig swing in the current at the end of your dead drift, as this will emulate an emerging insect that the trout will sometimes key in on. Low Pressure systems this weekend will result in some relatively cooler temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s.

Naugatuck River

The Naugatuck is flowing below average, reading 133 CFS at Beacon Falls. Focusing on the same techniques I outlined above for our local rivers should provide success as most of the insect activity will be similar. Check your stream temperatures before fishing as they will approach 70 degrees by the afternoon. All sections of the Naugatuck around the TMAs will be fishing well and look to fish similar offerings we are using on our local streams: Sulphurs, Cahills, Caddis, Midges, Blue Winged Olives, and Terrestrials. A range of sizes from 12-24 in nymphs/dries will have you covered. The Naugatuck is a good alternative for areas with more crowds/pressure. Some of our anglers are switching over to Carp and Smallmouth as water temperatures have increased.

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Farmington River

Not the greatest news in terms of temperatures on the Farmington this week. The morning temperatures have started at 68 degrees in Riverton and are reaching 72 degrees by the afternoon. Next week water temperatures should start to improve as nighttime temperatures approach the low 60s, which will extend the morning window for fishing. If you do decide to fish this weekend, The morning will be the most productive towards the dam where you will find cooler, more oxygenated water. Flows on the West branch are 118 CFS at Riverton while the Still is adding 29.7 CFS, so overall flows are below average. You may encounter Yellow Sallies in sizes 14-16, Tan/Olive Caddis in sizes 18-24 and Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24 during overcast and rainy days. Tricos have been hatching with more consistency, so consider bringing size 22-26 spinners. The main improvement is larger numbers of flying ants being taken on the surface during the afternoons. During the evenings look to fish Isonychia sizes 10-12 in faster water, and Cahills sizes 14-20. For Nymphing, considerations should be larger Stoneflies (which can be paired with a smaller offering to help get your rig down) as well as Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Perdigones, Caddis Larvae, Hare’s Ears, Waltz Worms, Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs. For strategy, look for rising fish in the morning and evenings, once the afternoon hits hatches will be diminished so nymphing in well-oxygenated water will pick up additional fish if the temperatures allow. For other Terrestrials, in addition to Ant patterns, bring Black Beetle patterns in sizes 12-16. Generally, 5-6x leaders and tippet will improve your odds of success for nymphing. If dry fly fishing, using a 5x-6x 12ft nylon leader will aid in providing a stealthy presentation and a more drag-free drift. Staying into the evening can result in some good spinner falls. With all the variety of bug activity, swinging wet flies can be a productive option as well. For our Trout Spey Anglers, look to fish larger streamers or intruders paired with a faster sinking tip. Fishing a wet fly swung on a less aggressive sinking tip can pull additional fish. The same can be said for those nymphing with single handers: swinging nymphs at the end of your drift can simulate an emerging insect. Twitching jigged streamers through a run can also be a deadly technique, and good colors to try include olive, black, tan, and white. Your odds will be better with streamers during the morning hours but will improve as Fall progresses. Vary retrieves, starting fast and then slowing down to see what the trout prefer. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. Let’s be respectful to other anglers. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.

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Housatonic River

The Housatonic River has lowered this past week which has opened sections for wading and has improved clarity. Flows are currently 434 CFS at Falls Village, which should not last long as flows are expected to increase with thunderstorms on the way from Saturday-Monday. Evening hatches have been picking up again along with the trout fishing, while Smallmouth fishing remains consistent. Trout have been rising near the parks with the main hatches being Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24, Cahills in sizes 12-20, Midges in sizes 18-20, and Caddis in sizes 18-24. Other considerations are Isonychia in the evenings in sizes 10-12, Terrestrials, and Sulphurs in sizes 14-18. There is an abundance of flying ants that trout have been rising to. There has been some excellent Smallmouth fishing recently, with anglers easily catching double digits within day. Using weighted streamers or poppers on a floating line will work well or consider neutrally buoyant streamers on a full sinking/sink tip line. Woolly Buggers in Black and Olive are always a good choice, along with Crayfish patterns. Leader length can vary depending on if you’re fishing a floating or sinking line. For floating lines consider 7-9ft in a 8-10lb leader, and when fishing sinking lines shortening your leader to 4-5ft will reduce any hinge between your line and the fly. Things should only continue to improve as we receive cooler Fall temperatures.

Pike and Carp are also a great consideration for this time of year, both can be found in slower sections of the river, as well as back bays/coves. When sight fishing for Carp, consider an 8lb fluorocarbon leader in 9ft as they can become wary, and using egg flies, small nymphs, crayfish patterns or hoppers can work depending on their feeding behavior. Leading the fish is a must to avoid spooking them. For Carp, we recommend 6-8wt rods with a weight-forward floating line (a Bonefish Taper line works well). When targeting Pike, bite wire or a heavy fluorocarbon section is a must. While floating lines will work, it helps to get subsurface with a full sinking line. A variety of flies will work in 6-10” and in different colors (a flashtail whistler is always a good option). Rods in 8-10wt are ideal for casting large flies and sinking lines.

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Striper and Blue fishing continues to heat up with the large amount of bait creating blitzes feeding on peanut bunker. Topwater is becoming more productive again which has signaled the start of Fall. We have had no reports of Albies in the Western Sound but they will show up soon enough. Larger Bluefish can be found finning in the mornings in and around coves and beaches, as well as blitzing on bait in deepwater structure. Our anglers have reported some impressive Bluefish being landed around 15lbs, and fishing poppers remains an effective and exciting way to get into the action. We recommend bringing wire leader in 20lb, and knottable wire is easy to work with when adding a section to your leader. Striper activity will remain most prominent during the mornings and throughout the evenings until water temperatures start to cool down (which should occur in a couple of weeks). Deceivers, Clousers, Half n Halfs, and Gurglers continue to fool Stripers, and don’t be afraid to throw larger patterns in the 6-8” range since there are still plenty of Bunker nearshore. For leaders we prefer 5-7’ of 16-30lb fluorocarbon if using sinking lines, and if using poppers, you may extend your leader by a couple more feet. Water temperatures are currently in the low 70s, so any surface action that’s happening will tend to slow down once the sun comes up and the Stripers stay closer to the bottom for the cooler water. Salt ponds continue to hold resident fish, as well as rocky points near the Norwalk Islands. Some anglers have been seeing blitzes nearshore walking the beach, and it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. Mornings are typically best with a focus on the higher tide stages. Some areas to consider are Calf Pasture and the beaches off Westport, Penfield Reef, and Holly Pond. Towards New London the Striper and Bluefish action has been consistent and should only be getting better.

New York

Salmon River

The Salmon River is currently at comfortable flows for wading, 447 cfs at Pineville, which could potentially see an increase from expected rain showers. Fish have continued pushing in daily, and fish have been most active during the mornings before the bright sun is up. The lower river will be the most productive until more fish push up the system and spread out. Some Steelhead have been pushing into the system with Salmon, however they are still few and far between with no Brown Trout reported yet. The most popular approach for Kings has been dead drifting egg sucking leeches and Woolly Buggers in various colors, and some anglers are having success swinging large bright intruders in Pink, Black, Purple, and Blue/Chartreuse in the lower parts of the estuary. Larger Glow Bugs in different colors will also take fish, so switching up flies and techniques will be the key to success. This time of year, the first pods of fish entering the system are very fresh, so we recommend 16-20lb leaders and tippet as landing these fish has proven tough. Having a micro barrel swivel incorporated into your leader will help avoid splitshot sliding down your leader, and will also aid in quicker re-rigging during breakoffs and snags. The weather will cool down into the mid-70s for the weekend with occasional rain into next week.

USGS Water-data graph for site 04250200


Flows on the mainstem of the Delaware River are 1710 CFS at Lordville with water temperatures around 67 degrees. The East Branch at Fish’s Eddy is flowing at 790 CFS while the West at Hale Eddy is 611 CFS. Overall these flows are lower than average and will make things easier for wading. Higher up on the West Branch you will find cooler and more oxygenated water with more bug activity from Blue Winged Olives in sizes 18-24 and Sulphurs in sizes 16-20. During the afternoons we recommend fishing higher up as water temperatures will be cooler and you’ll avoid stressing the Trout. In the lower sections of the river you will see Isonychia in sizes 10-12, Blue Winged Olives, and some Cahills in sizes 14-20. During the evening hours Isonychia will be hatching in faster currents. Other patterns to consider are Tricos and Little Yellow Sallies which are starting to hatch. Look to fish Spinners in the evenings depending on what insect has been the most prevalent. Most of the river will start seeing Flying Ants and October Caddis with more regularity. During these lower-than-average flows, having 12-14’ nylon leaders in 5x will allow for a stealthier presentation when coupled with a reach cast so the fish will see the fly before leader and fly line. The consensus is that surface activity has been a hit-or-miss, and nymphing remains the most effective method, or fishing a dry-dropper rig. Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Caddis Pupa, Caddis Larvae, Waltz Worms, and jig style flies (like Perdigones) are all good considerations when angling subsurface. Overcast and rainy days will be your best bet for surface activity. Streamer fishing has also been a hit-or-miss, however the action should improve as we approach Fall. The Neversink, Willowemoc, and Beaverkill are all at wadeable flows and fishing well, and you will encounter similar bug activity.


The biggest improvement this week is the arrival of False Albacore along the South Shores, with some anglers finding pods of Bonito. Bluefish remain around the rips, especially in Montauk where the Albies haven’t shown up with any frequency yet. Shore fishing has been a hit-or-miss with most anglers finding Bluefish, and if they’re lucky, some Bonito. When fishing by boat, focus on structure around the bays and look for birds/baitfish as Stripers will be blitzing. This tends to be a low light scenario. Bringing some poppers, like a Bob’s Banger, will result in some Blue and Striper action during dusk and dawn. Night fishing is also improving, and anglers fishing from shore are finding large Stripers as well. Looking for fish pushing bait to the surface in the rips will result in some fish 30lbs and over. Tide movement is crucial when looking for fish, as this will stack bait into the rips which will make for an easy meal. If there is no surface action, you can use an aggressive sinking line paired with a larger Clouser to get deeper. Fishers Island and around Gardiners have also seen Bass crushing Bunker on the surface and Albies are starting to filter in nearshore. The back bays on the Northshore are still seeing plenty of Bluefish. With the abundance of bait and different species you will encounter, we recommend bringing some Deceivers, Clousers, Sand Eel patterns, and Popovic’s Surf Candies to imitate Bay Anchovies.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is seeing an improvement in Albie and Bonito action, with most of the areas heating up around Watch Hill, Point Judith, Charlestown Breachway, and the West Wall. Covering ground is the name of the game as some anglers are finding Albies in deeper water as well as along the beaches. Every day has been different, so cover ground and look for signs of bait on the surface. There have been really small Bay Anchovies, in the 1.5” range so having some smaller Tan/White Clousers and Surf Candies will imitate these well if fish are picky. The ledges off Block Island are still fishing well, with large Stripers and Bluefish on Sand Eels in the rips. Look for fish on top during tide movements during dusk. Some of the flats are seeing slot size and over fish cruising in shallow, with the most effective patterns being crab flies. If you are struggling to find hardtails, the consistent Bluefish action on topwater can save the day, as they are still nearshore in bays and salt ponds. With Stripers being caught up to 40”, Bluefish to play with, and the potential for Albies/Bonito, the Fall run is on!