September 09, 2022 10 min read
Greetings Compleat Anglers! The rain we received this week has bumped the flows up and some rivers are fishing well. The Catskills are looking good while the Farmington has been cut back and is not. There is very little positive to say about the non-tailwater rivers and streams. While these rivers now have more water they are still way too warm. The saltwater side of things has been stellar as well. Rhode Island or Eastern Long Island is the name of the game. Rhode Island is seeing the first Albies of the year and the numbers are growing by the day. Bonito have filtered in as well and it is now officially Hardtail time. That means having your flies and 10wts rigged and ready to go. Stripers have been feeding on micro-bait in the mornings and evenings. It has been a wide-open bite and while you might need to burn some fuel to find the fish, once you do the fishing should be awesome. Smaller flies are a must as these fish are very picky. However, if you have the right flies, the fishing should be spectacular. The flood gates could open sooner than you think. Between the tailwaters and saltwater there are plenty of options for some awesome fly fishing at the moment. Read on for more…
Rhody is fly fishing exceptionally well right now. While the past week has been great, the fly fishing will only get better in the month to come. Striper blitzes and rafts feeding on tiny bait have been a regular occurrence in the mornings and afternoons. The main forage has been young-of-the-year bunker, porgies, and anchovies. These baitfish are small. By that I mean an inch or less so smaller albie-style flies are key. They will not hit anything larger. These fish have been super picky. You must “match the hatch” perfectly here to have any shot of a hookup, I can’t stress that enough. These flotillas of Bass have been very prevalent and any concerted effort to locate them should pay off. The big news is the arrival of False Albacore. This long-awaited migration has begun in earnest. Many fly anglers have been running into them on a more consistent basis. There have been a few hot-spots and if you locate one of these it is almost a guarantee you will find them. Now is the time to be putting some hours on the engine and hunting down some hardtails. As we know, the Fall can be fickle. The weather can change in the blink of an eye and if we get those big Easterly blows, it is game over for a while. So, get out as soon as possible and get in on some early season Albies. If you are new to the Albie game, 10wts are highly recommended. 9’s are ok-ish too but nothing lighter than that. A wide variety of flies will work early in the season. Everything from smaller Deceivers to Surf Candies will work so don’t be afraid to experiment. The fish will tell you what they want. Back to the Stripers, the salt ponds, inlets, and back bays are still producing good numbers of fish. While the majority are smaller, schoolie sized fish some bigger fish have been sneaking in at night to feed on smaller forage. The other option is the Gator Blues which are all over the place. Block Island seems to be the hot-spot. They have been found mostly in deeper water making them a more viable target for boat anglers. However, off the jetties and beaches you could run into the fish at any given time so be prepared with wire leader and sacrificial flies. If you do find them, fish at or above 16lbs are almost a guarantee. So if a big Blue on fly is what you are after, give Rhody a shot. The key is locating larger bait. There is so much small bait along the coast that going further out will put you in range of larger bait that these fish are feeding on. The beaches have also been producing during the low light hours. The night-time bite is by far the best with fish in the 30-inch range a common occurrence on the fly. There are a ton of options off Rhody at the moment. Whether from shore or boat, the fishing is great right now.
Well, we have a funny situation on the Farmington. We received our much-needed rain and had a good bump in flows. And then they dropped the dam release way back which killed it. Flow out of the dam is around 54cfs and falling. The Still got a good bump and is around 50cfs which has been the saving grace. But it is falling quickly. The total is around 100cfs and falling. By the weekend you can expect that number to be lower unless release from the dam increases. That is very low and far from ideal. We desperately need some water and for the release to stay up. Water temps are fluctuating depending on the air temperatures but this weekend should be around 56 degrees during the afternoon. The farther away from the dam you get, the warmer the water will be so consider staying higher up. The fish are very educated and spooky due to pressure and low water. We are hearing that the fishing has been extremely difficult. As such you will need to switch flies often, move around a lot, and get unorthodox with your approach. For dry fly anglers, the Isos and Cahills have been trickling out in the C&R section and popping in the late afternoon. You can expect fish to be rising in the mornings on BWOs and assorted small caddis. The Tricos are popping now as well and the fish will be on them. Terrestrials are also a factor. Ants and Beetles will start to take fish so definitely have those in the box at this point. Wet flies are also starting to be very effective for trout spey anglers. There is no shortage of options as far as techniques go. A cool thing to try is targeting the Palominos that are sitting in the Chair Factory Pool. There are 4 or 5 of them and they are decent sized fish. They are super educated but you can see them from a mile off and they offer some cool sight fishing opportunities. The hindrance is the water levels and angling pressure which have been making it quite challenging. We are hearing crowds have picked back up and finding a decent spot to fish can be an issue, especially on weekends. I would recommend getting to a favorite spot early in the morning to find good water. Remember to not high or low hole anyone. We have been seeing a lot of anglers being disrespectful and crowding anglers who are already fishing in a spot. There is plenty of water to fish. If someone is fishing a hole, just move on and find other open water. If there are no holes open, get there earlier next time or wait until one opens up. Remember that many anglers may be dry fly fishing and could be fishing 50 feet up and down from where they are standing. So, when in doubt ask them what their game plan is and see if it is ok to slide in above or below. I can’t believe I need to put this in our reports but two of our employees have been low holed in the past weeks and numerous customers have been telling us how inconsiderate other fly anglers have been. You know who you are if you have been doing this. Let’s keep it clean out there. Good luck! Keep in mind: Please report any suspicious activity and poaching to DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Housatonic is finally up to where it likes to be. The flows are around 1100cfs and falling. That is right on the edge of wadeable flows but it should be ok by Saturday. However, despite the increased flows, the water is still too warm to ethically fish for trout. Thermal refuges have been in effect since June and with water temps getting over 76 degrees by the afternoon, trout fishing is a no-go at this point. Sure, the increased flow dropped the water temps into the low 70s, but that is still way too warm to fish. We have heard from one of our customers that while he was smallie fishing, he saw numerous dead trout float by belly-up. That tells you everything you need to know. Stay off this river if trout is your target. The good news is that the Smallmouth Bass will see a dramatic increase in activity. The streamer bite should be awesome and the fish will be far more active than in the past month. This is a great conditions window for those warmer water species as things will be slightly cooler, the flows will spread the fish out and have them on the feed. Now is a perfect time to target these Smallmouth with flies. With the higher water you will want sink-tip lines at a minimum. Darker colors will also be advantageous as the water is a little on the turbid side.
Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
Nothing new to report locally. We have had a lot of people asking if the Albies are in Western Long Island Sound yet. The answer is most certainly no. We will not see those fish until October so if you want to get on some of these hardtails, you need to head East. Fly fishing has been tough in the Sound in general. Schoolies are always around but it is difficult trying to find any larger fish that will eat a fly. A few fly anglers are getting on some bigger fish in key locations and the general consensus is that the targeting of larger fish has been better than usual. However, it has been very hit-or-miss. Some days are good while others are a bust. That has also been a very localized bite that is closely guarded by those who have it dialed in. The best way to locate these fish is to check as many likely spots as possible during a good tide. As the water temperature reaches its peak right around now, the fish will be firmly entrenched in deep water, seeking colder temperatures. If you do decide to roll the dice, the falling tide has been the most productive (no surprise there) but the rising will still produce as well since it pushes in colder water (especially from a boat). The one bright spot is that we are occasionally seeing good surface activity early in the mornings with smaller fish blitzing on silversides and other assorted small bait. That is especially true out toward Niantic where the fishing is significantly better than the Western Sound. Mid-day is seeing very little action while the low light hours are producing far better (albeit sporadically). So, get up early or stay out late. It makes a big difference. Tidal fluctuations are also becoming far more important. The strongest tides of the month are when you should really be focusing your attention for shots at larger fish. However, as long as the water is moving, you will have feeding Stripers (provided you are in the right area). Any decent effort to locate Stripers has a high probability of success. Just remember that it may take considerable effort to locate them. Please report any poaching to the DEEP by calling 800-842-4357.
The Catskills received some much-needed rain this week and the fishing certainly improved. Dam releases before the rain saw some fantastic dry fly fishing which was then replaced with a decent streamer bite as the water came up with the rain which made the water turbid. The water is starting to come down and should clear up. If you put the time in you could pick away at some fish. Angling pressure and warming temperatures is creating a feast-or-famine type situation out there. Some rivers are fishing reasonably well, whereas others are quite a challenge. The key to success seems to be locating colder water, fishing at the opportune times, picking the right days to go, and targeting the prime locations. It is certainly a bit of a guessing game as conditions change daily but if you hit it right, the fly fishing can be good for this time of year. For hatches, the larger bugs will be the Isos and Cahills. There will be varying degrees of hatching depending on what system you are on. After that comes the BWOs and assorted caddis. Terrestrials are coming into their own as well. Ants and Beetles are on the menu and can often take fish when nothing else will. As such, you will want to bring a good variety of flies and be prepared to switch them often. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill are too low and way too warm to ethically fish so stay away from these rivers at this point. The Catskills are still a great option right now on the right day. Another positive is that crowds seem to be dwindling. There have not been mobs of anglers up there making it a great weekend spot. But stay on the tailwaters, stay up high, and pick the right days. If you do that you could still have some decent late-season fly fishing.
Montauk is fishing well, but not as well as Rhody. It is a good secondary option if you can’t get to Rhode Island for any reason. In general, the further East you go the better the fly fishing will be. That is just how it is this time of year. The larger Stripers have been scarce in the past month but seem to be slightly more prevalent in the past week. It may take some time to locate them but we are hearing that if you do, they are fairly habitual in where they are hanging out. That means returning to the same spots where you have seen them should keep you on the fish. In the low-light hours, fly-rodders are having the most success with these larger fish. The Long Island side of the Sound seems to be turning on out toward Orient Point. Bass foams are becoming more prevalent as they feed on tiny bait. While there are plenty of fish scattered all over the New York coast, the epicenter of the action will be out toward the Hamptons and Montauk where the water is colder. The Stripers are moving inshore and offshore to feed on the numerous baitfish species abundant in the area at the moment. The key is to fish during low light hours. These fish are far more active at night. You can get schoolies throughout the day but those fish over 30” really begin to shut down when the sun gets high. When it comes to flies, use black and purple for low light conditions and white or white and olive for brighter conditions. You will certainly want some very small patterns if you do find those larger Bass Blitzes. They are almost certainly on micro-bait. The beaches are seeing good action in the mornings and afternoons. The salt ponds and inlets are also a very good option as well. Most of the larger fish seem to be taken by boat anglers as these fish are hanging around deeper structure. Teasing fish up with a popper and then throwing the fly has been the most productive way to get these fish. The forecast looks good for the weekend so this will be a great time to capitalize on the late Summer bite. The most dramatic change has been the arrival of the smaller bait that is now very prevalent off of Montauk. The Bass have been on them and throwing a fly that is very close to a natural baitfish has been absolutely critical. A fly 1 inch in length or less is an absolute must.