April 26, 2019 11 min read
Well the theme this week is that the fishing has generally improved despite another few blasts of rain and spiky water levels. Areas that were blown out and unfishable last week have been producing trout this week, as water levels subside the fishing should only get better. In the salt, signs of migratory fish are showing up in New Jersey, and we’ve seen good and growing schoolie action throughout southern New England. While the conditions looking better, the best is yet to come - keep an eye on those gauges and get ready for prime time!
From our friend Nate Hill at Hill Country Guides:
Well we had a good run of pre-snowmelt brown trout fishing but we are now in the thick of snowmelt season. While this has shut off the fishing on the Saco and Andro there is a lot of good news with this. First is that the snowmelt started on schedule and all this melting should get our rivers in shape for good fishing from mid-May and June.
Also while snowmelt is affecting the northern rivers to our south the lakes region is fishing well with higher flows drawing salmon and rainbow trout into lake tributaries. I had a half day on the water yesterday and found good fishing in 2 out of the four spots I stopped at. Timing is everything with these fish and right now is the right time to target them. There is probably no better opportunity to catch large fish in small water than during these spring feeding migrations of lake fed trout and salmon into small creeks where they gorge on sucker eggs, stonefly nymphs, leeches and smelt. If you are interested in one of these trips we have dates available and with more northern tribs turning on in early May we should have good tributary fishing until about memorial day.
Lake tributaries will continue to fish well and more northern tributaries will turn on over the next ten days. We will see rivers like the Saco and Andro stay high for at least another week with snowmelt and rain in the forecast. But all of this melting will allow water temps to climb and once the water drops we will have a good streamer bite on the Saco followed by hungry fish ready to gorge on nymphs, streamers, and dries on the Andro. We are filling up fast for late May and June. If you want to get in on some of the best fishing of the year contact us asap!
Recent rain has made trout fishing a little tricky in the western part of the state, with anglers likely to be blown out on mainstem fisheries. As always with blowouts, keep an eye on the water levels and on smaller rivers and tributaries which tend to clear faster and are fishable sooner. Unfortunately it looks like there is more rain in the forecast over the next week for much of the state so things could get tough again soon.
Deerfield river flows are still up after substantial rain over the Easter weekend. There are still fish to be caught and it might be best to do so ASAP, since we have more rain in the forecast this weekend and parts of next. Wading is pretty dicey at the moment so be careful out there. If you do get out there nymphs and streamers are the name of the game with many of the usual suspects producing (pheasant tails, prince nymphs, wooly buggers, etc.).
It’s still early in the season, of course, but we’re starting to get reports of schoolies showing up in Buzzards bay and the action is inching up the lower cape. No big fish yet, of course, but targeting rivermouths and estuaries can be quite productive. We’ll keep you posted as the migration kicks into gear and we start seeing some of the big boys and girls arriving. This can be a great time of year to get out and knock some of the rust off in anticipation of the migration arriving. Nothing like some hungry schoolies to get back into form!
As with the Cape, we’re also hearing reports of decent schoolie fishing in Narragansett Bay and on South County beaches. Things should heat up over the next few weeks with larger fish edging their way along the coast looking for food. We haven’t received any info from Block Island yet, though odds are that schoolies are active there as well. As soon as we have better intel we’ll confirm.
Trout fishing remains consistent for our smaller stockie streams. Despite being hit hard the past few weeks, you can certainly still catch fish if you are willing to move around a bit. The Norwalk fishing the best at the moment. There are still plenty of fish to be had and as the water comes down to a more manageable level, we should see fishing improve. Merwin Meadows and the Wilton YMCA seem to be the hot spots. Plenty of fish have been caught in these spots recently. Smaller flies are the best choice at this point. Size 18 and 20 nymphs will be the most productive as these fish have been very pressured. Consider moving up or down from Merwin Meadows or the Wilton Y to find some less pressured fish. The Mianus has been slow as of late, as has the Saugatuck. Unfortunately the Saugatuck has been fishing very poorly this season. It was very good early but has dropped off even before opening day. We think some people are getting in there at night and cleaning it out. The Mianus is the same story. A lot of people are pulling fish out of there and at this point it would better to fish elsewhere such as the Norwalk. The smaller and less know rivers were high last week but have come down considerably.
The Wild Trout Management Areas are fishing very well. A few of our customers have been catching plenty of beautiful wild Brook Trout. These streams are really starting to fish well and double-digit days are not uncommon this time of year. Smaller streamers in a size 8 or 10 will work well, as will a size 18 or 20 midge or nymph. There are some caddis flying around as well as BWOS. The Stonefly hatch has petered out but occasionally a few will pop. In most streams this hatch won’t be a factor however keep a few Stonefly dries in the box just in case.
Our friend Pogo Pike (PogoPike@gmail.com) recently sent along this Northern CT Fishing Report:
The last week of April, water temps are ranging from 50 to 60 degrees depending on the day and water depth of the lakes and rivers. Pike are on the post spawn and feeding! We have been having Multiple Pike Days! Rivers are still high and flush with water but clarity has improved! Instagram: Pogo_Pike plenty of Pike pics being added each week. Smallmouth are starting to show their pretty faces as well as largemouth! Trout fishing is definitely picking up, water temps and hatches are a major contribution. Carp are starting to jump and troll the shallows. Boy do I love to sight fish for carp on the fly!
The Farmington is still blown out. With a release at the dam of around 850 CFS and the still coming in at 200 CFS it is still quite high. If you can get on a drift boat then swinging streamers are you bet for this river. Nymphs will also produce in areas where you can get down fast enough but as far as wading is concerned, it will be a tough day on the water. If you do plan on fishing the Farmington we would recommend staying above the Still River. This will give you more manageable conditions. Just be cautious wading. Ideal water levels are from 300 to 500CFS on this river so keep an eye on those gauges! Hendricksons have begun to show themselves. While not in full swing just yet. Expect the hatch to peak in about 2 weeks and remain consistent throughout most of May. There are of course BWOS, Paraleps, and Winter Caddis to consider early and late but when those fish get on Hendricksons there is nothing better. Size 12 or 14 should do it. Bring both males and females to make the most of your time on the water. Emerging Hendrickson patters are very effective as well. Be sure to have multiple patterns to choose from in both sizes.
Well, as of right now things look promising for the Housatonic River. Its flowing at around 2000 CFS at the moment and falling. We are approaching wadable conditions; something we have not had in a few months. It really needs to be around 1000 CFS or below to wade. But if the forecasted rain is minimal, or better yet the forecast changes; we could see wadable conditions this upcoming week! The drift boat anglers have been having success on streamers and nymphs as of late. Both trout and Smallies are becoming more and more active as the weeks pass and warmer water later in the day has been resulting in good fishing. There are some Hendricksons flying around and if the water keeps falling expect a decent hatch later in the day for the upcoming week. A Hendrickson nymph in a size 12, 14, or 16 will certainly catch fish if you are able to get I down. I would recommend fishing nymphs and streamers early, then switching to dries as the hatch materializes. We recommend the same flies as mentioned for the Farmington. “Size 12 or 14 should do it. Bring both males and females to make the most of your time on the water. Emerging Hendrickson patterns are very effective as well. Be sure to have multiple patterns to choose from in both sizes.” Another thing to consider with your flies is color. Have both light and dark Hendys. Sometimes these flies can be much darker than expected. A March Brown, Iso, or even Red Quill fly will often work during a Hendrickson Hatch. Keep a couple of these in your box. Especially if you are fishing pressured water. Trout will be very grabby for the first week of a major Hendrickson hatch but as they get hit over and over,
fish will get very picky. Having something a bit different can often make all the difference.
The Striped Bass fishing continues to improve. Our customers have been coming in and reporting great fishing. The mouth of the Housatonic remains the epicenter of the Spring bite with large numbers of fish that continue their push out to open water. Similar to last week, it may take some moving around to find fish however, when you do it will hook up after hook up. The falling tide has been the most productive by far at the Housey but not discount the last half of the rising. The Stripers are hungry after a long winter and these fish won’t turn down a well- placed fly. These fish are mostly schoolie sized with a few nicer fish mixed in. As the water warms, expect plenty of action long the coast adjacent to the Housatonic. Fish will slowly work their way along the coast and begin to feed aggressively. Although still a bit spotty, shoreline East and West of the Housatonic is a good option if you are looking to avoid the crowds. We have also seen some very nice fish caught associated with the Alewife runs. A little more hush hush than Housey, the Alewife run is one of the most consistent ways to catch BIG Stripers on the fly from shore. Looks for Alewives running up rivers to spawn. Although many runs may not have Bass on them, some certainly do. And they will be big. This is 10 weight country. Minimum. A full-sized Alewife fly thrown on an intermediate sink line should do it.
The Catskills continue to improve! The Beaverkill is a bit high but certainly wadable. At Cook Falls the Beaverkill is running at just under 1000 CFS and falling. Hendricksons have begun to show up in decent numbers and as it continues to warm, expect the hatch to get better and better. The Willowemoc is even lower and much clearer. Both rivers fishing well and nymphing is still the most productive as of late. Hendrickson nymphs in a size 12, 14 and 16 are producing good numbers of fish later in the day and a tan beadhead caddis size 18 is as good as anything on these rivers. The forecast does not look great for the next week however, that could change just like it did this past week. Keep an eye on those gauges and rain forecasts. We are approaching the best time of year to fish the Catskills: May. Any good weather window will provide some of the best fishing anywhere in the Northeast and this time of year has some of the best hatches.
The Delaware is beginning to come to life. The flows have become more manageable as the week progressed and if you were on the water on the right day, fish was very good. Yesterday (4/25) one of our guys Bob went out and fished with Sal Renzuella of River Keeper Guide Service and had a great day. They floated the West Branch and caught some very nice fish. The predominant hatches were Hendricksons and Paraleps. They reported that the Hendricksons are not in full swing yet, however they did come off around 2pm and the fish were definitely keying in on them. The Paralep hatch was a bit more consistent. The fish were definitely on them and a well-placed size 18 dry got the job done. Keep an eye on the gauges for the East, West and Main Stem. It looks like we have more rain on the way which could change things a bit. The water temperatures as of 4/26 are in the mid to high 40’s and increasing daily. A good sign. If we get some lower flows and warm weather in the next week or so expect to see a phenomenal Hendrickson hatch right on coat tails of the improving conditions. Both the East and West Branches are fishable at this point. A welcome change from last week. The East at Harvard is 1230 CFS and rising slightly. The West at Stilesville is 2060 CFS slightly and the Main Stem at Lordville is 5430 CFS slightly rising. The recent rain has begun to push the rivers up a bit and if the forecast holds we could see the
water come back up.
The New York bite is certainly picking up. Schoolie sized Stripers are around and the bite has been hot if and when anglers find them. Turtle Cove has seen good fishing recently and the fish continues to improve. The Stripers are proliferating along the coast and during a good falling tide, expect to find fish in most of the usual places. The fishing is still a bit spotty but if you move around and probe different locations you will have a good shot at finding fish. The bigger fish have shown up as well. Big breeding females are being caught in huge numbers by the trolling and chunking guys at the mouth of the Hudson. These fish are staging to spawn and have amassed in Gravesend and Lower Bay. These fish can be hard to target however, if you do decide to try and get one of these monsters on a fly, location is everything. Your best bet is going to be Breezy Point, Brighton Beach, and Norton Point. Throw big flies on a 12wt with an intermediate sinking line and you have a chance of hooking a giant striper. Keep in mind that these fish are focused on spawning and will hanging out in deeper water. It’s rare to catch these fish on a fly but it is doable. Consider doing a bait and switch with a big plug to bring a fish in close.