Connecticut DEEP Fishing Report #41

INLAND REPORT

TROUT- RIVERS & STREAMS  

Rivers are at or near record low levels statewide. Fish should be concentrating in pockets of deeper water and deep runs (more typical of late summer). Good catches of Rainbow Trout reported in the Naugatuck, Natchaug, and Salmon rivers. Just about all types of gear are working well. Mealworms, night crawlers, live minnows, small castmasters and phoebe goldfish, and many dryflies and nymphs.

Farmington River

Fishing continues to be excellent with the “survivor browns” providing a thrill to those who connect (16-20 inches). There are also plenty of rainbow and stocked browns ready to please. West Branch flows are clear and moderate (currently 247 cfs at Riverton, with the Still River adding 18 cfs). Water temperatures are in the low 60’s°F (much colder above the Still River confluence in Riverton).

Hatches/patterns

include: Isonychia (#12-14) working their way upstream, Vitreus [a.k.a. pale evening dun] (#16-18, from 5:00pm to dark), Tan Caddis (#16-18, good all day), Sulfurs, (Invaria #16-18, hatches mid-day and Dorothea #16-18). Successful patterns include: Light Cahill (#10-14), March Brown nymphs (#10-12), Gray Fox (#14, afternoon), Blue Wing Olives (#18-24, mid-late afternoon), Caddis (tan #14-18, all day; green #22-26, evening), Midges (#20-32), Blue Quill (#16-18) and Pale Evening Duns (Epeorus vitreus #16-18, afternoon and early evenings) and the ole reliable red and black ant.

Housatonic River

Water temperatures will be rising for the foreseeable future (low flow and warm sunny days). As such many tout will be seeking out the tributaries and thermal refuges while water temps are out of their comfort zone. These areas are critical to their survival when going gets rough. Water clarity is clear. Water temperatures are currently in the high 60’s with flows at a very low 266 cfs at Falls Village and 342 cfs at Gaylordsville.

Hatches/patterns

Major insect hatches are here and are providing excellent fly fishing, but mostly in the late evening for trout. Try poppers for Smallmouth Bass during the day, they will provide non-stop action and help hone your skills.

Other flies include: Alder/Zebra Caddis (#8-10) is underway (should last up to 4 weeks) and will produce some great fishing. Alder flies are very active during hot days. Additional bugs include the Sulphurs (#14-18, evening), Blue Wing Olive (#16-18, cloudy days, early morning; spinner fall in evening), Isonychia (#10-12 late afternoon & evening, just starting), Light Cahill (#12-14, evenings), Adams (#12-16, evening), March Brown (#10-12, afternoon) and Gray Foxes (#14-16). Black Caddis, Green caddis (#16-18, early morning & evening) are on the water.

Anglers are reminded that the thermal refuge areas on the Housatonic, Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers are now closed to fishing (as of June 15). These areas will reopen on September 15. There is no fishing within 100 feet of signs indicating such closure at or near the mouths of tributaries to these rivers. Additionally, a thermal refuge has been established on the Salmon River in East Haddam, located around a spring entering the Salmon River approximately 220 feet south of the unused paved boat launch at the state-owned property formerly known as the Sunrise Resort off of Route 151. The refuge includes all water within 100 feet from the end of the pipe as posted. The Salmon River refuge will be closed to fishing and access through September 15.

TROUT-LAKES & PONDS

There are big trout around or anglers to catch. Some lakes to try include: East Twin Lake, Mashapaug Lake (riggers @ 20-25’), Colebrook Reservoir (riggers @ 25’+, Mooselook silver/blue) , Lake McDonough (7-8 colors), Valley Falls Park Pond, West Hill Pond, Highland Lake (4 colors), Beach Pond (early @ 20-25’), Long Pond (Kobra 14), Crystal Lake (Ellington; 7-8 colors, troll @ 2mph), Mohawk Pond, Beach Pond, Black Pond (Woodstock) & Bigelow Pond.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

fishing is reported as good to very good. Places to try include Mashapaug Lake, Colebrook Reservoir, Congamond Lakes, Lake Saltonstall, Lake McDonough, Highland Lake, Winchester Lake, Bantam Lake, Candlewood Lake, Lake Wononskopomuc, Batterson Park Pond, Black Pond (Meriden), Lake Lillinonah, Breakneck Pond (great hike in location), Griggs Pond, Lake Waramaug, West Hill Pond, Park Pond, Crystal Lake (Ellington), Gardner Lake, Moodus Reservoir, Stillwater Pond, Winchester Lake, Squantz Pond, Maltby Lake 2 & 3, Wood Creek Pond, Pachaug Pond, Ball Pond, Quonnipaug Lake, Silver Lake (Meriden) and Halls Pond.

Tournament angler are from Amos Lake (good for largemouth, 4.82 lb & 3.56 lb lunkers), Beach Pond (fair fishing, but mostly post-spawn fish and thin, caught between 8 and 18 feet, 5.96 lb lunker), Gardner Lake (fair to good fishing, 4.38 lb lunker), Pacahug Pond (slow to fair, anglers had to work for their fish, but some nice fish weighed-in, 5.1 lb, 4.39 lb, 4.38 lb, 4.3 lb & 4.1lb lunkers), Pattagansett Lake (fair to good evening & night, 3.2 lb lunker), Candlewood Lake (fair fishing, 3.87 lb & 3.58 lb lunker), Highland Lake (fair to good fishing, “lots of keepers caught”, 5.41 lb lunker), and Lake Lillinonah (fair for largemouth, 4.43 lb lunker).

SMALLMOUTH BASS

fishing is reported as fair (hopefully improving). Try out at Mashapaug Lake, Lake McDonough, Highland Lake, Bantam Lake, Candlewood Lake, Lake Lillinonah, Naugatuck River, and the Housatonic River.

Tournament angler reports are from Beach Pond (very hard to find smallmouth), Gardner Lake (not many), Pachaug Pond (the usual several smallies caught during the tournament), Candlewood Lake (fair action, 4.13 lb & 3.47 lb lunkers), and Lake Lillinonah (fair for smallmouth, 3.41 lb lunker).

NORTHERN PIKE

fishing is reported to be good when using large live golden shiners. Places to try for “Northerns” this weekend include Lake Lillinonah, Winchester Lake, Bantam Lake, and Connecticut River Coves

KOKANEE

are being caught at West Hill Pond (3 colors). Beads, Mooselook Wobblers, DB Smelt, Flash King lures (blue & silver) are producing. Try fishing corn over lights at nights.

WALLEYE

are being reported from Batterson Park Pond, Squantz Pond, and Beach Pond.

PANFISH

are providing excellent summer time action. Any local pond open to fishing near you will give you some action. The kids love this non-stop action and it will keep them occupied for hours. Any type of inexpensive fishing pole or drop line is all you need to catch these fish. Suggested locations include: Tyler Lake, Batterson Park Pond, Amos Pond, Barber Pond, Baummer Pond, Black Rock Lake, Burr Pond, Dooley Pond, Halls Pond, Lake of Isles, Lower Fulton Park Pond and McGrath Park Pond.

CATFISH

are providing decent action on live shiners, chicken livers, and chunk bait from the Connecticut River Hartford to Haddam, Lower Bolton Lake and Batterson Park Pond.

CONNECTICUT RIVER

Top water catches of STRIPED BASS in the lower river continue on live bunker or live eels. Anglers in the Middletown area have been catching CATFISH in the holes. CARP including some nice “mirror” and “fantail” have been caught between Middletown and Haddam. SMALLMOUTH BASS are putting on a good show in the northern part of the River. Try top water plugs and 4”, Mr. Twisters, Wacky Style salted worms in motor oil or chartreuse for these feisty jumpers. BOWFIN are starting to be more aggressive towards lures and bait resulting in increased catch and calls to the Inland Fisheries Division. The Bowfin (Amia calva) has ane elongate body, fairly hard (bony plates) head, and long fins on the dorsal and ventral surface. They have some similarity to the infamous “snakehead”. A change in the fishing regulations now allows anglers to harvest bowfin (a very tasty fish) if they desire. There are no size limits, daily limits, and the season is open year round.


MARINE REPORT

Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are in the mid 60’s F.

STRIPED BASS

fishing remains excellent. Shore anglers are really scoring on the big bass in the lower tidal rivers where all the bait has been lately. Recently, there was another large bass, 45 pound striped bass caught from shore in Old Lyme (late evening). The big fish keep on rolling in to feed on the abundant bait populations. Western sound (Norwalk to Stratford) catches are improving daily for anglers using chunk bait during the evening. Dawn and dusk is prime time for large stripers on the reefs, rip areas and lower coastal tidal rivers. Live lining eels, bunker or hickory shad has been the ticket. There is plenty of bunker throughout LIS including the tidal rivers to hold fish. Striper areas include the Watch Hill reefs, lower Thames River, the Race, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River (Great Island), Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Westbrook, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Bridgeport Harbor, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef.

STRIPED BASS ANGLERS FISHING IN RHODE ISLAND WATERS are advised that the state of Rhode Island has adopted the following regulations pertaining to striped bass. These regulations apply to all Rhode Island state lands and waters including the waters around Block Island: “Any person recreationally harvesting a striped bass thirty-four (34) inches or larger shall at the time of harvest have the right pectoral fin removed at a point as close to the body of the fish as possible.”

SUMMER FLOUNDER

fishing is fair for “keepers” in Long Island Sound. The area north of Montauk Point (40-80 feet) and the southside of Block Island is producing good numbers of fish…fluke up to 11.25 pounds this week. Mid to western LIS anglers are still reporting good numbers of sub-legal sized fish and a few keepers mixed in, up to 6 pounds. (Norwalk/Stratford/New Haven/Woodmont area). Fluke spots include south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Watch Hill to Napatree Point, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Gardiners Bay over to Greenport, NY, Twotree Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor to West Haven, off the mouth of the Housatonic River, Norwalk Islands, and across over to Port Jefferson, NY. Try drifting with a white or pink Bucktail Jig and attach a Berkely 3”- 4” Gulp Mullet in chartreuse, white or pink color. Fresh squid and or silversides (spearing) have also been producing. Minimum size is 18 inches and the daily creel limit is 5 fish per person.

STRIPED SEAROBIN

fishing is good in LIS for this “hardhead fish with spines and large pectoral fins”. These beautiful and strange looking fish are now very common especially when bottom fishing at many of Connecticut’s shore fishing sites. With many fish measuring over 20 inches, 3 pounds and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make when handling them). They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are also very good to eat. Please be careful when handling them…be mindful of their spines located on top of their head and gill cover.

WEAKFISH

fishing continues to keep on getting better with good numbers of 24-28 inch size fish being caught in the east. Central and western sound catches are improving as the population rebounds from low abundance. Good fishing in Niantic, New Haven Harbor by the breakwaters over to Woodmont/Milford Point and along Stratford shoals. One of the best eating saltwater fish you will ever catch.

SCUP

fishing is very good in Long Island Sound. Like sea bass…they are everywhere. Hook up with your local party/charter boat to get into some of the best fishing ever! These scup are very large and delicious to eat! Seriously, try fishing for some “reef slammers” and enjoy some great fishing…there are lots of scup around for all. Porgies measuring 13-18 inches (“hubcap size”) have been caught! Porgy fishing has also been reported at these shore fishing locations: Rocky Neck State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Meigs Point Hammonassett and Fort Trumbull State Park.

BLACK SEA BASS

fishing is phenomenal everywhere in Long Island Sound. Fishing over any deep water structure (gnarly bottom preferred) in 30 to 110 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks”. Fish shallower and you will catch plenty of keeper-sized sea bass along with fluke and sea robins. It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. Remember, CT black sea bass regulations are as follows…15 inch min. length, 5 fish daily limit from May 1st to December 31st. Berkely Gulp (swimming mullet), on a jig along with squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”. Clams and sandworms also work well. New York waters are open now.

BLUEFISH

fishing is starting to be very good with more and more bluefish arriving from the Montauk area, after feeding on scup and squid. The Race, Plum Gut, many of the major rocky reefs, rips, and shoal areas in LIS will harbor bluefish. Speed squiding diamond jigs, trolling parachute jigs or umbrella rigs, and using fresh bunker or hickory shad chunks on three-way bottom rigs have all been effective. Other bluefish spots include the Sluiceway, Gardiners Bay, Peconic Bays, and the north shore of Long Island along with the Stratford Shoal area. My recommendation is to hook up with a Party or Charter Boat and enjoy some of the best FISHING you will ever experience. Yes, the “Snappers” (juvenile bluefish) have arrived! Harbor Blues (15 – 24 inches) are also very common in lower estuaries.

HICKORY SHAD

fishing is ok in the Black Hall River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and in Clinton Harbor. Connecticut Tarpon (Hickory shad) can be found mixed in with schoolie striped bass. They move up and down the river systems with the tide and are sometimes difficult to locate for the shore angler. Flood or the beginning of the Ebb tide is typically the best and lures of choice are a willow leaf (silver or copper), Kastmaster (single hook), small plastic jigs (white, red or chartreuse), and or shad darts in various colors. You will be impressed with these “high flyers”. Its great shore fishing and you get to meet a lot of anglers and trade fishing stories (“secrets”).

BLACKFISH (TAUTOG)

fishing season opens July 1 in Connecticut waters. The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs…try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for tautogs over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (6 to 30 feet).

WHITE PERCH

fishing remains good. Perch are found in estuaries, tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), Mystic River, upper Thames River and Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove and Hamburg Cove. Grass Shrimp and or a small piece of sandworm fished on the bottom are the keys to success.

BLUE CRAB

are in the molting phase (sally crab) and becoming more active in the tidal creeks and rivers. With a little time…there should be beaucoup blue crabs of legal size. Also, please remember it’s mating season for the crabs and release all egg-bearing females (sooks or lemon bellies). There are some large “jimmies” (male crabs) being captured (8.25 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks. Remember…all egg bearing females must be released with unavoidable harm. Minimum carapace length is 5 inches for a hard shell crab. Please contact your local bait and tackle shop for most updated information (local hot spots), legal crab traps and bait to use for your fun-filled crabbing. Legal gear types include: scoop (dip) net, hand line, star crab trap, circular (topless) trap not exceeding 26 inches in diameter. Maryland Style Crab traps are prohibited. Chicken with the skin on it (along with a long handle net) is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.


NOTABLE CATCHES
Species Length (in.) Weight (lbs) Name
Porgy 19.5 4lbs Paul Chaplinsky
Striped Bass 27.5 37lbs 9oz Jessica Katinas

Courtesy of CTDEEP

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