DEP’s spring trout stockings wrap up next week, with a total of 638,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout stocked since early March.
Rivers & streams – Trout anglers enjoyed relatively good conditions and fishing last week in many areas throughout the state with reports from the Moosup River (very good), Natchaug River, Fenton River, Hammonassett River, Housatonic River, West Branch Farmington River (very good), Farmington River, Naugatuck River, Blackberry River, Salmon Brook (Granby), Sandy Brook, Salmon River and the Mount Hope River.
However, conditions this week are highly variable with anglers in some areas challenged by high flows caused by the spotty bands of heavy precipitation that have been rotating through some portions of the state this week. Anglers should keep smaller tributaries in mind.
Farmington River – Conditions and fishing were very good last week. Currently, flows are relatively clear and moderate from the Goodwin Dam to Riverton (about 190 cfs), but below Riverton, flows are high as the Still River is currently adding an additional 740 cfs. Barring heavy rain in that area, Still River inputs should drop to more comfortable levels through the weekend. Hatches include Blue Winged Olive (#16-20), Blue Quills (#18-20) [a.k.a. paralep], Tan Caddis (#16-18; starting) and Hendrickson (#12-14) [a.k.a. red quills] (ending) and March Browns (#10-12, below the TMA). Anglers can expect fishing to be challenging as the insect hatches are shifting. Patterns working include Blue Wing Olives (#18-20, mid-late afternoon), Caddis (tan #14-18, all day) and Midges (#22-28) are the current patterns working. Hendricksons (#12-14, 4-6 pm.) and nymphing are both producing well. Housatonic River – Flows are currently stained and high (1,930 cfs at Falls Village and 3,730 cfs at Gaylordsville). Flows may drop to more fishable levels by the weekend, anglers should call FirstLight Power at 1-888-417-4837 for updated flow information. Morning water temperatures are now in the upper 50’s °F. Current hatches include Green Caddis (started this week, mornings & evenings) and Brown/Tan Caddis (#14-18).There are still some Hendrickson (#12-14, rusty) spinner falls (evenings). March Browns (#10-12, 4 pm to dark) and Gray Foxes (#14-16) will be producers. Midges (#22-26) are being seen at the mouths of tributaries and Golden Stoneflies (#6) were being hit hard early this week. Rivers and streams stocking update.
This week in eastern CT, Blackwells Brook, Coginchaug River, Fenton River, Furnace Brook (Stafford), Hammonasset River (including the TMA), Hop River, Hunts Brook, Latimer Brook, Mashamoquet Brook, Middle River, Moosup River, Mount Hope River, Pachaug River, Quanduck Brook, Quinebaug River, Roaring Brook (Stafford), Shetucket River, Skungamaug River, Ten Mile River (Lebanon), Willimantic River (including the TMA) and Yantic River (including the TMA) are all scheduled to be stocked. In western CT, the Blackberry River, East Aspetuck River, West Branch Farmington River (Goodwin Dam to upper boundary of TMA), Farmington River (from Route 219, new Hartford to Route 177, Unionville, including the lower TMA), Little River (Oxford), Mad River, Naugatuck River (Middle and lower portions), Salmon Brook (East Branch), Sandy Brook, Shepaug River and Still River (Colebrook) are scheduled to be stocked this week. Note that stocking schedules are subject to change.
Lakes & Ponds – Trout fishing is generally fair, with reports from Saugatuck Reservoir (some very nice catches here), West Hill Pond (lots of action), Lake Wononskopomuc, Coventry Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Crystal Lake (not as busy as in previous years), Highland Lake (much improved last week), Mt. Tom Pond, Candlewood Lake (still in the doldrums), Mohawk Pond, Long Pond, Beach Pond (spotty), Squantz Pond, Gardner Lake, Lake Waramaug, Bigelow Pond and Lake Hayward. Lakes and ponds stocking update. In eastern CT, Black Pond (Middlefield), Black Pond (Woodstock), Cedar Lake, Coventry Lake, Gardner Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Millers Pond, Quonnipaug Lake, Rogers Lake, Shenipsit Lake and Uncas Lake are scheduled for stocking this week (5/16 – 5/20). In western CT, Ball Pond, Fountain Lake, Highland Lake, Hop Brook Lake, Lake McDonough, Mad River Impoundment, West Branch Reservoir and Wononskopomuc Lake are scheduled for this week. :
Trout Parks – Anglers continue to find good action at the Trout Parks. This week, six trout parks, Black Rock Pond, Great Hollow Pond, Kent Falls Brook, Southford Falls Pond, Stratton Brook Park Pond and Valley Falls Park Pond are scheduled to be stocked. LARGEMOUTH BASS The season appears to be bit behind the last several years, reports indicate that some males are up on beds, but females aren’t there yet. Fishing is generally fair with the best reports from East Twin Lake, Gardner Lake, Lake Wononskopomuc and Candlewood Lake. Amos Lake (including several bass in the 5-6 lb range), Lake Lillinonah, Bashan Lake, Rogers Lake, Glasgo pond, Ball Pond, Quaddick Reservoir, Lake Waramaug are also reporting fair fishing. It’s been a bit tougher at Highland Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Pachaug Pond and Amos Lake (although catches include several bass in the 5-6 lb range). Other places to try include Lake McDonough, Bantam Lake, Park Pond, Winchester Lake, Coventry Lake, Lake Williams, Mansfield Hollow Reservoir, West Hill Pond, Quonnipaug Lake, Red Cedar Lake and Crystal Lake (Ellington). SMALLMOUTH BASS fishing remains variable. Although it’s slowed a bit, plenty of action (and smallies in the 3-4 lb range) reported from Candlewood Lake. Some decent smallmouth fishing also reported from Highland, Lake Lillinonah (including several fish in the 3-4 lb range), Lake McDonough and Squantz Pond. Although Gardner Lake has been slow for smallies, a recent tournament targeting smallmouth only did manage a number of full bags (all “cookie-cutter 1-lb fish). Mashapaug Lake and Bashan Lake were slow last week. Other places reporting some action include Coventry Lake and Bantam Lake. WALLEYE are reported in Squantz Pond (fair to good action from both boat & shore) and Mashapaug Lake. NORTHERN PIKE are reported from Winchester Lake, Bantam Lake, Quaddick Reservoir and Mansfield Hollow Reservoir.
CONNECTICUT RIVER BONUS STRIPED BASS PROGRAM
DEP is issuing free vouchers to anglers fishing the Connecticut River to take 4,025 striped bass in a size range (at least 22 inches in length but shorter than 28 inches) below the current recreational minimum length for stripers in CT. Each voucher allows the angler to keep one “bonus” striper and can be used only on the Connecticut River from just above the I-95 bridge to the Massachusetts border. The vouchers are valid through June 30. Vouchers can be obtained at the same DEP Offices where licenses are sold and while fishing along the Connecticut River, from DEP Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officers and Riverfront Recapture Rangers. Anglers can obtain two vouchers per day and use a maximum of two vouchers per day to keep “bonus” fish. Use of these vouchers does not affect an angler’s ability to keep their regular daily limit of striped bass. Each angler participating in the program can also keep up to two striped bass a day, 28 inches or larger in total length. For more information, visit: www.ct.gov/dep/fishing or call 860-424-3474.
CONNECTICUT RIVER – Conditions and fishing had improved last week with some good action, but have deteriorated, flows are up again, visibility is down again, and there’s some debris in the water. STRIPED BASS are in the river up to Enfield. Legal size fish were being caught, especially in the Haddam/Middletown area and downstream. Artificial lures and bait produce well. See box to the right for information on a new program that lets anglers keep fish less than the legal length. SHAD are being reported in the river up through Enfield. One angler reported 61 fish this past weekend, while another caught 21 in the Windsor area. Some CATFISH were being caught. A few NORTHERN PIKE catches reported in the Haddam Meadows area, Chapmans Pond and Wethersfield Cove. Anglers were finding some fair to good LARGEMOUTH BASS action in coves, catches include several in the 3 to 4 pound range. NOTES & NOTICES: Due to the stormy weather (and possible bands of heavy precipitation this week), LAKE LILLINONAH has been drawn down 8.5 feet below the normal operating range minimum level as a flood control measure. Both the Route 133 (“Steel Bridge”) and Pond Brook state boat launches are currently not usable by trailered boats. Refilling is currently scheduled to begin late Friday night, but will depend on precipitation amounts and flows. It is anticipated that the Pond Brook launch will remain unusable through the weekend and the Route 133 will become usable (with extra care) by Sunday. The “seawall” area extending from the handicap-accessable fishing pier to the permitted swim area at SQUANTZ POND is open to fishing day and night until May 27th (the start of Memorial Day weekend). Anyone with a fishing pole can access the fence through the several gates (please reclose gate after you enter or exit). During the summer season (From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend inclusive), the area can accessed by anglers only at night.
BOAT LAUNCHES – Due to high flows, the docks at the Salmon River (CT River) boat launch have not yet been installed. There is currently no dock at the Coventry Lake state launch due to ice damaged pilings. Repairs are not expected to be completed until late-June. Moodus Reservoir (Lower & Upper) is currently drawn down 20 inches, making the launching of trailer boats difficult (especially for larger boats). It is anticipated that this drawdown will continue through the month of May. The boat launch at Colebrook River Lake is closed until further notice. Access by foot or vehicle remains open and shore fishing is allowed. Boaters should call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at 860-379-8234 for updated information.
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are in the low 50° F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS fishing is improving as larger fish move into LIS along with rising water temperatures and with the arrival of Atlantic menhaden (bunker) and squid. Striper spots include the Thames River from Norwich, Montville down to Groton, the Race, Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Eastern Breakwater, Long Sand Shoal, Millstone Outflow, Ash Creek and the Housatonic River. Also don’t overlook the major reefs in LIS. This is the time “cow” bass move in on the reefs before “choppers” (bluefish) arrive. WINTER FLOUNDER fishing is basically like watching grass grow – real slow. But, if you want to give it a try, flounder spots include Norwalk Harbor (Maritime Aquarium docks and Calf Pasture Point pier) and around Sprite Island, Niantic River including the Bay, Pine Island area (lower Thames River), the Brothers and Poquonock River (Bluff Point State Park). BLUEFISH early arrivals are here. Chopper locations include the Peconic Bays (New York), the Race, Sandy Point area (Stonington), Plum Gut, and the north shore of Long Island and western LIS where the water temperatures are a few degrees higher. SUMMER FLOUNDER (FLUKE) just opened (May 15th). No reports of yet, but the Peconic Bays (New York) and the north side of Long Island are early season hot spots.
INFORMATION FOR CT ANGLERS FISHING IN NEW YORK WATERS:
New York DEC now has their online marine angler registry up and running. While your Connecticut Marine Waters Fishing License is valid in the New York waters of Long Island Sound, to fish in other New York marine waters you must be registered in the New York Marine Fishing Registry. Please see link to register: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/54950.html The registration is free.
Connecticut anglers must abide by New York’s stricter fishing regulations when fishing in those waters. Check New York’s web site http://www.dec.ny.gov for marine fishing regulation updates. For regulation updates and fishing/crabbing information, please check out our web site at: http://www.ct.gov/dep/fishing or pick up the new 2011 Angler’s Guide. The guide contains all current marine fishing regulations and more.
DIDYMO ALERT The highly invasive freshwater alga, Didymosphenia geminata, known as “didymo” or “rock snot”, was recently discovered in Connecticut in the West Branch Farmington River. This is the first report of didymo in Connecticut. Didymo is typically found in cold, shallow streams with rocky substrate. The microscopic didymo cell produces a stalk to attach to the substrate. Under ideal conditions, blooms of didymo can form thick mats of stalk material that feel like wet wool and are typically gray, white and/or brown, but never green in color. These mats form on the bottoms of rivers and streams, and if dense may have negative impacts on the ecological, recreational and aesthetic values of rivers with suitable habitat (cold, rocky, well-lit areas). Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo. The microscopic cells can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions. For more information including precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of didymo to additional waters, visit www.ct.gov/dep/invasivespecies
IMPORTANT REMINDER TO ANGLERS AND BOATERS– Zebra mussels were recently (October, 2010) found in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah. Prior to this discovery, zebra mussels had been found (1998) in CT only in East Twin Lake and West Twin Lake (Salisbury). During 2009 zebra mussels were discovered in Massachusetts in Laurel Lake and in the mainstem Housatonic River. Anglers fishing in any of these waters and western Connecticut in general should use extra care to avoid transporting water, aquatic vegetation, and possibly zebra mussels to new locations. The zebra mussel is a black and white striped, bivalve mollusk that was introduced into North American waters through the discharge of ship ballast water. This mussel can disrupt aquatic ecosystems and is notorious for clogging water intakes, and fouling boat hulls and engine cooling water systems. For more information on zebra mussels and other invasive species, visit www.ct.gov/dep/invasivespecies.