DEP’s spring trout stockings wrap up this week, with a total of 638,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout stocked since early March.
Rivers & streams – Trout fishing should be good this weekend. Flows have moderated throughout the state, good weather is forecast, and there’s still plenty of stocked fish out there waiting for anglers. Good reports last week from the West Branch Farmington River, Farmington River (40 fish for one angler), Housatonic River, Natchaug River, Moosup River, Salmon River, Salmon River TMA, Tankerhoosen River, Norwalk River, Quinebaug River, Mill River, Willimantic River, Blackberry River, Naugatuck River, Mount. Hope River and the Saugatuck River TMA.
Farmington River – Fishing’s been good and conditions should be fine for the weekend, with a taste of summer in the weather forecast and clear, moderate flows, currently 315 cfs at Riverton. The Still River is adding 200 cfs (Still River flows should continue to drop through the weekend). Water temperatures are in the low to mid 50’s°F.
Hatches include Viterus [a.k.a. Sulfur dun] #16 in Unionville area, Tan Caddis (#16-18), Blue Wing Olive [a.k.a. baetis or vegans] #18-20, Hendrickson [a.k.a. red quills], #12-14. Blue Quill [a.k.a. paralep] #18 and the Quill Gordon (#14), March Brown nymphs (#10), Gray Fox (#14, afternoon), Blue Wing Olives (#16-24, mid-late afternoon), Caddis (tan #14-18, all day; green #22-26, evening), Midges (#22-32) and Sulfur Duns (Epeorus vitreus #14-16, afternoon & early evenings) are the current working patterns.
Housatonic River – Fishing’s been good, and conditions should be good for the long weekend. Flows are still on the high side, but continue to drop to more comfortable levels, currently 1,560 cfs at Falls Village and 2,660 cfs at Gaylordsville. Water temperatures are in the low 60’s°F (mornings).
Major insect hatches are here and will begin to provide excellent fly fishing (especially when the spinners start up). Current patterns include: Blue Wing Olive (#18-24, early morning; spinner fall in evening), Cahill (#12-14), Adams (#12-20, evening), March Brown (#10-12, will be starting soon) and Gray Foxes (#10-12). Green Caddis (#14-20, early morning & evening) are on the water. Midges and early stoneflies (#6) are also being seen at tributary mouths.
Rivers and streams stocking update. This week in eastern CT, the Blackledge River (lower), Branford River, Eight Mile River (including the East Branch), Farm River (lower & upper), Hammonasset River (including the TMA), Hockanum River (above & below the TMA), Jeremy River, Latimer Brook, Moosup River, Mount Hope River, Natchaug River, Quinebaug River (Putnam & Griswold areas), Salmon River (including the TMA), Scantic River (upper & lower), Snake Meadow Brook and West River are all scheduled to be stocked. Note that stocking schedules are subject to change.
Lakes & Ponds – Action is picking up, and it’s getting to be “big fish” time, with reports from Mashapaug Lake (23 trout for one angler), Candlewood Lake (fair), Saugatuck Reservoir (some really nice fish here), Squantz Pond (some action from shore and by boat), Highland Lake (18 fish), Black Pond (Meriden), East Twin Lake, Lake McDonough, Crystal Lake (Ellington, bites improved greatly this week), Coventry Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Beach Pond, West Hill Pond and Wononskopomuc Lake.
Lakes and ponds stocking update. This week (5/23-5/27) the following areas in eastern CT are scheduled to be stocked – Bashan Lake, Beach Pond, Black Pond (Middlefield), Black Pond (Woodstock), Crystal Lake, Dodge Pond, Mashapaug Lake, Moosup Pond, Uncas Lake, Walkers Reservoir and Wauregan Reservoir.
Trout Parks – Anglers continue to find good action at the Trout Parks. This week, five trout parks, Chatfield Hollow, Day Pond, Mohegan Park Pond, Natchaug River and Valley Falls Park Pond Trout Parks are scheduled to be stocked.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing is generally fair to good, with the best reports from Lake McDonough (catches include several 5-lb bass), Gardner Lake (good action for bass in the 1-2 lb range, nothing big reported), Candlewood Lake, Wononskopomuc Lake, Wyassup Lake and Hatch Pond and fair reports from Quaddick Reservoir (good action for 1-lb fish), Glasgo Pond, Beseck Lake, Rogers Lake (action includes several bass in the 4-5 lb range), Lake Lillinonah (a number of bass in the 3-4 lb range among the recent bags), East Twin Lake (but on the slow side), Cedar Lake, Batterson Park Pond and Mashapaug Lake (a bit on the slow side). Tough fishing reported from Beach Pond (but catches include a 6.1 lb bass), Pachaug Pond and Quonnipaug Lake.
SMALLMOUTH BASS fishing remains variable, with reports from Candlewood Lake (still very good action here with plenty of smallies in the 3-4 lb range, and some up to 5 lbs, being caught), Beach Pond (tough), Lake McDonough (fair-good, catches include some 3-lb smallies), Gardner Lake (slow), Lake Lillinonah (fair, catches include several 3-4 lb smallmouth), Highland Lake (some action here) and Rainbow Reservoir (fair).
NORTHERN PIKE fishing is reported to be good in Bantam Lake and Winchester Lake.
KOKANEE – Try West Hill Pond (slow troll a Dodger with corn/meal worm behind 3 colors of lead line).
WALLEYE- Fair to good action from boat and shore reported from Squantz Pond, catches include a 8.5 lb walleye (29 inches).
PANFISH – With the warmer weather here, panfish season is starting throughout the state. Try a nearby area and target the shallows. Use worms, grubs and any type of inexpensive fishing pole or drop line and give these easy to catch fish a go. Kids love this non-stop action and it will keep them occupied for hours.
CONNECTICUT RIVER – Conditions are again improving, flows are dropping to more comfortable levels and water temperatures are warming. STRIPED BASS are above Middletown. However, for the last week, action has been challenging due to high, turbid water. Some school size (16-25”) fish and adults up to 48” are being caught. Sand & blood worms are producing while trolling tube & worm and casting soft plastics work best in stained water. SHAD can still be found throughout the river, but action has slowed. NORTHERN PIKE are reported in the coves and downstream from Hartford to Haddam (smaller fish). LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing was fair this past weekend with a number of catches in the 2-4 lb range.
NOTES & NOTICES:
* Beginning this weekend, the “seawall” area extending from the handicap-accessable fishing pier to the permitted swim area at SQUANTZ POND will be closed to fishing during the day. During the summer season (From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend inclusive), the area can be accessed by anglers only at night. Anyone with a fishing pole can access the fence through the several gates (UUplease reclose gate after you enter or exitUU)
* BOAT LAUNCHES – Moodus Reservoir (Lower & Upper) is currently drawn down 30 inches, making the launching of trailer boats very difficult (especially for larger boats). It is now anticipated that this drawdown will continue through the end of July. 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. The docks at the Haddam Meadows and Salmon Cove boat launches should in place for the upcoming weekend.
* DEP announces a new state record TIGER TROUT (hybrid, cross between brook trout and brown trout). The fish weighed in at 7 lbs 2 oz and was 25. inches long. It was caught on live bait by Michael Holdridge, Jr. (Madison, CT). Michael was fishing with his father in Colchester on May 15th when he hooked into this spectacular fish. “He’s hooked on fishing now,” his father said during a congratulatory phone call. Michael will receive a Trophy Fish Award and a Gold Pin to celebrate his angling skills. Congratulations Michael Holdridge, Jr. for your new State Record. Michael is seen in the accompanying photo with his record catch.
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are in the mid 50° F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS - Memorial Day weekend is the usual kick off time for major league “cows” to frequent the reefs and rip areas in LIS. Live lining Atlantic menhaden (bunker) or eels and fresh cut chunk baits hooked on three way rigs or fish finder rigs are the ticket for that linebacker size of a striped bass. Besides the reefs, striper spots include the Thames River from Norwich down to Groton, the Race, Millstone Outflow, Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (Hamburg Cove down to the breakwaters), Long Sand Shoal, Falkner Island, Thimble Islands, New Haven Harbor, Charles Island area, Housatonic River, Penfield Reef, and around the Norwalk Islands.
BLUEFISH fishing is still on the early side. Choppers are “harbor” size (about 4 to 6 lbs). Fishing spots include the Race, Peconic Bays (New York), Sandy Point area (Stonington), Plum Gut, Millstone power plant outflow, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Bridgeport Harbor, and the Norwalk Islands.
SUMMER FLOUNDER (Fluke) is open although the not so ideal weather conditions with easterly winds has made fishing a tough go at it. The Peconic Bays (New York) and the north side of Long Island which are normally red hot at this time of year have been just OK. Closer to home fluke spots include Fishers Island Sound by the Stonington breakwaters to the mouth of the Mystic River, Niantic Bay, and Black Point.
WINTER FLOUNDER fishing remains slow. Last day for flatties is May 30th.
SCUP (Porgy) fishing is open! It’s time to hit these reef slammers on the local reefs and rock piles. The minimum size is 10 ½ inches and the daily possession limit is 10 fish per person.
For regulation updates and fishing/crabbing information, please check out our web site at: www.ct.gov/dep/fishing or pick up the new 2011 Angler’s Guide. The guide contains all current marine fishing regulations and more.
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). 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.
This highly invasive 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.
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
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.
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.