SPECIAL UPDATE – 2011 FALL BROODSTOCK ATLANTIC SALMON STOCKING – As a precautionary measure (due to the “winter’ storm-related power supply concerns) DEEP stocked another 300 Atlantic salmon broodstock this week into the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers, several weeks earlier than originally scheduled. The lower Naugatuck Broodstock Area was stocked with 150 fish and the Shetucket River in the Baltic area was stocked with 150 fish. Later in November following spawning at the Kensington Hatchery, another 200 fish will be available for stocking.
This week’s stockings brings the total number of salmon stocked this fall to 736 fish (Naugatuck River – 250, Shetucket River – 310, Mount Tom Pond – 116, Crystal Lake – 60).


Rivers & streams – Fall can provide some excellent action for those willing to brave the changing weather and work through leaf fall (and this year downed trees and hanging branches). Conditions should be fairly good this weekend, flows are on the high side but very fuishable in most areas and the forecast is for sunny (but cool) weather. Fall is also streamer and nymph time. For streamers try white, yellow & brown colors, patterns include White Wooly Buggers, Muddlers, Micky Finn, and Grey or Black Ghosts (#4-10). Nymphs to bottom-bounce include Tan & Winter Caddis pupa (#16-18), Serendipity (#14-16), Pheasant Tail (#12-20), Prince (#6-18) and Hare’s ear (#8-20). Good reports last week from the West Branch Farmington River and Housatonic River.

Farmington River – West Branch flows are clear and fishable but still on the high side (currently 355 cfs at Riverton, with the Still River adding an additional 340 cfs). Water temperatures (mornings) are in the upper 40’s to low 50’s°F.
Hatches/patterns include Blue Wing Olive (#18-28), with Isonychia (#12-14-nymph), Midges (#18-32) & Caddis mixed in. For best action try Blue Wing Olives (#20-28, late morning) or Caddis (winter & tan #18-22, early afternoon). Streamers are working well.

Housatonic River – Flows are clear and high, but mostly fishable, currently 1,750 cfs at Falls Village and 2,7600 cfs at Gaylordsville. Morning water temperatures are in the upper 40’s – lower 50’s°F.
Hatches/patterns include Blue Wing Olive (#18-24, early morning), Midges (#20-28) and Tan & Winter caddis (#14-20, early morning and late afternoon). Streamers and nymphing work well this time of year (see advice above)!

Lakes & Ponds – Some trout action reported from West Hill Pond (very difficult to launch), East Twin Lake, Beach Pond, Highland Lake (in the shallows), Crystal Lake and Beach Pond.

LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing was generally fair to slow with the better reports from Candlewood Lake (recent catches include a 6.85 lb largemouth), Highland Lake and Gardner Lake.

SMALLMOUTH BASS – Candlewood Lake smallmouth fishing has been good and catches include a number of fish in the 3-4 lb range.
CARP have been reported from Batterson Park Pond (some 20 lb plus fish) and smaller fish from the French River (Thompson).

NORTHERN PIKE are being reported from Bantam Lake.

CONNECTICUT RIVER – Flows remain somewhat high but very fishable, and are clearing. The recent storm slowed fishing and the reports from the weekend are limited. BLACK CRAPPIE are providing anglers some action in the coves throughout the river (small shiners work well). Late season CATFISH fishing is reported as good with many fish (6lb to 8lb fish) being caught last week. Fish were found from Wethersfield Cove down river to Salmon River. CARP were also providing some action last week with some 20 lb plus fish reported.


WINTER DRAWDOWNS of a number of Eastern CT lakes are in progress. Reported lake depth status for the following water bodies is current as of Friday, October 21st: Ashland Pond (down 6 inches), Bashan Lake (down 32 inches), Beseck Lake (down 6 feet), Billings Lake (down 5 inches), Gardner Lake (full), Hopeville Pond (full), Lower Bolton Lake (full), Middle Bolton Lake (down 6 inches), Mashapaug Lake (down 18 inches) and Pickerel Lake (full).

WESTERN CT WINTER DRAWDOWNS. A three foot drawdown of Highland Lake began this week. The annual drawdown of Lake McDonough is ongoing. West Hill Pond has been drawn down three feet.

MASHAPAUG LAKE– The main access road to Mashapaug Lake is closed for replacement of a major culvert. The park access road will remain open up to the Bigelow Pond Boat Launch, allowing continued access to Bigelow Pond.

LAKE LILLINONAH is scheduled to be drawn down for a week beginning November 5th with refill scheduled to begin November 13th. During this drawdown, launching of trailer boats will be difficult (Route 133 launch) to impossible (Pond Brook launch) at the state boat launches.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed the THOMASTON DAM RECREATION AREA until further notice due to ongoing clean up operations resulting from storm Irene. This area is currently expected to be closed for the remainder of the 2011 season. This area includes most of the Naugatuck River Trout Management Area.

Anglers are reminded that the fishing season at several lakes and ponds scattered throughout the state, most notably LAKE WONOSCOPOMUC, GREEN FALLS RESERVOIR, BATTERSON PARK POND and SHENIPSIT RESERVOIR are closed to fishing for the season. Please refer to the 2011 CT Angler’s Guide for additional locations.


Schools will be near deeper weed edges.

Fish early morning and late evening.

Fish slowly inside the deepest portion of the weed flats & use a 1/16th-ounce jig with a small minnow.

A slow vertical jigging motion will reduce snags.

After locating fish, switch to a slip bobber & vary the depths to zero in on the fish.

As the water cools, more weeds will die & fish will come to the open edges.

Watch your fish finder as you slowly cruise the drop offs just outside the weed line.

Each day you’ll see more signs of life in this deeper water.

Baitfish appear first, then small groups of Crappies and finally larger schools of fish.

The arrival of larger groups of fish marks the beginning of the peak fall bite.

Crappies will locate on inside corners or edges of deep holes near the shoreline.

You might find some of the fish on points or on straight stretches along the drop off.

These inside corners located closest to shore are always the first choice.

Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are hovering around the 60 °F mark. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:   

BLUEFISH fishing has slowed down as water temperatures drop and fish migrate offshore and south. The usual spots include the Race, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, the reefs off Watch Hill, Millstone outflow, Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Pigeon Rip (area north of Plum Island), Hatchett Reef, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Guilford and Branford, Charles Island area to Milford Point, Buoy 20 off Stratford, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, and around the Norwalk Islands.

STRIPED BASS fishing has improved with big cows moving through and schoolies returning to tidal rivers and coves. Live lining eels, hickory shad, bunker (Atlantic menhaden) or scup is still the way to go for trophy linesiders. There is still some good striper fishing left!

SCUP fishing is past peak but some good size fish can still be caught off the local reefs. Time is winding down fast with these cold nights!

TAUTOG fishing season is still in full swing. Some impressive catches of tog weighing in the double digits have been reported. Some of the biggest fish have been caught by anglers fishing from shore! Try fishing rock piles off the beaten path where the fishing pressure is less for better results.
Regulations reminders:

SCUP – The scup fishing season has been extended through to the end of the year. The daily creel and length limit remains the same (10 fish per angler and 10 ½ inches). Note that the party/charter boat creel limit is now 10 fish per day (the length limit remains unchanged at 11 inches).

BLACK SEA BASS – The black sea bass fishing season has re-opened (November 1st) and will remain open for the rest of the year.

Broodstock Atlantic salmon regulations and areas summary

Regulations for broodstock on the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers. In rivers, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to CATCH-AND-RELEASE ONLY through November 30. From December 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon will be one. During the open season in the rivers, the legal method for taking Atlantic salmon is limited to angling using a single fly, or an artificial lure with a single free swinging hook and no additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure.

On the Shetucket River, anglers can fish for salmon downstream from the Scotland Dam (Windham) to the Water Street Bridge in Norwich (the first bridge upstream of Norwich Harbor). The salmon are stocked into one designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area, from the Scotland Dam to the Occum Dam.

Anglers are allowed to fish for salmon in the Naugatuck River from the confluence of the East and West Branches (Torrington) downstream to the Housatonic River (Derby). Anglers may also fish for Atlantic salmon in the Housatonic River downstream of Derby Dam. The salmon are typically stocked into two designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas on the Naugatuck River, the “Campville Section” of the upper Naugatuck River from Route 118 downstream to the Thomaston Flood Control Dam (Litchfield-Thomaston) and the “Beacon Falls Section” of the lower Naugatuck, from Prospect Street (Naugatuck) downstream to Pines Bridge Road (Route 42 bridge, Beacon Falls). Note that the “Campville Section” of the upper Naugatuck River was not stocked this week as most of this river stretch is within the Thomaston Dam Recreation Area that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed due to storm damage.

From October 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in these designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.

The regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon released into lakes and ponds are different from the regulations for salmon on the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. In each lake, the regulations for methods, seasons and minimum lengths for salmon will be the same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily creel limit will be one salmon per day. (Please refer to the 2011 CT Angler’s Guide for trout regulations).

The highly invasive freshwater alga, Didymosphenia geminata, known as “didymo” or “rock snot”, was discovered in Connecticut in the West Branch Farmington River earlier this year (March). This is the first report of didymo in Connecticut.
Under ideal conditions, blooms of didymo can form thick mats of material on the bottoms of rivers and streams. These mats feel like wet wool and are typically gray, white and/or brown, but never green in color, 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

Zebra mussels were found in October, 2010 in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah and their presence in Lake Housatonic was recently confirmed (November, 2011). Adult mussels have now also been found in the Housatonic River in Massachusetts and free-floating juveniles (veligers) have been found at a number of sites in the river downstream to Lake Lillinonah.
Prior to these 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


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