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Final Fishing Report Of The Season

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Photo courtesy Department of Environmental Protection

Photo courtesy Department of Environmental Protection

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FISHING REPORT NUMBER 31
11/17/2011

This is the final regular season fishing report for 2011.  Occasional reports will be issued during the ice fishing season,  with  weekly reports to  resume next spring.

INLAND REPORT

ATLANTIC SALMON fishing in the Shetucket River and Naugatuck River slowed but fish continue to be caught and released. At Crystal Lake anglers are seeing jumping salmon, (but only one catch reported last week). A few catches reported from Mount Tom Pond. A summary of broodstock Atlantic salmon regulations can be found on page 3.
Broodstock Atlantic salmon stocking update- The lower Naugatuck River Broodstock area will be stocked with 75 more salmon on Friday (11/18). In early December, 75 salmon will are scheduled to be released into the Shetucket River (35 fish) and Crystal Lake (40 fish). These stockings will complete the 2011 broodstock Atlantic salmon stockings, with a total of nearly 900 salmon stocked.

TROUT
Rivers & streams – As we move later into November, anglers and angling have slowed, but some nice action was reported from the Farmington River, Housatonic River and the Naugatuck River. Conditions for late-November fishing should be good with seasonable temperatures, dry weather and comfortable flows (although flows in some areas did increase due to Wednesday’s rains, they continue to clear and drop for the weekend).

Streamers and nymphing work well in the fall. Good streamer colors to try include white, yellow and brown, and traditional patterns include White Wooly Buggers, Muddlers and Grey or Black Ghosts). Nymphs to try include caddis pupa (#14-16), Serendipity (#14-16), Pheasant Tail (#12-20), Prince (#6-18) and Hare’s ear (#8-20).
Trout stocking update -DEEP recently stocked another 16,000 “yearling” trout (6-8 inch fish). These fish were released into the Norwalk River (4,000 fish), Mill River (Hamden, 4,000 fish, all stocked outside the TMA), Quinebaug River (Plainfield/Canterbury, 6,000 fish) and the Moosup River TMA (2,000 fish). These fish are in addition to the 32,000 yearlings stocked earlier this fall.

Farmington River - West Branch water temperatures are in the mid 40’s to low 50’s°F. Flows continue to be on the high side, but fishable (currently 520 cfs at Riverton plus another 225 cfs from the Still River) Expect Blue Wing Olives (#18-28) to be the main hatch, with Isonychia (#12-14-nymph, afternoon, near the end), midges (#20-32) and caddis mixed in. For best action try Blue Wing Olives (#18-28, late morning, 8-10x tippet) and Caddis (winter & tan #14-20, morning). Also, don’t forget streamers, nymphs and egg patterns.
Housatonic River – Flows are clear, moderately high and very fishable ((currently 1,180 cfs at Falls Village and 2,250 cfs at Gaylordsville). Morning water temperatures are in the low to mid 40’s °F. Hatches/patterns include Blue Wing Olive (#18-24, main hatch in the afternoon), Midges (#20-28) and Tan & Winter caddis (#14-20, early morning & late afternoon).

Lakes & Ponds – Late season trout fishing has been variable, with some catches reported from West Hill Pond (difficult to launch), East Twin Lake (still slow), Highland Lake (in the shallows), Squantz Pond, Crystal Lake (use grubs in the weeds near the outlet) and Beach Pond (streamers).

LARGEMOUTH BASS – Good reports for largemouth from Highland Lake and the Congamond Lakes. Fair reports from Lake Zoar and a few largemouth are being caught at Candlewood Lake.

SMALLMOUTH BASS – Smallie fishing has been good at Candlewood Lake (lots of recent 20 lb plus bags for two-man teams fishing tournaments). Lunkers include 5.96 lb and 4.75 lb smallmouth. Anglers have had to work for it but some action was also reported from Highland Lake and Lake Zoar.

NORTHERN PIKE are being reported from Bantam Lake.
WALLEYE fishing has been fair to good at Squantz Pond, recent catches include an 8.8 lb fish.

CONNECTICUT RIVER – NORTHERN PIKE provided a lot of action this past week. A group of anglers participating in an annual event caught, photographed and released over 30 fish with the biggest fish reported in as a 37 inch fish. BLACK CRAPPIE are being caught in the coves throughout the river (small shiners are always a good bait choice). CATFISH continue to provide some action. Fish have been found from Wethersfield Cove down river to the Salmon River.

NOTES & NOTICES:

** 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.

** 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 TMA.

** 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 Wednesday, November 9th: Ashland Pond (down 30 inches), Bashan Lake (down 5 feet), Beseck Lake (down 5.3 feet), Billings Lake (down 5 inches), Gardner Lake (down 3 inches), Hopeville Pond (down 30 inches), Lower Bolton Lake (down 6 inches), Middle Bolton Lake (down 35 inches), Mashapaug Lake (down 18 inches) and Pickerel Lake (down 3 feet).

** WESTERN CT WINTER DRAWDOWNS. A three foot drawdown of Highland Lake is ongoing. West Hill Pond has been drawn down three feet.

** Anglers are reminded that the fishing season closes after November 30th at a number of areas including BUNNELLS POND (Beardsley Park), GREAT HOLLOW POND (Wolfe Park), LAKE MCDONOUGH, the MALTBY LAKES, LAKE SALTONSTALL, MOHEGAN PARK POND (Spaulding Pond, Norwich), LAKE CHAMBERLAIN and at most designated “children’s areas”. (Please refer to the 2011 CT Angler’s Guide for complete regulations).

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 has not been stocked this fall 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).

RECENT REGULATION CHANGES OF INTEREST TO ANGLERS-

A number of changes to Fisheries & Wildlife regulations were recently approved by the legislature, filed with the Office of the Secretary of State (10/4) and published in the CT Law Journal (10/25). The new regulations that became effective on October 4th include:

The importation, possession and/or liberation of certain invasive aquatic invertebrates (Chinese mitten crab, New Zealand mud snail, quagga mussel, zebra mussel, Asian clam and rusty crayfish) is now prohibited (with some limited exceptions).

Children under the age of 16 years are now allowed to use up to 6 devices (the same as for adults) when ice fishing.
The use of a gaff is now prohibited in Inland waters to assist in landing caught fish.

“Trophy Trout Lakes” are renamed as “Trout Management Lakes.” The creel limit during the March first through March-thirty first period at Crystal Lake and Highland Lake is reduced to one fish per day (from five fish).

Keney Park Pond (Hartford), Lake Wintergreen (Hamden) and Lower Storrs Pumping Station Pond (on Cedar Swamp brook in Mansfield) have been added to the list of lakes and ponds having a closed season from midnight on the last day of February to 6:00 a.m. on the third Saturday in April.

The closed season on Lake Winfield (Plymouth) has been removed.

Also approved were regulation changes on the West Branch Farmington and Farmington River that combine the Trophy Trout Stream sections and the two TMA’s into one TMA. These regulations will become effective on January 1, 2012.
Up-to-date versions of Inland Fisheries regulations can be found on the DEEP website at:
www.ct.gov/deep/laws-regs

MARINE FISHING REPORT

Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are in the low to mid 50’s °F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
http://www.mysound.uconn.edu/stationstat.html
http://marine.rutgers.edu/mrs/sat_data/?nothumbs=1
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/
 http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/AN/330.html

STRIPED BASS fishing for schoolies has picked up throughout LIS especially on the shoal and rip areas around river mouths. Most fish being caught are about 22 to 28 inches in length. As water temperatures decline further, school stripers will be moving into coastal tidal rivers in big numbers for overwintering. As of now, live lining pencil sized eels or creeker mummichogs on slider fish finder rigs are the way to go. Just remember to use circle hooks to avoid gut hooking.

BLUEFISH fishing is just about over although there are some stragglers still around. Fishing warm water discharge areas from power plants is worth trying for both blues and stripers.

SCUP fishing is also dwindling quickly as water temps fall.

TAUTOG fishing season has slowed down on the major reefs. You may be better off trying less popular obscure fishing spots that have not been picked over.

HICKORY SHAD can be found in the lower Black Hall and Connecticut Rivers. Small silver spoons, shad darts, willow leafs and jigs work well on these acrobatic “Tarpons of the North”.
Regulations reminders:

SCUP – The scup fishing season continues 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 also will remain open for the rest of the year.

2011 ZEBRA MUSSEL UPDATE- This year mussels were found in more locations throughout the Housatonic River and impoundments.

The presence of adult zebra mussels in Lake Housatonic was recently confirmed (11/3). Earlier this summer, adult mussels were confirmed in the Housatonic River in Massachusetts and free-floating juveniles (veligers) were found at a number of sites in the river downstream to Lake Lillinonah.
Last year (October, 2010), adult zebra mussels were found in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah. Prior to these discoveries, 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.

Under highly suitable conditions, this 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.

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