Rivers & streams — Although flows in most areas are still below typical spring levels, they’ve improved greatly since Opening Day and this week’s rains continue to refresh stream flows. Fishing has been variable, but there’s been a number of areas reporting good to excellent fishing including the Moosup River (15 fish), Salmon River (very good- catches include 21.5 inch rainbow and a 5.75 lb, 21.5 inch brown trout), West Branch Farmington River (excellent action, including 40 fish up to 21 inches for one angler), Farmington River, Housatonic River, Wepawaug River and Mill River (Hamden, including the TMA — very good). Both bait (live and earthworms or a mealworm/corn combination) and fly anglers are finding success.
Farmington River — Plenty of very good fishing reports from anglers during the past week and conditions should be good for the weekend. West Branch flows are clear and quite fishable, currently 143 cfs at Riverton plus an additional 146 cfs from the Still River. Water temperatures are in the low 50’s F. Both the upper West Branch (above the year-round C&R area) and the Farmington in the Unionville-Tariffville stretch were stocked this week.
Hatches/patterns include Winter/Summer Caddis (#16-18, early morning, minor hatch), Blue Wing Olive (#16-24, late morning-early afternoon), Blue Quills (#16-18, early afternoon), Midges (#22-32), Golden Stonefly nymphs (#14-18) and Quill Gordons (#16-18, early/mid afternoon) and Hendrickson Nymphs (#12-14, early afternoon).
Housatonic River ¡V Conditions for fishing should be good. Morning water temperatures are in the low 50¡¦s¢XF. Flows are clear and remain very fishable (and well lower than typical spring levels), currently 650 cfs at Falls Village and 1,100 cfs at Gaylordsville.
Hatches include Green/Olive Caddis, Tan/Brown Caddis (starting) & Hendrickson spinners (rusty, still around). Patterns to try include Green Caddis (#14-16), Tan Caddis (#14-16), Rusty spinners (#12-14), Blue Quills, early caddis (#10-16) & golden stoneflies (#4-8). Euro-nymphing is producing well. Streamers (white/yellow) and nymphs can produce some large fish along the edges of the water.
Rivers and streams stocking update. This week in western CT, the Blackberry River, Branch Brook, West Branch Farmington River (Goodwin Dam to upper boundary of year-round C & R area), Farmington River (Unionville to Tariffville), Hop Brook, Housatonic River (upper TMA and Bull’s Bridge TMA), Kettletown Brook, Little River (Oxford), Macedonia Brook, Muddy River, Nonewaug River, Pequonnock River (including Trumbull Basin SP and Beardsley Park), Pootatuck River (upper), Saugatuck River (lower), Weekeepeemee River and Whiting River are all scheduled to be stocked.
In eastern CT, the Five Mile River (Thompson/Putnam/Killingly), Green Falls River, Hunts Brook, Indiantown Brook, Jeremy River, Natchaug River, Pattaconk Brook, Quinebaug River (Putnam), Roaring Brook (Glastonbury), Salmon River (including the TMA) and Shunock Brook,
Reminder to anglers – Maps of all of the state¡¦s trout streams and rivers showing the many stocking and access points are now available online at www.ct.gov/deep/troutstockingmaps. Note that stocking schedules are subject to change.
Lakes & Ponds — Good trout fishing was found in many lakes/ponds throughout Connecticut with reports from Amos Lake (very good), Lake Mohegan (catches include a 24 inch, 6.1 lb rainbow), West Hill Pond (very good), Crystal Lake (4-6 colors), Candlewood Lake (good action in the Danbury area,lots of 1-1.5 lb fish, but a bit slow in the northern arms), Saugatuck Reservoir, Beach Pond (a bit harder to find fish here, try at 4 colors), Long Pond, Mashapaug Lake (2 colors), Black Pond (Meriden), Lake McDonough, Higganum Reservoir, Coventry Lake, Cedar Lake, Highland Lake (lots of action), Lake Wononskopomuc and East Twin Lake. Rogers Lake is still slow. Trolling at 3-4 colors of lead line (12-15¡¦) has been effective for some.
Lakes and ponds stocking update. In western CT, Ball Pond, Bunnells Pond (Beardsley Park Pond), Fountain Lake, Highland Lake, Keney Park Pond, Squantz Pond, Starret Pond (Huntington Pond), Twin Brooks Pond and Wononskopomuc Lake are scheduled for stocking this week (4/30 ¡V 5/4).
In eastern CT, Amos Lake, Angus Park Pond, Bicentennial Pond, Black Pond (Middlefield), Cedar Lake, Gay City Park Pond, Green Falls Reservoir, Hewitt Fly Pond, Higganum Reservoir Long Pond, Norwich Pond, Pattaconk Lake, Quonnipaug Lake and Rogers Lake are scheduled for stocking this week.
Trout Parks — Fishing has been good to very good at the Trout Parks. The Day Pond, Chatfield Hollow, Natchaug River and Valley Falls Park Pond Trout Parks are scheduled to be stocked this week.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing has been fair to good, with the best reports from Twin Lakes (especially West Twin), Lake McDonough, Lake Waramaug, Lake Wononskopomuc (mostly good, 20 fish to 4.5 lbs for one pair) and Candlewood Lake (typical spring numbers, catches include a 6.2 lb largemouth); and fair reports from Ball Pond, Beseck Lake, Highland Lake, Lake Saltonstall, Gardner Lake, Quaddick Reservoir (no lunkers but good numbers of 1-2 lb fish), Dooley Pond, Pachaug Pond and Gardner Lake (still difficult to launch at). It’s been on the slow side at Bantam Lake and Amos Lake.
SMALLMOUTH BASS — the cooler weather has reportedly slowed smallie activity (and also some anglers). Fishing is reported as good to very good at Candlewood Lake with a number of 3-4 lb fish in bags, and fair at Highland Lake and Lake Zoar. Smallies were hard to catch at Lake McDonough and Gardner Lake.
ATLANTIC SALMON — A number of recent catches reported from Crystal Lake including 30, 27, 20 and 17 inch salmon.
WALLEYE fishing has been fair to good at Lake Saltonstall with fish up to 2 inches being caught.
CONNECTICUT RIVER — Flows had risen but are still below typical early May levels. STRIPED BASS can be found in the river, legal size fish are mixed in with schoolies. Sand & blood worms and soft plastics are working (evenings better, especially north of Hartford). Some CATFISH are being caught in the coves in the Hartford to Cromwell areas and also in the lower river. SHAD fishing has slowed as the water temperatures and flows have dropped some with the recent rains and cooler weather. Although not moving much, they can be found throughout in the river. Some CARP are being caught as many anglers new to the sport are putting in time. In general it has been slow.
NOTES & NOTICES:
* The state boat launch on BANTAM LAKE at the old Beverly’s Marina site is now open to use. The launch is open 24/7 and parking for the launch is restricted to an absolute maximum of 20 vehicles.
* LAKE LEVELS & BOAT LAUNCHES. A number of lakes that underwent winter drawdown have not yet refilled to typical spring levels due to this year’s dry weather. Additionally, several water bodies were drawn down to facilitate dam repairs. currently the launching of trailer boats will be difficult to impossible at Bashan Lake (very difficult), Beachdale Pond (impossible), Gardner Lake (difficult but usable with care), Pickerel Lake (difficult) and Wyassup Lake (impossible, note that this lake was not stocked with trout this spring). Launching may still also require extra care at a number of other lakes and ponds.
TIPS & TRICKS — LARGEMOUTH BASS
* On your jig add a rubber skirt. It undulates as the lure moves, and puffs out when the retrieve is paused.
* Use skirts with an under layer of mylar to increase flash. Blues, browns, greens, and blacks work well where bluegills and perch are key forage.
* A bulky trailer helps keep a swimming jig near the surface, and pork has been a traditional favorite.
*Pork also resists tearing when passing through tough vegetation, or brushy cover.
* Since jigs work best in heavy cover, medium-heavy to heavy bait casting combos are the rule. Braided line is best around thick vegetation.
* The key is to locate horizontal rocky outcrops that extend beyond the edge of vegetation in natural lakes, or along an underwater point or hump in reservoirs.
* Bottom transitions from sand to gravel or gravel to cobble often hold bass.
* Dragging a jig covers water fast helping to find fish.
*Make a long cast and wait for the jig to land. Then gradually pull it along with the rod tip held parallel to the water, with the rod at a 90-degree angle to the line and the lure.
* The jig head telegraphs bottom features to the angler. You can sense the difference between silt, sand, clay, gravel, and various sizes of rock.
*When you pull a football jig up against an object on the bottom, gradually pull the line a bit and barely shake it. That makes the plastic grub or craw wave up off bottom, an irresistible look for a marauding bass.
2012 BONUS STRIPED BASS PROGRAM
*In 2012 DEEP is issuing free vouchers to anglers fishing Connecticut waters (both Inland and Marine) 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 anywhere on Connecticut waters. The vouchers are valid through June 30, 2012.
* Vouchers can be obtained at the same DEEP Offices where licenses are sold from DEEP Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officers,Riverfront Recapture Rangers and a number of tackle vendors and town halls where licenses are available (for a complete list, see link below).
* 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/deep/fishing or call: 860-424-3474 or 860-434-6043..
ZEBRA MUSSELS– – Last year (2011), mussels were found in more locations throughout the Housatonic River and impoundments.
The presence of adult zebra mussels in Lake Housatonic was confirmed in November, 2011. Earlier that 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.
In 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.
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) range from the high 40’s to low 50’s F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS fishing should get better as the weather warms up and the winds abate. Striper fishing for schoolies is fair to good in the coastal rivers and coves. The usual schoolie spots include the Pawcatuck River, Thames River from Norwich down to Montville, Niantic River, Connecticut River by Great Island (Wood Lot), Housatonic River and around the Norwalk Islands.
TAUTOG — The hot spring fishing season has come to a close but will reopen again July 1.
WINTER FLOUNDER fishing is fair to good. Mouth of the Thames River in the Pine Island area, Niantic River, mouth of the Connecticut River by the east breakwater (on a flood tide), and Norwalk Harbor have been the better spots.
WHITE PERCH fishing is fair to good in the coves of the Pawcatuck, Thames, Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers.
BLUEFISH have arrived in LIS but fishing is spotty. The Race, Millstone warm water discharge, and New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point) are early season chopper spots.
For Current Connecticut Recreational Fishing Regulations: Anglers should consult the new 2012 Connecticut Anglers Guide which is now available at most Town Clerks Offices, DEEP offices and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. Anglers can purchase their fishing licenses online (www.ct.gov/deep/fishinglicense) or at participating town halls, DEEP field offices and fishing tackle vendors. Current regulations, electronic versions of the Angler¡¦s Guide and additional information can all be accessed on the DEEP website at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing .