FREE FISHING DAY – This Saturday, May 12th
DEEP has designated this Saturday, May 12th, as a “Free Fishing Day” where no license is required to fish recreationally in Connecticut waters (both inland & marine).
This is a great opportunity for experienced anglers to both share their passion for fishing and protect its future by introducing a family member, friend or acquaintance to the sport of fishing, and a great time for visitors to our state to try out the many fishing opportunities found in Connecticut.
ADDITIONAL FISHING EVENTS ON FREE FISHING DAY
Youth Fishing Education Day at Chatfield Hollow State Park conducted by the Hammonasset Chapter of TU from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm, includes fish identification, casting and fly tying lessons plus fishing. No preregistration is needed, just stop by anytime.
A free Fly Fishing Clinic is being offered by the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited at Merwin Meadows Park in Wilton. Fly casting, knot tying, aquatic insect identification, a 9-hole Fly fishing golf course and a late barbecue lunch are on the schedule here. More information can be found at http://www.mianustu.org. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-216-7078.
YOU CAN NOW ALSO FIND US DIRECTLY ON FACEBOOK. This page features a variety of information on fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching in Connecticut. The address is www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife.
Rivers & streams – Conditions should be good for trout fishing this weekend. Flows are back up to more typical spring levels, temperatures have been moderate to cool, and there are plenty of recently stocked trout waiting for anglers. Fishing last week was generally good, with reports from the West Branch Farmington (very good), Farmington River, Salmon River, Eightmile River, Pine Brook, Natchaug River (fishing has picked up here), Coginchaug River, Mill River (Hamden), Pequonnock River (18 trout for one angler), Bantam River, and Housatonic River (very good last weekend).
Farmington River – Fishing has been good and conditions for fishing should be great this weekend. Nice weather is forecast, more trout were stocked this week, and flows are clearing and moderate (currently 171 cfs at Riverton, with the Still River adding another 242 cfs. As dryer weather in the forecast, Still River flows should drop some by the weekend.
Hatches/patterns include consist of: Blue Wing Olive (a.k.a. Baetis vagans; #16-24) in a parachute or emerging dun (noon to 5pm), Hendrickson (a.k.a. red quill; #12-#14), Winter/Summer Caddis (#18-22), Stonefly nymphs (#14-24), Midge (#20-32) and Blue Quill (a.k.a. paralep; #16-18) in a parachute or emerger (midday). Also try Rusty Spinners (#16-18), Mahogany Duns/Blue Quills (#16-18), Tan Caddis (#14-18) and Winter Caddis (#18-22). Nymphs (#18-22) are always a good go-to fly. Try Bead Head, Midge Pupa, Brassie, Zebra Midge or Copper John patterns.
Housatonic River – Fishing has been very good and conditions should be good this weekend. Flows were again refreshed with rain this week and are back at more typical levels (currently 1,220 cfs at Falls Village and 1,990 cfs at Gaylordsville). Flows are clearing and should drop to very comfortable levels by the weekend. Morning water temperatures are currently in the mid to upper 50’s °F.
Hatches/patterns include Blue Wing Olive (a.k.a. Baetis vagans; #16-18), Green/Olive Caddis & Tan/Brown Caddis. Green Caddis Pupa (#41-16) are on the water in the afternoon starting around 3pm . Anglers using March Brown (#10-12), Pheasant Tail (#12-14), Copper John (#12-16) and American Pheasant Tail (#14-20) are finding nymphing to be very productive. Try streamers (Yellow/White Zuddlers or Gray Ghost) around 6:30pm. Brown and green woolly buggers as well as white muddler minnows are working.
Rivers and streams stocking update. This week in eastern CT, the Blackledge River (lower), Broad Brook (Preston), Choate Brook, Coginchaug River, Dickinson Creek, Kitt Brook, Moosup River (including the TMA), Mount Misery Brook, Myron Kinnie Brook, Natchaug River, Pachaug River, Quinebaug River (Plainfield), Quinebaug River (Griswold), Salmon River (including the TMA), Scantic River (upper), Shetucket River, Whitfords Brook and Yantic River (including the TMA) are all scheduled to be stocked.
In western CT, the West Branch Farmington River (Goodwin Dam to TMA), West Branch Farmington River TMA, Farmington River (lower Collinsville to Route 4, Farmington), Farmill River, Mill River (Hamden, including the TMA), Naugatuck River (Torrington to Beacon Falls, except for the TMA), Nepaug River, Norwalk River, Pomperaug River, Quinnipiac River, East and West Branches of Salmon Brook, Sandy Brook and Still River (Colebrook) are scheduled to be stocked this week.
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 – Fair to good reports from Candlewood Lake (good action in the Danbury area, tougher farther north in the lake), Squantz Pond (good), Lake McDonough (good), West Hill Pond (good), Highland Lake, Beach Pond (fair), Long Pond, Lake Wononskopomuc, East Twin Lake, Crystal Lake (Ellington, have to work for your catches, early to 9:00 am best), Bigelow Pond, Mount Tom Pond, Mohawk Pond, Mashapaug Lake and Quonnipaug Lake. Try trolling your favorite lures at 5-7 colors, (at 15-20 feet).
Lakes and ponds stocking update. In eastern CT, Beaver Brook Park Ponds, Broad Brook Mill Pond, Hewitt Fly Pond, Hyde Mill Pond, Lantern Hill Pond and Long Pond, are scheduled for stocking this week (5/2 – 5/6).
In western CT, Christensen’s Pond, Colebrook River Lake, Nells Rock Reservoir, Pickett’s Pond, Prospect Town Park Pond and Upper Fulton Park Pond are scheduled for this week (5/7 – 5/11).
Trout Parks – Fishing has been good to very good at the Trout Parks. This week, all eleven trout parks, Chatfield Hollow, Day Pond (to be stocked Saturday as part of the Family Fishing Day event), Mohegan Park Pond, Natchaug River, Valley Falls Park Pond, Black Rock Pond, Wolfe Park (Great Hollow Pond), Kent Falls, Southford Falls, Stratton Brook and Wharton Brook are scheduled to be stocked.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing has been ranging from fair to good. Best reports are from Bashan Lake (very good, but tough to launch at), Ball Pond, Lake McDonough (recent catches include a 6.2 lb largemouth), Lake Saltonstall, Lake Wononskopomuc (13 for two anglers) and Breakneck Pond, and fair reports from Mansfield Hollow Reservoir, Quaddick Reservoir, Lake Lillinonah (recent catches include a 5.6 lb largemouth), Breakneck Pond, Amos Lake, Lake Housatonic, Candlewood Lake, Highland Lake, Lower Bolton Lake, Moodus Reservoir (mostly 12-14 inch males, but recent catches include a 6.4 lb largemouth) and Pachaug Pond (on the tough side, catches include a 5.6 lb largemouth). Beach Pond was real tough fishing. Several adventurous anglers have found some bass in the Mattabasett River and the Bantam River.
SMALLMOUTH BASS fishing is also variable, with good reports from Lake McDonough and Candlewood Lake (although a bit tough over the weekend) and fair reports from Lake Lillinonah (catches include several 3 lb plus smallies), Squantz Pond and Highland Lake. Some river smallies have been caught in the Natchaug River and Quinnipiac River.
NORTHERN PIKE are reported from Bantam Lake, Bantam River, Quaddick Reservoir and Mansfield Hollow Reservoir (reports of a 20 lb plus pike caught-and-released).
WALLEYE are being reported from Batterson Park Pond, Lake Saltonstall and Squantz Pond (some fish in the 4-6 lbs range, one angler caught 10 ‘eyes’ on one trip).
BLACK CRAPPIE are being caught from Lake McDonough, Batterson Park Pond, Lake Saltonstall, Bantam River and Park Pond.
CHAIN PICKEREL are being caught at Lake McDonough, Mansfield Hollow Reservoir, Bantam River, Wood Creek Pond, Lake Wononskopomuc and Silver Lake.
ATLANTIC SALMON – A 31 inch salmon reported from Crystal Lake.
CARP – Good reports from Lake Lillinonah (catches include a 27 lb fish and many in the 10-20 lb range, on corn) and Batterson Park Pond (catches include one monster over 38 lbs, plus 23, 26.3, 31.4 lb fish) this past week.
CONNECTICUT RIVER – Recent rains have increased flows to more typical spring levels. The river is reportedly also more turbid, with a few trees moving downstream. STRIPED BASS are throughout the river, both school size (16-25”) fish and keepers, but fishing , especially for keepers, has been variable (from really good to tough and back again). Sand & blood worms, and big plastic baits like 9” Houdini Shad, 7” Bombers and swim baits work. Warmer weather over the weekend picked up the SHAD run again. Good numbers of roe being caught at the Bissell Bridge area last week, more bucks now. Anglers are reminded that the only legal method of harvesting is angling. LARGEMOUTH BASS are being found in warmer coves, catches include a 5.9 lb fish. Spotty action reported for NORTHERN PIKE, catches include a 9.1 lb 31 inch beauty. CATFISH are providing some action in the Hartford to Middletown area. Sandworms or cut bait are catching fish.
NOTES & NOTICES:
EASTERN CT 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. Reported lake depth status for the following water bodies is current as of Wednesday, May 9th: Bashan Lake (down 19 inches), Beseck Lake (down 12 inches), Billings Lake (down 24 inches), Gardner Lake (down 17 inches), Lower Bolton Lake (down 15 inches), Mashapaug Lake (down 14”) and Pickerel Lake (down 16”). Launching of trailer boats is doable at all these lakes, but will require extra care and may be difficult for larger boats/trailers. Ashland Lake, Glasgo Pond and Hopeville Pond have all refilled. Beachdale Pond and Wyassup Lake continue to be drawn down for dam repairs, launching of trailered boats at these lakes is impossible.
LAKE HOUSATONIC will be drawn down 3 feet during the weekend of May 12 and 13, 2012. During this time launching from the Indian Well boat launch will be very difficult.
To facilitate the Lake Housatonic draw down, LAKE LILLINONAH is scheduled to be drawn down 3-4 feet below typical operating levels on Friday night, May 11th, but then will begin immediate refilling, which will continue through the weekend. The Pond Brook launch will be difficult to impossible to launch at this weekend (especially on Saturday). The Route 133 launch should be usable, although more difficult (especially early in the weekend).
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.
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) range from the low to mid 50’s °F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED fishing is fair to good at the reefs off Watch Hill and the eastern tip of Fishers Island, lower Pawcatuck River, the Race, Plum Gut, Millstone outflow, Bartlett Reef, Black Point, lower Connecticut River (DEP fishing pier) and along Great Island, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Six Mile Reef, Falkner Island area, Thimble Islands to the Branford Reefs, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River (up to the Derby Dam), Penfield Reef, and around the Norwalk Islands. The following baits and gear that have been working well include live eels or bunker (Atlantic menhaden), fresh cut bunker or mackerel, and whole sand or blood worms on three way bottom rigs or fish finder rigs and bouncing three way bucktail or soft bodied jigs off the bottom.
BLUEFISH fishing is overall on the slow side. Choppers are mostly small (4-6 lbs). Fishing spots include the Race, Millstone outflow, Plum Gut including Gardiners Bay and the Peconics, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Bridgeport Harbor, and the Norwalk Islands.
WINTER FLOUNDER fishing remains fair to good. Flounder spots include the 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 Westport to Norwalk. Heavy chumming is a must!
SCUP (porgy) fishing opened May 1. Fishing the local reefs is on the slow side for scup.
WHITE PERCH fishing remains fair to good in the coves of the Pawcatuck, Thames, Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers.
Reminder, the TAUTOG (blackfish) fishing season is closed.
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 .