Weekly Fishing Report
FISHING REPORT NUMBER 12
REMINDER TO ANGLERS
FISHING IN OR CASTING INTO PERMITTED SWIM AREAS IS PROHIBITED.
State regulations prohibit fishing in or into a swim area that’s been permitted by DEEP. Additionally, vessels cannot be operated within a permitted swim area, and there’s a 100 foot “no-wake” zone around the perimeter. Swim areas that have been permitted by DEEP will be marked by white buoys with orange markings, and there should be a permit number posted on the buoys. They may or may not have small orange barrier floats to further demarcate the area. Should questions arise concerning the validity of the swim area (no permit numbers or the area appears to have been changed/enlarged or keeps moving), please contact DEEP’s Boating Division at 860-434-8638.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing is generally very good. Areas to try include Candlewood Lake, Lake Wononskopomuc, Cedar lake, Lake McDonough, Hanover Pond, Schoolhouse Pond (4 lb bass here), Batterson Park Pond, Twin Brooks Park Pond, Black Pond (Meriden), Stillwater Pond, Crystal Lake, Moodus Reservoir, Halls Pond, Winchester Lake, Mansfield Hollow Reservoir and Mudge Pond. Tournament angler reports are from Highland Lake (good), East Twin Lake (good, catches include a 5.7 lb bass), Long Pond (fair), Mansfield Hollow Reservoir (good to very good), Beach Pond (fair), Candlewood Lake (fair, several 5 lb bass in the bags), Pachaug Pond (good fishing, but not much over 3 lbs),
SMALLMOUTH BASS action reported from Rainbow Reservoir, Lake McDonough, Crystal Lake, Candlewood Lake and Mashapaug Lake. good reports for river smallies from the Naugatuck River, Farmington River (Tariffville area) and Upper Housatonic River (excellent, one group of three scored 130 smallmouth). Tournament angler reports are from Lake Lillinonah (good, catches included a 4.4 lb smallmouth), Highland Lake (tough but one 3.7 lb smallie caught), Beach Pond (hard to find) and Candlewood Lake (good).
NORTHERN PIKE catches reported from Bantam Lake and Winchester Lake.
WALLEYE are being reported from Batterson Park Pond (night), Lake Saltonstall, Mashapaug Lake and Coventry Lake.
SUNFISH are providing excellent action statewide using poppers on a fly rod. Now is the time to get the family out and experience the fast-paced action of fishing for panfish (keeps children interested). Small local areas are often great places to go. Bigger lakes to try include Lake McDonough, Tyler Lake, Highland Lake, Halls Pond, Dog Pond, Leonard Pond, Batterson Park Pond, Keeney Park Pond, Lantern Hill Pond, Roseland Lake, Cedar Lake and Lake Hayward.
CONNECTICUT RIVER – LARGMOUTH BASS fishing has been good, and catches include a number of 3-4 lb bass and several in the 4-5 lb range. The Haddam /Salmon River Cove area has been real good. SMALLMOUTH BASS are providing good action north of Hartford (try near the mouth of the Farmington River and in the Enfield area). The hotter the weather, the better the fishing for these scrappy fighters. STRIPED BASS fishing was slow this past week. NORTHERN PIKE fishing is good. Most reports from coves (Hartford to Haddam) and the Haddam Meadows area. CATTFISH reports spiked last week, with a lot action coming from the Portland – Haddam stretch. They are consistently being taken on cut/chunk bait (sunfish & eels). Target 10-30 feet of water near structure on the outside of bends. CALICO BASS have really slowed down. WHITE PERCH can be caught on worms in the lower river. CARP are being caught on a variety of baits. Give these fish a try and you’ll be amazed by their strength and stamina.
Lakes & Ponds – Fair to good reports from Crystal Lake (Ellington; 22 trout on one trip), Highland Lake (12 trout; target 20-25 feet), Hop Brook Lake, Twin Brooks Park Pond, East Twin Lake, Coventry Lake, Mashapaug Lake, West Hill Pond (target 5 colors), Lake McDonough (lower basin) and Long Pond.
Rivers & streams – Anglers and trout remain challenged by very warm weather. Additionally, flows in many areas continue to drop to levels well below typical early July levels. Early and late in the day are the best fishing times during the summer. Try targeting areas of cooler waters to reduce stress on fish. Rainbow trout can be found in the fast water and brown trout will typically be in the larger, deeper pools. Bait fisherman are using a corn/mealworm combination.
Fair to good reports from the West Branch and mainstem Farmington River (7.9 lb rainbow among the catches), Pequabuck River, Salmon River, Hammonasett River and Housatonic River (early or late in the day).
Farmington River – Fishing continues to be good. West Branch flows remain clear, moderate (currently 256 at Riverton, plus an additional 11 cfs from the Still River) and very fishable. Morning water temperatures are in the upper 50’s to low 60’s°F and warming through the day.
Ephemerella needhami (#22-26, early morning; 9:00 am), Isonychia bicolor, (#12-14, evening), Light Cahill, (Stenonema ithaca, #12-14, evening), Blue Wing Olives (#18-20, Drunella lata and #20-24, D. cornuta & cornutella, cloudy days, mid-late afternoon), Sulphurs (Epeorus vitreus duns #14-16, afternoon to early evening for spinners), Caddis (tan #16-18, all day; green #22-26, evening) and Midges (#20-32, morning) are successful patterns. Ants, beetles and Midges have been good throughout the day. Good success has been found below the surface on nymphs, wets and streamers. Try bottom bouncing caddis pupa.
Housatonic River – Conditions are sub-optimal for trout fishing. An extended heat wave is in the forecast, morning water temperatures have been in the low 70’s °F (and rising during the day to the upper 70’s – low 80’s °F), and flows are low (but fishable), currently 159 cfs at Falls Village and 286 cfs at Gaylordsville. Extended periods of high temperatures and low flows are especially stressful to trout, so anglers should consider switching to smallmouth bass (these conditions are near ideal for smallie fishing). Those targeting trout need to take extreme care when handling trout they plan to release!
Although temperatures here are generally getting too warm for good trout fishing, the current patterns anglers can try include Alder/Zebra Caddis (Macrostemum zebratum, action slowing, #10-12, afternoon-evening near overhangs), Sulphurs (#14-18, evening), Blue Wing Olive (#18-20, early morning; spinner fall in evening), Isonychia sps. (#10-12 evening), Light Cahill (#12-14, evening), and Tan & Green caddis (#14-16, early morning & evening). Ants & Beetles (#14-18) are contributing well throughout the day. Don’t forget streamers (morning & evening). Patterns to try include White Zonkers, Wooly Buggers, Muddlers, Micky Finn and Grey or Black Ghosts (#4-10).
Anglers are reminded that the thermal refuge areas on the Housatonic, Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers are closed to fishing as of June 15. These areas will reopen on September 1. There is no fishing within 100 feet of the mouths of posted tributaries to these rivers.
NOTES & NOTICES:
* WYASSUP LAKE (impossible to launch) continues to be drawn down for dam repairs.
* The FirstLight Power HOUSATONIC RIVER FLOW INFORMATION automated phone (1-888-417-4837) is now back in service.
*Anglers on the SALMON RIVER should be aware that the current work in the Lyman Viaduct (Colchester) reconstruction project on Dickinson Creek, which includes filling in a large scour hole below the twin culverts and restoring fish passage (after 50+ years), may at times cause some noticeable turbidity, including in the Salmon River downstream of Dickinson Creek.
* GREEN FALLS RESERVOIR has been drawn down 15 inches to facilitate ongoing dam repairs in the Pachaug River system. The pond remains open to fishing and car top boating access, although the swimming area has been closed.
* CRYSTAL LAKE (Ellington)- The swim portion of a triathlon will be conducted from 8 am to 11:30 am on Sunday, July 15, in the southern end of the lake in front of Sandy Beach.
*HIGHLAND LAKE – The annual Highland Lake boat Parade will be held on Saturday, July 14 from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. Beginning and ending at Holland Beach, boats will complete a counter-clockwise circuit along the shoreline.
SPECIAL NOTE TO ANGLERS FISHING THE CONNECTICUT RIVER- BOWFIN
In 2011, DEEP began to receive an increased number of reports of “unusual” fish being caught in the CT River. At first these reports were primarily from the Hartford area (including the coves and several tributaries, most notably the Hockanum River system), but now reports are received from at least as far downstream as Salmon River Cove in East Haddam.
The catches reported were all determined to be bowfin (Amia calva). Bowfin are native to portions of the Midwest and Northeast. In CT there have been populations in Scoville Reservoir (Wolcott) and in the upper CT River (north of Hartford) for a number of years. Once relatively limited in size and distribution, since 2003 the CT River population has been increasing in size and expanding its distribution throughout the entire river.
In some cases, anglers have been concerned, thinking that they had caught a snakehead (a large invasive predatory fish from Asia, originally brought to this country for the live food and aquarium trades, made notorious by several high profile introductions). To date, no snakeheads have been documented from Connecticut waters. At first glance to an untrained eye, bowfin and snakeheads are similar in appearance. However, there are a few key characteristics that can easily be used to distinguish these species from one another. The easiest method to distinguish between the two fishes is to look at the length of the anal fin (see below). On a bowfin, the anal fin is short, well less than half the body length of the fish. On a snakehead, the anal fin is generally long, half the body length or longer.
Additional distinguishing features include placement of the pelvic fins (in bowfin, the pelvic fins are set well back from the pectoral fins, whereas the northern snakehead’s pelvic fins are set close to the pectoral fins and gills) and the presence of an “eyespot” on the tail of male and juvenile bowfin (but not on adult females).
Anglers with concerns about the species of fish that they have caught can contact Inland Fisheries by phone (860-424-3474) or email (DEEP.InlandFisheries@ct.gov). If possible, provide digital images of the fish and information concerning where it was caught.
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) range from the upper 60’s to lower 70’s°F. Check out the follwing web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS fishing remains good especially from dusk to dawn. Live lining bunker on three-way rigs have been very effective. Just remember to use circle hooks to reduce “gut hooking”. Striper spots include the Watch Hill reefs, lower Thames River, the Race, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, Little Gull Island, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River, Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Six Mile Reef, the reefs off Branford, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Bridgeport Harbor, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. Also, don’t forget about our coastal state parks for shore fishing access.
BLUEFISH fishing is good throughout LIS. The Race and Plum Gut have been consistent spots.
SNAPPER BLUEFISH fishing is good to excellent in the tidal rivers and creeks. Snappers are about 3 to 4 inches long. Flood tide is best.
SUMMER FLOUNDER (fluke) fishing is fair to good. Fishing locations include south side of Port Jefferson, Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor to West Haven, and off the mouth off the Housatonic River.
SCUP (porgy) fishing is good to excellent on the major reefs/rock piles.
BLACK SEA BASS fishing is good on the reefs/wrecks. Fishing around slack tide is best.
HICKORY SHAD fishing is good to excellent in the lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier. Flood tide is best.
BLUE CRABBING remains good in the tidal creeks of Stonington to Mystic and Westbrook to Guilford.
SPECIAL NOTE: During the summer months, anglers may accidentally hook up with a sandbar shark or a sand tiger shark. Sandbar and sand tiger sharks are protected and must be released unharmed. Simply cut the leader if you encounter one. Do not attempt to bring these sharks onboard!
For more information and regulations please refer to the following website: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/Compliance_Guide/Rec/Rec_Compliance_Guide_QR_Shark.pdf
For Coastal Shark Identification please refer to the following: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/sharks/2008/Rec_shark_ID_placard.pdf