Connecticut Fishing Report Week of October 28th, 2019
Providers of some of the information in this report included Candlewood Bait & Tackle, Captain Morgan’s Bait & Tackle, JT’s Fly Shop, The Fish Connection, Yankee Outdoors, CTFisherman.com, and a number of bass fishing clubs & organizations.
ATLANTIC SALMON. Stocking of our 2+ year old fish wrapped up this week with 112 fish stocked. 56 salmon went into the Naugatuck River and 56 into the Shetucket River. These salmon are 2-5 lb fish. Reminder that in the river sections it is catch-and-release only through December 15 for Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck River, Shetucket and lower Housatonic rivers (see page 6 for all the regulations for Atlantic Salmon). Catches have been a challenge, but the fish are there. Good luck!
The Trout and Salmon Public Forums wrapped up on 10/22. Thank you to all who were able to come out and have productive discussion about preferences and desires. A web-based presentation is currently being planned for early to mid-November to reach out to all who were not able to make one of these meetings. Please stay tuned to this report and to our Facebook Page.
RIVERS AND STREAMS: In eastern CT, the Willimantic River TMA (650 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout). In western CT, Mill River TMA (Hamden) (500 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout) and Pequabuck River (600 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout).
LAKES AND PONDS: In eastern CT, Cedar Lake (500 19-12 Rainbow Trout), Coventry Lake (700 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Quonnipaug Lake (700 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Gardner Lake (750 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Long Pond (750 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Rogers Lake (750 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout). Bigelow Hollow (450 9- 12 inch Rainbow Trout) and Mashapaug Lake (750 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout). Black Pond (Woodstock) with our annual fall stocking of very large Brook Trout.
In western CT, Black Pond (Middlefield/Meriden) (500 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), East Twin Lake 750 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Highland Lake, (1000 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Mt Tom Pond, (500 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Stillwater Pond (500 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Tyler Pond (600 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), West Hill Pond (500 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), and West Side Pond (450 9- 12 inch Rainbow Trout). Mohawk Pond with our annual fall stocking of very large Brook Trout.
TROUT PARKS: Great Hollow Pond (350 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Mohegan Park Pond (350 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Black Rock Pond (300 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Schreeder Pond (350 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout) and Day Pond (350 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout), Valley Falls (350 9-12 inch Rainbow Trout). Note: We are not allowed by state statute to release most stocking information ahead of time, however, as soon as we stock we get the word out via our Facebook page and have a list on our web page. A very popular application is our interactive trout stocking map, which shows the number of days since a waterbody was last stocked. A second popular use of this map is to find new places to fish.
TROUT- RIVERS & STREAMS. Conditions are pretty much ideal for trout fishing during late October (see stream flow graphic on page 5 or check stream flows anytime for 68 USGS gauging stations at the USGS web site). Stocked fish are eager to please and many anglers are enjoying the opportunity to get outside and land some nice looking Rainbows. Please be sure to try a diversity of offerings as the fish may be a bit “picky”, small shiny lures, powerbait, mealworms, and a variety of nymphs should cover your bases.
Farmington River – Fishing continues to be good to very good. Flows have returned to normal levels following the heavy rains last week. Currently 95 CFS at Riverton plus 58 CFS from the Still River and comfortable for fishing.
Hatches/patterns. Hatches are sporadic and can include Isonychia bicolor (#12-14, fast water, afternoon/evening), Blue Wing Olives (Drunella & Baetis sps., #20-26, mid-late afternoon), Caddis (tan #16-18, all day; green #22-26, evening; summer pupa #18-20 morning). Also Midges (#22-32, morning) and Golden Stonefly (#6-14). White Wooly Buggers, Muddlers, Micky Finn, or Grey or Black Ghosts (#4-10) are standard streamers. Bottom bouncing nymphs with Caddis pupa (#14-16), Serendipity (#14-16), Prince (#6-18) and Hare’s ear (#8-20) works well.
Housatonic River – The River has dropped substantially, is stable, and is in great shape for a weekend trip to the beautiful NW CT hills. Currently the gauges are reading 884 CFS at Falls Village and 1,130 CFS at Gaylordsville. Flows should begin to drop slowly as the weekend progresses. Anglers can call the FirstLight Power Resources flow line at 1-888-417-4837 for updated river information or check the USGS website for up to date real time streamflow data from a number of USGS gauging stations including two on the upper Housatonic River.
Hatches/patterns. Lots of different activity on the river. Key is to have a diverse box of sizes and colors. Patterns to try include Blue Wing Olive (#18-24, early morning; spinner fall in evening), Isonychia (#10-12 evening), Midges (#20-24) and Black caddis (#14-18, early morning & evening) and Light Cahill (#12-14). Patterns to try include White Zonkers, Wooly Buggers, Muddlers, Grey or Black Ghosts (#4-10), brown crayfish when nymphing the pockets, deeper riffles and pool heads.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing remains generally slow to fair, and variable at many areas throughout the state. In the southeast corner, anglers are finding some action at Amos Lake, Glasgo Pond and Long Pond, but no outstanding catches reported. Candlewood Lake (try along deeper edges) and Lake Lillinonah are picking up.
SMALLMOUTH BASS. Still tough for smallmouth for many, even at Candlewood Lake and Lake Lillinonah.
CHANNEL CATFISH. Catfish are becoming more active, especially from about sunset to 9 pm. Catches reported from Batterson Park Pond, Mohegan Park Pond, Wauregan Reservoir, Crescent Lake (Southington), Lake Wintergreen, Beardsley Park Pond, Stillwater Pond, Burr Pond, Silver Lake, Hopeville Pond, and Black Pond.
COMMON CARP. Pre-baiting your area is key to bringing in lots of action. Good sized fish and numbers from the CT River, Lake Lillinonah, Batterson Park Pond, and West Thompson Lake.
NORTHERN PIKE. Nothing reported to us this week, good places to try include the deeper weedlines with a deeper swimming lure. Good pike places include the Pachaug River system (Ashland Pond, Hopeville Pond, Pachaug Pond), Bantam Lake, Lake Lillinonah, Lake Zoar, Winchester Lake and Mansfield Hollow Reservoir. Some nice pike can also be found in the small impoundments on the Housatonic River from Bulls Bridge up to Salisbury. Several large fish (36-40 inches) were netted during our night survey on Lake Lilliononah this week.
WALLEYE. Late evenings and nighttime are generally the best for Walleye fishing. Places to target the walleye include Squantz Pond, Beach Pond, Coventry Lake, Gardner Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Mount Tom Pond, Saugatuck Reservoir, Lake Saltonstall and Batterson Park Pond.
CONNECTICUT RIVER. Flows in the river are at 15,400 (Thompsonville), and very good to fish and boat. Good action for catfish (Whites and Channels) throughout the river, especially in the Glastonbury and Middletown areas. For catfish, fish the deep holes by day and the adjacent shallow flats by night. Fishing for Largemouth Bass was very slow in the Salmon River Cove/Haddam Meadows area. Smallmouth Bass were hard to find in the Enfield area and some decent Common Carp action is being found throughout the river as the participants in the CT CARP OPEN are wrapping up their 3.5 days of fishing on Friday. Good reports for Northern Pike (but mostly smaller fish) from the Haddam area. Walleye in the Enfield area.
REVISED IMPORTANT NOTICE – Updated 10/18/2019 – Please note that an accidental release of fire-fighting foam from a hangar at Bradley International Airport on June 9 resulted in an advisory to not eat fish caught from the Lower Farmington River (downstream of Poquonock Avenue in Windsor (Rte. 75)), which remains in effect until further testing from a second round of samples are completed and results analyzed.
This advisory is now revised to address the potential discharge on October 2, 2019 of firefighting foam into the Farmington River in Windsor originating from the Bradley International Airport plane crash emergency response efforts via Rainbow Brook. The public is advised to not come into contact with foam they may encounter on the lower Farmington River or along its banks downstream of the Rainbow Dam, as well to not take or consume fish from this section of the river. This advisory will remain in place while officials evaluate the potential impacts to the watershed.
NOTES AND NOTICES:
WEST BRANCH RESERVOIR, WEST BRANCH FARMINGTON RIVER & COLEBROOK RIVER LAKE. The water level in West Branch Reservoir has been lowered 70 feet from its usual elevation by MDC to facilitate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (COE) repairs to Colebrook Dam’s outlet structures and equipment. The repairs will begin and are anticipated to last two to three months. During this period flows in the West Branch Farmington River are expected to stay within typical levels dependent on precipitation amounts and water level manipulations of impoundments (especially Otis Reservoir) upstream of Colebrook River Lake and impoundments (such as Highland Lake) on tributaries. Recreational opportunities at Colebrook River Lake should be unaffected but will be severely limited at West Branch Reservoir during the repair project and drawdown.
Once the repairs to the Colebrook River Lake dam infrastructure are completed, refill of West Branch Reservoir is expected to take approximately 35 days. Downstream flows during this time are expected to stay within typical levels during refill.
CANDLEWOOD LAKE (safety buoy removals). The Candlewood Lake Authority has begun removing the hazard, navigation and speed buoys for the winter. Boaters, especially those unfamiliar with the lake should use extra caution out on the lake then.
CONNECTICUT RIVER (invasive species alert). In 2016 hydrilla was found in the main stem Connecticut River in Glastonbury (near Glastonbury’s Riverfront Park & Boathouse). Hydrilla has now spread throughout the river and can be found in numerous areas. See the Coventry Lake entry on the next page for what river users should do to prevent spread of this invasive plant to other waterbodies.
COVENTRY LAKE (invasive species alert). Hydrilla, a very highly invasive aquatic plant, has been found growing in Coventry Lake. All lake users should take extra care to check and clean their boats (including canoes, kayaks and rowing sculls), trailers, and fishing equipment before leaving the launch.
QUADDICK LAKE (launch access). The lake has been drawn down several feet and the park gates have been closed for the season to vehicular access.
STANLEY QUARTER PARK POND (drawdown). A 2-3 foot drawdown for dam repairs continues. Accessing the water may be limited.
UPCOMING DRAWDOWNS. In western CT, Lake Zoar is scheduled for a drawdown from Wednesday night, October 23, to November 1 and the launching of trailered boats from the state launch will be very difficult. Lake Lillinonah is scheduled for a drawdown from November 2 to November 11, and launching of trailered boats from the Route 133 state boat launch will be difficult and launching from the Pond Brook boat launch is likely not possible during this drawdown. Additionally the winter drawdown of Highland Lake is scheduled to start in early November.
FISHING SEASONS. Anglers are reminded that the fishing season at several lakes and ponds scattered throughout the state closes at the end of the month (Thursday, October 31 is the last day), most notably LAKE WONOSKOPOMUC, GREEN FALLS RESERVOIR and SHENIPSIT RESERVOIR. Please refer to the 2019 CT Fishing Guide for additional locations.
Atlantic salmon fishing regulations and areas summary
- Regulations for Atlantic salmon on the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers. In the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers, from September 1 through December 15, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only. From December 15, 2019, through March 31, 2020, 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. Also, from September 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Management Area is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.
- 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 Management 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 Management 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). From September 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in these designated Atlantic Salmon Management Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.
- The regulations for 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 2019 CT Fishing Guide for trout regulations).
MARINE FISHING REPORT:
NOTE ON TAUTOG SURVEY: Some of you may have recently become aware of an online survey being conducted by researchers at UConn and CT Sea Grant concerning tautog recreational fishing regulations in Long Island Sound. While CT DEEP supports this research project and encourages CT anglers to participate, we would like to assure anglers that there are no plans to change tautog regulations in the near future. Current regulations will remain in place until the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission conducts its next tautog stock assessment (currently scheduled for 2021). If you have questions about the survey, or would like to take the survey, please contact Eric Schultz at [email protected]
IMPORTANT REMINDERS for ANGLERS:
• SEE A TANGLED TURTLE? CALL THE HOTLINE! 1-860-572-5955 ext. 107. This is the time of year when leatherback, loggerhead, green, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles return to northern waters, with many sightings around Long Island Sound.
TAUTOG Please note that we made a typo in last week’s report. The daily limit is 3 fish per day NOT 4. (Blackfish) fishing is really good throughout LIS in 20-60ft! Fish any rocky reefs, rock piles, and wrecks, they will produce great tog fishing action. As the water temperatures drop, tog will move off into deeper water. There are a lot of sub-legal sized fish out there, a good sign for the future of the taug fishery. Please be careful when releasing them and remember culling is illegal. Green, Asian or Hermit Crabs will work, especially on jigs (yellow or chartreuse). Consider putting the crab (bait) on a chartreuse and orange jig (1.5 – 3.0 ounces in weight/depending on tide and wind). The lighter the jig the better…feel more bites. Use braid in 30-50 lb class and/or a 50 lb fluorocarbon leader (sensitivity to feel the bites is important). Also use a 4/O Gamagatsu hook (Octopus style) when using bait. I would highly recommend planning a trip on a party/charter boat trip to fish for tautog this fall.
ATLANTIC BONITO & LITTLE TUNNY fishing continues to be spotty, especially in the eastern/central sound. Pink and green is the lure color choice. Many anglers are scoring using a 3” Hogy heavy minnow jig in pink. Shore anglers are scoring at Long Beach in Stratford (find the birds working). Dawn and dusk is typically the best time to fish for these inshore tunas but they can be caught during the daytime (a quiet approach is necessary). Try casting metal (heavy) lures (Swedish pimple, albie snax and epoxy jigs) to feeding fish on the surface. A quiet approach and finding birds (gulls/terns) actively feeding is the key to a successful trip. Jigging (1.5oz crippled herring) for them also works when they are close to the bottom and your fish finder is “lit up”.
STRIPED BASS fishing is very good around the “NEW MOON”, with its large tidal influences. It’s time for shore anglers to hit the SURF, especially at coastal state parks. The fall season is starting off strong, with many shore anglers catching bass on top water at Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities sites. The top water technique has produced some very big bass, (55 inches – 49 pounds, DEEP Baldwin Bridge State Boat Launch, Old Saybrook). Striper spots include the lower Mystic and Thames River, the Race, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, the “humps’ south of Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River (Dock & Dine shore fishing access), Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor (Breakwalls) and the upper reaches, Charles Island area, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Milford Point, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. Don’t have a Boat? Hook up with the many Party or Charter Boats found throughout CT’s shoreline from Greenwich to Stonington. Please use circle hooks when fishing with bait (live or dead), prevent gut hooking and also practice catch & release.
BLUEFISH fishing is good. Throw a top water plug/popper and hang on. They can be found throughout the Sound (find the birds). Still a lot of bluefish cruising the lower estuaries, rivers and beaches feeding on menhaden/anchovies (try the Fort Trumbull Fishing Pier). Bluefish fishing spots include the reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Thames River, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, lower Connecticut River, CT DEEP Headquarters, Long Sand Shoal, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor and upper reaches, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middleground, Penfield Reef, Norwalk Islands and Cable and Anchor Reef.
BLACK SEA BASS and SCUP fishing is still phenomenal. Anglers are still catching their daily limit of porgy (scup) and BSB (black sea bass) in 60-100 feet of water. This week the following locations have been good; Valiant Rock, Race Rock, Spindle at Bartlets Reef, Red nun buoy #4 and the 170’ trench, Middle-ground and Stratford Shoal Lighthouse, Shimon and Shea Island and Greens Ledge and Penfield Reef Lighthouse. Scup are found at Todds Point, Shippan Point, Calf Pasture Beach Pier, Compo Beach, Middle-ground, Saint Marys By The Sea, Seaside Oark, Sherwood Island State Park, South Benson Pier/Ash Creek, Fort Trumbull State Pier, Hammonassett State Beach, Fort Nathan Hale, Rocky Neck State Park, Eastern Point, Avery Point Pier, the Wall at Stratford and Silver Sands State Park. A high-low rig tipped with squid and clams are all you need: heavy on the chumming will also help attract them. Once you get a bite make sure to set the hook and whether releasing or keeping, be careful of their spines. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these hard fighting and excellent eating “Reef Slammers”. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information.
BLACK SEA BASS fishing is excellent. Hit every deep water favorite wreck/reef/hump, to find good numbers of these tasty bottom fish. Angler please be careful when releasing sublegal sea bass. There are lots of them out there…let’s give them a chance to grow, reproduce and get big.
SCUP (porgy) fishing is good throughout the Sound. Catch them up before they migrate south. Party/Charter boats are still targeting them…that’s how plentiful they are. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these hard fighting and excellent eating “Reef Slammers”.
HICKORY SHAD fishing is good in the lower Thames River (Fort Trumbull), Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), East and West River, Lieutenant River, and Black Hall River.
WHITE PERCH fishing is good. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), Mystic River, upper Thames River (Norwich Harbor) and Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove and Hamburg Cove. Grass shrimp and or a small piece of sandworm fished on the bottom are the keys to success. You can collect grass shrimp with a minnow net along the shoreline where marsh/eel grass is growing or along dock pilings. They love to cling to the grass or dock pilings.
SHARK SPECIES YOU MAY ENCOUNTER IN COASTAL WATERS OF CONNECTICUT – : Anglers may catch Sand Tiger and Sandbar (Brown) Shark which are protected and prohibited species and must be released unharmed. IF YOU DON’T KNOW, PLEASE LET IT GO! Coastal shark information.
NOTABLE CATCHES Species Length (in.) Weight (lbs) Angler Tautog 23.25” 8 lbs 2 ozs Margaret Liberty Tautog 22.75” 8 lbs 3 ozs Thomas St Cyr. Oyster Toadfish 13” 1 lb 14 ozs Thomas St Cyr.
PLEASE CALL 1-800-842-4357 TO REPORT FISHING VIOLATIONS. For Current Connecticut Recreational Fishing Regulations: Anglers should consult the 2019 Connecticut Fishing Guide which is now available at most Town Clerks Offices, DEEP offices and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. Current regulations, electronic versions of the Fishing Guide and additional information can all be accessed on the DEEP website at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.