Plenty of fish in Sound waters
Anyone who has been putting off making their first fishing foray into Island Sound until they were absolutely sure the fish have arrived can now stop stalling. The fish are here.
Whether it is flounder, fluke, bluefish, shad, striped bass, weakfish (sea trout), white perch, black sea bass, or even blue crabs that are your pleasure, all these species can be caught somewhere in the Sound right now. About the only fish that cannot be chased are blackfish (season closed April 30) and porgies (season opens May 24).
Although Connecticut’s fluke season does not open until June 15, New York’s season opened Friday. Anglers who make the run across to the North Shore should remember that Connecticut regulations prohibit possession of fluke on this side of Long Island Sound. To be kept, the New York doormats must be landed at a New York port. The choice is to either eat
the fish on Long Island or drive them back to Connecticut by car or bus. If you bring them back by boat to a Connecticut port, you are subject to heavy fines. Some huge fluke have been caught by Bluefish anglers in Peconic Bay and buoy 11 off Northport.
Here is a rundown on other fish species awaiting your bait or lure.
Striped Bass — Big stripers, some of them in the cow class, have moved into the area. The flats on the Milford side of the breakwater produced some beautiful fat fish last Tuesday. The stretch of river above the Devon power plant has slowed some but still holds some fish. Big swimming plugs and soft plastics like Lunker City’s Fin-S Fish and Slug-Gos (all white is the hot color) are still doing the trick. Bait casters are doing well with bunker and herring chunks on the bottom. Southport Harbor is holding a sizable population of keeper bass. The problem is keeping plugs from snagging on the mooring ropes.
Reports from anglers fishing off the New Jersey coast tell of one of the biggest striper migrations witnessed in years. Let’s hope they are headed toward Long Island Sound.
Bluefish — As predicted in my fishing column May 10, the first confirmed bluefish catch was recorded Monday at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Len Persson and two guests fishing aboard in Shoo-Fly 3 were cut off by a couple of smaller blues before finally pulling a larger specimen into the boat for an evidence photograph.
It won’t be long before the big schools of blues arrive to chase the sand eels and bunker. The Charles Island sandbar should see some of these choppers in the next week or so. Surface poppers are the go-to lure on the famished spring blues.
Flounder — The winter flounder catch, while hardly stunning, has been better than some years with anglers who are willing to put in the time taking enough keepers for a couple of meals (10 fish limit) on clams and worms weighted to the bottom. Serious anglers are heading toward the Westport/Norwalk Islands, but the area between Pennfield Reef and St. Mary’s has produced some keepers for those willing to put in some time. The flounder season closes May 30.
Weakfish — No confirmed reports of any weakies being hooked yet, but expect to hear about plug caster hooking a few at the West Haven sandbar and/or Charles Island this week.
Shad — While nothing like the run of old, the Connecticut River is holding shad up to the Windsor area and is fishing well at the confluence and upstream of the Farmington River. If you just want to eat shad, the Essex Shad bake is June 6.
Trout — Moderate water flows and continued vigorous stocking have made for good trout fishing with some exceptionally large fish reported. Rains could make for varied conditions in the coming week in the rivers and streams. On Friday, the flow at Falls Village on the upper Housatonic was a moderate 1,050 cfs with water temperatures in the mid-50s. The East Aspetuck River, Farmill River, Farmington River (from Route 219, New Hartford to Route 4, Farmington), Leadmine Brook, Mill River (including the TMA), Muddy River, Pond Brook, Pootatuck River and Quinnipiac River all have plenty of trout for the taking. Of the nearby lakes and ponds, Saugatuck Reservoir, Squantz Pond and Bunnells Pond in Beardsley Park have been producing well.
Atlantic salmon — Some salmon catches have been reported from the Shetucket River, Mashapaug Lake and Beach Pond.
Short casts COUNTING THE CRABS — As horseshoe crabs start to move into inshore water to spawn, coastal communities from Florida to Maine are preparing for the annual spring count and tagging program. In Connecticut, SoundWaters is partnering with the state Department of Environmental Protection, scientists at Sacred Heart University and other organizations for Project Limulus, the statewide horseshoe crab project aimed at gathering data to determine population numbers and migration patterns. Training for the count is scheduled for Monday from 6-7 p.m. at SoundWaters facilities in Cove Island Park in Stamford. For more information, call 406-3302, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Soundwaters.org.
— CHARLES WALSH
Entry filed under: Bronx, Get Wet, Natural Waterfront, Region. Tags: angler, Black Sea Bass, Blackfish, blue crab, bluefish, fish, fishing, flounder, fluke, Long Island Sound, shad, striped bass, weakfish (sea trout), white perch.