31 July 2009

“Now is the summertime of our discontent...."

“Now is the summertime of our discontent.

“Water temperatures in Long Island Sound have finally climbed into the low 70s and should only get warmer now that hot, humid weather has arrived. The bass that have kept us so happy since April have taken up residence in deeper, cooler waters. The blues have taken their place, but it is just not quite the same. With the warmer temperatures, the sand eels are starting to move out, hopefully, to be replaced by masses of peanut bunker (no reports of those babies as yet, however).”

Charles Walsh writing in ConnPost.com

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Our Beaches Are A Mess

“Connecticut, with 66 public beaches stretched along 18 miles of Long Island Sound coastline, saw a 25 percent increase in beach closings and advisories in 2008. In all there were 135 beach closings and advisories of elevated levels of bacterial level in 2008, up from 108 the previous year….

“But it is Fairfield County that has experienced the most persistent long-term difficulties, in part because Bridgeport’s sewage treatment plant has had an overflow problem. Six beaches were closed between five and 12 times in 2008, with Byram Beach in Greenwich, the top offender with 12 closings in 2008,”

Read the yucky story in NewHavenIndependent.org

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Pesky Darned Seals!

“The line broke at the knot as Bob was getting dragged down the beach, and with a big swirl, off went the seal, with the fish and the plug. He said he remembers a bystander running up with a knife to cut the line, thinking he was getting dragged into the water.”

Read the story in PatriotLedger.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

30 July 2009

Abnormal Fishing and Red Beads

Things Just Aren’t Normal Out There

“This spring, constant rains and cool nights have resulted in lower-than-normal temperatures (a word that barely applies any more), so ocean water was cold (in the high 40s until June. The end results have been delays and minor changes in migration patterns of striped bass, bluefish and fluke.”

Bob Sampson writing in NorwichBulletin.com

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Add A Red Bead to Your Bait Rigs

“As if electrified, scup from across the way darted quickly to a red dot that was introduced to the tank’s bottom via a laser pointer. Repeatedly, the red dot appeared then disappeared as the pointer was clicked on/off. All scup reacted in the same manner—trying to eat it and then looking confused when it vanished. Like trained fish, these porgies could be led around the tank as if leashed.”

Fun read in LymeTimes

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

28 July 2009

7/28 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report


As you can see from our post of 24 July, the word is out: If you want to catch any fish, you’ve got to go early or late…no more bankers’ hours on the water. So I shagged my butt out of bed at 0415 on Tuesday to meet Val S. at the Marina in Stratford at 0600.

First thing we noticed was that it was a bit foggy.

Although the sun was trying to poke its nose through the gray stuff, we had to cross the channel carefully—nav lights on, blow the horn every 2 minutes—to ensure not hitting some UselessCraft wandering aimlessly through the area. We’d have thought that the fog would have burned off after a while [fog by seven, gone by eleven (old weather saying about early morning fog)] but it didn’t. Even at 1100 it was still not possible to see Charles Island from the Stratford Breakwater.

Good thing about fog, however, is that it keeps the sun off the water which should have held the fish in shallow water longer.

Should have.

We threw lures and flies at all the usual breakwaters and on all the usual flats, finding only one smallish bluefish each after 2-2.5 hours on the water. So we decided to make a run to a different area. We nudged toward Middleground [Stratford Shoals, about 7 miles SW of the mouth of the Housatonic] but it was just too foggy in that direction to chance it. It wasn’t a matter of getting there and back…the GPSS would take care of that. It was a matter of other boats being out there…not all of which would be showing nav lights and blowing a long blast on the horn every 2 minutes.

Read the Coast Guard’s website news page and you’ll become very wary of getting involved with these kinds of conditions.

So we ventured along the shoreline to a nearby harbor where we found smallish bluefish stacked up in the channel. We caught fish. We had doubles on the fly rods at least three times…we lost lures, we lost flies...probably landed a couple dozen fish…possibly could have caught a hundred or more…but.

But we were in a very narrow little channel with boats coming in and out constantly. All the boat operators were polite and didn’t get testy with us for fishing in their channel, but having to keep an eye out for them coming and going was a pest. There I was, standing on Shoo-Fly 3 bobbing in the other boats' wakes, remote control for the electric trolling motor in one hand…a throbbing bluefish in the end of the line of the rod in my other hand….

Then there were three guys on shore fishing the same place in the channel, one of whom, the guy with the skinhead, mustache, and wife-beater shirt, seemed to take delight in pitching his 4-oz. sinker as close to us as possible.

Then came the Opti Regatta.

The Optimist is a small [LOA 7.75’ (2.3622 meters)], single-handed sailing dinghy intended for kids up to age 15. Apparently these little craft are raced all over the world.

Well, a local yacht club was having a regatta. About 50-60 of these sailboats were tied at the YC docks until came the blast of the horn when they were suddenly all heading down the channel…straight at us. And straight into the breeze, which meant they were tacking back and forth through the narrow channel...all 50-60 ot them. You get the picture?

It was time to head for the barn.

We recorded water temps of 73°F for both the Sound and River. This is getting a mite warm for striped bass…so it is certainly an indication of the need to fish at night to catch any of the larger specimens of striper. But it should still be good for the bluefish. Hopefully we’ll see more and larger blues in the days ahead.

Blackfish, Doormats, and White Perch

Tautog and Middleground

“’Oh wow, I’ve never caught a blackfish this big from the North Shore,’ exclaimed an overjoyed Ray Tatarka as Captain Desmond slid the net under Ray’s 9.8 pound brute.”

Read how to catch blackfish at Examiner.com

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Doormats

“Barely visible, two beady eyes surrounded by a mat of camouflage lie alert, the muscular body frozen as if in a trance. Poised to intercept any passers-by that would satisfy its urge to hunt as well as appease its appetite, this aggressive predator by anyone’s definition has a well-earned reputation.”

More information at WaterfordTimes

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White Perch in Salt Waters…

“The white perch is not a true perch but a member of the temperate bass family and a relative to the striped bass. It is similar in shape as the striper, but it has a deeper, less rounded body and lacks the horizontal lines found on striped bass. In addition, white perch will never grow nearly as large as a striper. In fact white perch are generally small and slow growing after attaining juvenile size. The average white perch caught in the creeks weigh under a pound….”

Read all about it at Examiner.com
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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

27 July 2009

Anglers without SW Licenses Handcuffed, Arrested in Stratford

“If eyewitnesses are to be believed, a team of Department of Environmental Protection enforcement officers made a sweep of the Lordship seawall in Stratford last week, checking anglers for saltwater licenses.

“When a couple of anglers not only could not produce marine licenses, but had no ID of any kind, Stratford police were summoned and the men, who may have been illegal aliens, were taken away in handcuffs.”

[The title for this post is a little sneaky, but it probably got your attention.]

Charles Walsh writing in ConnPost.com

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Drunken Boaters To See Increased Penalties

“Under a law that went into effect this month, a boater under the influence of alcohol or drugs who causes a fatal accident will face penalties similar to drivers of motor vehicles on state roadways.

s“The law recategorizes the existing boating safety law and increases the penalty for violators by creating the crime of manslaughter in the second degree with a vessel, or boat, which, under the act, is a class C felony and similar to the motor vehicle law, according to the Act Concerning Boating Safety, which went into effect on July 1.

“Under the old law, the penalty for this violation was a fine of up to $5,000 and up to two years in prison, if convicted, or both. Under the new law, a violator could face up to $10,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.”

Won’t much help those that’ve been killed by BUI perps: ConnPost.com

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Milford’s Marine Patrol Unit

“The unit also conducts random safety checks, looks for missing boaters, and does any number of tasks. Last year, marine officers responded to 32 calls for service, issued 16 infractions, gave 88 written warnings, conducted 37 inspections and made one criminal arrest. Already this year, the unit has received 11 calls for service, issued one infraction, given 17 written warnings and did 16 inspections.”

Read further at: ConnPost.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

25 July 2009

7/24 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Under Construction

Jim W. and I left the dock about 1000 hours on Friday having closely watched the weather. We thought that this looked like a time of opportunity between thunderstorms. In fact, it was, but whereas we were hoping the sun would stay behind the clouds, we were in sunshine for most of the day.

It was reasonably warm out on the water as long as the sun was on us. However, twice during the trip the sun was covered by heavy clouds as an approaching front tried to push its way over our area. Both times this happened it felt as though the air temperature had dropped ten degrees.

Speaking of temperatures, Long Island Sound was still slightly below 70°F while the Housatonic River actually registered slightly above 70 for the first time this year. Of course this may have changed after the heavy rains Friday night.

A check back in my trip records for 2008 shows that the Sound and the River had both reached 70° about two weeks earlier last year...so the water's definitely been cooler.

Jim was first to get a fish, thus further preserving our string of now 37 straight trips without getting skunked. Incidentally, we don't count sea robins or fluke for this purpose...only stripers and bluefish—which Jim's fish was.

We got into a bunch of smaller bluefish that seemed to be roaming one of the flats. We'd land a few, even had doubles, twice, and then they'd be gone. Wait a while and they'd be back again.

Jim got the only striper of the trip [photo]; see our blog on 24 July about "Where'd the Stripers Go?" I caught the only fluke, a non-keeper.

But we had a good time with the small blues. Broke out the fly rods and we each had fun with those...until the winds picked up. We landed in excess of twenty bluefish, two of which accompanied Jim home for dinner.

As we headed in that front tried to come in for the second time as could be seen by those dark-bellied clouds that were suggesting rain.

Another great day on the water.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

24 July 2009

Where’d the Stripers Go?

“’The honeymoon is over, folks, so you can no longer be sleeping in. If you want bass, you need to get UP!!’”

Charles Walsh writing in ConnPost.com

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Where’d the Stripers Go?

“Striper fishing during the day was poor most trips with a few keepers early then almost nothing afterward.”

Read it in TheDay.com

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Where’d the Stripers Go?

“…warming waters are sending inshore bass to deeper waters during the day, leaving many fishermen complaining about the slowdown in striper fishing.”

Article from: BostonHerald.com
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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

22 July 2009

7/22 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

I picked up Rich N. at his shop, Newtown Bait & Tackle, about 0630 on Wednesday and we motored down Route 25 to I-95 to the Marina in Stratford. It had been cloudy, and foggy in patches up in the hills of Woodbury and Newtown, but as we crossed the I-95 bridge over Bridgeport Harbor we could see that the sun was trying to break through the clouds.

This was not the preferred condition as at this time of year, especially the way the bite has been going for the past week or so [not well]; overcast would have been our preference. Bright sun doesn't encourage the gamefish to stay on the flats in the shallow waters that we fish.

This displayed Capt. Skip's irreversible rules of weather forecasting:

Bad weather arrives earlier than forecast...and good weather arrives later than forecast. EXCEPT when you don't want the good weather to arrive, in which case it arrives earlier than forecast.




We started up Shoo-Fly 3 and headed toward the mouth of the River. Stopped at the right-side breakwater for a few casts...had one hit, then nothing.

Farther out in the mouth, I got the first fish, a schoolie striper. Not much of a fish as stripers go, but a very important fish as it extended our string of straight trips without getting skunked to, now, 36.

Fisherfolk familiar with the area can probably tell where we were fishing from the photos.

We continued through the area picking up a bluefish here, a striper there, a bunch of pesky, under-sized fluke, and a few of those really pesky sea robins.

Only thing I can think of to say good about robins is that they're usually lip-hooked [on artificials at least] and thus easy to release.

Rich got the largest blue of the day [photo], about an 8-pounder, which gave him a nice battle on his St. Croix spinning rod and Fin-Nor reel.

I was actually on the phone with Don G. who was checking in to see how we were doing, and to razz Rich about the "fence post" Rich was using for a rod [Don thinks any rod heavier than a toothpick is overkill], when that bluefish hit Rich's jig/swimbait combination. The fish jumped completely out of the water, cleared the water by 2-3 feet, and smashed back into the surface...what a jump!

It's not unusual for bluefish to break the surface during the fight, but they tend more to wallow, tail-walk, and slop around then clear the water like a hurdler...so that was a fun fish.

Rich also got the largest striper of the trip [photo].

In sum, not a lot of fish, no really large fish, and the bite was scattered all over the place despite the strong, incoming tide.

Yet we had a good day, didn't get zotzed by lighting or even rained on, and we caught some fish.

Another great day on the water.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

Fishing Economics 101

“In Hard Times People Still Lured to Fishing”

“Despite the sluggish economy and cut backs in consumer spending, there are strong indications that recreational angling remains one of the largest outdoor recreational activities in the nation as well as one of the most solid industries in the United States.

“Annually, nearly 40 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than one million people.”

Read the article at ConnPost.com

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Post-Mortem on Connecticut’s Saltwater Fishing License

“The program will allow the state to monitor the number of people fishing in salt water and survey them about their habits. That data will inform how the state manages fish and other species in the Sound, Schain said.”

Read the gory details in ConnPost.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

21 July 2009

Stripers, Haddock, and Basking Sharks

Stripers and Mycobacterium Marinum

“This trip, however, Ehid was wearing puncture-proof gloves so he would not repeat the sequence of events from last September when a wound opened up by a striped bass led to pain, inflammation and weakness of the hand followed by surgery and nearly amputation.”

Read the gory details at LehighValleyLive.com

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Haddock Rebound

“A July 1, 2009 feature article in The Scientist–’The Great Haddock Revival’ (by Kirsten Weir)–details the remarkable rebound of this once decimated, commercial fish stock. While scientists are still debating the cause(s) of this, New England fishermen are nothing short of exuberant–especially given the concurrent decline of multiple, commercial “ground fish” stocks, such as cod, halibut, and pollock.”

Read the story in EcoWorldly.com

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20-Foot-Long Shark Washes Up on LI Beach

“A reportedly 20-foot-long (6-meter-long) basking shark that washed ashore on a beach on New York's Long Island on Tuesday appears to have died from some kind of illness.”

Story and photos at NationalGeographic.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

20 July 2009

Seven Things to Know about Catching Striped Bass

“Whether you fish inland in your skiff, pole the flats, or cast from the beach, avoid these seven "Striper Sins" and you'll be a more successful angler in your home waters.”

Read more at TrophyRoom.com

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Fish-Handlers’ Disease

“According to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (they have spent a lot of time studying Chesapeake Bay striped bass and mycobacteriosis) primary symptoms of the infection in humans includes infections of the skin and soft tissues. Infections typically become evident as reddish raised nodules on the hands, elbows, knees, and feet. In many instances the joints may also become swollen.

"The good news is that there is no evidence that humans can contact mycobacteriosis by consumption of cooked fish that is infected. However, because the infection can be transmitted when handling infected fish, any fish that exhibits external signs of infection should be released or disposed of.”

Read more at WarwickOnline.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

19 July 2009

The End of the Line…Fish-Wise

“The other day, wandering through the narrow streets at the Provincetown International Film Festival, enjoying the colors and the low-slung flags and the characters, I came across a sobering vision – a new documentary called 'End of the Line.'

“The film’s subtitle is ‘Imagine a World Without Fish,’ and that could be exactly what happens if unsustainable commercial fishing continues to run rampant.”

Story at CapeCodOnline.com

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Please Put the Big Ones Back

“Male striped bass very rarely grow to larger than about 32 or 33 pounds, so any fish bigger than that is almost certainly a female that is breeding each spring. While throwing a 40-pounder back doesn’t guarantee that she will find her native brackish backwater the following spring to breed, it certainly gives her a better chance than she would stand in the bottom of a cooler….”

Interesting article at 27East.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

17 July 2009

Fishing Picture Not So Hot

A Mixed Bag

“Our fishing picture is mixed. Fluking remains a game of patience, culling through shorts. Stripers are around, the small ones on lures, the bigger ones on live bait. Porgies are on the rockpiles with blackfish for those interested in them. Blue fishing, on the other hand, is not what we've come to expect from The Race at this time of year.”

Read more at TheDay.com

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Or An Empty Bag

“The routine of hitting the night bite at a previously reliable spot has been interrupted. To be successful, it’s important now to be able to read the water and be up to date as to where bait is balling up. Stripers are moving in and out of the flats and from behind protective structure. With fewer menhaden, eastern Long Island Sound anglers are having to resort to other means. Even with less pressure from bluefish, bass fishing has been varied.”

Read the article at MysticTimes.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

Fishing Has Definitely Slowed Down

"Not to say that the fishing has slowed down, but John Valentino of the Stratford Boat Owners Association suggests the clubs next tournament might be for sea robins. Okay, we'll say it: the fishing has slowed down.

"The odd thing is that water temperatures are staying relatively low. In fact, Chris Fulton at Stratford Bait & Tackle reports the water in the Housatonic River had actually dropped five degrees this week. The large amounts of freshwater pouring into the Sound is what is keeping the bunker out."

Charles Walsh's Fishing Report can be read at: GreenwichTime.com

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Word On Birds

“Connecticut’s “ …DEP has completely closed Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook through the nesting season. These Natural Area Preserves have also received designation as Audubon Important Bird Areas in recognition of their importance for nesting wading birds.

“The DEP Wildlife Division provides the following advice to help protect nesting shorebirds and wading birds….”

Read more: StamfordAdvocate.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

16 July 2009

7/15 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Despite that fact that the fishing appeared to be entering the summer doldrums, based on Monday's trip, Val S. and I took Shoo-Fly 3 out on the Housatonic River on Wednesday to see if things had improved.

Not!

There was nothing moving on the first flat at all. Second and third flats we caught fish, but we had to work for them.

We caught striped bass, bluefish, and fluke...but all except the striper in this photo were on the small side.

Still, we had a good time. The wind started out on the wild side, but dropped to a level where we could fly cast. Val caught some fish on his self-made fly...including a fluke.

We were fishing late in the afternoon, and while this had been productive up until last week, we may have reached that time of the summer when, to see fish regularly, you have to fish early in the morning or later in the evening.

I much prefer fishing during "bankers' hours," but this may not be the season for that. At least not doing the kind of fishing we like to do.

We've been fishing all shallow water...with flies and 1/8-oz. to 1/4-oz. jigs. So if we want to find fish consistently during daylight hours, it may be time to turn to bottom-bouncing with chunk baits in deeper water.

I'd almost rather stay home and paint the house than do that.

Almost.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

The Attack of the Sea Squirts and Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels in Housatonic Feeder Stream

“The menacing zebra mussel species that has taken over a Berkshires lake has been found in a stream that feeds into the Housatonic River in Western Massachusetts, amplifying fears that the invasive freshwater mollusk could contaminate drinking water supplies and other waterways across the state.”

Read the whole article at Boston.com

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Sea Squirts Endangering Long Island Sound

"Non-native sea squirts, also known as Tunicate or sea pork, are proliferating in Long Island Sound and elsewhere as water temperatures rise. Marine scientists at the University of Connecticut found that warmer winters are causing the invasive invertebrates to explode in population. Sea squirts reproduce rapidly and compete with shellfish for food and space, threatening Connecticut's shellfish industry."

Read it all at FairfieldWeekly

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

15 July 2009

Maine: Kennebec Dam Removal Already Successful

“In the weeks leading up to the historic breaching of the Edwards Dam, there was little doubt that striped bass, sturgeon and salmon would eventually return to the Kennebec River north of Maine’s capital city.

“The only question was how long it would take….

“Fishermen quickly got their answer: As soon as the dam was breached, we were catching striped bass up to Waterville,”

Full story at BangorDailyNews.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

14 July 2009

7/13 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report


Into every life a little rain must fall.

We didn't have as bad a day as the guy at the boat ramp had, and we didn't break our string of now 34 straight trips without getting skunked...but it was a close thing.

Charlie W. and I headed out from the dock at 3 pm on Wednesday hoping to find fish in the same places they'd been for the past couple of weeks.


But it was not to be.

First, the winds were howling at 20-25 kts. out of the south which severely limited our options as to where we could fish. Any place that wasn't in the lee was rough and uncomfortable. Fly fishing was impossible.

And, it was chilly out there...especially when the sun went behind the clouds. Apparently the Bridgeport area set a record for cold temperatures on that day.

Next, the fish weren't there...or if they were, they weren't having any of what we threw at them.

We did see a few scattered birds; we did see a couple of splashes amidst the whitecaps; but, that didn't do us much good.

Mostly we landed undersized fluke and large sea robins...and enough striped bass to keep the string going...barely.

Of course, as usual, it was beautiful out there. The clouds were spectacular and the rays of sun shining through them reminded of Charlton Heston parting the waters of the Red Sea [Reed Sea] in The Ten Commandments.

The highlight of the trip, for me at least, was back at the dock where Charlie gave me a container of his smoked bluefish pâté. Now that's good stuff...he ought to market it.

Housatonic, Naugatuck, Quinnipiac Rivers in the News

The Quinnipiac River

“…the Q was the first river in Connecticut to have such an endowment, which has distributed $1.4 million since 1992 and is now worth $2 million…. Twenty years ago the river itself was known far and wide as the dirtiest river in the state and the Quinnipiac River valley was the industrial backyard of greater New Haven, largely to be exploited and not treasured. That has certainly changed.”

Read more about it in NewHavenIndependent.org

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Stimulus Funds to Put Fish Ladder on Naugatuck River

“Besides creating more jobs, the fish ladder will create a way for fish from Long Island Sound to travel upstream to the 29 miles of the Naugatuck River above Seymour. A fish ladder, also known as a fishway, fish pass or fish steps, is a structure on or around artificial barriers to facilitate the natural migration of diadromous fish, those that travel between fresh and salt water.

Article in ConnPost.com

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Milford Puts Controls on Industrial Activities Along the Housatonic River

“… to prohibit trash hauling, solid waste processing, recycling plants, storage and processing of construction and demolition debris, and volume reduction facilities in the district, except when such activities are related to other, primary uses.

“Existing businesses will be "grandfathered" under the new provisions, but would not likely be permitted to expand….”

Read more at ConnPost.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
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13 July 2009

To Kayak, or Not to Kayak

“You're cramped, too low to the water to see the holes and humps on the bottom and angling is impossible while piloting the boat. You can't cast and reel or twitch a fly if you have both hands on a double-bladed paddle.

“But kayak fishing keeps growing in popularity.”

Article from WashingtonPost.com

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Kayaks Popular for Good Reason

“I have noticed a lot of vehicles with kayaks strapped to the top or in the beds. It looks like the business to be in is the kayaks business. I do know that kayaking is one water sport that is growing faster than I can keep up with and has been for a number of years. Now my erroneous impression for years was that a kayak was about as stable and sea worthy as a…”

Read more at HCNOnline.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
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Disasters and Near-Disasters

More Shore Fishermen Get in Trouble…One Doesn’t Make It

“Two fishermen have been pulled from Long Island Sound after being caught on a breakwater at Bridgeport's Seaside Park.”

Article from Courant.com

Follow-up to story at Courant.com

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“Family Fishing Outing Becomes Close Encounter”

"The commercial boat, since it was up on plane, hit our leeward gunwale about 3 to 4 feet in front of the center console, rode up on top of our boat, destroyed the bow rail, drove on through, smashing our boat out of the way.”

Read the whole story at MVTimes.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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Stratford, Connecticut;
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10 July 2009

7/10 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report



On Friday afternoon, we gassed the boat at Brewer Stratford Marina and Mal Y. and I headed out on the the Housatonic River.

It was a lovely day. A bit cool. In fact, one boater we passed out by the breakwater called over to say it was "...a nice October day...." He was right, it did feel more like early October than mid-July.

Although the weather has seemed to be cooler, cloudier, and rainier than in recent years, a check of my fishing-trip database shows that the water temp, at 69-70°, is just about the same as it has been at this time for the past several years. Maybe we've just forgotten how lousy the weather was in prior seasons.



We followed a similar fishing pattern as the one Rich N. and I had used on Wednesday...with similar results. On the first flat I got one hit on the Bass Assassin and Mal hooked and landed one fish...possibly the same fish that had hit my lure...see the top photo.

One fish doesn't make a trip, but this one meant we're now up to 33 straight fishing trips without getting skunked. Hope we can keep that string going.



Was interesting that the water was unusually clear. We were seeing bottom features in 7-8 feet of water; this is not at all typical. I remarked to Mal that it must be all the zebra mussels filtering the River water for us.

We moved to the second flat and were into fish very quickly. There were enormous quantities of sand eels moving over the flat on which the fish were undoubtedly feasting.



Was also interesting that we caught no bluefish on the flat...it was all stripers plus two non-keeper fluke. We weren't going to complain about that mix of fish, but Mal would have liked to invite a blue or two home for a grilled dinner.



Charlie W. paddled out on the flat in his kayak. We were close enough to each other to exchange information on the fishing. We saw him hook only a sea robin, and then he headed north, right in close to shore. We headed south and there wasn't much going on there, but unbeknownst to us, Charlie got into birds and a feeding slick*.

The next morning we got this e-mail from him: "'My kingdom for a cell phone,' I thought. The larger fish were in there feeding on top. I tried shouting but you were out of range. I took three (on the broken rod) all in the 25-27-inch range before heading in and a bluefish while trolling back across the river...."

The kayak is a great fishing tool as it allows the angler not only to get in very shallow but also to do it stealthily...Charlie uses those advantages to good effect.



Once again, a couple of hours after the stand of the high tide the bite tapered off. Not to worry though: Mal had caught what he thought was the largest striper he'd ever landed. I got a striper on my Toothy-Critter fly, and we'd had a fun afternoon.

Another great day on the water.

*An oily patch on the surface of the water...created by feeding fish as they chop up smaller fish releasing fish oil into the water.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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09 July 2009

7/8 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report


Rich N. and his wife, Jan, are the proprietors of Newtown Bait & Tackle which is located about a mile south of the flagpole in Newtown, CT. Rich had Wednesday off from the shop, so we ventured out at 1:15 in the afternoon, right at the peak of the high tide.



The first flat we fished turned out to be a big nothing: No fish, no hits, no bumps, no birds, no nothing. This was not a good start to the afternoon.



Flat number two, however, was a different story: Small groups of fish chasing bait here and there...a few terns diving...and we were quickly into fish.

We started out with swim baits. I was throwing my favorite Bass Assassin [top in photo] and Rich had on one of these new Keitech lures in white.



I wasn't very optimistic about the white lure as white just hasn't produced for us this year. But, as you can see, Rich was quickly into stripers...first a nice fish just under "keeper" size.



I caught a few smaller bluefish on the Assassin and decided to change over to the fly rod...give my newly tied "Toothy Critter" flies a try-out [see the post from 07 July]. Put one on the 5-weight Orvis with an Orvis Battenkill reel on it [trout fishers will recognize this as an outfit suitable for the upper Housatonic River] and was quickly into fish.



Had a couple of fish on that got off after a short time...too far from the boat to call them "caught." Then finally hooked a striper that stayed on the line...photo shows the fly in his mouth.

The dinky 5-weight allowed for a good fight and the reel's drag system wasn't anywhere up to capable of handling the fish, but a suitably applied thumb on the spool slowed him down. He was released without harm...as were all the fish we caught this day.



Rich then boated a fish just a lip longer than 28" and finally a 31-inch beauty...both keepers, but both put back to fight another day.

As the fishing slowed on flat two, we moved over to the other side of the River mouth, but found nothing there but sea robins.



The clouds were spectacular all afternoon.

Another great day on the water.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

More Articles on Connecticut's New Saltwater Fishing License

“…the state is desperate for revenues. It expects to collect about $1 million annually in saltwater license fees, so it rushed the law into effect. And that has helped to fuel the anger and confusion of many longtime fishermen. Anglers are complaining about their inability to navigate the state's online license sales site and are sympathetic toward bait shops that have opted out of selling licenses because of the cost of the equipment necessary. And they're mad that they're being told to pay for something that's always been free.

“The state plans to go easy on enforcement this season, so why even begin selling licenses? Educating anglers, rather than inciting them, would have been a better course.”

Article from TheDay.com

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Another Opinion on Saltwater Licenses

“Come January, saltwater sport fishermen will be required to give the National Marine Fisheries Service their name, address and phone number so they can be interviewed. The registry will replace a creaky system that relies on, among other things, random-digit phone surveys, with researchers asking whoever answers whether anyone there fished and what was caught.

“Signing up is mandatory and free until 2011, and $15 to $25 after that. You’re exempt if your state already has a saltwater fishing license program that collects the pertinent data."

Article in NYTimes.com

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Retired CTDEP Marine Fisheries Division Head on Saltwater Licenses

“I am chagrined at recent letters to The Day regarding the new saltwater fishing license proposal passed by the General Assembly. Most distressing is the lack of understanding of what marine fisheries managers do to improve prospects for sustainable, productive and enjoyable marine fisheries.”

Read it all in TheDay.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

07 July 2009

Skip's Toothy-Critter Fly

I've been threatening to bore you with pictures of my Toothy-Critter Fly, so here they are...in this case, intended to represent a sand eel.

I tie this fly on a Mustad 34011 hook, a long-shank, saltwater hook, in size 2/0 or 3/0 [have been leaning more to the latter lately].

Start out in the usual way, tying the thread in just above the bend of the hook. I'm using Danville, Flat-Waxed white nylon thread just so it shows up in the photos; normally I use a clear monofiliment thread as it allows the colors of the deer hair to show through and doesn't bulk up much on the hook shank.



Tie in a bit of deer tail at the bend. It's hard to be too sparse with the hair; after all, we're imitating a sand eel here, not a baby bunker.

This fly will by grey over chartreuse. Don't ask me why, but it seems to work.



Add in some flash material. In this case, about 6 strands of Crystal Flash, doubled over the tying thread. This Flash is lavender in color, but probably any color would work all right.



Top the fly with gray deer tail, about as sparse, and maybe a little bit longer than the lower, chartreuse section [I don't think that matters a darn, but we have to act as though we're being scientific here.] You could also add some peacock herl to the back, but it's not really necessary. Add eyes to either side of the finished head [3-D molded eyes or flat, holographic eyes both work].



Then complete the head with your favorite head cement. I use Loon UV Knot Sense which requires no mixing and shapes easily. It hardens under UV light [sunlight or a UV bulb].

That's it. Takes less time to complete than it does to describe it.

The fly wets down nicely into a minnow shape and, because all the materials are tied in at the bend of a long-shank hook, the front part of the shank becomes your protection against toothy-critters. You can attach the fly to your mono leader directly, with no wire between leader and hook eye, and expect that you'll very seldom get bitten off by mr. bluefish or ms. mackerel.

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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Stratford, Connecticut;
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fishing; charters; vacations; travel

Be the Fish

“What he can do and I can’t is face a piece of water and so absorb himself in the place that he seems to share the consciousness of the fish in it. If you have seen a school of 10,000 sand eels swerving as one animal under a wharf, you have seen that individuals can integrate their senses into a collective mind. Without the benefit of language, they share all the most important news: where to find food, light, threat, rocks. Human beings usually experience this common mind only under the stress of love or panic.”

Interesting article at NYTimes.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut;
fishing; charters; vacations; travel

Poor Forced to Catch, Eat Dangerous Fish

"Cash-strapped New Yorkers are ignoring health warnings not to fish for their meals in polluted local waters, where the catch of the day comes laced with cancer-causing PCBs and mercury."

Read the story at NYDailyNews.com

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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall. http://www.newtownbaitandtackle.com/

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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06 July 2009

Wading Fishermen Got in Too Deep…One Didn’t Survive

“Witnesses said Acatitla and his friend waded into the bay with their fishing gear, and the water was up to their chests. They were stuck where the currents are unpredictable, and the drop-off is sudden and steep.

"They stepped over the ledge, the two fell into deep water too difficult and complex for them to get out….”

Read the entire story at WCBSTV.com

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Reminder: A saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one for $10.00 from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall. http://www.newtownbaitandtackle.com/

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Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
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Beaten Up By A Striper

“Ever run into a kamikaze ninja striper, one of those fish that simply does not cooperate with its release, while doing damage to its captor during every second of the dehooking process using spines, teeth or slashing hooks?

“I caught one such fish last week while fishing the Watch Hill Reef Complex with my son, Jared. I’m still nursing the wounds from that painful encounter.”

Bob Sampson writing at NorwichBulletin.com

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04 July 2009

7/3 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Val S. and I headed out at 0730 on Friday to catch the last of the incoming and the first of the outgoing tide.

We also hoped to avoid the hordes of UselessCrafts that would taking to the water for the start of the three-day 4th of July holiday...one of the few dates on the summer calendar when the owners of UselessCrafts feel a primal urge to venture away from sanctity of the dock.

The weather was fair with winds light & variable making it a perfect morning for Val to try to dupe some poor, unsuspecting striper with his latest creation for the fly rod.

We pulled into a favorite flat, near the marsh grasses, that has been producing well for us on the incoming tide. Unfortunately, all the rains had created a real mess of grass, seaweed, and brown scum that covered a good portion of the flat, making it difficult to retrieve our lures without collecting debris on the hook.

We didn't throw a lure anywhere near that brown scum. Neither did we have any intention of keeping a fish that had been swimming around in this stuff.

Sure enough, Val fooled some bluefish into hitting his feathered creation...as you can tell from the grin on his face in the photo.

Val always seems happiest when there's a fish putting a bend in his fly rod.

The fishing was slow in this first area, so we motored out to another flat, catching it at dead high tide. Instantly, we saw fish feeding on the surface...not big schools of them, but at least two smaller bunches...and they looked like bass.

We ran in there on the big motor, then switched to the electric trolling motor to make our approach...we were in only about six feet of water and didn't want to scatter the fish by busting right up to them.

For the next two hours or so we were intermittently into fish...both stripers and blues. We had a few "doubles" [two fish on at the same time] including at least one on the fly rods as I had dug out the 7-weight and put on a "Toothy Critter" fly. [I promise to put a photo of one on the blog eventually.]

You can see from the photo why consideration had to be given to protecting your flies and leaders when you're into bluefish. They've got nasty teeth. The lure in the pic received that much damage from just one bite by a blue.

The fish were feeding on tiny sand eels [they're not really eels, but a slender minnow with longish fins that looks a bit like an eel]. However, there was no need to "match the hatch" as the stripers and blues seemed to hit about anything that you threw at them. Sometimes a lure that matches the bait on which the fish are feeding seems to get lost in the crowd, whereas something different attracts attention.

Fishing finally slowed in this area, so we went over to a third flat, but nothing much was happening there.

It was getting toward the middle of the day, more and more UselessCrafts were on the water...including a large contingent of them apparently drifting for fluke at the River's mouth, and the clouds we'd been watching on the horizon began to encroach.

We headed for the dock where a few rain drops fell as we were cleaning up the boat.

Another great day on the water.

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03 July 2009

Charles Walsh’s Fishing Report

“Schools of smaller bluefish, rarely exceeding six pounds, are all over chasing the masses of sand eels that are remain in local waters. Cruise a boat between Westport and West Haven and at least one sighting of surface-feed blues is guaranteed. Poppers are the way to go with these fish. The larger blues are saying deeper around the Branford wrecks sites and outside the mouth of Bridgeport Harbor.”

Read the entire report in ConnPost.com

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Fisherfolk and the Economy

“Fishermen have a huge impact on the nation's economy. According to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) there are strong indications that recreational angling remains one of the largest outdoor recreational activities in the nation as well as a solid USA industry.

“Annually, nearly 60 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than one million people.

Full story at ConnPost.com

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02 July 2009

Governor Signs Saltwater License Bill…Now in Effect…Right Now!

“The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today [02 July] announced that a saltwater fishing license, now required by state law to fish in Long Island Sound, can be conveniently purchased online through the DEP Web site.

“The licenses – $10 for residents and $15 for non residents – are available at DEP’s Sportsmen’s Licensing System at www.ct.gov/dep. They can also be purchased at the offices of most town clerks and at many retail outlets and bait and tackle shops.

“Lawmakers authorized the marine fishing license during the 2009 General Assembly Session. Funds generated by the new law, which was signed July 1 by Governor Rell, will be used for conservation and preservation programs in the state.

“DEP Acting Commissioner Amey Marrella said, ‘The new saltwater fishing license will provide us with information we need to better manage our fisheries and coastal resources. The Connecticut program will also exempt residents from a federal program that would have required our anglers to register with and pay a fee to the federal government. It makes much more sense for us to gather information about our own anglers and to keep license fees in Connecticut.’

“The requirement for the marine fish license goes into effect immediately and DEP Environmental Conservation Police will begin checking for licenses immediately; however the DEP’s initial focus will be on public education and awareness.”

Related article: NorwalkPlus.com

Another related article: HarfordCourant.com

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