16 July 2015

• Connecticut DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 16 July 2015

STRIPED BASS fishing continues to be good around the NEW moon in the central and western sound (50 inch bass still being caught). The eastern sound has been slower with bass scattered and tougher to catch. Hit your favorite spot (reef or shore access site) and hang on, Live eels, menhaden, bucktails, Tube and Worm (red) and diamond jigs on the larger reefs at the beginning and end of the tides are producing. Good striper spots include the Watch Hill reefs, lower Thames River, the Race, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River (Great Island), CTDEEP Marine Headquarters (Old Lyme shore site), Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, West Haven, and New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point)

Also, Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, Cable and Anchor Reef, Cows off Stamford and the West Haven/Woodmont area (from shore). Please use circle hooks when fishing with bait (prevent gut hooking) and practice catch and release when possible.

BLUEFISH fishing is very good from New Haven to Westport (where the schools of menhaden are). Good fishing also occurring in the Old Saybrook area. Larger “alligator” (14-18 lbs, 38 inches in length) blues are being caught live lining menhaden. Bluefish spots include, Saybrook Point, Long Sand Shoal, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor, West Haven (20-35ft), buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middleground, Lower Housatonic River, Penfield Reef, The Cows, Sheffield Islands, Norwalk Islands and Cable and Anchor Reef. Shore fishermen are having good success at West Haven Sand Bar/Piers, West River (New Haven) and Seaside Park in Bridgeport.

SNAPPER” blues (young of the year) have arrived in the tidal creeks and rivers (3-5 inches).

FLUKE fishing remains good. Good numbers of trophy-sized fluke in the Sound. Fish over 10 pounds were recently weighed in (Niantic area). Try sand eels around the mouth of rivers, along the channel and across the channel mouths (15 - 45 feet). Give deep holes (70-110 feet) and deeper channels a try for that “doormat” fluke. Fluke spots include the typical locations: south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Napatree Point and along the beach, off the Stonington breakwater (coastal access area), mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Two Tree Island Channel, Black Point/Niantic River and bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook Clinton area, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor including by the breakwaters, off the mouth of the Housatonic River, Bridgeport harbor, round the Norwalk Islands (Can 26), Westport (off Sherwood Island) and Can 26 (Greenwich). Fishing from shore give Stonington Town Dock/ Point a try (Enhanced Shore Fishing Site). Pink, white and green teasers (spinners) seem to be producing best. The traditional “fluke sandwich” (long squid strip and spearing/smelt) is working as well as mackerel strips. Minimum size is 18 inches and the daily creel limit is 5 fish per person. Note: New York has the same summer flounder regulations as Connecticut. However, Rhode Island is already open with an 18 inch minimum length and an 8 fish daily creel limit. Since Rhode Island has a higher daily creel limit than Connecticut and New York please make sure you abide by the state with the most restrictive regulation when crossing (by boat) state boundaries.

PORGY fishing is very good and continues to get better. “Reef Slammers” measuring 12-18 inches (“hubcap size”) in length being reported at every fishing pier, reef or rock pile in the Sound (They are everywhere). Try Gardners Island, Milford (Charles Island), Montauk and Niantic (Bartletts and Hatchetts Reef). Porgy fishing has also been reported at these very accessible shore fishing locations: Calf Pasture beach, Jennings and Penfield beach, Seaside Park, Belmont Street Fishing Access (Milford), Bradley Point Park (West Haven), New Haven, Harkness State Park, Rocky Neck State Park, Kimberley Reef (Guilford), Meigs Point Hammonassett State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these excellent eating and fun catching “Reef Slammers”. These “Panfish of the Sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid/conch or any other small piece of bait. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information (see page 14 of the 2015 CT Angler’s Guide).

BLACK SEA BASS fishing remains very good. Another species found throughout the Sound. The hot spot continues to be Falkner Island/Guilford/Branford Beacon. Fishing over deep water structure/cobble/gravel in 80 to 120 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks. Shallow water tends to produce smaller sea bass. It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure and fish around slack tide (stay close to the bottom) to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. Remember, CT Black Sea Bass regulations are as follows: 14 inch min. length, 3 fish daily limit from June 1st to August 31 and a five fish daily limit from September 1 to December 31st. Berkley Gulp (swimming mullet) on a spro jig and also squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”.

BLACKFISH (TAUTOG) fishing season opened July 1 in Connecticut waters. There are plenty of these “Reef Bullies” around to give it a try. The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs, try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for “Togs” over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (6 to 30 ft). Anglers please note: CTDEEP and Marine Fishing Clubs have been tagging blackfish with yellow American Littoral Society Tags to determine their movements and growth rates. This critical biological information will help us understand and manage this important resident species to Long Island Sound. Please record Tag Number, Location (Lat/Long), Length and weight of Blackfish and Date of Capture and send to www.littoralsociety.org 18 Hartshorne Dr., Ste.1, Highlands New Jersey 07732. Thank you very much for your cooperation and participating in Marine Fisheries Management.

STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing continues to be good. “Poor-Man’s Lobster” are found throughout the Sound, especially when bottom fishing. With fish measuring over 23 inches and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise that they make). All hard and sand bottom locations have been producing for anglers. They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is good in the Black Hall River, Niantic River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier, Clinton Harbor and the lower Housatonic River. Incoming tide is the key...as this species migrates a lot. Let’s hope they will return in large numbers and provide exciting shore fishing in the months to come.

WHITE PERCH fishing remains good. Perch are found in estuaries, tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), Mystic River, upper Thames River 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 or eel grass is growing. They love to cling to the
grass or dock pilings.

BLUE CRAB fishing is still slow but improving in the tidal creeks. Remember, all egg bearing females must be released with unavoidable harm. The minimum carapace length is 5 inches for a hard shell crab. Please contact your local bait and tackle shop for updated information, legal crab traps and bait to use for your fun-filled crabbing. Legal gear types include: scoop (dip) net, hand line, star crab trap, circular (topless) trap not exceeding 26 inches in diameter. Maryland Style Crab traps are prohibited. Chicken with the skin on it (along with a long handle dip net) is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.
Read the full article at this link: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

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