24 July 2015

• Connecticut DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 23 July 2015



STRIPED BASS fishing continues to be good throughout the Sound (54 inch bass caught in the West Haven area). Fishing is also good in the lower tidal rivers especially at dawn. Try fishing from sundown to sunrise for trophy-sized “cow” stripers. Casting swimming lures, surface poppers, and bouncing jigs off the bottom in the shallows at low light has been productive. Also, live lining bunker (Atlantic menhaden), hickory shad or scup on the reefs has been effective on “cow” bass. Bunker (Atlantic menhaden) schools are in the major tidal rivers and harbors with stripers following close behind. Look for hovering or diving ospreys which is an indication of bunker (menhaden) schools.

The usual striper spots include the Watch Hill reefs, Ram Island Reef in Fishers Island Sound, 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, Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor and the upper reaches, Charles Island area, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. Please use circle hooks when fishing with bait (prevent gut hooking) and practice catch and release when possible.

BLUEFISH fishing has improved on the major reefs and rip areas. Vertical jigging diamond jigs in deep water locations and using fresh bunker chunk baits on three way rigs in shallow water has been the ticket. Typical bluefish fishing spots include the reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Thames River, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, lower Connecticut River (CT DEEP Headquarters Fishing Pier), 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, and Cable and Anchor Reef. SNAPPER fishing is improving in the tidal creeks and rivers. The DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and Fort Trumbull fishing pier are two great spots to bring kids fishing & crabbing. Look for the schools of “peanut” bunker and you will find the snappers.

FLUKE fishing is good with fish measuring in the mid to high 20 inch range being reported. Summer flounder spots include the south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Napatree Point and along the beach, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River over to Groton Long Point, Twotree Island Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay including the Bloody Grounds, Sound View Beach, Long Sand Shoal, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor, off the mouth of the Housatonic River during the flood tide, and around the Norwalk Islands.

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. “Reef Slammers” measuring 14-18 inches (“hubcap size”) in length being reported at every fishing pier, reef or rock pile in the Sound (They are everywhere…go out enjoy the fast paced action). 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, (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.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing is fantastic…found throughout the Sound. The hot spot continues to be Falkner Island/Guilford/Branford Beacon/Stratford Shoal. Fishing over deep water structure/cobble/gravel in 80 to 120 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks on baited jigs or gulp. 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. Berkely Gulp (swimming mullet) on a spro jig and also squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths."

BLACKFISH (TAUTOG) fishing is good…give it a try. There are plenty of these “Reef Bullies” around the local reefs and pilings. The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs and mussels...try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for “Togs” over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (10 to 45 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. 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 very common especially when bottom fishing. With fish measuring over 24 inches and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make). All hard and sandy bottom locations have been producing for anglers. They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are very good to eat.

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. These ”CT Tarpon” provide outstanding shore fishing for anglers. Tie on a silver willowleaf lure (add a 20 inch leader) with a slip sinker above the swivel along with light tackle (6lb test main line).

WHITE PERCH fishing is typically better with the incoming tide. These 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 (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 or eel grass is growing. They love to cling to the grass or dock pilings.

BLUE CRAB fishing is finally improving in the tidal creeks. Time to get out and try your favorite spot and enjoy the scenery and catch some crabs for dinner (crab cakes). Remember…all egg bearing females must be released with unavoidable harm. 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 report at this link: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection


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