01 July 2016

• CT DEEP Weekly Fishing Report 30 June 2016

STRIPED BASS fishing remains excellent. Shore anglers are really scoring on the big bass in the lower tidal rivers where all the bait has been lately. Recently, there was another large bass, 45 pound striped bass caught from shore in Old Lyme (late evening). The big fish keep on rolling in to feed on the abundant bait populations. Western sound (Norwalk to Stratford) catches are improving daily for anglers using chunk bait during the evening. Dawn and dusk is prime time for large stripers on the reefs, rip areas and lower coastal tidal rivers. Live lining eels, bunker or hickory shad has been the ticket. There is plenty of bunker throughout LIS including the tidal rivers to hold fish.

Striper areas 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), Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Westbrook, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Bridgeport Harbor, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef.

FLUKE fishing is fair for “keepers” in Long Island Sound. The area north of Montauk Point (40-80 feet) and the southside of Block Island is producing good numbers of fish...fluke up to 11.25 pounds this week. Mid to western LIS anglers are still reporting good numbers of sub-legal sized fish and a few keepers mixed in, up to 6 pounds. (Norwalk/Stratford/New Haven/Woodmont area).

Fluke spots include south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Watch Hill to Napatree Point, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Gardiners Bay over to Greenport, NY, Twotree Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor to West Haven, off the mouth of the Housatonic River, Norwalk Islands, and across over to Port Jefferson, NY. Try drifting with a white or pink Bucktail Jig and attach a Berkely 3”- 4” Gulp Mullet in chartreuse, white or pink color. Fresh squid and or silversides (spearing) have also been producing. Minimum size is 18 inches and the daily creel limit is 5 fish per person.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing is phenomenal everywhere in Long Island Sound. Fishing over any deep water structure (gnarly bottom preferred) in 30 to 110 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks”. Fish shallower and you will catch plenty of keeper-sized sea bass along with fluke and sea robins. It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. Remember, CT black sea bass regulations are as follows...15 inch min. length, 5 fish daily limit from May 1st to December 31st. Berkely Gulp (swimming mullet), on a jig along with squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”. Clams and sandworms also work well. New York waters are open now.

PORGY fishing is very good in Long Island Sound. Like sea bass...they are everywhere. Hook up with your local party/charter boat to get into some of the best fishing ever! These scup are very large and delicious to eat! Seriously, try fishing for some “reef slammers” and enjoy some great fishing...there are lots of scup around for all. Porgies measuring 13-18 inches (“hubcap size”) have been caught! Porgy fishing has also been reported at these shore fishing locations: Rocky Neck State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Meigs Point Hammonassett and Fort Trumbull State Park. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these hard fighting and excellent eating “Reef Slammers”. These “panfish of the sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid or any other small piece of bait.

WEAKFISH fishing continues to keep on getting better with good numbers of 24-28 inch size fish being caught in the east. Central and western sound catches are improving as the population rebounds from low abundance. Good fishing in Niantic, New Haven Harbor by the breakwaters over to Woodmont/Milford Point and along Stratford shoals. One of the best eating saltwater fish you will ever catch.

BLUEFISH fishing is starting to be very good with more and more bluefish arriving from the Montauk area, after feeding on scup and squid. The Race, Plum Gut, many of the major rocky reefs, rips, and shoal areas in LIS will harbor bluefish. Speed squiding diamond jigs, trolling parachute jigs or umbrella rigs, and using fresh bunker or hickory shad chunks on three-way bottom rigs have all been effective. Other bluefish spots include the Sluiceway, Gardiners Bay, Peconic Bays, and the north shore of Long Island along with the Stratford Shoal area. My recommendation is to hook up with a Party or Charter Boat and enjoy some of the best FISHING you will ever experience. Yes, the “Snappers” (juvenile bluefish) have arrived! Harbor Blues (15 - 24 inches) are also very common in lower estuaries.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is ok in the Black Hall River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and in Clinton Harbor. Connecticut Tarpon (Hickory shad) can be found mixed in with schoolie striped bass. They move up and down the river systems with the tide and are sometimes difficult to locate for the shore angler. Flood or the beginning of the Ebb tide is typically the best and lures of choice are a willow leaf (silver or copper), Kastmaster (single hook), small plastic jigs (white, red or chartreuse), and or shad darts in various colors. You will be impressed with these “high flyers”. Its great shore fishing and you get to meet a lot of anglers and trade fishing stories (“secrets”).

STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing is good in LIS for this “hardhead fish with spines and large pectoral fins”. These beautiful and strange looking fish are now very common especially when bottom fishing at many of Connecticut’s shore fishing sites. With many fish measuring over 20 inches, 3 pounds and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make when handling them). They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are also very good to eat. Please be careful when handling them...be mindful of their spines located on top of their head and gill cover.

BLACKFISH fishing season opens July 1 in Connecticut waters. 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 tautogs over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (6 to 30 feet).

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.

BLUE CRAB are in the molting phase (sally crab) and becoming more active in the tidal creeks and rivers. With a little time...there should be beaucoup blue crabs of legal size. Also, please remember it’s mating season for the crabs and release all egg-bearing females (sooks or lemon bellies). There are some large “jimmies” (male crabs) being captured (8.25 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks. 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 most updated information (local hot spots), 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 net) is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabS.

CTDEEP will post the complete report at this site, eventually: CTDEEP

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URL: http://connecticutsaltwaterfishing.com/

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