29 June 2018

• CT DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 28 June 2018


STRIPED BASS fishing remains good coming off the full moon. It is extremely important to find the pods of menhaden (bait) and fish under them (follow the birds). Shore anglers continue to catch bass in the lower tidal rivers, especially in the evening and at night. There are still plenty of large Striped Bass in the Western Sound,especially off Rye, New York's Playland fishing pier, and in deeper water in 40-70 feet of water. The bite has been awesome from Milford to Greenwich. Dunking chunked Atlantic Menhaden (Bunker) and live-lining American Eels and Menhaden have produced some outstanding specimens, big enough to qualify for the CT DEEP Trophy Fish Award Program. Many Enhanced Opportunity Shore Sites are red hot with Striper action including; Norwalk Calf Pasture, Saint Marys by the Sea, Pleasure Beach Family Pier, Bonds Dock (fish facing I95 bridge - there’s a deep hole in the corner that houses big Bass, off Silver Sands, Short Beach, Walnut Beach and Sandy Point as well as Fort Nathan Hales new fishing pier. Long rubber artificial Eels in pink and black have also proven to attract keeper bass.

Darien to Woodmont catches are also improving daily for anglers using chunk and live bait during the evening/night. 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 lower 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, Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier.

PORGY [Scup] fishing is very good in Long Island Sound. Like sea bass…they are very abundant. Hook up with your local party/charter boat to get into some of the best fishing ever! High-low rigs loaded with Clams are your best bet and most Enhanced Opportunity Shore Sites are holding schools of scup. But on fire this week is Fort Nathan Hale Pier, Pleasure Beach Pier, The Stratford Wall, Walnut Beach in Milford, Fayerweather Island, Seaside Park, and all the way from shore at Todd’s Point in Greenwich to Avery Point. Rocky Neck State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Meigs Point Hammonassett, Sherwood Island State Park 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. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information. Time to plan a trip on a party/charter boat in CT.

BLUEFISH fishing is very good with more and more bluefish arriving as we speak. They can also be found under the pods of adult menhaden found throughout the sound. It’s only a matter of time before “alligator” sized blues start to show up. Bluefish activity has been scattered in the Western Sound but trolling Bunker Spoons and drifting long, synthetic Eels has been working well off of Compo Beach, Sasco Beach, Sherwood Island State Oark, Seaside Park, Fayerweather Island as well as Pleasure Beach. Blues have also been caught this week at the Norwalk Islands and Middleground. We’ve had reports of juvenile Bluefish (Harbor Blues/Taylor Blues) at Seaside Park and Silver Sands State Park. The Race, Plum Gut, many of the major rocky reefs, rips, and shoal areas in LIS will harbor bluefish. Speed squidding 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. Harbor Blues (15 - 24 inches) are also very common in lower estuaries. Snappers (juvenile bluefish) have not arrived yet!

BLACK SEA BASS fishing is very hot this week, especially in the west at Buoy 20, Buoy 18 & the Middleground.Stratford Shoal Lighthouse and nearby Green Buoy “C” along with the Norwalk Islands…has produced the daily limit for many anglers. New Yorks BSB season is now open and anglers are catching them on the New York/CT border off of 6-mile Reef. Most effective has been chumming with Squid and/or Clams and tipping a high-low rig with Clams and Squid. BSB are often swimming with Scup so if you're catching BSB you'll likely be rewarded with several Scup (Porgy). 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 some keeper-sized sea bass along with fluke, sea robins and smooth dogfish (aka sand sharks). 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."

FLUKE [Summer Flounder] fishing is good in Long Island Sound. Better around Block Island Sound and off Montauk. Mid to western LIS anglers are reporting good numbers of smaller, sub-legal sized fish and a few keepers mixed in, up to 12 pounds. (Darien/Stratford/New Haven/Woodmont/Clinton area). Fishing has been a little spotty in the Western Sound. Your best bet this week is to fish in 15’-40’ of water and the deeper the water, the larger the Summer Flounder have been. Charles Island, Todds Point, the Norwalk Islands and Captains Island and Little Captains Island have been good Fluke fishing spots this week. South of Two Trees Island, South of Fishers Island and Plum Gut have been active.

You have to put your time in and be mobile moving from spot to spot. Fishing deeper tends to improve your chances for a “doormat” fluke. Other good 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, Lower 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 some nice fluke. Minimum size is 19 inches and the daily creel limit is 4 fish per person.

STRIPED SEA ROBIN fishing is always 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.

WHITE PERCH fishing remains good. Spend some time relaxing in any coastal estuary with a little piece of bait (shrimp/sandworm), enjoying some jumbo white perch. Wow, they are good eating. 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.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is ok in the Black Hall River, Four Mile, Lieutenant and Branford River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and in Clinton Harbor. These incredible hard fighting fish are on the move…moving up and down river systems. Connecticut Tarpon (Hickory shad) can be found mixed in with schoolie striped bass and harbor bluefish. Flood or the beginning of the Ebb tide is typically the best time and lure choices 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”).

BLUE CRABare becoming active in the tidal creeks and rivers. Crabs are beginning to molt and have now begun mating, becoming more active in the tidal creeks and rivers. With a little time…you can catch a lot of 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 (8.50 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks (females). Remember, all egg bearing females must be released without avoidable injury, and the 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) and a small circular crab trap is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.

WEAKFISH fishing is good with 20-34 inch size fish being caught in the east and central sound. Western sound catches are improving as the population rebounds from low abundance. Many are caught while anglers bottom fish for fluke. Good fishing in Niantic, New Haven Harbor by the breakwaters over to Woodmont/Milford Point and along Stratford shoals to Darien. One of the best eating saltwater fish you will ever catch. Weakfish is fairly good from shore at Eatons Neck, NY and at the Rye, NY Playland Pier. They've also been reeled in at West Havens Sandy Point and Sandy Point Audubon Society.

Read the full report at this link: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

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