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Tankerhoosen River is part of a natural habitat-oriented environment that offers trout anglers fabulous fishing opportunities within a pristine Wildlife Management Area. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Shunock Brook is considered a Wild Trout Management Area that winds through this quaint New England town originally settled in the mid 1600s. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
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Here we are, just a couple of days before St. Patrick’s Day or, as some would say, “St. Paddy’s Day,” as in reference to the Emerald Double D’s. After all, no self-respecting speaker of the Irish brogue (Brohg) would ever say “St. Patty’s,” thus referencing a burger and insulting any Irishman named Patrick.
Anyway, after taking in one of the numerous parades and chowing on some Irish soda bread dipped in stew, it might be time to relax and Google some of the rivers that you’re thinking of heading to in a few weeks. Tradition is one hard habit to break, but this might be the year to try something a little different.
Considering that we’ve experienced a mild winter with more rain than snow, and since the trout stocking program had considerably fewer challenges than last year, there will be more viable opportunities to weigh. Some favorites always attracting a crowd are the Farmington, Salmon, Housatonic, Shetucket, Pequabuck, Natchaug, Mill, Blackledge, Hammonassett, and Pequonnock rivers. Others that receive less notice, but nevertheless offer some good out-of-the-way fishing, are tucked away from the main traffic routes.
Two to consider for both wild and stocked trout are the Farm River in Branford and East Haven and Shunock Brook in North Stonington. Eight Mile River in Southington and Lyme, as well as Latimer Brook in East Lyme and Waterford, are also worth a trout trip. And if you really like traipsing through the brush in natural habitat, give Tankerhoosen River in Vernon, Hawley’s Brook in Easton and Weston, or Furnace Brook in Cornwall Bridge a try for a truly Class 1 or Class 2 wild trout fishing experience.
Of the more than 300 Connecticut rivers with catchable trout, this year could be one of the best in a while. The cold rivers are energized and the flows should be ideal by the time Opening Day rolls around on Saturday, April 13. This is the time for casting light outfits and when fishing is most exhilarating. No need to muscle crank or rapid strip your line this time of year. Between now and then, experience fishing the Trout and Wild Trout Management Areas where, until opening day, catch and release is the name of the game. Remember, before embarking on any fishing trip to the rivers referenced above, be sure to check the regulations and obtain your license and trout stamp.
On the Water
We are now into Daylight Saving Time mode and one step closer to spring. It looks as though we had the last stretch of real bone-chilling cold, unless something unexpected develops. Although the accompanying measurable snowfall affected the area for a day, the effect was controlled rather abruptly, leaving enough snow on the ground for a good soaking. Water temperatures in Long Island Sound are still hovering around 38 degrees and March winds have been causing choppy sea conditions. However, there are visible signs that the longer daylight hours are bringing about change.
For example, last Saturday, there were a pair of bald eagles circling the East River, eying a potential talon grab. No doubt, their eagle eyes had sights on the recently stocked Hammonasset River, too. Usually, around this time of year, anglers are working the Trout Management Areas (TMA), where most trout are stocked. It seems that this year those anglers had a bit more competition in the form of these raptors. Soon, it will be the feeding ospreys that will be seeking out trout in hopes of returning to their nests with fish intact.
The brief cold spell did ice over some lakes and ponds, but hardly enough to be considered safe. Since the Trout Management Lakes (TMLs) are open through the end of the month, anglers have been keeping a close eye on the water temperatures and conditions. They have also been paying close attention to lakes like Crystal Lake in Ellington and Stafford that have received brook, rainbow, and brown trout totaling 1,710, in addition to Amos Lake in Preston with a combined total of 1,600 trout.
Before we know it, Opening Day of the 2019 trout season will be upon us. Captain Morgan’s is already prepping anglers for that day, as well as those getting an early jump by fishing the TMA and TML. Gear is being serviced, new line spooled, and terminal tackle readied, along with new setups being acquired including 2-4# ultra lites and 4-5wgt ready-to-go fly outfits. Not to rush it, but after that will come the winter flounder, blackfish (tautog), and the holdover spring striped bass run. Will you be ready?
The lakes and ponds not part of the stocking program have been carefully watched. Except for a recent dip in the barometer hitched to the cold spell, fishing activity began showing signs of life. Namely, largemouth bass, pickerel, perch, and crappie catches were intermittent, but noticeable. With the warmer temperatures taking over this week, that activity should begin to perk back up, as will the holdover small striper action.
Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and international fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.
For all things fishy including fly fishing, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...
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