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A career best for persistent Chris Brockett, a former Clinton resident who recently landed this 19.6-inch, three-pound and two-ounce brown trout fishing with 4# test line and a worm. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Trout rivers (top) are poised for Saturday’s Opening Day, while the Sound’s shoreline (bottom) is already seeing schoolie striper action. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
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Are you ready for some fishing? If you were thinking that Opening Day is next week, guess again. The second Saturday is here and, by the time “lines in” rolls around at 6 a.m., the lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams on the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s stocking schedule will all have fish in them that are ready to be caught.
This preseason has been terrific and now the real deal will be here in a blink. You can anticipate our continued average springtime weather with perhaps a touch of early rain and slightly cooler early morning temperatures. Fishing levels and flows should be manageable and the trout will be near bottom structure, by river bends, and downstream of riffles. We might even see a hatch develop when the sun pokes through and air temperatures warm to the mid-50s.
That being said, preparation for the big day has already begun. As usual, those last-minute traditional folks will wait until the day before to join forces with many others to purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps, along with their live bait, scented imitations, and artificials. Expect to see more fly fishers out this year than last year. They will be obtaining localized flies, as well as leaders, strike indicators, and fly floatant—something that’s usually forgotten.
This year’s Opening Day is shaping up differently in another way. There are more conversations about fish already caught during the early season—and rightfully so. Trout have been of bragging size proportions and there were plenty of comments about the one that got away. Of course, they all should have gotten away, taking into account that the preseason is catch and release only.
With all the hullabaloo about what has already taken place, there are still plenty of thoughts about what lies ahead. Somewhere down in a deep hole or tucked in behind a sunken tree limb is one big brown trout that’s seemingly ignoring all that passes by. No matter the drift, color, or configuration, nothing appeases its inner-most instincts. Its silhouette has been seen on more than one occasion. No doubt, it has seen the one above.
Repeated attempts went unanswered. Trying a few more spots down river and rebounding to the original one made no difference. As the day slipped by and the sun began setting, that one spot still haunted. Perhaps, a day without feeding along with the setting sun might jar its hunger pangs. So, it was time for one last cast.
Persistence paid off! No one will ever know if it was the presentation or what was at the end of the line that prompted a rise, followed by a typical brown trout exchange of skills. Actually, anything that looked and felt appetizing would have probably prompted the hit. Nevertheless, it was one of those moments that made the day’s effort all worthwhile. May your Opening Day be just as rewarding.
On the Water
Long Island Sound inshore water temperatures hit 46 degrees and will continue to rise in spite of a few hiccups here and there. It was a windy week with gusts to 30 knots and better, accompanied by periods of rain and choppy seas. However, fishers are still on an early track and were preparing their vessels for the upcoming season as the weekend bounced back in good fashion.
Blackfish (tautog) and winter flounder seasons have officially opened and, although it’s a bit early to be thinking of a ‘tog bite, our left-handed flatties can be found inshore, congregating in the bays and coves. It might be a little too soon for some, but there are already a few diehards testing the waters with mixed results. Spots that were productive in the past seem to be holding up now.
Schoolie striped bass are active in the main tidal rivers and, as many fishers are discovering, they have made their way into the Sound. Several beaches are producing as these fish are taking swim shads, teasers, and bait. Scented plastics are also playing a role in these catch and release forays that are occurring along river herring migration routes.
There has been chatter about largemouth bass poking around the shallows and edges, along with smallies scouting the weed lines. Typically, for this time of year, yellow perch and pickerel are being caught, while some anglers are encountering a few skirmishes with northern pike. Carp are on the radar, and white perch are being sought using worms and grass shrimp.
Still, this weekend is all about trout. Conditions are optimal for this time of year and it looks as though the weather will be cooperative for Opening Day. Judging by how the preseason developed, fishing ought to be brisk. Catching is set to surpass the previous two seasons based on recent conditions, a proactive stocking schedule, and the quality and numbers of trout caught in the Trout Management waters.
Final registrations are being accepted for the annual Codi & Bubba Memorial Opening Day Trout Contest on Saturday, April 13. The contest starts at 6 a.m. and runs to 5 p.m. Fish anywhere. Prizes will be awarded for the heaviest three trout caught and weighed at the shop. Five bucks gets you in and children aged 12 and under fish free when accompanied by a registered adult. Fish have won weighing as little as one pound to breeders more then 12 pounds. It’s anyone’s guess, so join in on the fun. It’s a good thing.
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 permits, 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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