Stop Dreaming and Start Fishing
This local Trout Management Lake provided excellent trout fishing for Austin Toal of Clinton (top left) and Dan Carter of Guilford (top right) on the day the stocking truck (bottom) rolled in. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
If catching pickerel is your thing, then you can surely appreciate this fine specimen reeled in by Clinton resident Austin Toal. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
We all yearn for that trip of a lifetime or the one favorite that we return to as often as possible. Some are distant and require flight time, while others are just a long drive. When there, we fish our brains out, creating lasting memories that will be shared with anyone who will listen.
Depleted energy aside, the members of this special fishing community always return rejuvenated, happy slip into that broken-in bed, but not too unhappy about giving up the hard ground following the long hours of non-stop fishing. Those fish species that are unfamiliar to home waters have a magnetic effect, often drawing fishers to faraway places, only to return to familiar ones later.
After getting back home, an angler’s first cast that results in a hookup typically strikes a note of satisfaction. Whether returning from a sun-drenched island, another continent, across the border, or even a lake in your own state, there truly is no place like home.
However, sometimes we can experience a similar change without even leaving home. For instance, take the weather and how it has influenced fishing this season. It has been warmer, opening the door to fishing waterways that normally would require different tactics. We are fishing waters that generally would be inaccessible this time of year and are also catching healthy fish that are biting sooner. The spring season has developed earlier and anglers are benefiting from the times. Change is good!
Glistening rainbow trout, richly dotted browns, and vividly colored brookies are reacting accordingly. They are feeding aggressively to the fly and conventional anglers alike. Hungry pickerel are lying in wait for unsuspecting alewives in order to replenish weight lost during the down period. Anglers are reacting in step with our fishery. Many are realizing that fishing on their own home turf, so to speak, can almost be as invigorating as tackling a distant destination—the one always dreamed about that made the bucket list.
Catching the first fish of the season after a layoff is a change of pace. It is stimulating and sets up the season ahead. It gives fishers the opportunity to put thing they heard or read about into play, along with adding the first pic of the season to a photo album or splashing it on social media. In your enthusiasm, please do not forget about the new 28- to 35-inch slot limit for striped bass when you go to click the shutter button.
On the Water
Inshore Long Island Sound water temperatures have been trending in the low 40s as water conditions keep fluctuating with the wind. We are into mid-March and the threat of any real winter keeps diminishing with each passing day as fishing activity steadily continues to increase. All of you fair-weather fishers ought to be thinking about wetting a line.
There are signs that early runs of alewives and blue-back herring are upon us and that we may even witness an early and somewhat better shad run than in the past few years. Schoolie striped bass are being caught along the beaches and are becoming more active in the popular tidal rivers as fishers connect with both artificial and soft baits. Seagulls are even plucking small winter flounder from the shores, indicating that those right-handed flatties are mobilizing. Perhaps, there may even be a few respectable black-backs caught come the beginning of April.
Still, most chatter has been focusing on the inland, where most waters are open and flowing. Pickings are usually slim at this time of year, but due to the unseasonably mild winter, anglers have been successfully fishing many of the management waters early. Rainbow, browns, and brookies have been stocked in the Trout Management Areas and Trout Management Lakes (TML) and are starting to get introduced into other waters on the schedule.
Trout in the rivers are responding to live baits, scented baits, and artificial lures including flies. Anglers favoring deeper holes are doing better than those working shallower stretches of water. The lighter the line, the better, but be cautious of any hazards that may have floated down and become tangled below the surface. Some of these fish are stocky and weighty, requiring a periodic check of the end of your line prior to recasting.
Although the TML have been stocked with trout, the non-stocked lakes are also seeing good catches of pickerel, crappie, perch, and catfish. Fishing the warmer side will always outproduce the colder side, and slower retrieves are generally more productive than a faster one this time of year. If you are waiting for trout season to officially start, you are missing out on some outstanding fishing right now. So, put a smile on your face and get out there!
Registration is currently underway for the 15th annual Codi and Bubba Memorial Opening Day Trout Contest. Fish anywhere. Prizes are for the three-heaviest trout weighed. Five bucks gets you in. Kids under 12 fish free when accompanied by a registered adult. It’s a good cause and donations are always welcome.
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 crabbing supplies, 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...