A New Season is Upon Us
Ryan Novak of Clinton fished this warming lake where he landed and released these pre-spawn slab black crappie (left) and several largemouth bass (right), all on chartreuse spinnerbaits. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Rob Shorey of Clinton systematically fished one of the Trout Management waters before landing this nice preseason rainbow. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Spring will be officially here at 11:50 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 as those who celebrate the vernal equinox welcome the change of seasons. Life is about to be in full bloom, while below the water’s surface, more activity flourishes. The Ides of March recently passed us by, although it feels like we are in the middle of the spring season.
March 15 was unlucky for Julius Caesar, but fishers associate the month’s midpoint more with the luck of the Irish of St. Patrick’s Day, considering the good fortune that fishing can bring. Not all fortunes need to be found at the end of the rainbow.
Whether the pleasure of being with family and friends or finding solitude by scouting out new fishing grounds is the motivation, many feel fortunate when given the opportunity for either. People who fish eventually learn that it’s not the catch of the day that they’re fishing for, but instead, what results from the process. Whether it be bonding with nature or feeling fortunate enough to land the big one, the fishing bug continues to bite throughout life.
In times of need, there is some gratification in knowing alternatives to pushing a shopping cart and examining fish fillets for freshness. Fresh as fresh can be is what a fisher brings to the table. Enjoying a meal consumed within hours of being hooked is hard to beat—and healthy, too.
The effort involved is well worth it, and it isn’t even typically considered effort. That expended energy is spent in the realm of recreation. Rarely does a fisher not feel rejuvenated after spending a day on or by the water. People, water, and fish have coexisted for ages. Whether it be struggling on the harsh waters of the Bering Sea harvesting crabs, fishing the calmer waters of Long Island Sound, or somewhere in between, you can always find fishers with a line in the water. Perhaps, these are the fortunate ones who rely less on the purchased and more on what nature provides.
Hopefully, luck will be at the end of your rainbow and, on this St. Patrick’s Day, may your blessings and fortunes outnumber the shamrocks that grow.
On the Water
March is still acting like a lamb, bleating away as the days of winter slide by. Long Island Sound is going through its paces. Some days yield stiff winds, prompting small craft warnings. Other days, they slowly emerge from dense, fogged-in conditions. Water temperatures have topped the 43-degree mark, giving a further kick to the Sound’s fishery.
Small striped bass are spreading out along the shoreline, but not venturing too far from the lower tidal rivers they surfaced from. Now’s the time for an eight-weight fly rod and a weighted fly to be cast using an intermediate line. Spin casters are into small spoons and soft swimmers, although the occasional hard lure will do equally well. It would benefit the striped bass enthusiasts to take advantage of the early spring run of fish and release as many as possible for the sake of the fishery. A quick photo will do just fine and get the job done quite effectively.
There has been a bit more talk of fishers starting to prepare their small vessels for the upcoming season. However, a look at the marinas generally storing larger ones will reveal yards still full of shrink-wrapped vessels, indicating that the time has not yet come. Anglers looking to hit the lakes and ponds early are trailering, while others are hitting the beaten paths along those waters. Keep in mind that the Trout Management Lakes (TML) are open through the end of March and that most Trout Management Areas (TMA) are catch and release only until Opening Day. Check the Connecticut Fishing Guide inland section for other restrictions like barbless hooks.
Trout fishing continues to be excellent as more fish are being released into Connecticut’s rivers, lakes, and ponds. Sizes and quantities have been keeping anglers smiling as they are hooking into rainbows, browns, and brookies with live bait, prepared scented baits, and flies. For now, the action remains with the TMA and the TML.
On the flipside, largemouth bass have also been putting on a show. Bucketmouths are being quite aggressive during this early pre-spawn season, taking both live and artificial baits. Slab black crappie are also showing good signs of early spring feeding, along with toothy pickerel, perch, and some catfish. Pike are moving in and around bottom patches of growth, though catches have only been spotty. Still, golden shiners have been in several coves.
Registrations are being accepted 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 crab 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...