Fishing Connecticut’s Places of Noises
Tucked in among forests, pastures, and farmland, in close proximity to the Connecticut River, is a body of water well-known by residents of the River Valley. Historic buildings are located within three village centers, generally known for being quiet and peaceful. This laid-back and relaxing environment is and always has been an attractor for anglers who enjoy the outdoors — especially fishing lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.
East Haddam, located in Middlesex County and incorporated in 1734, has a population of around 8,875, and about 4 percent of its area is classified as water. Until 1650, it was inhabited by at least three indigenous peoples: the Wangunk, Mohegan, and Niantic, who referred to the area as Machimoodus, the place of noises because of numerous earthquakes that were recorded between 1638 and 1899. It is interesting to note that the land that is known today as Haddam and East Haddam was purchased from the natives in 1662 for 30 coats, worth about $100.
Any noises heard today emanate mostly from Mother Nature’s vocal cords — perhaps an eagle as it descends upon its prey, the splashing made when a fish feeds or feels the tug of an angler’s hookset. Bashan Lake is such a place. Trout, largemouth/smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, calico bass, yellow perch, and sunfish are readily available in this 273-acre lake.
Trout fishing is catch and release only from March 1 until 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of April. For the rest of the year, the daily limit is five. Bashan Lake is also considered a Bass Management Lake (BML), where a 12” to 16” protective slot limit is enforced. The daily creel limit is six bass, where only two may be 16” or greater. The daily speed limit on the lake is 3 mph, but limited to 6 mph 1/2 hour after sunset to 8 a.m.
Additional popular fishing spots in the general area are Devil’s Hopyard (860 acres), Lake Hayward (174 acres), Moodus Reservoir (486 acres), and Machimoodus State Park (300 acres). Any of these other pristine fishing destinations will offer a fine outdoor experience. Bring along a 4-6 pound class outfit for trout and around a 10-pound class outfit for bass. Typical terminal gear and an assortment of live or artificial baits, as well as some dry, nymph, and/or streamer flies will set an angler up just fine. It is always a good idea to check the fishing regulations and motor requirements before heading out.
On The Water
The first system brought mostly rain to the shoreline, with minimal snow accumulation. However, a secondary surface trough impacted the area waters, before quickly exiting to the northeast, but not before moon tides and gale warnings brought lowland flooding along the immediate shoreline. High pressure then built, before temperatures dipped and more scattered mixed precipitation, predominately in the form of rain, developed. Long Island Sound water temps remained in the low 40’s, as gusty winds and seas around two feet became the norm, even though winter remained rather unseasonably mild.
Many inland trout river flows and levels have been up and fast due to the rain, wind, and moon influence on groundwater, which will then be exported to stream/river flow. Too high and too fast can put down a bite due to the extra energy expended by fish pursuing forage, thus yielding a negative result from the food consumed. The day(s) before barometric pressure dropped, and as flows and levels became manageable, activity increased, and the bite resumed.
Thus far, timing has been everything during this hit-or-miss, rather mild winter season in southern Connecticut. Time it right, and most likely an experienced angler will hook into a nice trout looking for a meal. Finding an isolated pool, or a stretch of gently flowing water containing one or more calm ambush points will be key to hooking up using scented baits, an inline spinner, swimmer, or a nymph or streamer fly. Stocking continues, and the trout are biting!
Natural or artificial baits are being fished successfully in many lakes and ponds. Even though water temperatures are on the low side, and largemouth bass are cold-blooded, as the water temps drop, their metabolism slows, and their energy level is lowered. Slow retrieves, especially after a period of rough weather, are prime time since their digestive system has cleared the way for another meal. Whether fishing with live bait or artificials, the time to fish for largemouth bass is when they are the most hungry. That not only applies to dawn, dusk, and after dark but when conditions forecast inclement weather ahead or shortly thereafter. Like other lake and pond fish species, the same rules apply since they, too, are cold-blooded, meaning that surrounding water regulates their body temperature.
Because of recent deluges of rain and gusty winds, Atlantic salmon fishing has been hindered by flows and levels, as well as the opening and closing of dams. The few days of relief have helped, and if further upending weather conditions are abated, fishing for those broodstock specimens should continue, with fish hitting spoons and flies.
Those wishing to wake up a few striped bass can toss a swim bait, jig, or sinking fly in one of those holdover tidal rivers. Linesiders are feeding, but timing it with the weather fronts and their digestive systems can be tricky but not too difficult. Other than that, the Sound is relatively quiet, save a few passing freighters, beachcombers, basking seals, seagulls, and clammers working the bays when weather permits.
Fly Fishing: Outstanding Opportunity for the experienced or beginner! Booking inland and marine fly fishing lessons for 2023 with World Fisher, certified Master Fly Fishing Casting Instructor and Fishing Lodge Director. From trout, salmon, steelhead, and sea-run browns to striped bass, bonefish, permit, and tarpon, etc., techniques learned and honed will improve your fishing.
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 the latest gear, ice fishing, flies/fly fishing, rods/reels, clam/crabbing supplies, fishing trips, licenses/permits, and much more, 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 and Authorized Penn Premium Dealer, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better.