The Hunt is on for Seeforellens
Several years ago right after ice-out, we used to catch good-sized brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the ten-pound range out of Lake Quonnipaug in Guilford. One morning during that time in March (trophy trout lakes were always fished through March 31) there was ice formed. Sometime during the day, there would be a sudden crack and, low and behold, the ice was gone.
Shortly before and following that event, it was a normal occurrence for alewives to be aggressively pursued by brown trout, as well as some rainbows that would zero in on spinners and spoons that best imitated those alewives.
Most of the impressive large browns were a strain of German trout referred to as seeforellens, that would push those alewives to shore where anglers fishing the banks were on their game. The hookup and following fight is and was unforgettable.
Unfortunately, the subsequent stocking of catfish in this trout management lake and other waters over the cries of anglers, coupled with the cessation of stocking seeforellens, doomed that fishery for several years. These lake-based strain of European brown trout that mature later in life and grow faster than other strains are back to enjoy once again, thanks to the Kensington Hatchery.
There are eight Connecticut waters that have been stocked with seeforellen brown trout so far, five of which are classified as Trout Management Lakes (TMLs) that can be currently fished and where one trout can be harvested per day.
These quality fishing TMLs are spread out, covering several areas of the state. They are Crystal Lake (Ellington), Highland Lake (Winchester), Long Pond (North Stonington, Ledyard), Squantz Pond (North Fairfield, Sherman), and West Hill Pond (Barkhamsted).
For now, let us take a look at Long Pond (111 acres), which was last stocked with seeforellens at the end of February 2023. Appropriately named, this natural body of water has a maximum depth of 69 feet with an average of 18 feet. It is fed by Lantern Hill Brook, Silex Brook, and other small brooks to the north and drains south by the dam into a marsh that feeds Whitford Pond. Its northern basin slopes to the deepest water, while the most southern one shallows out to one-third of that and the one to the east, even less.
The bottom consists of sand, gravel, rubble, and boulders in shoal areas and muck in deeper ones. There is plenty of dense submerged vegetation in this clear pond but localized in eastern coves and the causeway, as well as scattered floating mats. Located in the southeastern part of Connecticut, it runs parallel to Lantern Hill Road and is situated between North Stonington to the east and Ledyard to the west. The 35-car boat launch area is located on the eastern shore at the northern end of the pond, where a 5 mph speed limit is enforced.
Fish species consist of brown and rainbow trout, including quality seeforellens, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, black crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead, bluegill, pumpkinseed, golden shiner, alewife, and American eel. There is ample depth, vegetation for cover, and seasonal stratification to support a varied thermocline, providing a wide band of suitable oxygenated trout habitat.
NEW FOR 2023: Trout fishing, provided there is legal access to the water, is allowed year-round. Trout and kokanee fishing is catch and release only statewide from March 1 until 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of April, except for Trout Management Lakes (TML), where harvest of one trout is allowed (check each lake for specific size limits) or in Tidal Waters and Tributaries where the daily creel limit is two trout at a 15-inch minimum length.
On The Water
Winter Storm Piper blew by most of Connecticut’s shoreline with relatively minimal impact but did bring out the plows, snowblowers, and shovels. By Day 2, much of the snow was gone — in part due to the rise in daytime temperatures to 40 degrees and the high-pressure system that gave way to an approaching low pressure which also passed. High pressure built again with temps building into the 50’s before another storm system named Quest briefly impacted the area with mostly rain, ushering in sun and clouds and more mixed weather. In the interim, Long Island Sound water temps remained in the high 30’s to the low 40’s while gusty winds kicked up seas to 2-4 feet before moderating.
Falling the way Piper did, it left minimal time for anglers to get out since most had prepped for it previously and then did what cleanup was left in its wake. However, there was a small 50-degree stretch of weather before Quest showed up, offering opportunities in the trout rivers and management areas.
The unseasonably mild weather saw favorable water levels and flows, and even seeing some early bug hatches. Those that took advantage of that time knew what that meant. Nymphs and streamers, inline spinners and swimmers, as well as scented and live baits produced, fished when thoughtfully used. Some of the lakes and ponds also saw activity — although variable and limited.
As far as Long Island Sound is concerned, it remains quiet but there are signs that Meteorological Spring is the beginning of a continued warming trend. Movement in the key tidal rivers is slowly intensifying and some sections of holdover striped bass habitat are experiencing active foraging. Take time to test it out — you might be surprised by either a striper or sea-run trout, depending on which river is hit.
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, 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.