Prepare for an Early Striped Bass Bite
As netloads of trout are being stocked in statewide waters, inclusive of our rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds, anglers are burning up paths to get to the most recently stocked areas. Fishing has been that good in a season where air temperatures have reached 20 degrees above normal, and insect hatches have spread across water surfaces.
Trout have been feeding in the riffles, protective sub-surface structure, along far river bank drop-offs and slurping the subcutaneous water layer that is located near the surface. The menu has not changed much from previous days, which included a variety of natural/scented baits, hard/soft artificials, and flies.
With schools being closed for spring break, many students were out enjoying some well-earned fishing time and catching quality fish. It was, and currently is, the time for the immediate family and grandparents to take the young ones out to catch their first fish. After all, a few of these days actually felt like summer, which will actually be here before you know it.
Hiking paths is an ongoing event, particularly those that run along the perimeter of a pond or lake. Carrying a two-piece fishing rod and a few accessories, terminal tackle, lures, and/or bait in a backpack will most likely pay off along the way. Alternatively, paddling a canoe or kayak by structure, like stumps and sunken logs or weedlines, should be part of any well thought-out game plan as that will generally trigger a response.
Walking the beaches and bays can also zero in on clues to striped bass movements once baitfish tasting has been revived. Birds diving for food near the shoreline, whether eagles, ospreys, or cormorants, can be dead giveaways as to feeding sprees.
Things are about to come together in the Sound! Forage, holdover stripers, and those migrating up the coast will be merging, and suddenly the bite will become intense — perhaps sooner than many expected, considering most vessels are still under wraps. Get ready!
Update: Many concerned people have inquired as to comments heard or read about the commotion surrounding the shop last week. First of all, thank you for your thoughtfulness. Secondly, all is fine except for my beloved second mate — my truck.
It seems that trout paths were not the only thing burning up a few days ago. After a smooth and uneventful drive to the shop, my truck was parked in its usual spot. Moments thereafter, smoke appeared from the engine compartment, followed by a burst of flames that engulfed the engine compartment and inside cabin. Quick response by neighbors, passersby, and especially first responders eliminated a critical threat. A special thanks to Madison Hose Company No. 1, North Madison Volunteer Fire Company, and Madison Police Department for their quick and professional response.
On The Water
High pressure south of the region was in control as an early season Bermuda High set up, leading to above-average, near 80 degree air temperatures and pleasant days. A weak low pressure passed just south and east before another frontal system moved through, causing unsettled weather. Then followed a new high-pressure system that resumed spring-like air temperatures that maintained in the 60s. Nearshore Long Island Sound water temps hit the 50s as seas were relatively calm with light breezes and occasional gusts.
Keen-eyed eagles and ospreys are not only swooping down for inland trout but are actively hooking their talons into Atlantic menhaden that are schooling near the shoreline, bays, and lower tidal rivers. As the air temperatures rise, trout diets are varying. More natural foods are becoming available, and as such, settled-in trout are biting on them.
However, recently stocked fish are gulping up scented baits while conventional anglers are doing well with inline spinners, swimmers, small spoons, etc., and fly fishers are working the hatches with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. There is no let-up in sight for this early springtime bite as more inland waters continue to be stocked and anglers fish the trout parks, management areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.
Local lakes and ponds are not limited to repeated trout catches. With the rise in temperatures, vegetation growth will begin to choke up many of those waters. However, most of them are quite fishable now, and largemouth bass are on the feed, inhaling natural baits as well as hard/soft artificials.
Just about every species (perch, crappie, pickerel, sunfish, etc.) that one would expect to find in a lake or pond is feeding. Check out some of the lakes and ponds that are known for their smallmouths and northern pike and rivers for their channel catfish and carp, and one will find the spring bite occurring there as well.
Holdover striped bass are migrating down the tidal rivers and into the Sound, where they are feeding primarily on Atlantic menhaden, shad, and herring. These schoolies are hungry and can be hooked on menhaden, shad, soft/hard baits, spoons, small bucktails, swim shads, jig heads/twisters, and sinking flies. The action has been above average for this time of year, so if using bait, remember to tie on an inline circle hook. It's the regulation.
Simultaneously, the coastal striper migration has hit New England, so be prepared for additional action. While fishing the tidal rivers, white perch have been biting in brackish waters on a piece of a worm slipped onto a small jig head.
Blackfish (tautog) are kicking in along the immediate shoreline, including the breakwaters. With less than two weeks to go before the spring season ends, it looks as though we will be getting more productive time than last season, providing conditions hold. Some of the togs caught have been near high single digits, and then some.
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, 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.