MARINE FISHING REPORT
Water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) range from 60 to 65 °F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS fishing is good to excellent with many large bass (40 pounds and larger) being taken in the recent week. The approaching October New Moon on the 18th should provide anglers with the best striper action, with many opportunities to catch a large “cow” bass. The bait of choice for trophy size “linesiders” (40 pounds and larger) are eels, hickory shad, bunker, butterfish and chunks of menhaden. The best times are during dawn and dusk, including nighttime and daytime periods of overcast low light conditions. The Race, Long Sand Shoal and Outer Bartletts being the hot spots, loaded with striped bass in the mid-30 inch to low 50-inch range. Other fishing locations include the Watch Hill reefs, Ram Island Reef (Fishers Island Sound), the Sluiceway, Plum Gut, inner Bartlett Reef, Hatchett Reef, Crane Reef, Connecticut River between the Baldwin Bridge and the Amtrak RR Bridge, Southwest Reef, Sixmile Reef, the reefs off Branford, Charles Island to Milford Point, the Norwalk Islands and the reefs off Stamford. Three 50 plus pound trophy striped bass were landed this week. Please use circle hooks to avoid gut-hooked fish. Large “cow” bass are susceptible to hooking mortality from stress. See page 41 of the CT Angler’s Guide for tips on Catch & Release Fishing.
2009 DEP Fishing Report Number 26, 10/15/2009
Page 5 of 5
These large striped bass are very important fish, providing superior genetics (offspring), which maintains a healthy striper population and fishing for years to come.
BLUEFISH the best action of the 2009 season with larger “Alligator Blues” showing up and feeding voraciously on prey (butterfish, menhaden and hickory shad) fish. Fishing is consistent throughout LIS. Hot spots include the Race, Long Sand Shoal, Milford Harbor to Greenwich Point Park, with many “alligators” in the 8-15 pound category. Bluefish in the mid-20’s to low 30 inch range can be caught off the major current breaks during the day. Other good fishing locations include the Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Bartlett Reef, Hatchett Reef, Connecticut River between the Baldwin Bridge and the Amtrak RR Bridge (incoming tide), New Haven Harbor, Milford Harbor, Lower Thames River, and lower Housatonic River. Bunker (chunks) and fish–imitating lures are providing fast and furious action with many anglers coming home with great memories, along with sore and tired arms.
HICKORY SHAD (“Connecticut Tarpon”) fishing remains good in the Niantic River and fair in the Connecticut River (CT DEP dock and Baldwin Bridge fishing pier) and Clinton Harbor. Incoming tides are best. Shad approaching 20 inches have been caught on willowleafs, shad darts and leadhead jigs with plastic curly tails. Chartreuse, white and copper are the colors of choice. Go out and enjoy some great shore-based fishing action.
BLACKFISH is rated good. Fish weighing 4-12 pounds are common with a few bruisers weighing 15 pounds have been landed. Look for “Reef Bullies” in shallower water (10-20 ft) near structure (reefs). Hermit crabs, green crabs, Japanese (Asian shore) crabs and conch are your best bets to score. Patience and mobility is the key with these finicky fish.
BLACK SEA BASS fishing is rated good at any of the major and minor (smaller) reefs and wrecks in Long Island Sound. Fish weighing 2-4 pounds are common with a few “bucketmouths” weighing in at 6 pounds have been taken this week. Popular spots include Norwalk Islands, Stratford Shoal/Middle Grounds, Charles Island, Townshend Ledge, Branford Reef, Brown’s Reef, Faulkner’s Island, Kimberly Reef, Ram Island Reef, lower Thames River, Southwest Reef and Black Point in Niantic. Hermit and green crabs, squid strips, peanut bunker and conch are your baits of choice to catch this prized gamefish. Its white flesh is excellent eating.
ATLANTIC BONITO/LITTLE TUNNY are off Watch Hill and the eastern tip of Fishers Island, Wilderness Point, the Race, Pine Island, and Millstone Point to Pleasure Beach.
BLUE CRAB - Crabbing is rated good, after a few years of low catches. Get them before they head-off into deeper water and migrate south. Any tidal creek, (especially the lower Connecticut River) along the coastline is offering some good opportunities and family fun crabbing for these tasty morsels. Look for “Jimmies” (male crabs) further inshore up tidal creeks, into freshwater. Female crabs (“Lemon Bellies”) will be found in the estuary along the coastline.
Just as a reminder, blue crab regulations are as follows: Open season is from May 1-November 30; minimum size is 5 inches for hard shell and 3 1/2 inches for soft shell measured across carapace from spike tip to spike tip. Possession of uncooked blue crabs without the body shell attached is prohibited and only two claws per body may be possessed. Blue crabs measuring less than the minimum size and all egg bearing females must be returned to the water unharmed. Legal method of take is by scoop net, hand line/trot line, star crab trap and circular topless trap not exceeding 26 inches in diameter, and semi circular cylindrical trap 12 inches or less in diameter. Crabbing gear must be attended at all times.
Remember to check the 2009 Connecticut Angler’s Guide for tidal information (page 52) and pages 49-51 for saltwater trophy fish award information. For regulation updates, please check our website www.ct.gov/dep/fishing
DEP WEEKLY FISHING REPORT
CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106