What's biting in late July?
The Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Division’s most recent fishing report (No. 14, issued July 26) says that largemouth bass fishing is generally good while northern pike fishing is slow in freshwater lakes. River flows are slow and warm with the recent heat waves, but heavy thunderstorms can increase flows rapidly.
Striped bass and bluefish angling reports include good areas in both eastern and western Long Island Sound.
LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing is reported as generally good. Night fishing is in full swing and producing many fish. Try black jitterbugs and surface poppers. Areas to try include Bantam Lake, Winchester Lake, Mansfield Hollow Reservoir, Quonnipaug Lake, Wononskopomuc Lake (12 fish for one angler), Candlewood Lake (20 fish for one boat), Lower Bolton Lake, Pattaconk Lake (20 fish on one trip), Lake Saltonstall (catches include a 5.5 lb bass), Halls Pond, Hopeville Pond, Griggs Pond, Bigelow Pond, Lake McDonough, Cedar Lake, Tollgate Pond, Pierrepont Pond, Mamanasco Lake, Lake Housatonic, Highland Lake, Pachaug Pond, Ball Pond, West Hill Pond, Silver Lake, Bashan Lake, Lake Lillinonah, Mudge Pond, Hatch Pond, Park Pond, Wood Creek Pond, Uncas Lake, Bishop Pond, Rogers Lake, & Lake Hayward. Tournament angler reports are from Pachaug Pond (good, not many lunkers), Rogers Lake (fair, nothing over 4 lbs) and Candlewood Lake (fair).
SMALLMOUTH BASS are reported at Lake Housatonic, Lake Lillinonah, Candlewood Lake, Lake McDonough, Coventry Lake, Squantz Pond, Rainbow Reservoir, Highland Lake and Mashapaug Lake. River smalllie action is good, with reports from Farmington River (Tariffville), Naugatuck River (Seymour area) and the upper Housatonic River (excellent action). Tournament angler reports are from Candlewood Lake (good, bags include a number of 3-4 lb fish) and Lake Zoar (fair).
NORTHERN PIKE fishing is reported to be slow in Winchester Lake and Bantam Lake (fish to 31”) and good at Lake Lillinonah.
Some WALLEYE are being reported from Coventry Lake and Batterson Park Pond.
Excellent CALICO BASS action on small minnows is reported at Bantam Lake, Park Pond and Silver Lake.
CARP action was excellent for anglers fishing the banks of the Farmington River. Euro-style brought several (5 to mid 30’s lbs) fish to the swim. Boilies & method with pop-ups & hair rigs did the trick.
CATFISH — Summer catfishing is slowing in the recently stocked areas. Good fishing may be found at: Bunnells Pond (Bridgeport), Lake Wintergreen (Hamden/New Haven), Black Pond (Middlefield) and Silver Lake (Meriden).
PANFISH this season has been very good. Now is the time to get the family out and experience this fast-paced action. Target the shallows with bobbers and worms, grubs or small shiners. Small spinners and jigs have been very productive as well. Small local ponds are often great for panfish, for bigger waters try Quinebaug Lake, Red Cedar Lake, Mashapaug Lake, Pierrepont Pond, Park Pond, Mount Tom Pond, Griggs Pond, Lake Winfield, Bishop Pond, Winchester Lake, Tyler Lake, Mamanasco Lake, Rogers Lake, Lake Hayward, Black Pond (Woodstock), Hatch Pond, Black Pond (Middlefield) and Mudge Pond.
CONNECTICUT RIVER — The river remains warm, and flows continue to be low. Flows could increase some by the weekend due to forecast storms (depending on the rainfall amounts in the watershed north of CT). NORTHERN PIKE fishing has been slow. Good numbers of SMALLMOUTH BASS are being caught north of Hartford (near the confluence of the Farmington River and around Kings Island) and below Hartford in the Salmon River area. Fair to good fishing reported for LARGEMOUTH BASS from Hartford to Haddam/East Haddam, catches include a number of fish in the 3-5 lb range, and there’s been some good action on “shorts” (fish less than 12 inches) to keep anglers busy. CATFISH are being taken on fresh/frozen cut bait. Target shallow areas near deep drop-offs, plenty of 5-7 lb fish are being caught. CARP fishing has been good in the lower river during the right tide.
Lakes & Ponds — Early morning anglers are still boating some good fish, with reports from Mashapaug Lake, Coventry Lake (evening), Crystal Lake (riggers at 15-20 feet), Lake Wononskopomuc, East Twin Lake (try 30-40 feet of water), Highland Lake (center basin; early/late), Lake McDonough, Beach Pond (deep trolling streamers) and West Hill Pond (3-4 colors).
Rivers & streams — Although recent rains did refresh flows in some areas, many rivers and streams throughout the state remain well below typical summer levels. With the possibility of intense thunder storms in the forecast, flows may increase rapidly in some areas. Anglers should note that smaller streams and tributaries typically return to fishable levels quickest. Early and late in the day are peak fishing times during this time of the year. Anglers are reporting some action from the West Branch Farmington River, Farmington River, Housatonic River (early/late) and Hammonasset River.
Farmington River — Trout fishing remains good and flows (West Branch) continue to be clear and moderate (259 cfs at Riverton, plus an additional 12 cfs from the Still River). Morning West Branch water temperatures are in the mid 60’s F.
Current hatches/patterns include Ephemerella needhami (#22-26, early morning), Leadwing Coachman (Isonychia bicolor, #10-14, fast water, evening), Blue Wing Olives (Drunella sps., #18-24, mid-late afternoon to evening), Sulphurs duns (Epeorus vitreus, #14-20, morning; afternoon to early evening for spinners; hatch is coming to an end), Rusty Spinner (#20), Caddis (tan #18-24, all day; green #18/22, evening), Midges (#20-32, morning), Black Ants (#14-18, mid day in fast water), Black Beetles (#8-10, mid day), Flying Ants (#18-24, mid day, when windy/humid) and Golden Drake (Anthopotamus distinctus, #10-14, late evening).
Housatonic River — Morning temperatures (TMA) are currently in the upper 60’s rising to the mid 70’s (F. Flows remain low, currently 182 cfs at Falls Village and 297 cfs at Gaylordsville. Current weather forecasts include the possibility of intense thunder storms and periods of heavy precipitation tonight and Friday, anglers can call the FirstLight Housatonic River Flow Information automated phone (1-888-417-4837) for up-to-date flow status. Current conditions (warm temperatures and low flows) can be especially stressful to trout, so anglers should consider switching to smallmouth bass (these conditions are near ideal for smallie fishing). Those targeting trout need to take extreme care when handling trout they plan to release.
Insect hatches/patterns include White Wulff (#10-12, evening- the white fly hatch is heavy now), Blue Wing Olive (#16-18, early morning; spinner fall in evening), Leadwing Coachman (#10-12 evening), Light Cahill (#10-12, evening), and assorted caddis (#14-18, early morning & evening). Terrestrial season is here, try Black/Cinnamon Ants (#18-22, mid day in fast water), Black Beetles (#14-18, mid day) and Flying Ants (#18-22, mid day, when windy/humid). Don’t forget streamers (morning & evening), patterns to try include White Zonkers, Wooly Buggers, Muddlers, Micky Finn, Grey or Black Ghosts (#4-10). The Dobson fly is active and anglers can use a black woolly bugger to mimic it.
Anglers are reminded that the thermal refuge areas on the Housatonic, Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers are closed to fishing as of June 15. These areas will reopen on September 1. There is no fishing within 100 feet of the mouths of posted tributaries to these rivers.
Notes & Notices
* WYASSUP LAKE (impossible to launch) remains drawn down for dam repairs.
* Anglers on the SALMON RIVER should be aware that the current work in the Lyman Viaduct (Colchester) reconstruction project on Dickinson Creek, which includes filling in a large scour hole below the twin culverts and restoring fish passage (after 50+ years), may at times cause some noticeable turbidity, including in the Salmon River downstream of Dickinson Creek.
* GREEN FALLS RESERVOIR has been drawn down 15 inches to facilitate ongoing dam repairs in the Pachaug River system. The pond remains open to fishing and car top boating access, although the swimming area has been closed.
* LAKE ZOAR — A water ski clinic for the disabled is scheduled for Saturday, July 28 in the upper end of Lake Zoar. These events run from 9 am to 4 pm, and boaters are asked to take care when passing through this area (marked by buoys) of the lake, and avoid interfering with the event.
Tips & Tricks for Catfishing
BAIT CHOICES — If big channels are your target, use cut baits. Cut baits are pieces of sliced baitfish. These baits attract cats over long distances. Use oily fish when possible.
SMALL TO MIDSIZE RIVER HOTSPOTS — Just below each set of rapids, at the head of each pool, fast water carves the channel deeper, creating a depression or hole. This is the deepest part of the pool and the area where channel catfish are most likely to be found. Channel cats wait in ambush for food to pass by.
BIG-RIVER HOTSPOTS — Big-river channel cats feed and rest near structure that breaks or reduces the current. These include rock, gravel and sandbars, deep holes and cover in outside bends, bottom holes or depressions, bottom humps and deep holes at tributary junctions.
POND CATS — Since these ponds are small, anglers have fewer problems pinpointing actively feeding fish. Focus your attention on deep-water areas where channel cats usually stay during daylight hours and during the temperature extremes; near the mouths of feeder streams; near the outside (deeper) edges of green aquatic vegetation; and near rockpiles, stumps, logs, trees, holes, humps and points.
STILL-FISHING TIPS — The area just below a dam provides some of the best action. Fishing near fallen trees at the head of a deep pool on an outside bend of the river also can lead to good catches. When still-fishing from a boat position your boat for best access to the structure you’ve chosen.
DRIFT-FISHING — Drift-fishing helps the cats find your bait. You can drift-fish in a boat or drift-fish your bait below a bobber. When in a boat, use a drift rig comprised of a bottom-bouncer sinker placed on the line above a barrel swivel to which is attached a 2- to 3-foot leader with a 3/0 hook on the end. When wading or bank-fishing on a river, drift your bait beneath a bobber. Drift by one side of a hole, then down the other and finally right down the middle. Keep your rod tip high when drifting a bobber rig. This keeps most of the line off the water, resulting in better rig control and hooksets.
HOOKS — Be sure your hooks are needle-sharp. Second, instead of burying your hook in bait, leave the barb exposed. Catfish won’t notice. More hookups will result.
RODS — Use long rods (7 feet-plus) when bank-fishing. These offer several advantages, including increased casting distance, more “reach” for working rigs properly around cover, better bait control and more hook-setting and fighting power.
NIGHT BITE — When night-fishing, know when a cat takes your bait. Helpful products include: night bobbers (special floats with a light on top powered by a cyalume light stick or lithium battery); a 12-volt ultraviolet light, which makes fluorescent monofilament glow, allowing you to see line movements; rods with glow-in-the-dark or fluorescent tips; rod bells, which clip on and ring when a catfish shakes your pole; and electronic bite indicators, which attach to your line and emit an audible signal when a catfish runs with your bait.
(summarized from Game & Fish)
MARINE FISHING REPORT
Surface water temperatures in Long Island Sound (LIS) are in the lower 70’s(F. Check out the following web sites for more detailed water temperatures and marine boating conditions:
STRIPED BASS and BLUEFISH fishing is good at the following areas: The Watch Hill reefs, lower Thames River, the Race, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, Little Gull Island, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River, Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef including outer SW Reef, Six Mile Reef, the reefs off Madison to Branford, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. SNAPPER BLUEFISH fishing remains good to excellent in the tidal rivers and creeks.
SUMMER FLOUNDER (fluke) fishing has really slowed down and is rated just fair to good. Deeper water (90+ ft) appears to be your best bet for hooking a doormat. Fluke spots include Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Two Tree Island Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, outer New Haven Harbor, and off the mouth off the Housatonic River.
SCUP (porgy) fishing is good to excellent on the major reefs. Fish measuring 17 inches in length have been reported.
BLACK SEA BASS fishing around slack tide over hard rocky bottom and wrecks in deep water is your best bet in LIS. On the other hand, Block Island Sound has been red hot!
HICKORY SHAD fishing remains hit or miss in the lower Connecticut River.
STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing has been real good with some good sized fish being caught. An angler targeting fluke near the Housatonic River caught a trophy robin that weighed in at over 4 lbs!
BLUE CLAW CRABBING remains good in the tidal creeks of Stonington to Mystic, Thames River area, Niantic, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Clinton to New Haven.
SPECIAL NOTE: During the summer months, anglers may accidentally hook up with a sandbar shark or a sand tiger shark. Sandbar and sand tiger sharks are protected and must be released unharmed. Simply cut the leader if you encounter one. Do not attempt to bring these sharks onboard! For more information and regulations please refer to the following website: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/Compliance_Guide/Rec/Rec_Compliance_Guide_QR_Shark.pdfU
For Coastal Shark Identification please refer to the following: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/sharks/2008/Rec_shark_ID_placard.pdf.
DEEP WEEKLY Fishing Report
Connecticut Department of
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106
2012 DEEP Fishing Report Number 14, 7/26/2012
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