Pictured above: Derrick Kirkpatrick with a nice Thanksgiving weekend brown trout.
The blackfish action bite has started to transition, but it hasn’t stopped the big fish from chewing. In the freshwater, the late fall trout bite seems to be picking up in the TMA’s.
Connecticut Fishing Report
Andrew, at Fishin Factory 3 in Middletown, told me that as the water temperatures continue to drop down around that 50-degree mark, the large blackfish continue to feed on the deeper rockpiles. He made it out Thanksgiving morning and was able to put a 3-man limit on the boat in very short time. He got back after it Tuesday and worked some new water, where he found a nice pile of quality fish, with a 12-plus-pound beast being the highlight. Local striped bass anglers took advantage of some of the warmer weather this week, and reported good numbers of schoolie to 35-inch striped bass throughout the Housatonic and around New Haven. Freshwater anglers are reporting good trout action in the Salmon River TMA’s, while the pike guys are finding some nice fish on large baits around the marinas and in most of the CT River tributaries.
Gene at Black Hall Outfitters in Old Lyme reports that the blackfish have started to make the move to deeper water, and have become slightly more difficult to locate. Those who have put some time in though, have found some very nice fish. The striped bass fishing out front is winding down, but reports from those who have targeted them were strong at the end of last week. If you make it out this weekend, it may be worth taking a look around for some surface activity. The blackfish and sea bass bite has been strong in Rhode Island, and a lot of anglers have made the trek out that way to hit the party boats.
John, at Bobby J’s Bait and Tackle in Milford, reported that the diehard blackfish anglers that have braved the weather are still doing well in the central sound. Over the holiday weekend several fish in the 6- to 9-pound range were caught, with a couple over 11 pounds in the mix as well. Schoolie striped bass are all over the area; up inside the Housatonic, around the mouth and in front of most of the beaches. Most of these fish are small, but fish to 36 inches or so have been taken, especially after dark.
At Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, word from the blackfish guys is that the fishing is still very good around the Islands and in most of the western sound. Fishing in 20 to 35 feet of water seemed to produce best over the weekend, and that depth keeps transitioning deeper every couple of days. Similar to eastern CT, the quality of fish out west continues to improve. An 8.4-pound fish was weighed in over the weekend, along with quite a few between 5 and 7. There are some decent striped bass blitzes west of Greenwich, but most of the local activity is focused on the Housatonic. Large schools of bass are spread throughout the river from the mouth to the dam, and some quality fish to 40 inches have been taken after dark. The herring have not yet arrived in the harbor, but with temps dropping, we should be getting close.
Torrey, at Upcountry Sportfishing in New Hartford, reported that quite a few anglers ventured out over the holiday weekend, and while results varied, they were all pretty positive. The best reports were from nymphers who covered the most water to find concentrations of trout. We are transitioning from fall to winter conditions, and the trout are moving around and dropping out of the faster water, so you have to locate the fish, and they may be in totally different spots than they were a few weeks ago. Look for them to collect in the pools, moderate speed deeper riffles, and deeper/softer runs over the next month as water temps continue to drop. Streamer fishing has also been productive for most anglers, with olive being the hottest color recently. Hatches are still mostly light to moderate, with anglers finding success in the early AM on Winter Caddis Dries. Afternoon BWO hatches remain light so far, however small BWO type nymphs have been very effective in the afternoons, despite the lack of naturals on the water.
Rhode Island Fishing Report
The fishing stayed strong over the holiday weekend for The Frances Fleet in Narragansett. The weather has cooperated for the most part, and so have the large blackfish. Saturday’s trip was decent, with quite a few anglers getting limits of fish to 9-pounds; while Sunday’s trip was very strong. On Sunday, nearly everyone went home with limits, and quality was the name of the game. A good deal of the fish were in the 7- to 10-pound range, and a beast at 11+ pounds was the pool winner. It was more of the same on Monday and Tuesday, with quality blackfish to 10 pounds, and a decent amount of codfish in the mix. Captain Rich reported some of the best cod fishing they have seen in weeks, with fish to the low teens and easy limits of sea bass. The blackfish trips will continue to sail for a few more weeks and aren’t showing signs of slowing, and it seems things are shaping up better for the winter cod season.
Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, reports that local anglers have been cashing in on a strong squid bite in Newport and Jamestown, and there are also some nice schools showing up in the Watch Hill area. The mackerel bite is also starting to get going pretty well around Newport. Striped bass anglers are finding decent numbers of school fish along the South County beaches, with a couple keepers in the mix around the breachways. The tautog bite is still very good on the deeper rockpiles in the area, with Brenton Reef being a common hotspot. Trout fishing has been consistent at Olney Pond and Lincoln Woods; while the carp bite remained hot in the Blackstone and Ten Mile Rivers.
Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters in Westerly reports that the local beaches are still showing a lot of signs of life, with surfcasters finding good numbers of striped bass to 30 inches or so. Birds can be seen working bait up and down the beaches, and there has often been small bass feeding right up in the wash. There are still quite a few hickory shad in the mix, and anglers are hooking up by using a small teaser ahead of their main plug. Tautog fishing is still going very strong locally, and it seems more and more large fish are being reported as the season rolls on. Latimers has picked up nicely, but most of the smaller reefs from Watch Hill to the backside of Fishers are producing.
Connecticut Fishing Forecast
The blackfish bite continues to go strong, and as the temperature and fishing pressure drops, it appears that the feeding activity of the large blackfish has increased. We still have a week of fishing in CT, and 2 weeks in RI, so get out and get after it before the long winter settles in. School striped bass action has been strong in both states, and provides a great way to wet a line before things start to freeze up. Flows are nice in the trout streams, and action in the TMA’s should be good throughout the weekend.