Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 4-11-13

Stripers Arrive in Rhode Island

Holdover Striped Bass Active in Connecticut Rivers

Rhode Island Trout Fishing Opens Saturday

A symbolic event that many saltwater anglers look forward to every year is the first wave of migrating striped bass along the oceanfront. That happened in South County on Monday afternoon with an influx of fresh schoolies laden with sea lice. In Connecticut waters, if migrating striped bass aren’t already here by the time you read this, they’ll be close, and resident ones are growing more active by the day. Flounder and blackfish action remains on the slow side for the most, but water temperatures are on the rise. In fresh water, Rhode Island’s trout season opens this Saturday and Connecticut’s catch-and-release areas continue to provide awesome opportunities. On top of that, big largemouth bass are crushing jigs in shallow water.


Rhode Island Fishing Report

Warm days and southwesterly winds helped usher in an invasion of small stripers this week, and their larger siblings can’t be too far behind. Steve McKenna of Quaker Lane Outfitters reported them on Monday at a popular early-season spot, the West Wall. He’d been fishing there every afternoon since April 1 and finally found a few takers on April 8, which is a tad earlier than average, he told me. Steve said 3- or 4-inch pearl Cocahoe Minnows on a ½-ounce jighead is all you really need right now, and tide doesn’t matter as much as a southwest wind. The number of micro bass increased dramatically along the oceanfront on Tuesday according to OTW contributor David Pickering. He and his son caught a mess of schoolies on a Cocahoe Minnow and shrimp-fly-teaser combo. The size of the bass fish is not nearly as exciting as the affirmation that a new season is finally upon us!

There’s another significant occasion taking place in Rhode Island waters this weekend: Opening Day of trout season. Joe at River & Riptide said anglers have good reason be excited for 6 AM on Saturday because RI DEM has been doing an outstanding job of making sure lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are chock full of cooperative trout. There’s no need to get technical this weekend, most of the proven trout baits/lures/flies will do the trick. On the bait side, stick to shiners, garden worms, or mealworms under a float or on bottom with split shot. As for artificials in the early season, I’ve always had luck with spinners like Panther Martins and Rooster Tails, or spoons like Thomas Bouyants. And while fly-fishing, it’s hard to beat streamer patterns like Woolly Buggers. To find where to be this weekend, here’s a complete list of trout-stocked waters.

Connecticut Fishing Report

While there were no confirmed reports of migrating striped bass in Long Island Sound this week, there seem to be increasingly active resident bass holding in almost every tidal river and harbor along the shoreline. Cheyenne of The Fish Connection shared that customers are finding bigger holdovers at night in Norwich Harbor and up in the Yantic and Shetucket Rivers using herring imitations like rubber baits, plastic swimmers and even topwater lures. Jason at Bobby J’s Bait and Tackle talked about how the warm spell really seemed to spread out the holdover population in the Housatonic River. They can be found pretty much day or night from the river mouth up to the Derby Dam. There’s a lot of herring in the river, so Jason’s been sticking with soft-plastic baits over 7-inches long like Slug-Gos and Fin-S Fish.

Rainbow Trout on Saugatuck River
Connecticut’s TMAs have been stocked with some trophy-sized trout. On The Water contributor Capt. Chris Elser caught and released this big rainbow trout in Connecticut’s Saugatuck River.

No blackfish catches were shared this week, but then again not many anglers are trying for them yet and the recent wind hasn’t been helping. Jason at Bobby J’s heard of a few winter flounder being caught in Milford harbor on sandworms and clams and noted that lots of chum was the key factor. Rich at Fisherman’s World said guys are trying for flounder in Norwalk Harbor with mixed results—nothing to write home about yet.

In freshwater, Opening Day of trout season is still a week away, yet catch-and-release areas are loaded with fish and fair game right now. CT DEEP has stocked the Naugatuck River Trout Management Area again, this time 20 broodstock trout were in the mix, each between 3 and 10 pounds! That was just the latest TMA to receive a stocking, others include Coppermine Brook, Pequabuck River, Mill River (Hamden), Mill River (Fairfield), Willimantic River, Moosup River, Salmon River, Saugatuck River (fly only), Yantic River, Hammonasset River, Hockanum River, and the West Branch Farmington River. OTW contributor Chris Elser and a buddy had fun in the Saugatuck TMA last weekend and reeled in two rainbow trout over 4 pounds using stonefly imitations and Woolly Buggers. To celebrate Opening Day next Saturday, Fishin’ Factory III in Middletown will be having CYR BBQ making breakfast sandwiches bright and early, as well as pulled pork throughout the day.

Jim Boyne with Big largemouth
This could be the best time of year to catch a big bass. Jim Boyne with his personal best largemouth at 8 pounds 5 ounces from a northwest Connecticut lake.

In addition to trout, it’s a good time of year to stick a trophy largemouth bass. Connecticut bass guru Jim Boyne posted a remarkable catch on of an 8-pound, 5-ounce personal best he landed on Saturday while jigging a shallow hump on lake in northwestern Connecticut.

Fishing Forecast for Connecticut & Rhode Island

The nod this weekend has to go trout fishing in Rhode Island, which is primed and ready to go for Opening Day on Saturday. All trout-designated waters have been freshly stocked and families and friends are chomping at the bit to hit their favorite honey holes as they do every year. If schoolie fishing is more up your alley, head to South County or to a Connecticut tidal river with some jigs and soft-plastic baits. Bigger stripers are on their way!

3 on “Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 4-11-13

  1. Fred C. Johnson

    Just got back from the Southeast Coast of NC. Caught a 20" Red Drum and a 12" Speckled Trout using large live shrimp. (Could keep the drum but had to release the trout.) Next day my brother-in-law caught and kept a Black Drum. We ate both drums.

  2. david m.

    anybody know of stripers from shore yet?
    how about the ct river?

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