Rhode Island Fishing Report – May 21, 2020

striped bass on fly

School striped bass are the name of the game right now, but an influx of larger bait should start to attract some larger specimens in short order!

Rhode Island Fishing Report

Captain Rob Taylor, of Newport Sportfishing Charters, told me that some better striped bass have started to show up here and there, with a few more reports of 20-pound class fish this week. The tautog action in the upper bay has been good to very good, despite windy conditions most days. The cod action has also remained very steady around Coxes. Rob has his boat in the water and finally has the ok to start running trips, so be sure to schedule a trip with him soon.
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Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, told me that there have finally been some reports of squid locally, but the bite remains hot and cold. Boat jiggers are finding buckets some nights, but they are putting some time in. The tautog bite has been very strong throughout the bay, in the rivers and out front. The fish have been in shallow water, and jigs continue to outproduce rigs. Some large schools of small striped bass are also in the area; they seem to be moving around quite a bit, but they are prevalent enough to find in most cases.

Mike, at Watch Hill Outfitters in Westerly, reported that the striped bass fishing has seen an increase in both sizes and numbers over the past few days. The Pawcatuck River is still producing consistently, along with the Little Narragansett Bay area. Adult bunker are all over the place in the river, and the larger fish will continue to take notice as they move into the area. Some fluke have started to show up along the local beaches this week, and we should start seeing more keeper fish as the water finally warms up. Those targeting tautog are still finding fish on the shallow reefs and rockpiles. The squid has finally started to show, but the reports have remained on the quiet side.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Rhode Island.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Josh, at Three Belles Outfitters in Niantic, reported more schoolie striper action from all over the shoreline and tidal rivers this week. Bigger fish are still lingering around the herring runs. There have been whispers of bunker around the mouth of the CT. River, but it doesn’t seem there are any big fish on them just yet. No fluke reports just yet. In freshwater, bass fishing remains steady as we approach the spawn. In some smaller ponds, bass have been spotted making nests. A few pike reports came in from the northwest corner, but it has been quiet otherwise.

Andrew, at Fishin Factory III in Middletown, has been getting out on the river in the evenings to try for some topwater bass, with mixed results. The bulk of the fish remain on the small side, but there are a handful of slot fish in the mix, along with the occasional 20-30-pound fish. There seems to be a bit more quality fish north of Hartford, but the action is slower, and you have to work harder for them. The mouth of the river is loaded with mainly shorts, but the action is solid. There hasn’t been much in the way of local fluke reports yet, with most anglers heading to New York. Some decent fish have been taken around Greenport and Montauk if you can get through the sea robins. Sea bass has opened, but is probably far from its peak, while the best scup reports are still coming from Peconic Bay. The shop will be holding their annual fluke and sea bass tourney again this year, with a great cash prize and an optional sea bass Calcutta. Entry fee is $20 for the fluke contest and $5 for the sea bass Calcutta.

At Rivers End in Old Saybrook, Joe said the shop has been very busy this week, with tons of people buying gear and plugs for the upcoming season, but also stocking up on sandworms to hit bass in the river. The bulk of the bass being caught are small, but with things finally warming up we should see a change in that trend. Fluke reports remain quiet, but once again we should start seeing a pickup in action with the warmer temperatures that are forecasted for the week ahead.

Mike Roy, of Reel Cast Charters, told me that he’s still seeing a good amount of fresh slot fish around the mouth of the river, as the water temperatures finally start to rise. He also caught his first bluefish of the year, which is also a positive sign of an approaching summer season. The bunker numbers seem to be increasing in the lower river, so there should be plenty of bait when the larger fish show up in full force. Mike also mentioned that he has been able to get a large quantity of face cover buffs from Humminbird and Minn Kota that they will be able to provide to their clients. Be sure to check with Mike to book a trip for the upcoming season!

Mike, at Light Bite Charters in Norwalk, told me that he is seeing great numbers of blitzing bass under birds in most of the usual Western Sound spots. There haven’t been much in the way of larger fish just yet, but there is plenty of action. The fish have been readily hitting flies and topwaters, which has made light tackle a delight!

Over at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, Max reported that the striper action picked up out west, with the first slug of big fish hitting Hempstead and Rye. Fresh bunker chunks or trolled Mojos have accounted for most of the fish, and they’ve seen some as big as 35-pounds. Local waters are also starting to put up some 20-30-pound fish on chunks around 11B and 28C. School bass are still prevalent around the islands and in the harbors, but the Housatonic has slowed down. A few weakfish are starting to show up in West Haven, but the action is up and down. Fluke fishing remains best on the NY side, but increasing water temps should bring some our way soon.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Connecticut.

Rhode Island Fishing Forecast

Some more moderate weather has started to make things look more like late spring/summer. School bass are all over the river mouths, reefs, and northern stretches of the tidal rivers; while an influx of bunker should attract some larger fish as they approach from the west. Fluke action remains best in the New York area, but a few reports from Rhode Island have anglers thinking they are knocking on the door. The same can be said for scup and sea bass (which just opened up this week).

2 on “Rhode Island Fishing Report – May 21, 2020

  1. Jim Lahey

    The fish to our West are coming and so is Christmas. Another great Groundhog Day report, watch that step it’s a doozy!

  2. Henry Saunders

    Caught ton of Striper , But I want to come up from SC and try for a 50 where and when would be my best chance!

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