Rhode Island Fishing Report
Dave at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, says there is 6 to 8 inches of ice north and west of Providence. Rhode Island DEM recommends a minimum of 6-inches. Dave highlighted a group of friends who went ice fishing recently, connecting with some large fish. Michael Diniz picked up a 5.9-pound largemouth bass, and his friend Sackona Ung, reeled in a 4.5-pound pickerel through the ice. Trout season closes Sunday and will reopen on Apr. 10. If you’re in need of bait, gear, and tackle, call Dave at 401-749-3474.
Connecticut Fishing Report
Rich, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, says the local tidal rivers have open water because of the recent trend in milder temperatures. March will be more consistent for holdover striper fishing in terms of quantity and quality. Albie Snax, Lunker City Slug-Gos and Fin-S Fish are the best bet for the time being. As the water temperatures start to climb in the upcoming weeks, paddle tails and swim shads will be a good choice for holdover bass. Rich says ice fishing is no longer an option near the shoreline in western Connecticut. He recommended heading to the northern part of the state. “Squantz Pond is a good body of water with big trout and big walleye.”
Evan, at Black Hall Outfitters in Old Lyme, says holdover striper fishing is picking up, with bigger fish coming at night on swimbaits. Don’t write off daytime though, because lots of 15 to 22-inch schoolie bass have been caught. Evan says a 5-inch swimbait paired with a 1/2-ounce jighead is the “best bait” right now. Switching to freshwater; some of the lakes, ponds, rivers, and TMA’s have been stocked by DEEP with trout. Evan reported over 100 trout on his past 2 trips to the Yantic River. The majority of the fish he reeled in were caught on spinners and jigs, but he also caught some with a nymph fly. Ice fishing is pretty good, especially at some of the bigger lakes and coves with less pressure. Evan says there are lots of jumbo perch, northern pike, and largemouth bass coming through the ice. Although the Westbrook store remains closed, they plan on reopening soon. BHO is shipping online orders or they can be picked up at the shop.
Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, says the ice is getting pretty beat up in the central part of the state. Depending on where you go, it’s entirely gone, or there could be 5 to 6-inches. Don’t throw in the towel just yet though. There is more than enough safe ice in the northwest corner of the state, with totals ranging from 11 to 20-inches. Joe has been splitting his time, some days he’s fishing for trout, others he’s targeting crappie on the ice. He says many of the local bodies of water were stocked by DEEP in February– he recommends wax, mummy, and trout worms, eggs sacs, stone, and midge flies. Woolly Buggers have also been a solid choice. “If you hit some of the smaller streams you can catch 50 to 80 fish.” The Farmington River has been average, with some anglers catching several fish, and others are having 8 to 10 fish days. Holdover striper fishing in the tidal rivers should pick up soon, according to Joe. Once the water temps increase, they’ll start hitting minnow-shaped lures, in addition to 5 to 7-inch soft plastics.
Ted, at Three Belles Outfitters in Niantic, says most of the ice in the southern part of the state has melted. However, ice fishing continues to hold steady in the northern counties. Ted says guys are catching northern pike in the coves, but for the most part, it has been panfish through the ice. Trout fishing has gained interest in the past 7 to 14 days; several spots at a local river have been packed with fishermen, according to Ted.
Andrew, at Fishin Factory 3 in Middletown, says this weekend will probably be the last opportunity to go ice fishing on 75 percent of the lakes. He mentioned the Hammonasset River and other local TMA’s were recently stocked with trout.
Rhode Island Forecast
Several people I spoke with articulated the same thoughts about the current state of ice fishing: this will be last weekend. The amount of ice will vary from spot to spot, depending on the depth, wind, air temperature, and other environmental factors. Worms, egg sacs, flies, roostertails, hair jigs, shiners, and spoons are all good choices at the ponds and lakes north and west of Providence.