This was an extremely productive week of fishing.
The arrival of eels and alewives got local species in a feeding fury. The holdover bass action was reliable after some sunny days.
Boat reports were slim, since many trips fell through. Cod and porgies offered pretty consistent bites around the island when boats got out.
Largemouth are getting more aggressive, willing to hit actively retrieved lures rather than immobile or suspended ones. Pickerel are following suit. White perch have been hungry as well, albeit elusive.
All Long Island trout waters have been stocked. The fishing for them has been hot.
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin took a hike around the back bays this week during the warmer weather. He saw lots and lots of bunker schools, without any predators harassing them. Ospreys haven’t showed yet. Paul reckons that the stripers should show in the western parts of the island bays in the next two weeks, around the second week of April. The water is currently hovering around 42 degrees.
All of the local ponds and rivers have been stocked once with trout. There are going to be several stockings in some of the water bodies. Anglers say the fish are hungry and there are plenty for the taking.
In regards to trout, NY changed its stocking process, and rules regarding trout waters. Paul says most water bodies have their own specific rules, but most of them are going to be open to trout fishing for 12 months out of the year, starting April 1. They will be stocking fewer fish, but the fish are going to be larger. The wild trout fishery streams will not be stocked. The period from October 15 to April 1 is catch and release on artificials only.
Paul got word that the Connecticut streams have been packed out since the weather has been smiling upon us.
Point Lookout’s Superhawk had some solid catches this week, consisting of cod, pollock, ling, jumbo porgies, hake and more. The Superhawk is sailing offshore wreck trips every day the weather permits. Call Capt. Steve today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee bent some rods this past weekend with good numbers of sea bass and ling. Giant porgies were prevalent, as were large ling. Saturday saw 14 cod and 5 pollock, whereas Sunday only saw 5 codfish. Saturday’s trip had a lone weakfish surprise anglers, and Sunday’s surprise was a blackfish. The usual suspects showed up too: cunner, ocean pout and dogfish came up in good numbers.
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport says the warm, sunny days in the 50’s are going to get the fish warmed up. Clear water has been entering the backbays, and there could potentially be some good fishing. Local forage like small spearing and grass shrimp should be around, keeping the resident fish fed. Those resident fish are just beginning to wake up. Mark says to target the marsh edges if you’re looking for some holdover stripers.
Local ponds have been stocked, so the trout action is hot.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet had to cancel a bunch of trips this week, including the ones this coming weekend. This past Sunday had a positive result though, with Eric Huner’s two codfish taking both pools, at eight and six pounds.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
It’s hard to believe that April is just a week away. Each year I feel like there’s less and less of a winter; that season just seems to pass more quickly year in and year out. Apparently the older you get, the faster time passes. That could be what’s occurring with me. I’m also catching more fish, more easily, every year, and y’know, “time flies when you’re having fun.” The abstract reasons for the shortening of time aren’t so pressing to me as the improved fishing… I’m definitely improving as an angler, but I believe the fish are responding to this “shortening” of the winter season with an increased appetite.
Fishing on all fronts has been spectacular this March. I’ve tied into some serious specimens of various species, in an array of waters: big lakes, small ponds, brackish creeks, open bays, mud flats and saltwater choke points. Other LI anglers I’ve heard from recently would concur; there is consistently good fishing to be found. While action can be spotty, chances are you aren’t far from some hungry fish. Just keep hopping from spot to spot, and switching up your presentations.
Compared to my past seasons, some of this action seems premature. I can expound on this, but I’ll spare you the nitty gritty and offer up a few of my thoughts on the implications for freshwater fishing.
Should the winter season be ending later, and beginning earlier, even if only by a week on each end, that’s more feeding time for fish. The fish will grow bigger and faster, simply because they’re eating more. Perhaps where the largest specimen was 7 pounds, you’ll find a 9-pounder in 5 to 10 years. That would be great.
One not-so-great implication is the increased susceptibility to harmful algal blooms. I’ve already seen disgusting surface films on multiple waterbodies. Ever-increasing population density and development will exacerbate this problem. So perhaps the fish won’t even have a chance to grow because they’ll die off from lack of oxygen first….
I’m an optimist though. I think the fishing future is bright. It’s just fun to theorize, and that’s what’s been on my mind. So without further ado, here’s my own report.
Ospreys are here. They’re typically hot on the tails of eels and alewives, both of which I’ve observed this week. A bald eagle flew ten feet above my car with a 3 foot long eel hanging from its talon yesterday. Chris Paparo (@fishguyphotos) took some cool underwater footage of the local Alewives, and the Peconic Baykeeper posted the same scene from other local waters.
These fish run the island’s creeks, trying to access the brackish and freshwater. Their presence intrigues the brackish creatures who stand to benefit, namely the white perch and holdover striped bass. If the new arrivals are able to run into freshwater, all the predator fish hunting that waterbody could thrive.
This influx of food, combined with the sun’s heat baking the exposed banks at low tide, really ignites the bite. In the past few years I’ve caught some heavy largemouth, pickerel, white perch, and now stripers, that have been actively feeding upon the eels and alewives. I had a few solid nights on the striper front this week, the climax occurring when a near-40 inch bass took my white rapala two nights ago. (I’ll note that I used a single treble, versus two, on my plug to make for a quick, easy release. Doing so greatly expedites the release. All C&R striper anglers need to abandon using more than one treble hook on a lure). I have a feeling there are some other big bass around in our estuaries, so I’m going to be hopping from spot to spot, tossing fishy/eely lures and flies. It is totally possible I just caught my PB for the year though. Yikes.
Anyway, the fishing is great right now. Pick a fish, target it. You stand a good chance of bending the rod, and you might get something huge!
In the future, I’d love to say that previous sentence every single week. Knowing I can catch striped bass brings my mood up greatly. So, I want to encourage all of my readers to submit a comment to the ASMFC in regards to the Striped Bass PID.
I’ll do a giveaway for it:
Send your comments to email@example.com and CC your state representatives, discoverable at this link: https://safis.accsp.org:8443/myJSPs/asmfcmembersearch.jsp?member=146
The deadline for comments is April 9.
If you need some help writing/submitting a comment, reference this page from the American Saltwater Guides Association: https://saltwaterguidesassociation.com/a-guide-to-the-striped-bass-amendment-7-public-information-document-your-comments-needed/
Take a picture of your sent email, and send it to me for a chance to win one of my Holy Moleys, which is a jig or fly I tie to imitate a sand flea. They’re incredibly durable and effective, and you can’t buy them anywhere. I’ll choose ten winners and send each a jig or fly on my dime. Send me a pic of your sent comments on instagram (@SouthForkSalt) or to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a chance to win a unique and deadly lure. Thanks in advance for taking part!
Make sure you write in… then go get those lines tightened!
Enjoy the warm weather folks.