Connecticut Fishing Report – December 9, 2021

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Charles Lathrop shared this photo of a big Atlantic salmon landed on the fly in the Shetucket River. In 2021, the catch-and-release season for Atlantic salmon stocked into the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers will run through December 15.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Heather from Blackhawk Sportfishing reports that they have continued to lose quite a few days due to the wind, but when they have got out, the fishing has been fantastic. They have continued to find full boat limits of sea bass, and some nice cod have been in the mix on their combo trips. With blackfish now being closed in Connecticut, they will continue to focus more of their efforts on cod. They will continue to fish whenever the weather allows, so be sure to check their Facebook page or website for updates and reservations!

The guys at Hillyers in Waterford said that the school striped bass fishing is the best show in town until it truly gets too cold to get out there. The right days, specifically when some warm sun is beating down on the water, have seen some great school bass fishing at the Millstone discharge and up in the Niantic River. Anglers are reporting good trout results at Latimers Brook on small soft plastics like trout magnets or flies with some good old garden hackle (worms). The shop will be closed during the winter months, but they will be back sometime in late March.
Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters said that the striped bass bite in the Connecticut River continues to be strong, especially on the warmer days. Most of the fish are of the schoolie variety, but there are some good numbers of 15- to 20-pound bass in the mix as well. The extended forecast looks mild, and this is generally one of the best times of the year for holdover fishing, so give Mike a call if you’re looking for a late-season trip.

Rich at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reports that the saltwater fishing has started to slow down, outside of a few late migration striped bass on the local reefs. Most anglers are now focusing on the lower Housatonic, which is continuing to produce consistent bass action. The temperatures haven’t dropped enough to stop those river bass from crushing a topwater offering, but slowly worked soft plastics on jigs are starting to prevail. The bass can be found most times of day, but those fishing after dark are finding the bigger fish. The herring continue to slowly trickle into the harbors, but it hasn’t blown open just yet. Trout anglers are turning to the Mianus, Mill and Saugatuck rivers for trout action, while anglers fishing the Saugatuck Reservoir are reporting good results. This is primetime for the reservoir anglers, with good action for bass, walleye, and trout.

Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) is nearing completion of its 2021 fall stockings of Atlantic salmon. Nearly 1,400 salmon have been released so far with close to 150 left to stock. The upper Naugatuck River (281 salmon), lower Naugatuck River (311 salmon), Shetucket River (602 salmon), Crystal Lake (100 salmon) and Mount Tom Pond (100 salmon) have all been stocked at least once; most river sections have been stocked up to four times already. Most of these fish ranged in weight from 2-6 pounds each, though some larger fish were also stocked. Later this month, DEEP expects to stock close to 150 more salmon. These fish will generally range in weight from 6 to 20 pounds each. DEEP reminds anglers of a change to regulations concerning fishing seasons for Atlantic salmon for 2021. The catch-and-release season for Atlantic salmon stocked into the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers will run through December 15.

 Rhode Island Fishing Report

The Frances Fleet in Narragansett is still finding some quality fishing when they have been able to get out on the grounds. Over the weekend, Captain Rich had some solid action on the sea bass/cod grounds, with a full boat limit of sea bass in two drifts! There were some quality cod in the mix as well, but at times it was tough to get past the sea bass. The blackfish grounds have continued to be fruitful for Captain Greg, with near boat limits on most trips and some nice fish to 8 pounds or so when they have been able to get out there. They will continue to sail whenever the weather allows, so be sure to check the website for updates and reservations.

Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, is officially closed until the spring, but he has heard from local fishermen that the tautog fishing remains excellent for those who are still getting after it. There continues to be a late season push of squid, along with some decent school striped bass action in the salt ponds and tidal rivers.

Connor from Tall Tailz Charters in Newport told me that the tautog fishing has remained great as we approach the end of the season. Water temperatures are starting to drop, but there are still plenty of quality fish around. He is still getting easy limits of fish to 12 pounds, along with a few cod on each trip as bycatch. There have also been some nice schools of squid starting to make a late-season run, so there is plenty of quality fishing still going on in Rhode Island. The fishing should remain strong right up to the close of the season in late December and Connor still has some dates available, so be sure to book a trip before it’s too late!

Nick at Big Bear Hunting and Fishing told me that those putting the time in out front are still reporting some nice tautog catches. Freshwater anglers are reporting some big largemouth, especially for those who are switching to live shiners as the water temperatures continue to drop. There are also some big bass that are active enough to hit large artificials around dawn and dusk. Trout anglers are also seeing no lack of action with the best catches coming from Silver Spring and Carbuncle. The shop will be getting stocked up for ice fishing soon, and hopefully we have some ice to walk on this year.

Dustin at RI Kayak Fishing Adventures reports that the tautog action has slowed a bit but it has remained rather consistent for December. Most of his clients being able to manage multiple keepers along with plenty of shorts. The squid fishing has improved quite a bit as well. Most squid anglers who have dedicated a bit of time have managed at least a half-full bucket. On the freshwater side, there is still some great largemouth action, along with some improved crappie and trout action on ultralight setups. Dustin is fully outfitted with dry suits for his clients on these colder days and has extended his holiday sale to the end of the year. A gift certificate for a 2022 trip will make a great gift for the angler in your family!

Fishing Forecast

We’re entering that in-between period across New England where saltwater fishing is winding down for most anglers while ice fishing enthusiasts start to dust off their gear and hope for a quick freeze. The extended forecast is looking mild, so I think we may be favoring the open-water fishing over the ice in the immediate future. Saltwater anglers in Rhode Island still have time to fill the freezer with tautog filets, as that bite shows no sign of quitting. Don’t be surprised to find some bonus cod in the mix and we should start seeing a more consistent cod bite materialize over the coming weeks. School striped bass can still be found out front, as well as throughout the salt ponds and tidal rivers across CT and RI. Freshwater opportunities are abundant as well, with trout, bass, walleye, and pike starting to get their pre-winter chew on.

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