Rhode Island Fishing Report
The Frances Fleet in Narragansett has been able to get out on the water a couple times since the Christmas holiday and they have found some solid action on the cod grounds. Earlier in the week the bite was a bit slow, but the captains have transitioned to a few spots closer to the island and have had much improved action over the past few days. The overall numbers of codfish have improved, with many more shorts showing up, along with a nice pick of keeper fish. The sea bass action also remains very steady, but they are at a point in the season where you have to pick through quite a few short fish to find some keepers. The fleet plans to sail daily at 7 am if the weather allows, just be sure to check with the office for updated scheduling and reservations.
Quonnie Bait and Tackle in Charlestown reported that there are still a few stripers to be had along the local beaches and in the salt ponds, but fishing interest for bass has started to lessen. In more interesting news, there have been some reliable reports of anglers catching inshore cod very close to home. Local shell fishermen who are still out there digging are reporting good clam results across the state. Freshwater interest has picked up since the latest trout and salmon stockings, with many of the local ponds producing good catches of both species.
Nick at Big Bear Hunting and Fishing told me that trout fishing has been fantastic. The Rhode Island DEM recently stocked several the local lakes and ponds with some quality trout to 3+ pounds, along with some beautiful Sebago Salmon. Both species are providing excellent winter angling opportunities, especially with the recent mild weather keeping the lakes and ponds free from skim ice. Strong reports have come from Barber Pond, Carbuncle Pond, and Olney Pond, and you can find a full list of recently stocked bodies of water on the DEM website or Facebook page. Big bear is fully stocked with all your trout and salmon bait and tackle needs!
Connecticut Fishing Report
Heather from Blackhawk Sportfishing told me that they were only able to get out once last week due to the weather, but they took full advantage of the weather window! They managed a full boat limit of sea bass, plenty of jumbo scup, and solid numbers of cod. It was pretty much lock and load fishing all day in some excellent December weather. The weather has been a bit better this week and they were able to put together an excellent private charter trip on Wednesday. They once again managed a full boat limit of sea bass, some jumbo scup, and a great showing of big “green” cod to 15 pounds! After the first of the year, their trips will be posted/scheduled based on weather, so be sure to check their website for updates and tickets.
The guys at Rivers End in Old Saybrook said that the school striped bass has still been going along the beaches from Saybrook to New London, but the safer bet has been up in the tidal rivers. The lower CT River is producing decent numbers of schoolie to slot sized bass, while the Housatonic remains the safer bet for consistent action. Freshwater anglers are either waiting patiently for ice or taking advantage of the mild weather and finding some open water opportunities. The Connecticut River coves have been ice free recently and are producing some nice pike on large golden shiners. Trout anglers are reporting good results at the Farmington and Salmon rivers, while a number of anglers are reporting good salmon action in the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers.
Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters said that the holdover striped bass bite is still pretty good in the Connecticut River. Bass of mixed sizes are still willingly taking soft plastics on jigs. As the water cools the bite will start to slow down, but weather in the immediate future looks to remain mild, and these fish will hang around all winter regardless of temperature. Mike plans to wrap up his season this weekend but will be right back out there when it starts to warm up in early spring.
Tyler, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, reported that most of the action they are hearing about from local anglers is coming from the Housatonic River. There seems to be strong numbers of bass holding over in the river this season, and they can be found in most of their usual winter haunts. Slowly fished soft plastics on jigheads have been the top lure choice, with the larger fish generally coming after dark. The Atlantic herring have started to show up in better numbers, with a few anglers reporting full buckets this week. Guys fishing the Saugatuck Reservoir are catching some nice trout and smallmouth on shiners, while anglers fishing the Naugatuck River have cashed in on some of the recently stocked salmon.
Local ice anglers continue to wait patiently and are no doubt getting frustrated, but the mild weather is presenting plenty of open-water options for fresh and saltwater anglers. Recent trout and Sebago salmon stockings across Rhode Island are producing some excellent catches of both species. Trout and Atlantic salmon stockings across Connecticut have produced equally as well, with good trout action in the Farmington River and salmon coming from the Shetucket and Naugatuck rivers. The upper Connecticut River coves are producing some nice pike catches, while the lower river is still full of holdover striped bass. The yearly glut of striped bass moving into the Housatonic River has also commenced and provides the best shot at consistent action. Saltwater anglers can continue to pound the sea bass and cod whenever the weather allows, with the latter starting to show up closer to home along the Rhode Island inshore reefs.