Connecticut Fishing Report- February 23, 2023

There is great trout and salmon fishing in the rivers and in recently stocked ponds, while in the salt, holdover striper fishing improved with recent mild temperatures.

Greg Catalina caught this bruiser of a brown trout from shore last Friday.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me things are a bit quieter of late as we’ve gotten some weather that feels a little more like winter. For those who have been working the TMAs there has been plenty of active trout, and the flow/clarity has been very good. It hasn’t been cold enough to skim over the lakes and ponds, so open water panfish, pike, bass, and trout are all available. The state is starting to stock the usual trout ponds as well, so keep an eye on those stocking reports to increase your odds! The holdover bite has remained steady and is only going to improve from here, with higher bass activity levels and some bigger bait showing up soon. The Westbrook location hosted three shows this month and plans to add a few more for March, so be sure to keep an eye on their social media pages. 

Matt Stone continues to weaponize chartreuse and yellow spinners against stocked Atlantic salmon.

Heather from Black Hawk Sportfishing is done fishing for the season but has been keeping busy getting some work done on the boat and starting their Talkin’ Tackle seminars online and hitting the local fishing shows. Their seminar this week will take place on Thursday night, and will cover netting, gaffing, and proper release techniques. Stay tuned as they will have more seminars in the coming weeks, and you can find information on their website or Facebook page. Be sure to also reach out with what you would like to hear about, as they’re always anxious to take suggestions and feedback.  

Dan, at Dan’s Bait, Tackle and Charters in New London thinks that we have an interesting week ahead. Will the dropping temperatures and potential snow negatively affect the strong winter fishing, which remains ahead of schedule? Current and flow levels are moving nicely, and the unseasonably warm weather has led to some early spring bug hatches on the trout streams. The Farmington, Salmon and Pequabuck Rivers have been giving up some nice trout, while recently stocked ponds such as Ball Pond and Black Rock Lake have plenty of fresh fish to hold us over into the spring. For anglers in the eastern part of the state, Dan mentioned some strong reports from Rogers Lake in Old Lyme. Striped bass anglers are still finding some solid holdover action in the Thames and Housatonic estuaries, and we shouldn’t be too far away from the first river herring arrivals.  

Bobby J’s Bait and Tackle in Milford said that the holdover striped bass fishing is still the most consistent option for those looking to take advantage of the mild winter. The bass are getting more and more active as the water temperatures slowly climb, and it will only get better from here with the first river herring being right around the corner. Small soft plastics on jigheads remains the safest bet right now, but anglers could start slinging some bigger offerings when the bigger bait starts to trickle in. Trout fishing has been consistent as well in the local TMAs and up in the Farmington River. The strong Atlantic salmon stocking this fall/winter is also paying dividends, as broodstock reports also remain consistent. 

Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reports that anglers are still taking advantage of the warm winter by targeting holdover striped bass or hitting the local trout waters. Bass action in the Housatonic is steadily improving, and continued warm temperatures should get the spring/herring run started earlier than usual. Trout fishing has been good all winter, and nothing has changed, with strong reports coming from the Mianus, Saugatuck, and Mill Rivers. Those making the ride to the Farmington River are being rewarded with some large holdover trout over the past week. Most of the usual trout offerings are getting the job done, and fly-fishermen should start to see some increased stonefly hatches as the days get longer.  

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

The closest thing to winter weather that we have had in a while might be on the horizon, but it doesn’t limit the extraordinary amount of late February open water opportunities.  

Despite this week’s weather, it’s hard to not see spring on the horizon, as the calendar flips to March. Connecticut anglers can continue to take advantage of holdover striped bass, as the bite has continued to slowly improve each week. The early run of river herring tends to show up sometime in March, and based on how this winter has played out, I’d bet they arrive a bit early! The state is essentially opened for trout year-round, and while some areas may be catch and release, all of the TMAs are fishing well. The state also got an early start to their lakes/pond’s trout stocking, so keep an eye on those stocking reports to help increase your odds. For those looking to score a broodstock salmon, most anglers that are putting some time in are still finding success. Pike fishing should improve soon, as the fish start to put the pre-spawn food bag on, and there are still ample open water opportunities for bass and panfish across the state. 

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