Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- March 30, 2023

The ponds are giving up largemouth bass and stocked trout, holdover stripers feed in the back bays, and bottom fishermen gear up for tautog season on April 1.

UPDATE: 3/30/2023 Weekly Long Island Fishing Reports will resume on April 6! Here’s what’s happening around Long Island this week:


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Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day to be… fishing. It’s officially spring! Trout are stocked, resident stripers are on the move, largemouth bass are biting well, and tautog season is around the corner.

And if you’re wondering, yes— I did just start this fishing report with a quote from Mister Rogers (sort of).
the longest time, I have loved Fall more than any other season in the northeast, but I think that’s starting to change. Spring is such a joyous time of year. Each year, we get to watch our local waters and the surrounding environment come back to life with longer days, more sunshine and warmer weather. Herring are filing into Long Island’s small rivers, ospreys coast through the gusty air overhead, dandelions begin to sprout on front lawns and striped bass fishermen pepper the shorelines of back bays on the West End; all of these springtime indicators make the long, grueling winters worth it in my book.

For some, the thermometer reading 50 degrees Fahrenheit may be the deciding factor in whether or not to go fishing, but the fish have been biting all winter long (as evidenced in our fishing reports from weeks prior). However, the end of March and early April are when things really start to heat up.

Freshwater fishing is still the most reliable option for anglers just looking to wet a line this month. New York State has stocked select ponds and rivers on the Island with trout, and they’ll receive a second round in the next two weeks. Trout— along with largemouth bass and the usual freshwater suspects— should entertain light tackle and fly fishermen for a bit while the Island’s resident stripers ramp up into feeding mode before they start migrating up the Hudson River in the coming weeks.

Currently, catch-and-release striped bass fishermen will find the most success by fishing soft plastic jigs and swim shads in our rivers, and way in the back bays, until migratory fish begin to file in around mid- to late-April. Time to get that inshore, boat, and surf gear ready for the season ahead. You only had all winter!

Here’s what’s been biting around Long Island and New York City since our last check in, on February 23rd.

Gary Huang (@gh_fishing26), one of our Long Island readers, sent in his report from a recent excursion near the New York/Connecticut border. Gary has been targeting lake trout from shore and finding good success, but he recently caught his PB smallie, too.

Gary reports: “This fish was about 3 pounds and caught on a live shiner on a slip float/egg sinker set up. I had no hits on the setup for an hour or so, but after I moved the bobber stop up about 5 feet, I hooked into this fish almost immediately. Also caught two small stockie browns, one on a rooster tail spinner and one on mealworms. Overall, the fishing was great for two hours, but the bite died down once the wind picked up.”

Gary Huang caught this chunky smallmouth bass, his new PB, on a live shiner in early March. (@gh_fishing26)

Congrats on the PB smallie, Gary!

From the West End, Anthony Bjelke (@anthonybjelke_fishing) reported some good early season striper fishing in the back bays. He said the water was still cold but the fish were pretty fired up for early- to mid-March, and in the coming week or two, the West End on both the north and south shores will be seeing more consistent bass fishing.

The backwater bass are most active at night, and the fishing will only improve from here. (@anthonybjelke_fishing)

From central and Eastern Long Island, Derek Monfort (@derek_sucks_at_fishing) reports some steady freshwater fishing action on the Rapala Shadow Rap Shad. Derek has been using these long-casting, slow-rising hard plastics religiously this winter and spring, and they’re catching everything from largemouth and smallmouth, to crappie, perch and stripers. He found a decent holdover bite this morning using the trusty Shadow Rap!

Derek Monfort caught this quality L.I. smallie on a Rapala Shadow Rap Shad recently. (@derek_sucks_at_fishing)
Derek Monfort caught this holdover striper on a Rapala Shadow Rap Shad this morning. (@derek_sucks_at_fishing)

From the Peconic River region, Steven Figari (@bassholes_surfcasting) reported some good and bad news. Figari reported plenty of headway being made on the Peconic River fish ladder at Peconic Lake, which will help anadromous river herring and catadromous American eels migrate to and from fresh and saltwater freely in order to complete their spawning processes. However, some sort of chemical/pesticide was recently sprayed to eliminate overgrowth along the river banks, and there have been a few reports of dead fish on the river since, namely largemouth bass. In an effort to find better fishing, Figari relocated further east and found some largemouth willing to play ball. He said the chatter bait got it done for him under sunny, blue skies.

Steve Figari caught a couple healthy largemouth bass on the chatter bait on Eastern L.I. recently. (@bassholes_surfcasting)
Chatter baits are a great springtime bass bait, especially when clear skies and sunshine warm the water all day long. (@bassholes_surfcasting)

From the North Shore, Sean Conway (@long_island_fishing_guy) reports some great largemouth bass fishing in smaller, shallower bodies of water that warm quickly under unimpeded sunlight. He’s been throwing jerkbaits, and even managed to hook one nice holdover rainbow during his bass fishing outings. During one recent outing, Sean reported catching a mess of good-sized largemouth bass using a Rapala Shadow Rap Shad. Sean said, “I was fishing it with a super slow twitch-twitch-pause cadence, and almost all of my hits came from way out in open water, close to the beginning of the retrieve.” When the water is still cool like this, and slowly getting warmer, largemouth will sometimes bunch together and stack up in one area. If you locate the school, the action can be fast and exciting.

Sean Conway caught over a dozen largemouth on a yellow perch colored Rapala Shadow Rap Shad during a mid-day outing recently. (@long_island_fishing_guy)

From the South Shore, my buddy Bill Falco (@fishlongisland) at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Spring is slowly creeping up, and people are getting excited to get back out on the water. Some sizable stripers have been caught out to the west, and New Jersey has some really solid fish showing up already. Locally, the resident fish are starting to move. Our time is coming very soon. Spring tautog season is up first, and that should be another banger. This time of year (April) always produces good size tog. The shop is loaded with gear for the new year, and we are ready to fish!”

As striped bass become active in small south shore estuaries, Bill Falco wastes no time getting after them with the fly rod. Night time is the best time to pursue the first stripers of the season. (@fishlongisland)

Paul McCain at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin reports:

“All the ponds have been stocked with trout and will be stocked again in 2 weeks. A few of the ponds were stocked with quality brown trout, some were 2 and half years old and upwards of 15 inches. The Connetquot River is still fishing very well too. In the saltwater, we have resident bass showing up in the West End bays, in the East River and in Jamaica Bay, but we need some consistent good weather to really kick off this spring run.

Also, this weekend is our annual Fly Fishing Expo of Long Island! Come down to the Radisson Hotel in Hauppauge from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday 3/25 where we’ll have 20 to 25 demonstrations including a casting demo from Mark Sedotti, along with 35 fly tiers, dozens of vendors, and several seminars from guys like Tim Regan of @southforksalt; Tim will be showing us how to tie and use the Holy Moley fly, which is a great summertime fly for open beach fishing for fluke and striped bass that feed on mole crabs in the surf. We hope to see you there!”

Point Lookout’s Super Hawk reported good cod fishing when conditions have allowed them to get out. They’re planning to sail for cod Friday (3/24), Sunday (3/26) and Monday (3/27) so if you want a shot at some cod, now is the time! April 1 marks the start of blackfish season, and although they won’t be sailing exclusively for tautog in April, if the fishing close to home is good they will be targeting tog more regularly. The first blackfish trip is 5 a.m. on April 1, so go to superhawkfishing.com or call their office for more information on booking (516) 607-3004.

The Super Hawk out of Point Lookout has found steady cod fishing all winter long when conditions allow them to get out.

Brandon from Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh reports:

“Fishing has been pretty quiet, although there are some decent freshwater opportunities for anglers looking to scratch the itch. Local ponds are giving up largemouth bass, crappie and carp. But we’re mostly gearing up for saltwater season at this point. Boats are going in the water, guys are running to Raritan Bay for stripers, and others are prepping for spring tautog season by spooling up reels and tying rigs. The bass should be biting well in the north and south shore back bays very soon. Swing by the shop and get your gear ready for the season ahead before it gets busy!”

Captain Josh of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“The Gypsea has moved! This year we will be sailing out of Brooklyn at 2501 Knapp Street in Futura Marina, which will save us a lot of travel so we can spend more time fishing. With Rockaway Inlet and Breezy Point only a few minutes away, this location is much more accessible to our fishing grounds. We are shooting to start the season on April 1 for the tautog season opener, so keep an eye on our Instagram @gypseacharters for more info. as blackfish season nears!”

Captain Vinnie of Karen Ann Charters in Jamaica Bay reports:

“The Karen Ann fleet will be back in action shortly! I have boats and schedules for all your fishing needs from back bay/skinny water bass fishing to blue water tuna fishing in the high season. I specialize in personal or small group charters to help you hone your skills. On Tuesday of this week, we fished for striped bass and will be sailing every day on Raritan Bay, open boat; singles and private charters welcome. Currently, the striper season is closed in New York, but with Jamaica Bay water temperatures hovering between 44 and 47 degrees, the season opener on 4/15 should get off to a hot start. There’s already scattered bait schools concentrating into areas way in the back of Jamaica Bay. It’s almost that time.” To book a trip, call/text Captain Vinnie (516)728-6952.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Forecast

If you’re wondering why the East End fishing report is lackin’, it’s because there isn’t much activity out around the Forks right now besides freshwater fishing. March is still a quiet month. Very few boats are getting out for groundfish, and the West End—meaning Brooklyn, Queens and the Rockaways— is so close to the Hudson that there is almost always good striper fishing this time of year. Fear not, friends on the Forks… your time will come.

For now, it’d be wise to make any last minute tweaks to your gear and tackle before the unofficial start to the saltwater season on April 1. If you need to bend a rod between work, gear organizing and life, a quick trip to the local bass or trout pond should tide you over until tog and stripers are around in numbers. NYC anglers will find success with tautog in April by targeting piers, pilings and small rock piles around NY Harbor and the East River. To the East, anglers will find the good success for spring tautog by fishing around North Shore jetties, or south shore bridge abutments and pilings. If you need a refresher on blackfish limit and keeper-size regulations, you can find them here.

Let’s run through all of Long Island and NYC’s fishing options for the next couple of weeks:

  • Freshwater bass fishing with jerkbaits, chatterbaits and soft plastics
  • Trout fishing in stocked ponds and rivers
  • Catch-and-release based holdover striped bass fishing in the rivers and back bays
  • Lake trout fishing in the NYC Reservoirs
  • Cod fishing on a headboat
  • Bait-and-wait/fly fishing for carp in the ponds

However you decide to spend your time on the water in the coming weeks, give it your all. Spring is the best time of year in our giant, concrete neighborhood, and you never know what surprises your efforts might bring. Maybe it’s your earliest-ever striper, a personal best largemouth bass or a stocker trout for the table; point is, there’s good fishing to be had right now, it might just take a little extra work and a bit more focus. I hope to see some of you out there on the water real soon. Stay safe out there, and fish hard.

If you’d like to contribute to our fishing reports, contact me via email (mhaeffner@onthewater.com) or via Instagram (@hefftyfishing) with a couple photos and a sentence or two about your experience on the water. I look forward to hearing from you all.

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