Eastern Long Island Fishing Report – April 6, 2023

Alewives are moving in and spearing are abundant in the backwaters as striped bass fishing slowly improves across the island this week.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • Big striped bass in western waters.
  • Alewives are moving in, sparking an appetite in local holdover stripers and freshwater fish like largemouth bass and pickerel. Lots of other bait has been keeping them fed as well. Spearing are very abundant, as are grass shrimp. 
  • Nighttime bassing has turned on in the freshwater. Bass are getting aggressive during the day.
  • Panfish are jumping on small jigs moved slowly in multiple water columns.
  • White Perch will bite if you can find them.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

It seems like spring is finally deciding to show up this week into the next. Some solid weather is rolling through, and so are some solid fish! Striped bass have started showing their faces all around the island. They’re smashing up schools of spearing, so fish accordingly. Fly guys are using clousers and getting hammered with fish consistently. Spin guys should be throwing small baitfish imitations like Keitechs and small Storm shads. Some peanut bunker have been found in our mix of spearing. Season opens on the 15th and they should be flooded all over by then. Spring Tautog fishing is going well for the few that decide to utilize this short season. Consistent catching, and some good sized fish coming up. 

The freshwater is still chilly, especially in the deeper lakes here on the island. All of the lakes and rivers that get stocked the spring, have been stocked well with good sized brown trout and rainbow trout. Flies and small spinning lures like a Mepps or Kastmaster will bring in the numbers of stockers. Largemouth, smallmouth, pickerel, and yellow perch are all starting to stage up for their spring thing. Keep in mind the largemouth season is closed currently. Sunfish are already all over the place, snatching baits and lures way too big for them. 

Frank Falco of Chasing Tails in Oakdale with a chunky white perch. (@chasingtailsbait)

The Captree Princess will start running trips in April to target cod and blackfish. They’ll be available to book private charters as well, for half-or-full days in the ocean or bay. Other boats in the area have already begun catching blackfish and cod. The cod, especially, are coming up pretty good right now.

Those Bassholes boys (and girls!) are at it again, picking big bass to the west in the middle of the night. Bill of Big Bill’s Bucktails has been hammering the large ones on soft plastics. Rachel, Steve, Adam and Derek have been picking numbers of good bass as well.

Derek Monfort (@derek_sucks_at_fishing) with a fish from the west.
Big Bill of Big Bill’s Bucktails with a quality fish from a recent night outing. (@bigbillsbucktails)

Most of their fish have been in the slot range, with a number of overs, and some monster heartbreakers that have spit the hook.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

Quite a few anglers in the forum have been getting out already to target stripers. The general consensus locally is that the fish are biting, just not very regularly. 

Bill got out last night to target his old hunting grounds in Oyster Bay. He picked a couple fish on a Hellcat and a small Grove darter, from the mid-teens to the low-20 pound class. He noticed lots of spearing, grass shrimp, and small jellyfish in the water. Bill will be running some trips starting now, so hit him up if youre looking to book: 631-987-6919.

Member reports have been flowing in since the end of March. Steven headed out on 4/1 to fish the western LI Sound. Water temp was 49 degrees, and the fish were willing to bite, but barely. He pulled in one skinny bass on a chicken scratch bomber. He was seeing the same small bait that Bill was. 

Rob got out in the same region, and picked a near-slot striper on a chicken scratch hydro minnow. Last but not least, Tyler was able to pick a couple fish into the slot range from the western sound waters. He was fishing the same night as Rob, 3/28. Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

While I’m patiently waiting for the saltwater bite to turn on, the freshwater has been the best way to get a tug on your line. The walleye fishing has been phenomenal, especially at night; there has also been some of the best topwater fishing I’ve seen on the lake in a long time. The smallmouth bite has been solid as well. You can make your retrieve a little faster for these aggressive bass, and right now is the time to get your personal best.

Smallmouth bass have been biting well in the daytime when the sun has warmed the waters a bit.

There have been some whispers of very small bass in the surf as well.

Give Chris a call at 631-830-3881 to book a trip this year.

Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:

“It’s that time of year for winter flounder, tog, trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, resident stripers and trout. Get out and hit the freshwater spots before they start accumulating algae. Trout were stocked recently and they’re chewing. We’ve got all sorts of bait, lures and gear at the shop to target trout. Come on in and get what you need; every dollar spent goes towards shop loyalty points, which means you spend less money the more you shop here. We’ve got bait for blackfish too; come get some super fresh green crabs if you’re going for tog. 

There’s been a solid daytime bite of resident striped bass, especially on the warmer days. They’re mainly focused on spearing, as there is a ton of silversides around. The water temps have been in the mid-to-high 40s lately, so we’re just about ready to see some migrating fish arriving.”

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

Trout stocking occurred recently, so just about all of our local lakes, ponds and streams that undergo stocking should be quite productive. Going off that, I reckon a big swimbait colored like a trout will potentially pick you a monster largemouth bass in some of those ponds right now. Just a thought.

Speaking of largemouth, there’s been a lot of folks capitalizing on the strong bite lately. Anglers are targeting the sweetwater at night, tossing swimbaits with the hopes of having an explosive eat interrupt a dark night’s dead silence. I have not yet dabbled, but it is the primary bite on my mind right now. I picked a 7.5 pounder on the fly a couple years ago implementing this evening approach. I’m looking to get something similar to that this Spring. The fact that OTW’s editors Matt Haeffner and Jimmy Fee have been catching plenty of those nocturnal bass in Massachusetts makes me very hopeful for this bite right now.

The daytime bite is pretty much good enough for me though. When I’m not tossing small flies to catch large bluegill and crappie, I’m throwing small jigs on the ultralight spin rod, or some weightless soft plastics on the stronger light tackle. Yesterday, despite the cold fog surrounding the waterbody, the two pounders were biting up a storm. They were hanging very tight to the bank, so I’d slow my retrieve towards the end, and let it sit still for a bit before re-casting. I must’ve had 10 quick, solid fish. Prior to this, I would specifically find them hanging on deep structure. I’m guessing this is them “coming shallow.” 

The smallmouth bites I encountered with Chris Albronda were much tougher to nail down. Big presentations weren’t working, so we reverted to the ultralight approach. Marabou jigs, ned rigs, and tiny paddle tails got the job done. Chris and I both had a couple fish to about 5 pounds or so. It was a slow bite, but such a treat. Next I want to catch a good one on the fly. I tried that to no avail the past couple trips.

When I got out with Chris Albronda (@montauk_fishing), the smallmouth bass were taking a liking to smaller offerings. (@southforksalt)

A few of my holdover spots have been producing fish lately. The bite was nonexistent for a couple weeks there, but with the warmer weather and influx of bait species comes an appetite. We have lots of alewives moving into our water right now. I’ve heard reports of ospreys carrying bunker around the bays as well. There are more ospreys this year than I’ve ever seen. They’re picking up all sorts of freshwater fish now as well. Also, the amount of bald eagles is staggering. Seeing them compete with the ospreys is kind of a common sight on the east end now. 

Juvenile gray seals and harbor seals are coming up towards the dunes regularly now, so keep an eye out if you’re driving the beach, and do your best to keep your dogs leashed.

I took this photo of a seal chillin near the tire tracks earlier in the week. (@southforksalt)

Overall, the fishing is still slow. You’ll probably have to try a few methods to provoke a strike, and it might only be the one bite. It might be none. Keep at it though. It only gets better from here. Focus on the warm days, and put in the work. Good luck out there.

1 thought on “Eastern Long Island Fishing Report – April 6, 2023

  1. Outie

    This report is pretty spot on to what ive experienced. Fantastic freshwater bite for ultralight presentations, slow bite for me in the salt where i am (north shore suffolk). I try not to chase reports but rather compare my experiences to what others have been seeing. It can be encouraging when it matches up

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