Connecticut Fishing Report- February 15, 2024

There's decent holdover striper fishing lately, but most anglers are enjoying good fishing for bass, crappie and stocked rainbow and brown trout in the ponds and rivers.

Connecticut Fishing Report: Winter Update

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that rod and reel anglers are still focusing mostly on holdover striped bass madness, but there are some other excellent open water winter opportunities as well. The lakes in ponds in the northern portions of the state may be frustrating, with enough ice to get in the way, but not enough ice to stand topside and fish through a hole. Luckily, a majority of the lakes and ponds are ice free, and the state stocked loads of Seeforellen brown trout in a number of them. Those big trout seem to be responding well to trolled offerings and live shiners. Black Pond and Cedar Lake seem to be fishing well, but all the lakes they’ve been stocked into are producing; check the DEEP website for full stocking information. Flows are great in most of the local TMAs as well, so there is no shortage of trout opportunities at the moment. Extremely high flows around the new year prevented Atlantic salmon stocking, but all those fish were recently stocked in the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers, providing another excellent winter fishing opportunity. Largemouth anglers are reporting solid catches on the open bodies of water, using mainly slow pitched jigs and deeply worked jerkbaits. Anglers targeting crappie also reported some solid fishing this week, using micro jigs on deeper pieces of structure.  

 

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Heather from the Black Hawk in Niantic was happy to report that the modifications to the boat have been coming out well, and updates can be found on their Facebook page. They also had their first Talkin’ Tackle session last week and will be having more, so be sure to check their Facebook page and website for more information on those videos and their upcoming season! 

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, is looking forward to the upcoming freshwater season, but is still fishing hard in the meantime! Trout fishing has been nothing short of amazing these past few weeks, especially with the continued improvement of flows and clarity. He has been seeing a very consistent of brown and rainbow trout in the TMAs, especially in the Farmington River basin. Most of their success has come on float/centerpin fishing with pink worms, jigs, and an assortment of colored egg sacs. That strong trout action should continue right up until it’s time to hit the salt, so contact Joe if you’re interested in a guided winter trout trip! 


Bobby J’s in Milford reports that most of the anglers in their area are still focused on the striper fishing in the Housatonic. Reports have been consistent all winter, and above-average recently; especially for mid-February. Per usual, the nighttime anglers are finding better fish, but fish can still be had at just about any time. At this point in the winter, soft plastics on jigheads are what you want, but bring a mix of sizes, as some nights the bigger fish get aggressive and using a bigger offering will help weed out the smaller fish. Another option in the area is the broodstock salmon in the Naugatuck River, which have finally been stocked after weeks of un-favorable flows.  

Max, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk said that the Housatonic has continued to produce strong striped bass catches. The fish are mostly settled in at the usual mid-winter haunts from Sunnyside north to Sullivans, but it won’t be long before a few river herring start to trickle in. An influx of river herring, combined with some longer, warmer days, will no doubt have these bass getting more aggressive and spreading out. Nighttime remains your best shot at finding a bigger fish, but at this point the bite is pretty similar all day/night. Anglers looking for Atlantic Herring are still finding some good catches around Stamford, along with some sporadic pods to the west. This herring bite has been trending towards later in the season for the past few years, so there’s some hope of a strong bite in late-February/early March, which was the pattern we saw last year.  

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

The cold snap, which happened about a month ago, provided Connecticut anglers with a chance to ice fish a number of lakes/ponds, and some of those bodies of water in the northern part of the state actually held up for about a month. Last weekend’s warm-up killed most of the local ice fishing dreams, but if you’re dying for an ice fix, you should be able to find some safe hardwater north of the border. Long-term forecasts aren’t showing spring-like weather yet either, so the season might not be completely over. In terms of open water, things remain consistent, if not a little better. No surprise, but the holdover striped bass action remains consistent in the Housatonic, along with a decent bite in the Connecticut and Thames Rivers. Water temperatures have dropped to a point that these fish are in their winter/less aggressive patterns, but there is no shortage of action in most of the usual hotspots. Trout fishing in the TMAs has improved over the past few weeks, as we finally got away from the heavy rain patterns, and flows are much more ideal. A winter stocking of Seeforellen brown trout in lakes that are mostly devoid of ice has also provided anglers a chance at an open-water trophy trout this winter. Another benefit of the better river flows has been the stocking of Atlantic Salmon in the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. The Naugatuck finally got a fresh stocking after weeks of flood stage water, while the Shetucket received another round of stocking. Word from both rivers is encouraging, with a number of these big bruisers being caught recently. Open-water largemouth and crappie fishing has been good for those are trying, and we’re not too far away from Spring-time activity levels taking over! 

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