Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- February 22, 2024

Trout and chain pickerel chew in freshwater ponds and rivers, pollock and cod come over the rail for party boats, and white perch and holdover stripers are caught in the brackish creeks and ponds.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • Offshore wreck trips bring cod, red hake, and pollack over the rails. 
  • Connetquot trout feed aggressively on streamers in the relatively stable conditions of the river. 
  • Jumbo white perch make up for a slower holdover bite in the brackish water. 
  • Pickerel save the day from finicky freshwater fishing on the South Shore lakes.

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle told me: 

“I visited Twin Lakes with my Uncle Tommy and even though conditions looked great we didn’t do that good – we hooked a pickerel and drew a few reaction strikes from a bass and a perch, and that was about it. You can always count on the slime darts to break a skunking. We were both fishing a 1/8-ounce jig with a 3-inch Keitech easy shiner paddletail, and a very slow retrieve.” 


Capt Joe. from the King Cod out of Captree reported on their Saturday, 2/17 trip:

“Steamed off this morning in the dark. White out snow for the whole ride. Hit some out-of-the-way stuff for a pick of red hake, a few cod, and a couple of pollock. Some meat, but not enough for all. Seas were flat until noon. Once the snow came through the wind flipped around and came up pretty good out of the NW. Text: 631-605-1404 to get on our call list.”

The King Cod has another trip planned for this Sunday, 2/25. You can visit their Facebook page here for more info.

Paul McCain of River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin told me:

“The salt’s been very slow, the few guys I talked to that are herring fishing haven’t been catching anything this week. Out east, in the tidal outflows, the fishing has been slow for white perch and holdover striped bass, but the few that are fishing are catching them.

The Connetquot, as you may know, is in great shape – the water temperature sits around 45 degrees and those trout are happy as long as they’re swimming. So if you really want to break a skunk and have consistent action, more than just 1 or 2 fish in a day, call ahead and reserve one of the beats. It’s worth the entry fee.” 

Ryan Ma of the NY Hooksets shared a crabbing report:

“Right now, crabbing is on the very slow side. I went out with Nico, Lorenzo, Jack, and other Hooksets members on the South Shore piers.  We caught a mix of rock, spiders, and green crabs, but in very low numbers compared to last year around the same time. Still fun to get out there!” 

Here’s what local anglers have been posting on social media:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Joe Tangel (@kingcod_fishing_)

If you have a catch you’d like to share, DM me on Instagram @nick_onthewater.

Last weekend, we had what felt like one of the very few instances this year of actual winter weather, with snowfall Saturday and some great fishing in the middle of it. I ventured out to the Connetquot that day for a morning trout session. It was just myself and two other fly anglers that morning. Snow fell the entire time, it was quiet, peaceful, and the fishing was as good as I could hope. The trout were aggressive, taking black wooly buggers, white streamers, tiny clouser minnows… if it was fluffy, and Bob the Garbageman would call you a mook for throwing it – they ate it. The other anglers I talked to had success on mop flies and various bead-head nymphs as well.  

Fishing in the snow is always a treat—especially when you have a stretch of water all to yourself.

Most of the fish were chunky, either due to being full of eggs or because they’d been feeding. The dozens of baitfish I spotted in pockets of water had me believing the latter. I couldn’t’ get a clear-enough look to identify what they were, but it likely contributed to the streamer bite.  

Whereas usually I find more success floating nymphs, I appreciated being able to strip a chunky streamer fly back to me from upstream, or letting it suspend downstream in the current where a rainbow or brook trout could visibly ambush it. It’s pretty amazing how well some flies can swim; out of water, they look like a bucktail with a bad hair-day, but in the water, facing current, their hackles or tails kick and swim in a pretty realistic fashion. I might just fall down the fly-tying rabbithole soon…  

With baitfish around, trout were more willing to take slightly larger flies like streamers and clouser minnows.

As I walked back to the parking lot around noon many more anglers rolled in and the sun came out. It was an excellent morning session with a chunky rainbow and a few nice brookies tallied under my belt, all caught-and-released. I made the mistake of eating a hatchery trout once in the past, and in my opinion, it wasn’t great – even breaded and fried. But if you want to put ‘fresh’ trout on your table, there’s no easier place to do so than the Connetquot. A few years ago, I gut-hooked a holdover trout in a stocked pond that had clearly been there for a few years – the meat was very different in color and texture, and it tasted much better. So if you go to the Connetquot looking for a meal, perhaps try to pick out the oldest fish who’ve had more time on a natural diet of insects and baitfish. 

Long Island and NYC Fishing Forecast

We’re less than a month from spring, and next week’s weather is going to give us a taste of it. The days are getting noticeably longer, too. On paper, this looks like a great weekend, with both a full moon and a period of higher atmospheric pressure on Sunday, which lines up with my available time to fish.  

Skim ice was a nuisance this past weekend but should be all gone by now, opening everything up to the pond-hopper and urban creek angler. Despite slow fishing this week I’m confident Friday and Sunday will be great days to fish, whether that’s in the salt, fresh, or brackish water.  

As for offshore fishing, the weather looks great for it—not overly windy, and partly sunny. These kind of trips aren’t suited for the fair-weather fisherman, however. So if you find yourself nervously checking the weather every day leading up to a trip, that kind of fishing might not be for you. Your best bet is to dress properly for the conditions (including the potential conditions, not just what you see in the forecast) and embrace whatever mother nature decides to throw at you. 

So whether you’re planning to wade a river, float nightcrawlers, stalk the back bays at night, or jig wrecks from a party boat rail, I hope you have good luck, stay safe, and catch ‘em up. Thanks for reading, and tight lines. 

The L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@nick_onthewater).

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