Connecticut Fishing Report- March 28, 2024

Trout and salmon are chewing in the rivers, holdover stripers take small soft plastics, and anticipation builds for spring blackfish season.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that despite still being March, he is getting some late-Spring vibes on the fishing grounds. He is finding lots of tightly schooled crappie on the cooler days, and some bigger crappie feeding on the surface on the warmer/calmer days. Largemouth bass are willing to hit crankbaits, soft plastic paddletails, and hairjigs. Holdover striped bass are still in all their usual haunts and the top producer remains smaller soft plastics like super flukes, fin S fish, and GT paddle tails. Once the river herring filter into the area in better numbers, there should be a jump in aggressiveness from the bass, and some larger swimming/topwater plugs will get the job done. The trout and salmon fishing has been as consistent as ever, especially with the state continuing a diligent stocking program.  

Matt Stone with a nice local Atlantic salmon he caught on St. Patrick’s Day alongside a couple brook trout. (IG @sunrisekayakfishing)

Heather from the Black Hawk in Niantic reported a great weekend at the CT Fishing and Hunting show at Mohegan Sun! They can’t wait to fish with all the great people they met this season! The boat will be back in Niantic soon and they will start fishing as soon as they can. They are continuing to book charters for 2024, so if you’ve got a specific date in mind, be sure to contact them to get it on the calendar. They look forward to seeing everyone soon! 

Captain Mike Roy at Reel Cast Charters said he and his crew were fired up to get their season started during the first week of April. He was fresh off a successful weekend at the CT Fishing and Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun where he gave seminars and saw many friends and customers. They will start the season off with early season stripers, give them a call to get in on this early action, which is right around the corner.  

Daniel’s Bait, Tackle and Charters in New London said the rainy weather has made for an interesting start to the season, but for anglers who can brave the chill there have been plenty of brook and brown trout to be had in the state’s pre-stocked rivers. Red worms are a favorite but caddis flies drifted down the current are effective on the briefly sunny days, or PowerBait on the cloudier days.  The brief spike in temps towards high 50’s will set the stage for a freshwater spawn of crappie here as we approach Mother’s Day, so keep an eye out for last frost.  The holdover bass are more active on chunk bait or paddle tails jigged slowly since we didn’t have the top layer of ice form, forcing them to the bottom of the water column.  Take a good sunny day to Norwich Harbor or any deep pier along the Thames for a chance to catch and release a sub-slot size striper. They’re open weekends only until weather improves.

Captain Chris, of Elser Guide Service is gearing up for another strong saltwater season, but in the meantime, he’s been cashing in on some great freshwater action. Catch and release trout fishing is a great way to pass the time until opening day, and Chris is finding good results with the fly rod. Anything from a wooly bugger to a small telico nymph has been producing some nice, stocked rainbows and browns, along with some beautiful wild brook trout in some of the smaller/unstocked streams. The fish are getting pushed around a lot with all the heavy rain we’ve been having, so the best fishing has been in the deeper pools and undercut banks where the fish can hold out of the heavy current. In a way it is a good thing, as it spreads the fish out, so they’re not all just hanging out in the same spots around where they were stocked. As we warm up the dry fly action should kick into gear, along with some better pike and smallmouth action! 

Captain Chris Elser’s grandson Colton with a beautiful CT rainbow.

Rich, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reported solid local fishing, which should only improve as we work our way through April. Striped bass to 30-inches or so are spread out throughout the harbor and in the tidal rivers and creeks. Early in the season, these fish can often be found up on the muddy or sandy flats, which warm up quicker than the deeper pockets. These fish haven’t been too picky, and will take a variety of fresh baits, along with the go-to soft plastics on jigheads. As the water warms up and the river herring start to show up, the bass should start to take larger offerings like large swimming plugs, spooks, and 9-inch + soft plastics. The early blackfish season should be as good if not better than the last few, after another mild winter. Beyond the saltwater, trout fishing has been very good. The state has continued their stocking program, and locally; the Mill, Norwalk, and Saugatuck Rivers have been producing quality catches.  

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

Fresh fish and opportunities become available during the month of April as water temperatures climb and new seasons open. Striped bass are the focus for many looking to cash in on the springtime action as our resident fish wake up and spread out through tidal rivers and creeks. The fish are already starting to do this, and their activity levels will only increase more as the influx of river herring into our systems continues. By the time I speak with you next week, spring tautog and winter flounder will open up, but in the meantime, holdover striped bass should certainly keep saltwater anglers busy. While the put and take trout fishery doesn’t open until April 13th, there is no shortage of some great catch and release trout fishing across the state. Most of the well-known rivers and streams have been stocked well and are less busy now than they will be after the “official” opener. Largemouth bass and calico fishing has been consistent enough to provide freshwater anglers with another early-spring option. 

1 thought on “Connecticut Fishing Report- March 28, 2024

  1. Thomas Brennan

    Any chance of getting reports from the Farmington river or reports from north east ct?

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