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Posted By Toby Lapinski, April 13, 2020
Plenty of big trout were landed this week in Southern New England like this hefty rainbow landed by Shawn Barham.

From Massachusetts to Connecticut (and beyond), the warming weather of the past few weeks has anglers out in droves. While concerns over COVID-19 dominate the news, fishing success are taking a close second. Trout fishing is finally open in Rhode Island, albeit under strict guidelines: anglers with last names beginning with A through M can only fish on even numbered calendar days, and those with last names beginning with N through Z can only fish on odd numbered calendar days. Additionally, the Golden Trout Promotion—in which anglers who catch, photograph and email the picture to the DEM will receive a commemorative Golden Trout Pin—has been extended until April 1. Check out the details here.

Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife has reportedly dumped “extra” fish into the waters around the state, including some really big fish, over concerns that if a hatchery got hit by COVID-19 then no one will be able to tend to the fish, so this has produced a windfall of big fish caught in recent days. Similarly in Connecticut, heavy stocking is producing excellent catch rates with round two expected to commence in the coming days.

In the salt, blackfish season is underway with confirmed keepers landed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and rumored fish being landed in the Ocean State. While most of the fish so far have been right at or just over keeper size, the number of fish being landed when anglers get on a good bite has been encouraging. As always rockpiles that are warmer than surrounding waters, such as shallow breakwalls, have been producing best. As for bait, the usual crabs (green and Asian) as well as softies (clams and worms) have been producing equally well.

Also in the salt, the debate is underway as to whether the stripers being seen along the oceanfront are fresh-run fish or just clean holdovers; either way things are improving by the day with fish to 20 pounds caught and released. Expect to hear of the first 30-plus-pounder landed this week in Southern New England, no doubt pulled from a large tidal river with a good herring run.

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