The Connecticut River seems to be paved with schoolies this week, and anywhere from Middletown to Old Saybrook is producing. Sea worms are catching a lot of fish, but small shad bodies on lead are also scoring. There are some bigger stripers waiting below the herring runs as well; they’re taking Red Fins at night.
I would describe the overall fishing this week as ‘in transition.’ The general consensus among most of the reporting stations this week is that the world—as it relates to fish—is waking up. Baitfish are streaming into rivers and harbors, bunker are beginning to show, herring are piling up below the runs and the first solid reports of schoolie bass, winter flounder and even some blackfish are coming from places other than the Housatonic River. We are entering that magical period when things start to happen fast. Several fisheries gain momentum all at once and the mind of the fisherman quickly snaps into a new mindset, the one that tries to figure out how many time he or she can get out over the course of a week instead of wondering if it’s even worth it. (HINT: It’s always worth it!)
Some of the best places to fish this week will be within the Niantic River/Niantic Bay system where winter founder, schoolie stripers and (maybe) some blackfish will be feeling the heat and looking to feed. The Connecticut River where school bass are all over the place and bigger bass, into the 20-pound class, are waiting below the herring runs for pods of alewives to ascend the streams. The ubiquitous Housy will churn out plenty of stripers this week and the mouth of that river will probably give up a few keeper tog. Things are starting to happen and once they start, there’s no looking back. So get your gear in order and get out there, no part of the season moves faster than the beginning.