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While they are all often simply referred to under the blanket term of “herring,” there are three primary species of herring seen across the northeast: the blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), and the Atlantic or sea herring (Clupea harengus). The alewife and blueback are protected and can not be legally harvested, but the Atlantic herring may be caught and is sought for both bait as well as table fare across the region. However, at times finding large enough concentrations of sea herring locally to make it worth braving the cold in search of them can be daunting.

By Toby Lapinski
Image courtesy of Bing Maps

Out on Long Island there is a pretty good fishery for herring at many of the canals, fishing piers and harbors that almost endlessly dot the shoreline. If you’re looking to get the skinny on the when, where and how of that specific fishery for a little road trip this winter, then I highly suggest that you take a look at the fine article written by Tony Salerno in issue number 1 of 2015 in the Long Island Fisherman. Included in the article is a list of nine local hotspots that are all worth a look if you make the drive “across the pond.” Remember that with all paid subscriptions to any one edition of The Fisherman, you get free digital access to the other two editions so this article is just a few clicks away right now.

Ok, back to somewhere a little bit closer to home: the waters of Norwalk Harbor in Norwalk, CT. First and foremost, I must direct you to speak to the guys at Fisherman’s World if you plan to fish this area. Located literally within walking distance of the harbor, Jeremy, Rich, Ian, Rick and the entire crew at the shop are sure to know when and where the herring are being found so you’ll save yourself a lot of work if you start your trip here.

There are a few good spots around the harbor. On the southeast corner at Calf Pasture Beach Park, herring can be found by the fishing pier. There is also a small tunnel under the road near Canfield Avenue connecting the small pond and harbor area that I have been told can hold herring at times. This is worth a check when you’re coming and going, but I haven’t seen any herring there just yet.

Moving over to Veteran’s Memorial Park, I have found herring in the small cove to the east. They can be found in and around the docks as well as out in the main body of the harbor. The docks are inaccessible so you’ll need to cast from shore. I’ve seen guys loading up on herring from the docks on the east side of this little cove in front of where East Ave connects with Sea View, but I am not sure if this is publicly accessible. You can work your way around Veteran’s Park towards the boat ramp in the river, but I have not done well in this stretch as there isn’t much to hold them here.

Once you reach the Norwalk River on the west side of the park, there are several spots that you can fish including the boat ramp, around the Route 136 Bridge and behind the Maritime Aquarium. The last one is a perennial hot spot that you’ll see listed in the reports most years as it is very consistent.

In general, the higher stages of the tide are preferred for these spots and anglers do well both day and night, although daytime seems to have the edge. This could be as much due to the nights sometimes just being too cold to fish as it does the days producing any better, so don’t be afraid to just go when you have time.

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