Connecticut was the first New England state to finalize both its fluke and black sea bass regulations for 2017, sending out notice on Friday, March 10, with mixed feedback so far. As of the release of the notice, black sea bass regulations will remain the same as 2016 for the 2017 season. Those regulations are as follows: Open Season: May 1 to December 31, inclusive, Minimum Size: 15 inches, Creel Limit: 5 fish. Also included in the notice, fluke/summer flounder regulation amendments for 2017 are as follows: Open Season: May 17 to September 21, inclusive, Minimum Size: 19 inches*, Creel Limit: 3 fish.
While it appears that for now we won the sea bass battle, anglers fishing the Connecticut side of the Sound are taking a bit of a hit on fluke. It is well worth noting, however, that the official press release included the reference that “Rules for black sea bass may change during 2017” which means that we may in fact have to pay back the anticipated overage incurred by both New York and New Jersey in 2016 as Connecticut is bunched in with these states as part of the regional management process.
Fishing-wise, as reported last week, the trout trucks are still on the road and they began with the Trout Management Areas (TMA’s) last week including the Willimantic, Salmon, Mill, Mianus, Hockanum and Saugatuck Rivers. Keep in mind that while fishing is allowed year-round in the TMA’s, it is catch-and-release only right now and some sections have gear restrictions (fly fishing only) so be sure to verify the status of the section of the river in which you are fishing. Before the cold snap and subsequent winter storm this week, holdover striped bass action was pretty good in the tidal rivers, as was pre-spawn pike fishing on the Connecticut River.