NorwalkIslandsFishing is written by me, James Hollyday III. I have been saltwater fishing the Sound and the surrounding estuaries since I was in the single digits. After graduating college, my casual hobby turned into an obsession, and I bought my first boat shortly thereafter in 2012. Since then, I have been fishing the Sound by boat, with a focus on the Norwalk Islands, with fervor. I like to think I know a lot about the Islands’ history and navigation from working as a deckhand and guide on a tour boat for six years.
If you can’t tell, I really like to focus my fishing efforts on this Island chain. The fishing surely doesn’t compare to Montauk, Block Island, Eastern Connecticut/Rhode Island or even the Cape, so what’s the deal?
The answer is that Norwalk Islands are an almost one-of-a kind area in its varied topography that results in a phenomenal, yet difficult, fishing structure. This is an area that has literally every type of structure present in the northeast. Ice-age glaciers 18,000 year ago formed deep canyons rising from 100 feet to 20 feet of water, countless sandbars and shallow rips, boulder fields, and varied bottom composition from gravel to mud surrounding the 13 islands. That doesn’t count the man made structure from mooring fields, wrecks, docks, oyster beds, navigational aids, and dredged channels. It would take a lifetime to learn all the spots in this relatively confined area. The bottom line is that the Islands are densely populated with structure that holds fish, all season long. I have just scratched the surface of figuring out this area, and I like to write about it. It also helps that this is where I grew up and learned to fish saltwater, with help from a few mentors I’ve had along the way.
The Norwalk Islands are a hidden gem, rich in history, and a beautiful area to spend time. The regions doesn’t get tourists coming to fish, it is not a fishing destination by any means. You don’t have fleets of charter boats hammering the fish population, nor would the fish sustain that pressure. Despite Fairfield County being the most densely populated region in CT, the fishing pressure is actually relatively low compared to the rest of the waters of the tri state area Every year there are 40-50 pound bass caught in the deep water rips surrounding the islands on bait. 20 and 30 pound bass are not uncommon in the shallow areas of the islands for those who know the secrets, of which there are many, and put in the time. Double digit fluke and blackfish are also caught, and don’t forget the gator bluefish. See the image below as evidence of the fish that the islands hold. This is one of the most notable catches of the Norwalk Islands’ history, a 45 pound striped bass on the fly taken by Pete Kriewald in the 70s in skinny water that was at the time a world record on 20 pound tippet. This is from Lou Tabory’s book “Inshore Fly Fishing: A Pioneering Guide to Fly Fishing Along Cold Water.”