Quarantine goes on, the first round of the pandemic is supposedly waning slightly, and fish are still chewin’. Weird times is all I can say. As I said in my last post, we are lucky this hobby of ours can be done safely while distancing, just make sure to use common sense.
Onto the fishing. We had a burst of really good fishing (big fish for this early too). Bass are still around but the big ones have eluded me for a few weeks. The weather has cooled down. This was the first morning on my boat ever that I was breaking a thin layer of ice pulling out of my slip. Per usual stripers are in the rivers, marshes etc. Find fast current and/or some kind of structure in these environments, and work the water column. Three essentials you need are an unweighted soft plastic (slug O, albie snax, hogy), a weighted soft plastic on a jighead (1/8-3/4 oz depending on depth), and a swimmer (bomber, mag darter, crystal minnow etc). On Fly rod, a clouser or streamer on intermediate or sinking line. Pics below.
For those of you who do some bottomfishing, I put one day of blackfishing in. I fished a handful of spots from 40-70 feet, the deeper water (60-70) is where I found fish, and even then they were a little reluctant. I managed one quality fish. Those who I talk to have said the same, shallow water has not been producing. The mouth of the housatonic river and new haven have been producing in shallow though, due to warmer water temps outside the river.
Thank you to frontline workers and particularly healthcare workers. If any of my readers are in that category or know an angler who is, please reach out to me directly.
You might ask, what’s so special about the Norwalk Islands? 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 boasts almost 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, 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 rock piles, and deep dredged channels. The amazing thing is, It would take a lifetime to learn all the spots in this confined area. I have caught fish in no less than three spots on every island large or small, and that’s scraping the tip of the iceberg. Every year I find more and more structure that holds fish at a particular time, right under my nose. The protection of the islands also allows one to fish in weather conditions that would typically keep a small boater tied up in safe harbor.
The Norwalk Islands are a hidden gem, rich in history, and a beautiful area to spend time. Despite Fairfield County being the most densely populated region in CT, the fishing pressure is actually relatively low. Every year there are 40 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.”