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Lunker City Fishing Specialties

After the storm.

Fished the Housatonic with Steve yesterday. Except for a mile or so of river about half way down, the water color wasn’t nearly as bad as we had feared it would be. The current on the other hand, and the height of the river, both showed the effects of the big rainstorm earlier in the week. Reports from friends who tried to fish the Connecticut River since the storm indicated that the effects there were not nearly as fishable.

We caught fish — on topwater plugs, on unweighted soft plastics and on jig and plastic combos. Unfortunately, the size was not what we had hoped to encounter. I only had one that was close enough to even measure to see if it might be legal. It wasn’t.

Fifty-five of our fish came either below the Rte 1 bridge or out in the Sound.  One came from a slight eddy in a very heavy current area north of the Rte 1 and 95 bridges.


The only bait we saw anywhere north of the bird sanctuary was tiny peanuts and silversides being chased by hickory shad. And I don’t think we even saw any of that going on above the power lines.

There are nearly a dozen oyster boats crammed into the narrow channel just inside the river mouth in this picture.

There are nearly a dozen oyster boats crammed into the narrow channel just inside the river mouth in this picture.

It seems like there are a lot of fish outside the river and in the mouth, waiting whatever signals them to move up the river to their wintering grounds. Or waiting for whatever is holding them back to stop. It could be the warmer than normal water temperatures holding them back (the river was finally under 59 degrees yesterday), or it could be the dredging operation, which has reached up almost to Pepe’s Rock. Too, there has been a massive increase in the oyster dredging/trawling this fall as compared to previous years. The usual 5 or 6 oyster boats seems to have mushroomed into a fleet of 15 to 20, and they seem to work in two close groups, with the smaller group above the bird sanctuary and the other consisting of more and larger boats, working from the inner break wall (just below the Stratford ramp) out to almost the mouth.

Some have opined that the Waterbury sewage disaster is preventing their entry into the river, but in normal years, there would have been a lot of fish in and above the area where all the dredging and oyster boat activity is going on before the sewage spill even happened, much less moved down river that far. For the most part, they aren’t there this year. Those fish seem to still be holding out at the mouth.

Whatever the factors holding back the movement of the bulk of the overwintering striper population from entering and beginning to move up the Housy so far this fall, those of us who enjoy the winter fishery there each year have our collective fingers crossed that we’re only seeing a delay related to the unusually mild fall we’ve experienced until this point.




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