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Three weeks later…

Due to the weather, I had not been able to get out fishing since Christmas Eve. But we saw a narrow window of potentially prime conditions between daybreak and eleven this morning, and headed out to take advantage of it.

The forecast called for temps near 60 at 6AM, falling to below freezing by noon, with strong winds from daybreak on. Following an inch-plus of rain yesterday and last night, we knew that the majority of the ice would be gone, and the mud and fast water might just turn the fat girls on. With the forecast for continued frigid temps from this afternoon on, we also knew that this morning would be our only real shot at it.

Alex and I put his boat in at about 7AM. Steve and Dave joined us in Steve’s boat a short time later.

The weather was gorgeous when we launched. A mild breeze out of the south and 55 degrees. Good weather though, doesn’t necessarily equate to good fishing conditions. There was so much ice floating down river, and so much debris (leaves, weeds, branches, etc) floating and suspended, that making ‘clean’ cast and retrieve was more the exception than the rule. The ice was coming from somewhere up the Naugatuck and from above the Derby dam on the Housy. We also saw a floating dock complete with about a 20 foot walkway that somehow made it over the dam and navigated its way through 3 bridges without being broken up.

By 7:45, the gorgeous weather had turned ugly. A 20 degree temperature drop coupled with the gentle south breeze turning into an incessant, 15 mph north wind made it a whole lot less comfortable.

We started moving around, hoping to mark some fish in an area where there wasn’t so much ice and garbage. We were limited in how far we could go though, by a sizable ice jam at the pinch near the upriver end of 2 Mile Island.

Alex and I found one solid bunch of fish in an area that had less in the way of ice floes and chunks, and sat on them. The bite was not fast and furious. It was slow and tedious. I attribute that to the fact that the little guys far outnumber the big girls, but when it comes to winter stripers, the small (sub 18 inch) fish that usually make up the bulk of the winter catch, rarely bite when the water is muddy. So the bite is is slow, but consists mostly of bigger fish. Hence the catch phrase, “The fat girls like it dirty.”

The tide turned a bit after 9, and by 9:30, the ice jam was gone. Steve and Dave headed farther south then, but since we planned on heading for the ramp at 10, we figured we’d stay on the fish we were working, despite the slow bite. We hit the ramp at 10 and  Steve and Dave found another bunch of catchable fish farther down, and stayed out until 1pm, but fished with ice in their guides for the last couple hours. Pretty strange on a day that started out 6 hours earlier with temps in the mid-50s.

Sure hope it’s not another 3 weeks before it gets fishable again, but with the weather that’s moving in for the next few days, it doesn’t look promising.

Fish porn below.

 

 

 

 

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