Winter fish found in Long Island Sound

Winter fish found in Long Island Sound

Catching Atlantic herring from Long Island Sound during the winter months is an opportunity to stock up on food and/or bait for the days ahead.

Kensington Hatchery is responsible for all Seeforellen brown trout, from start to finish, which are stocked in lakes and ponds throughout Connecticut.

Brian Kenney of Coastal Worldwide in Pensacola, hooked up with this 12-foot, 1,200-pound great white shark while fishing off Navarre Beach, where his business partner Dylan Ware (TR), his spotter, guided him with the help of a drone to finish this hour-long battle. long.

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) is a schooling fish species that can be caught recreationally during the cooler months of December through February. During that period, water temperatures in Long Island Sound cool and generally range from the high 30s to the low 40s. Feeding is limited to natural feed consisting of zooplankton, krill and fish larvae. As a nutrition-rich food source, wild-caught Atlantic herring contains EPA + DHA, Vitamin B12, Selenium, Protein, CoQ10, Vitamin D, Iodine, Phosphorous, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, and much more.

The primary competition in the sound for these fast-growing fish will be from wintering seals as recreational anglers cast from shore hoping to stock up on bait for next season and/or food for the freezer. These fish rarely venture into tidal rivers due to their presence in coastal and continental shelf waters. NOAA Fisheries has listed the stock as “overfished, but the catch rate established under the rebuilding plan promotes population growth” and, therefore, not overfished even though “populations are naturally highly variable.”

Atlantic herring migrate in schools to areas where they feed, spawn, and spend the winter. A female herring can produce 30,000 to 200,000 eggs, which are fed by winter flounder, red hake, etc. Young herring eventually fall prey to a number of fish species (including striped bass) due to their abundance and small size. The ASMFC is charged with coordinating the management of herring fisheries in state waters using an annual catch limit for the entire herring fishery based on stock status. This commercial fishery is so valuable to the economy of the northeastern United States that 78% of the total herring harvest over the past decade went to the United States, with the remainder going to Canada.

Given the food that Atlantic herring eat, coastal anglers must liken their baits to small flies, spoons or jigs the size of a shad arrow. Running a 1/4-3/4-ounce Sabiki rig or a metal lure at the terminal end of 8- to 12-pound test line is just about right, depending on the conditions. Adding a 7-foot medium/mid-length rod will do just that. Casting into and across a bay, cove or along the shore will take advantage of any schools operating in the area, and when successful, one can expect more than one fish per hook. Oh yeah, bring a bucket. Currently, there are no recreational limits in Connecticut for Atlantic herring.

On the water

High pressure originated from the north and west as daytime air temperatures rose into the 40s to 50s with plenty of sun before moving to the southeast and passing offshore. A frontal system approached, dropping temperatures into the upper 30s with temperatures dropping into the 20s after dark as clouds and winds increased during the day. This was followed by a snowy and rainy mix, reminding us that winter was still here, causing us to change gears somewhat for a short period of time. Foggy Long Island Sound responded with water temperatures dropping into the upper 30s C from 40s F, variable winds with a change in frontal systems, and relatively calm seas that brisk from time to time.

The sequence of weather events did not prevent anglers from converging on several inland lakes and ponds. Conversely, word got out that Seeforellen brown trout were being stocked, and it was enough to get the gear out, load the trucks with guys and some snacks, and head out. Unfortunately, some of the northern inland waters were still crusty from the ice from the cold nights, enough that launching or launching a small boat faced challenges. Thus, the search for more favorable conditions continued, paying the price for stability.

At first glance, it appears that more swordfish have been stocked from the Kensington hatchery in London this season than last. Beach, Black, Long, Squantz and West Hill lakes were ponds that were stocked, while Cedar, Crystal, East Twin and Highland lakes also received recent stocks. As you know, European Seeforellen trout are long-lived and beneficial fish that are ideal for fishery stocking programs and put up a great fight on light tackle or fly fishing gear.

Now that water levels and flows have receded, fishing for river trout (even local streams), as well as Atlantic salmon, has become more achievable. The warmer weather has prompted anglers to test the conditions and, more often than not, tie up or at least bend their rods. When open water in a lake or pond was available, bass and panfish were the main species caught – although pickerel or pike would be more than welcome. Live, natural or scented baits attract fish along with sinking flies and a variety of lures.

Of course, another option is to sail offshore on a party boat for some winter bottom fishing, provided the sea conditions and bookings justify it. It is recommended to contact your preferred vessel in advance. Then again, there’s always a trip to the warm southern waters of Florida or the tropical Caribbean islands, where anglers can catch anything from reef fish to sharks as they swim in search of a suitable meal. Whatever you choose, most people will agree that it’s time to do something fishing-related!

Fly Fishing Clinic: Now accepting reservations for 2024. Great opportunity for an experienced or intermediate fly fisher! Book inland and offshore fly fishing lessons with the best fly fishing, highly experienced instructors and guides. From trout, salmon, steelhead, and sea brown to striped bass, bonefish, tarpon, etc., the techniques you’ve learned and honed will improve your fishing. Gift certificates are also available.

NOTE: Email us photos of your catch to share with fishing friends in the USA and around the world who follow the latest fishing news and frequent social media feeds. Or contact Captain Morgan for the fly fishing trip of a lifetime to a remote national or international fishing destination.

For all things fishy, ​​including the latest gear, fly/fly fishing, rods/reels, clam/lobster supplies, fishing trips, licenses/permits, and more, visit the store (203-245-8665), open 24 hours a day. Weekdays is located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Face coverings are optional but recommended indoors. Until next time, from a full-service Connecticut fishing tackle dealer and an authorized Penn Premium dealer, where we don’t make the angler, we make the angler better.

very close lines,

Captain Morgan

X (formerly Twitter) @captmorgan_usa

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