Thursday, April 28, 2016

Connecticut Fishing Report 4-28-16

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

If not not catching fish in Connecticut right now , go back to your vehicle and get your Pole !

May 7, 2016 Free Fishing Day for Fresh and Salt Water !

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has designated Saturday May 12th as Family Fishing Day.  Get outdoors and enjoy a great day of fishing with family and friends.  Bring the kids to see the stocking trucks roll in and you can help carry buckets of fish from the trucks down to the water.
The following ponds will be stocked on Family Fishing Day.
 Beardsley Park Pond
 Valley Falls Pond
 Keney Park Pond
 Chatfield Hollow Pond Killingworth    8:30
 Wharton Brook Pond Wallingford  10:30
 Southford Falls Pond Oxford    8:30
 Lake Wintergreen New Haven  10:30

TROUT STOCKING–Approximately 371,000 trout were stocked before Opening Day into 100 lakes and ponds and nearly 170 rivers and streams located throughout Connecticut. DEEP’s in-season stockings are now underway with nearly 230,000 additional trout scheduled to be stocked between Opening Day and the end of May.

TROUT- RIVERS & STREAMS - Conditions should be fairly good for trout fishing this weekend, with Saturday being the better weather day for anglers. There are plenty of recently stocked trout waiting for anglers, flows are very fishable but remain generally lower than typical spring levels (see stream flow graphic on page 4) but some rain is forecast for late in the weekend and early next week.

Good reports last week from the West Branch Farmington River, Farmington River, Housatonic River, Natchaug River, Willimantic River, Fivemile River (good for those with patience to learn the river), Quinebaug River (some nice action being found in the Putnam area) and Eightmile River; and fair reports from the Pequonnock River, Hammonasset River (some nice fish are being found), West River (spotty), and Scantic River (action is improving). Nymphs and streamers are a good option for many, especially earlier in the day, with some better action found on top later in the day. Mealworms and crawlers are working for bait anglers.

Farmington River - Fishing remains good to very good and conditions for the weekend should be good, with comfortable spring weather forecast for most of the weekend and very fishable flows continuing. Currently West Branch flows are clear, on the low side (currently 145 cfs at Riverton with the Still River adding another 80 cfs).

Hatches/patterns. Hendrickson hatch continues to move upstream, likely in the catch-and-release area and up to Riverton. Other hatches include Blue Wing Olive (some), Winter/Summer Caddis (#18-22) and Stonefly nymphs (#16-18), Midge (#20-32). Also try Rusty Spinners (#16-18), Mahogany Duns/Blue Quills (#16-18), Tan Caddis (#16-18) and Winter Caddis (#18)

Housatonic River - Fishing has been good and the river will be great for fishing this weekend. The TMA was stocked this week, flows are clear, and quite comfortable for wading, being lower than is typical for late April/early May (currently 818 cfs at Falls Village and 1,140 cfs at Gaylordsville). Morning water temperatures are in the mid-upper 40’sF.

Hatches/patterns include Hendrickson (#12-14,), Blue Wing Olive (a.k.a. Baetis vagans; #16-18), Green/Olive Caddis & Tan/Brown Caddis. Anglers using March Brown (#10-12), Pheasant Tail (#12-18) Copper John (#12-16). For streamers try Yellow/White Zonkers, brown and olive woolly buggers as well as white muddler minnows.

Rivers and streams stocking update (Note that all stocking schedules are subject to change):

In western Connecticut; the Mill River TMA (Fairfield), Saugatuck River TMA, Farmington River (Tariffville section), Housatonic River TMA (Cornwall, Kent), Little River, Macedonia Brook and the Farmington River TMA (year-round catch-and-release area only) were stocked.

In eastern Connecticut; the Moosup River (including the TMA), Kitt Brook, Blackwells Brook, Shetucket River, Natchaug River, Hammonasset River (including the TMA), Scantic River (both upper & lower portions), Skungamaug River, Hop River, Jeremy River, Blackledge River, Mount Hope River and Fenton River were stocked.

TROUT-LAKES & PONDS - Trout fishing has been generally good with reports from Quonnipaug Lake (good), Crystal Lake (nothing big), Cedar Lake (very good action, including lots of brook trout), Highland Lake (“trout are turning on”), Long Pond, Candlewood Lake (fair), Squantz Pond (good action on stockie rainbows), and Saugatuck Reservoir (fair-good fishing). Also some good reports from several of the Community Fishing Waters including Mohegan Park Pond (also a Trout Park).

Lakes and ponds stocking update (Note that all stocking schedules are subject to change):

In western Connecticut; Mohegan Lake, Baummer Pond, Colony Park Pond, Fountain Lake, and Prospect Town Park Pond.

In eastern Connecticut; Moosup Pond, Somerville Mill Pond, and Rogers Lake.

TROUT PARKS – Fishing ranged from fair to very good at the Trout Parks. The Stratton

Brook, Natchaug River, Chatfield Hollow (both pond and stream), Wolfe Park (Great Hollow Pond), Southford Falls, Black Rock (both pond and stream), Kent Falls, Mohegan Park Pond and Valley Falls Park Pond Trout Parks were stocked this week.

COMMUNITY FISHING WATERS- The Keney Park Pond and Upper Fulton Park Pond were stocked.

LARGEMOUTH BASS fishing was variable last week as spring continues to sputter along, although water temperatures warmed into the low to mid-50’s F, with reports from Bantam Lake (fair action, but some big fish), Moodus Reservoir (slow to fair), Rogers Lake (fair at best), Messerschmidt Pond, Lake Zoar (tough for some anglers, better for others), Lake McDonough (good, bass were around wood
structure), Park Pond (lots of action, but mostly on sub-legals), Candlewood Lake (largemouth fishing is picking up), Lake Lillinonah (fair to good for bass), Saugatuck Reservoir (some action), Mansfield Hollow Reservoir (slow) and Highland Lake (slow last week). Tournament angler reports are from East Twin Lake (slow-fair, 3.48 lb & 2.79 lb lunkers), Lake Lillinonah (tough find largemouth), Bantam Lake (tough for some but a number of bigger fish including a 6.7 lb, 5.7 lb and 5.5 lb bass), Lake Zoar (slow, 3.2 lb &1.56 lb lunkers), Pattagansett Lake (very slow, with a 1.98 lb lunker), Coventry Lake (slow, with a 5 lb lunker), Amos Lake (fair-good, some size, fish averaged 2 lbs apiece, with a 4.7 lb lunker), and Pachaug Pond (slow-fair, 4.3 lb lunker).
SMALLMOUTH BASS. At Candlewood Lake, Some anglers found fair to good action, but the smallies befuddled many other anglers last week, good fishing reported at Lake Lillinonah, and a few smallmouth were being caught at Lake McDonough and Highland Lake. Tournament angler reports are from Lake Lillinonah (fair to good smallie fishing, with a 3.31 lb lunker), Bantam lake (a few in the bags for club, good for another group with a 3.58 lb lunker), Candlewood Lake (tough to fair,), Lake Zoar (slow, 1.65 lb & 0.83 lb lunkers).

Special Thank You to Connecticut Bass Nation.
                                          also  Red Fin Pickerel ( Quaddick ) and others.
NORTHERN PIKE. Some nice catches reported from Lake Lillinonah (Shepaug Arm).

I love the new Ramp and Lighting. Thank You ! Sportsman Restoration and Pittman Robertson Funds

WALLEYE action remains good at Squantz Pond but it’s been slow at Saugatuck Reservoir.
 P.S. The  State record is ot of Beach Pond which is bordered by those Swamp Yankee Rhode Islanders !
BLACK CRAPPIE action continues to be good to very good throughout the state.
The river has warmed some (up to 52 F on Monday, 4/25) and has risen some although flows are still well below typical late-April levels. Lots of bait fish in the river. AMERICAN SHAD can be found throughout the river (good action reported from anglers in the Enfield area). Shad darts and willow leafs generally work well. STRIPED BASS are being found in the river, still mostly schoolie size, but numbers of bigger fish are increasing, with a number of 20 lb plus catches reported. BLACK CRAPPIE fishing remains good. Anglers are finding good SMALLMOUTH BASS action in the Windsor to Enfield area (with a number of 2 lb plus fish), plus some fish are being found from below Hartford to Haddam in the mainstem. A few LARGEMOUTH BASS are being caught in the coves along the river. Some CARP are being caught in the lower river. Not much WHITE PERCH action reported yet.

BASHAN LAKE (drawdown). Bashan Lake remains drawn down (slow refill has begun – lake currently remains down approximately 5 feet – note that refill rate is dependent on rainfall amounts) following dam repairs and the state boat launch remains closed.
COVENTRY LAKE (invasive species alert). Hydrilla, a very highly invasive aquatic plant, has been found growing in Coventry Lake. All lake users should take extra care to check and clean their boats (including canoes, kayaks and rowing sculls), trailers, and fishing equipment before leaving the boat launch, or leaving the lakeshore.
DOOLEY POND (drawdown). A drawdown of Dooley Pond to facilitate dam repairs is ongoing (expected to last to September 1). The state boat launch is currently closed.

GLASGO POND (drawdown). A drawdown of Glasgo Pond to facilitate dam repairs began September 16. Launching of boats is difficult to impossible.

RAINBOW RESERVOIR (boat launch). The state boat launch on Rainbow Reservoir is currently scheduled to be closed for paving and redesign from Monday, May 2nd through Friday, May 6th (inclusive).

Salt Water Report

STRIPED BASS fishing is good to excellent for “schoolies” in most of the tidal rivers along the Connecticut shoreline. There are also some keepers in the mix as well (47 inch bass from the lower CT River). Striper spots include the Pawcatuck River, Mystic River, Thames River, Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and Dock and Dine), Black Hall River, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Housatonic River and Norwalk Harbor including the islands. Sand and blood worms have been working the best, especially in turbid waters around the high tide. Casting swimming lures, small jigs (Chartreuse color) with twister tails, soft baits, and Kastmasters and other metal lures will all work. Fishing should get better as we approach the magical 55F mark! The top-water fishing has been fanatastic…

WINTER FLOUNDER fishing remains slow but improving in the Poquonock River at Bluff Point State Park, Niantic River, The Brothers, Jordan Cove, lower Saugatuck River, Calf Pasture Beach area, Norwalk Islands (Cockonoe) and the channels in Norwalk Harbor. Other flounder spots include the lower Mystic River, and the mouth of the Thames River in the Pine Island area including Baker Cove.

WHITE PERCH fishing is good to excellent for these tasty panfish in most of the tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Perch spots include the Pawcatuck River, Mystic River, Thames River, upper Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove and Hamburg Cove. Shrimp and small worms are the key to success.

WEAKFISH have also arrived in Long Island Sound! The Race, Plum Gut and the north side of Long Island including Gardiners Bay and the Peconics are early bluefish spots. Look for weakfish in Guilford/New Haven Harbor over to the Milford/Stratford area along with the Peconics.

BLACK SEA BASS & SCUP OPENS MAY 1: Based on the CT DEEP Marine Fisheries Division trawl survey there are plenty of sea bass and scup in the sound. Looks to be a fantastic opener.

Rhode Island Free Fresh Water Fishing Days May 7th & 8th

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


Fish for ANY freshwater species FREE.  NO license or Trout Stamp required!  Creel limits will apply.  

                                 QUALIFY FOR A GOLDEN RAINBOW TROUT PIN!

             Rhode Islands Nick Grasso and my brother Joe caught one last year !

Upper Melville Pond Portsmouth Peck Pond Burrillville  Silver Spring Pond North Kingstown  Meadowbrook Pond Richmond  Carolina Trout Pond Richmond  Carbuncle Pond Coventry  Browning Mill Pond Exeter  Barber Pond South Kingstown  2016 Golden Rainbow Trout Stocked Ponds: 

Catch a golden rainbow trout in any of the 8 ponds listed and take a picture with your fish!  Send the picture to and you will be mailed a golden trout pin to commemorate your catch! It’s Free Fishing Weekend!

QUALIFY FOR A GOLDEN RAINBOW TROUT PIN!  Fish for ANY freshwater species FREE.  NO license or Trout Stamp required!  Creel limits will apply.


Vermont’s Walleye Fishing Starts May 7

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The best walleye fishing in New England will begin soon in several Vermont rivers and lakes, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  The department is reminding anglers that walleye fishing season starts in much of the state on the first Saturday in May and that regulations vary, depending on the water you are fishing. 
  Wayne G. Barber, host of the OUTDOOR SCENE reminds you there is no open season on Sauger, a close cousin to the walleye.  Once more abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger may still appear there rarely.  If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released. 
In all waters of Vermont except Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, walleye have an 18” minimum length requirement and three-fish daily limitThe open season is from Saturday, May 7 to March 15, 2017.
Lake Carmi has a slot limit for walleye because of the lake’s high productivity and high rate of walleye harvest.  The minimum length is 15 inches, all walleye between 17 and 19 inches must be released.  The daily limit is five walleye, but only one may be over 19 inches long.  The season is open May 7 through March 15.
Chittenden Reservoir has special walleye regulations in order to produce large walleye that can help control its over-abundant yellow perch population and provide anglers with an opportunity to harvest a trophy walleye.  The minimum length is 22 inches, the daily limit is two, and the season is open June 1 through March 15.   
Connecticut River walleye fishing rules are set by New Hampshire.  No walleye between 16 to 18 inches may be kept and the daily limit is four fish, of which only one may be longer than 18 inches.
Excellent walleye fishing opportunities occur each spring in the lakes mentioned above as well as in Lake Champlain and its tributaries: the Missisquoi River, Lamoille River, Winooski River, and Otter Creek.  The Northeast Kingdom also offers walleye fishing opportunities in Salem Lake, Island Pond, Clyde Pond, and the Clyde River.  Vermont’s state record walleye weighed 14.55 lbs. and was caught in Lake Champlain by Richard Levesque of Swanton in 2010.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
Photo by Raplh Hensley
Posted by Wayne G. Barber
It's that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and hayfields, and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone.

Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned. Most such "orphans" that good-intentioned citizens "rescue" every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time.

According to Wayne G. Barber, host of the OUTDOOR SCENE, fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators such as dogs or coyotes to their location. The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation. Young fawns are "hiders" and will not try to run away when they are approached.

For the first seven to 10 days of life, a fawn will spend up to 95 percent of its time bedded. While bedded, a fawn has a very rapid heartbeat of around 175 beats per minute. When a fawn senses danger is close, it will lower its head and drop its ears, the heart rate will fall to around 60 beats per minute, and the breathing will become slower and deeper – all to try and avoid detection by predators. The first few days of a fawn’s life are a critical time. Most fawns that fall to predators die in their first 10 days of life.

Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young. You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again. If less than 24 hours have passed since a fawn has been "rescued," the fawn should be taken back and released at the exact same location where it was found.

Barber states, if a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling a toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at your State DEM Web-site on a search box.

“If a human touches a fawn, the doe will stop taking care of it.” This is incorrect. It is best to never touch a fawn unless it is in direct danger, like when it beds down near farm equipment or other dangerous areas. But in the event you do need to touch a fawn or carry it away from danger, you have nothing to worry about. Research has shown that most fawns handled by humans survive just fine afterward. If the mother is in sight, try to let her see you set the fawn down. If there is not a doe in the area, find a shady spot with some cover close by and leave the fawn there. If the fawn jumps up and runs off, don’t chase it. It will travel a short distance and pick its own spot to wait for its doe.

Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a wildlife rehabilitation permit, which is issued by DEM. Each animal's nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival. Feeding the wrong food to a fawn can make it very sick and possibly lead to its death. For example, cow's milk can induce severe diarrhea in fawns.

With even the best professional care possible, the survival rate of rehabilitated fawns and many other animals is very low. More than 50% of fawns brought to rehabilitation facilities die before being released due to injuries they come in with and unavoidable physical stress during the rehabilitation process. Of those fawns that are released, a very small percentage survives the first year in the wild. Furthermore, many rehabilitation facilities have to turn fawns away due to limited housing and staff. Wildlife managers have additional concerns about fawn rehabilitation. The process requires deer to be moved, treated--often in contact with other deer--and then released back into the wild. Often, rehabilitated deer must be released into areas with already high deer populations. Movement and commingling of deer increase the risks that contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease (CWD), 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Please Avoid Tempting the Bears !

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The Outdoor Scene Says Avoid Tempting Bears by Removing Food Sources
Pascoag, R.I.:  People love to see a black bear in its natural surroundings, but when a bear ventures into human territory, problems can occur. 
 All the New England wardens and biologists are receiving reports of hungry bears getting into trash containers as well as raiding bird feeders, bee hives and chicken houses.  

“Human conflicts involving bears are increasing this spring,” said Wayne G. Barber, host of the OUTDOOR SCENE exclaims the bears are responding to events in search of easy calories.  As with most wildlife conflicts, these can be easily avoided by taking steps to secure food sources and making them inaccessible to hungry bears.”

“People sometimes unintentionally encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food,” says OUTDOOR SCENE guest, Ben Kilham, New Hampshire's top black bear expert.  “Once bears become used to these food sources and come into frequent human contact, people sometimes call them nuisance bears.  But, they are just being bears!  It is nearly impossible to relocate a nuisance bear.  Unfortunately, they frequently have to be put down.”

Some of the most common sources of food that attract bears are: bird feeders, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, pet food and campsites with accessible food and food wastes.

Purposely feeding a bear is not just bad for the bear, it’s also illegal through out New England.

Residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from bears before lethal force can be taken.  Some of these measures include:

  • Keep chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure.
  • Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Do not feed birds April 1 through November 30.  Bringing feeders in at night doesn’t work, because of seed spilled on the ground. 
  • Store trash in a secure place.  Trash cans alone are not bear-proof.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Antlerless Deer Proposal Voted by Vermont Fish &Wildlife Board

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board voted on the Fish & Wildlife Department's proposal for antlerless deer hunting for 2016 at its monthly meeting on April 20 in Montpelier.

"The number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits has increased to account for the expected increase in the deer population following the exceptionally mild winter of 2016," said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department. "The recommendation is intended to allow moderate population growth in most of the state while stabilizing or reducing deer densities in a few areas."

The department's annual recommendation is based on population growth estimates, biological data, deer sighting rates reported by hunters, and winter severity data, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public.

"We expect the statewide deer population to be 140,000 to 145,000 prior to the start of the 2016 deer seasons," said Fortin.

Hunting for antlerless deer is proposed statewide for the October 1-28 and December 3-11 archery season. Last year, hunters took 2,618 antlerless deer during the archery season.

One deer of either sex would be allowed for youths during the November 5-6 youth weekend hunt. Youths took 761 antlerless deer during the 2015 youth weekend hunt.

The December 3-11 muzzleloader season would have 19,150 antlerless permits distributed in 16 of Vermont's 21 WMUs, which is estimated to result in 2,629 antlerless deer being taken. Landowners who post their land may not apply for a muzzleloader landowner antlerless deer permit.

The antlerless deer hunting proposal for 2016 is on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website ( Public comments on the proposal may be emailed to ANR.FWPublicComment@Vermont.Gov by May 20.

The department held three deer hunting public hearings earlier and will hold two more in May. The meetings will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday May 10 at the Riverside Middle School Cafeteria, 13 Fairground Road, Springfield, and on Thursday May 12 at the St. Albans Town Educational Center Cafeteria, 169 South Main Street, St. Albans.

The Fish & Wildlife Board will vote again at their May 25 Board meeting on the antlerless deer hunting proposal. Muzzleloader season antlerless permit applications are scheduled to be available on the Fish & Wildlife Department's website in early June.

Groundbreaking at Massachusetts' McLaughlin Fish Hatchery

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

                                 Please join Massachusetts anglers, Mass Wildlife staff, and state and local officials on Wednesday, April 27 at 11:00 A.M. at the McLaughlin Fish Hatchery (90 East Street in Belchertown) for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of a nearly mile-long water pipeline and hydropower turbine that will supply six
million gallons of water daily to the hatchery. As the Commonwealth's largest hatchery, McLaughlin requires cold, clean water to grow thousands of pounds of trout each year. The pipeline will reduce the hatchery's electrical demand by 588,000 kilowatt hours annually, and produce an additional 440,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). Representing a cooperative effort between Mass Wildlife and the MWRA, funding for the project comes from MWRA bond funds, Mass Wildlife's Inland Fish and Game Fund, and grants from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources.