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Stripers, salmon hitting in area rivers

Ron Merly holds a 32-inch salmon caught below the Tingue Dam recently.

There are still a lot of striped bass around the area and anglers are doing well in the lower Housatonic with them. Some Atlantic Salmon have moved down into the Housatonic from the Naugatuck and there have been salmon caught from the Derby Dam down past O’Sullivan’s Island.

The warmer weather had the BWOs hatching hard on the Housatonic in Cornwall over the past weekend. The fish weren’t rising but were gorging on nymphs. We had good luck both fly and spin fishing. The recent rain should again increase water levels in the smaller streams.

The Farmington continues to fish well. The bite is very inconsistent and yet, if you hit it on the right day, the fish will be feeding hard to prepare for winter.

The Naugatuck River has been running low making the salmon fishing difficult, yet again, the recent rain should have that river in good shape. If you haven’t seen the completed Tingue Dam Bypass in Seymour, I suggest you check it out. It was a massive undertaking which has now opened the passage for anadromous fish to travel from Long Island Sound all the way to Thomaston. Make sure you stay on the west side of the dam as the east side is within 100 feet of the fishway. No fishing is allowed within 100 feet of any fishway or bypass in Connecticut. The salmon pictured here is a 32-inch hen salmon which was caught below the dam on the west side this past Saturday.

Tight, light lines, Ron Merly

Merly: Trout, salmon in full swing

Nice Housatonic River rainbow caught recently outside of the TMA. Don't be afraid to explore!

The trout and salmon fishing is in full swing right now. We have received some much needed rain and the rivers are looking better. The Housatonic and Farmington Rivers are fishing very well with some large spawning browns being caught. Brook trout fishing has been excellent throughout the state and they are in their full spawn colors at this time.

The salt water fishing has been very good as well with great blackfish reports as well as a lot of stipers being caught. There is still a lot of bunker out there to kep the fish around but they’ll be gone soon.

I just returned from Pulaski, New York where the steelhead fishing is now in full swing as well. Lots of big steelhead in the rivers and a few fresh salmon still tricking in. If you’ve never been up to catch these fish, try it. It is a world class fishery only 5 hours away.

The chapter needs to take action on a serious problem which has recently occurred in the Mill. Apparently, some of Connecticut’s finest citizens parked in the lot on the Congress St. side of the Meritt Pkwy., dragged logs across the river to pool it, and then took a drag net though the stream netting all of the trout that they could take. The smaller trout were thrown onto the banks to die as they would have been too small to eat. This was told to me by very reliable witnesses and I was also told that this was not the first time that this has happened. Unfortunately, there were no photographs of this atrocity. As far as I know, the logs are still in place.

My suggestion is that the loggs be removed and camo cameras be installed such as deer cams to try and prevent this from happening again or to catch the people who are doing this. The chapter could also use river stewards to patrol the chapters streams weekly as there were many bait containers found along the Saugatuck Fly Area and anglers aren’t catching many fish there.

Our state has a serious problem with poaching and I believe that all anglers should unite at this point and demand better protection for our fisheries. Millions are spent each year raising and stocking trout, pike, walleye, salmon etc. but yet that investment is not protected. Maybe a petiton to the state legislators is in order.

Tight light lines

Ron Merly

Merly: Now is the time to go fishing

Ron Merly with an 18 and one-half inch palomino trout recently caught and released in one of Connecticut's beautiful streams. Perfect Autumn colors!!

Now is the time to get out and fish for everything!!; Atlantic salmon have been stocked into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. The Saugatuck Fly only TMA and Cascades TMA on the Mill have just been stocked with trout as well as the Housatonic TMA’s in Kent and in Cornwall. Water levels are down but the fishing is good despite the lower water. The Farmington continues to fish very well.

Blackfishing has been very good lately. There is a lot of bait out in the sound. I saw a pic of a 60+ lb. striper which was recently caught in the Connecticut River and the bonito and false albacore are giving anglers a thrill out east. So whatever your quarry, get out there before the weather turns too cold.

I spoke with state biologist Mike Humphreys recently and he has submitted a proposal for regulation change on the Mill River. The proposal will be to change the currently fragmented area of the stream which is a WTMA from the Easton Reservoir down to Rte. 59 where it becomes put and take fishing along Congress St. and then changes to a seasonal TMA from the Congress St. Bridge down to Lake Mohegan.

The changes will be to make the entire stream from the reservoir down to Lake Mohegan catch and release fishing only with possible supplemental stockings of rainbows throughout the Cascades area which they do not feel will compete with the wild trout. (???) Anyway, it will all be catch and release.

The electro-shocking survey conducted by the state on the Mill this year yielded some excellent results. The largest numbers of 6- 10″ brown trout that they have recorded to date were electro-shocked this year. There were browns over 20 inches, wild rainbows (which the state believes are the progeny of the spring spawn rainbows that were stocked by what was formerly the 25 Sportsmens Club which was a private club that ran from the bridge near Buck Hill Rd. up to the reservoir) and wild tigers. However, the best news is that the brook trout population is finally expanding all the way down to Congress St. This makes the Mill one of the most unique wild trout streams in the entire northeast. It is a tailwater release wild trout stream that runs down into a 60 ft. deep thermal refuge (Lake Mohegan) in less than 3 miles and Nutmeg should be proud to be the keeper of this excellent self-sustaining fishery. I pointed this out to the state in a letter that I wrote to them which was the final letter that I wrote as President of the chapter which is largely what led to these changes.

There is more promising news on the Mill. The Aspetuck Land Trust is trying to raise money to purchase the South Park Ave. property that runs along the Mill from the Town of Easton. The land trust was successful in obtaining Trout Brook Valley many years back with the help of Newman’s Own, The Nature Conservancy, the State of Connecticut and other private donors and conservation organizations. ALT needs that same support now as this would obviously be the best acquisition of that land and this is a great opportunity for Nutmeg as well as the community in general as it would make the Mill even that much more of an asset to the state.

Tight, light lines,

Ron Merly

DEEP offers fishing information

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is launching CT Fishin’ Tips

To get the inaugural edition, register at www.ct.gov/deep/newslettersubscription