Saturday, December 15, 2018

Seasons Greetings and Merry Christmas!

Atlantic Salmon fishing on Eastern CT's Shetucket River has been hit or miss with the rain and resulting heavy flows throughout November making it impossible to get to our favorite holding spots.

In response to questions we frequently are asked, Neal Hagstrom from CTDEEP offered some thoughts on the behavior of these fish.

Thanks as always Neal!!


From what I can tell there are two ways the salmon go in the spring.  One smaller group just hangs out in the river. There are a couple of deep cool seeps were a dozen or so large fish hang out. NO I won't tell you where this is. That is part of the game.  The second group (the majority of fish) move downstream with the spring freshet. This is usually the first heavy rains in march.  We get reports of fish washing up on the grates at the dams at Taftville and Greenville.  The fish seem to be pinned between the brackish water and the dam. They will go down to Norwich harbor if the flows are high and the harbor fresh, or if the flow are low they stay closer to the Dam. The will ride the fish lift back and up and come down again.  This goes on through early April.  At that point I don't know for sure. From what I have been told these fish cannot smolt so they cannot survive the salt. There is too high and energy demand.  IT is likely that they slowly die.   There has been a consistent group of anglers who work the Greenville area each spring.

As to the food, again speculation on my part.  The October fish are not likely to spawn so many of them continue to feed, on whatever they can find.  The fish forage base is not big and the bugs are not efficient.  We do find a few fish moving into tributaries probably looking for food, but these streams have only so much food.  Generally speaking we are putting  a large predatory load into a system that doesn't have the food to support them.  That is why we have the 1 fish limit after Dec. 1st.

The fish stocked later (Nov-Dec) are post spawn and may or may not be feeding.  It is unknown how many of these fish will get back to active feeding.  Given the scarcity of food it may not be very many.

Not sure I have answered your question completely, but there are a lot of unknowns with these fish once they hit the river.


Our best to all for a fishy 2019 and as always...