It's time to start finding your favorite spots

Greetings, time once more to shake off the winter inactivity and make plans for a new fishing season. Some of your neighbors are already out and about so let's take a look at what they've been catching the last week.

Hillyers Tackle reported a moderate number of winter flounder in the lower Niantic River and inner parts of Niantic Bay. The limit is two per person per day with a 12-inch minimum, the season running through May 30. That's not a lot of fish allowed but when combined with some school bass, it will give you a day or time on the water.

People dunking worms or bouncing small plastic baits off the bottom caught small bass in the Millstone Discharge, also some up in the river above the bridges, those on the smaller side. Buckeyes (river herring) have shown up in all the usual spots, another sign Mother Nature is setting her table for seasonal renewal.

Roger over at J&B Tackle reminds all the Connecticut fluke season will open on May 15 with a three-fish bag limit at 18.8 inches. Shore anglers will also benefit from this year's regs: they will be allowed to catch keep one fish at 17 inches, something they have not be able to do much the last two years because of higher minimum sizes.

Their charter boats will start bass fishing in The Race on May 14 and if you want to take your boat on its spring shakedown, Roger suggested a trip over to East Harbor to see all the seals.

Captain Allen Fee at Shaffers said they are open for business. You can catch small bass in the lower Mystic River now on worms on the bottom or small plastic baits or poppers. One of their slip customers has been catching the schoolies for about a week now.

Another slip steady, Peter Simmlick tried for winter flounder in the river over the weekend past but had nary a bite. A fellow who lives along River Road near the 95 Overpass has been dunking bait on the bottom looking for small bass but has yet to catch one, prompting Allen to figure they haven't worked their way that far up the river as this goes to press.

They are catching school bass up and down the Thames River; that report from Captain Jack Balint at the Fish Connection. Pier anglers at the Fort Trumbull pier landed small bass on both worms and lures, one fellow reported looking over the pier and being able to see the bass in the water chasing the bait around. Another bought some worms and turned those into 24 small bass caught from the Poquetanuck RR trestle.

All the coves have bass in them, said Jack, plus dock anglers caught stripers at times both during the day and night at Norwich. Shore anglers using plugs and larger plastic baits landed keeper bass from the upper reaches of the Shetucket and Yantic Rivers and over at Brookside. Yet another customer bought some worms and took them to Bluff Point. One his first cast on two days he landed double-header flounders, both keepers, his fishing over as each trip he caught the legal limit on his first two casts.

Moving over to King Cove we heard that Rhode Island opened up its fluke fishing but very few small boat anglers took advantage because of the cold weather.

You can catch a few flounder for supper in Lambert's Cove and some small bass in the Pawcatuck all the way up to CC O'Brien's.

Mixed in with the bass was the confirmed catch of a small blue that took a plug cast from a kayak. Another small blue was also landed this past week by a shore angler at the West Wall jetty of Point Judith harbor.

River's End in Old Saybrook closes us out this week with news the lower Connecticut River is high and dirty with lots of debris coming down. The high liners are catching four bass per day, the average weekend boater not much at all because of the muddy conditions. Shore anglers off the local docks landed some stripers on bait on the bottom. The best news was about some larger stripers after dark, also caught by shore anglers fishing plugs at the mouth of rivers with a herring run that empty into the Connecticut.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at thewreckhunter@aol.com

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