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Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

Connecticut Coastal Spring

Capt. Bob Turley

Spring has started to raise water temperatures in some of are local rivers here in Connecticut. Fly fishermen are getting out and taking fish in the Housatonic, Connecticut and Thames rivers. Striped Bass that have wintered in these waters are eager to take a well-presented fly. As spring on the Connecticut coastline continues, expect to find large schools of migratory baitfish invading Long Island Sound. They come here every year to spawn in our rivers and bays.

Fish On!

The movement of these small baitfish up the northeast coast will trigger the spring migration of Striped bass from their winter spawning grounds. Smaller Striped bass will show up first, some time in May and the larger fish in the beginning of June. These fish will be eager to feed when they first arrive; to replenish their energy spent on the long trip north. About 80% of our Striped bass spawn in the Chesapeake and the other 20% spawn in the Hudson River, that is why conservation in these areas is so important to our fishery here in the northeast.

Happy Gal! I will start my year in the lower Housatonic River and fish from the Derby Dam in Shelton to the mouth of the river in Stratford, where it meets Long Island Sound. There are a number of good Spring fishing spots in the lower river. The state-launching ramp under the I-95 bridge in Milford is an excellent spot from mid April to the end of May. Just south of the ramp there is a sandy flat, where fly fishermen can wade out to the channels edge and cast to Striped bass suspended in the water column just past the drop off.

The best time to fish this area from shore is two hours after high tide to low tide, this is about a four hour window. Caution must be taken any time you wade out in the river to fish; the Housatonic is a tidal estuary of Long Island Sound and is influenced severely by the Sounds tidal movements. I recommend casting the fly upstream, letting it sink to the bottom, strip in enough line to stay connected with the fly, as it drifts down stream; when the fly rounds out start a slow retrieve. I use fast sinking lines and have found that chartreuse and white, olive and white clousers work the best in early spring.

Monster Another good spot is Smiths Point in Milford; you can access this area at the end of Milford point road in Milford. Just park in the Audubon parking lot and walk out to the point at the rivers edge, there is a large sand flat that you can wade out on and fish. This is an excellent spot to fish in late spring to the end of November.

On the other side of the river, about a half-mile south of Smiths Point is a park called Short Beach; you can access this area from South Main St. in Stratford. Short Beach offers a very large sand flat that runs parallel to the river channel. Fishermen can wade and fish almost a mile or so from the beach and out to the river mouth. Close attention must be paid to the tide here, you can fish this spot two hours after high tide working your way out as the tide falls and then work your way back as the tide starts to rise.


I always recommend using a compass when you wade out in to large areas like this, the fog can roll in very quickly and catch you off guard. This is an excellent spot all season, in the spring, fish on the channel's edge, and as the water warms up the flats fishing can be excellent. In the warmer months, I like to use floating lines and poppers to take large Bluefish and Striped bass on the surface here. Casting to rising fish has always been one of my favorite ways of fly-fishing. Red and white cork poppers, Joe Blados's Crease Fly and Bob's Banger work well for this type of fishing.

One method I use with my clients is to cut all the hooks off a spinning rod popper, and cast this plug at different angles, covering as much of the surface as possible. When a fish chases the popper on the surface, I ask my client to cast at the rising fish and start stripping. At this time, I will pull the popper away from the fish to focus the fishes attention on the fly. This is a good technique to seek out fish not yet feeding on the surface. It takes a little practice to master but it is the most rewarding way to take fish on a fly. ~ Bob

About Bob:
Bob is a USCG Licensed Captain and fly-fishing guide from Stratford CT, and owner of North Coast Charters, just 45 minutes from New York City. He specializes in saltwater Fly and Light Tackle Charters. He fishes coastal Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island for Striped Bass, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore. You can reach him at (203) 378-1160.

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