July - 2014

Newsletter of the Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter
Trout Unlimited

Publisher: Cathy Unger
Contributors: Bob Gregorski, Ernie Ludwig

Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings (no meetings in July and August) are at 7:00 PM the first Wednesday of the month in the Community Room at the, ION Bank, (formerly the Naugatuck Savings Bank), 87 Church St., Naugatuck, CT.  For further information call Dom Falcone at 860-274-4103 or or visit  

End of the SUMMER Event
FLY FISHING on the Farmington River on August 30th

This year the board members are hosting the event and have set a date of August 30th for our fishing trip on the Farmington River this year. We will meet at Whittemore Pool at 7 am for coffee and donuts in the morning and burgers and dogs on the grill for lunch. All chapter members are welcome and we hope to see a good crowd as in the past. Please let us know if you will be attending so we can plan the right amount of food for the event. Contact any of the people below either by phone or email.


Steve Farnham   Ph. 203-509-2419 or email:
Ed Dearborn     Ph. 203-263-6229 or email:
Ernie Ludwig     Ph. 203-639-2643 or email:   

June 20, 2014    Bob Gregorski

Hickory Shad – ‘Poor Man’s Tarpon’
“Fish on!” I shouted to fishing partner Frank McDonald.  “ Look at it break water like a small tarpon.”  The 17-inch silvery colored fish leaped several more times out of the water before I landed and released it. During the next two hours we released at least 25 shad measuring 14 to17 inches.

That was a few years ago while we were fly casting for stripers and blues in the Niantic River while standing in McDonald’s “Green Fishing Machine” (GFM). It was about dusk and the tide was moving pods of bait fish from Niantic Bay into the river.  A good time to connect with fish.  It wasn’t long after we launched the GFM that we spotted fish breaking on the surface.  Hickory shad were actively feeding, but the bass and blues weren’t.  The “little tarpon” saved us from being “skunked” that evening.

Recently I pursued these ‘hicks’ during one of those June ‘showers days’, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Several 14”-16” were released. I plan to target them again soon and in the fall. It’s all catch & release fishing with light fly and/or spin equipment.  For many years I have looked forward to spring and fall ‘mini tarpon’ experiences, and it has always been exciting.

They are lots of fun to catch. Many anglers fish Catch & Release.  Some anglers use them as bait for large stripers. Most of them are 12”-15” long and weighed 1.0 to 1.5 pounds. The Connecticut record weighed 3.25 pounds. These “mini, tarpon-like fish” hit and fight hard, breaking water many times. Anglers loose some shad due to them having tender mouths which do not hold a hook well. There is no closed season except areas closed to all fishing during a period of the year. The Daily Creel Limit is 6 in aggregate with American shad. There is no Minimum Length.

Here’s a brief description of this shad. Alosa mediocris: Bluish-green above; sides whitish-silver; dark spot at the shoulder; bottom lip protrudes beyond upper lip. Note: The lips are even for American shad. Like all members of the herring family, they spawn in freshwater and live mostly in saltwater. Range from Nova Scotia to northern Florida.  Adults weigh up to 3 pounds.  They are a good food value, but are bony and difficult to fillet.

They are available in Connecticut waters from mid-April through early December. My logbook shows the earliest and latest catches to be April 14 and December 7.

Use light spin or fly tackle. Spinning line 4 or 6 pound test with willow leaf with split shot up ahead or small jig head (1/8-1/16 ounce) with plastic curly tails or bucktail jigs will catch lots of shad. Fly rodders use 5 wt. to 7 wt. outfits, 6-pound tippets and small bucktails or streamers. White and chartreuse are favorable colors. Many anglers use freshwater outfits when fishing for hickory shad. Remember to wash all fishing gear with warm, soapy freshwater after each saltwater excursion.

Taking youngsters fishing for hickory shad is a lot more exciting for them than fishing for snapper blues. Both species fight hard, but the shad are much larger and do aerial displays, which every one likes to see, and the larger ones will make your reel drag sing. Locations: Schools of hickory shad have been caught in the lower sections of the Connecticut, Mystic, Niantic, Lieutenant, Black Hall, Back, Pawcatuck, Saugatuck, Hammonaset, Mianus and Housatonic Rivers and various beaches, bays and estuaries. In Rhode Island, they have been present in the larger salt ponds and their breach ways (Ninnigret, Quonny, Weekapaug and Point Judith), Narrow River and areas in Narragansett Bay.

This pair of 14” hickory shad were caught as a ‘double’; one on a willow leaf-flutter spoon and the other on a white jig-head dressed with white curly tail. Both fish were released quickly.

Photo and capture by Bob Gregorski

Fishing Awards

What does a 191.0-pound Porbeagle Shark and a 53.94-pound Roughtail Stingray have in common? They set new Connecticut Records in 2013. There are other state records set in marine waters last year, which are listed in the ensuing paragraphs. This column will focus on 2013 Marine Fish State Records set last year and the Trophy Awards for Marine Species. Inland information will be forthcoming. The list of State Record Marine Fish is printed on page 58 of the 2014 CONNECTICUT ANGLER”S GUIDE. The TROPHY FISH AWARD information is on pages 12-13.

Anglers in the Greater Waterbury area are fortunate to have excellent marine fishing less than an hour and one half away. The Housatonic River below the Derby Dam, the entire Connecticut River within the state, lower sections of the Naugatuck River and Long Island Sound are good to excellent fisheries. The species vary with the seasons and water includes: striped bass, American shad, hickory shad, bluefish and flounder.

Exotic/Rare Species State Records 2013 are Scalloped Hammerhead, Roughtail Stingray, Porbeagle Shark, Tiger Shark, Jack Crevalle, Grey Triggerfish and Northern Kingfish.

136 awards were given in 2013 for 17 different Marine Species. Here’s the Top Five of the 136 awards: (Number) - Species - Rank :(37) 1. Black Sea Bass; (27) 2. Scup (Porgy); (24) 3. Summer Flounder (Fluke); (13) 4. Striped Bass and (13) 5.Bluefish.

Heaviest Trophy Fish for each species: Male Class
Summer Flounder 14.69 lbs 31.00”, Scup 2.94 lbs 18.00”, Striped Bass 45.75 lbs 48”,
Black Sea Bass 5.1 lbs 23.00”, Bluefish 16.75 lbs 36”, Tautog 12.4 lbs 27” and
Oyster Toadfish 1.94 lbs 13”.

Heaviest Trophy Fish for each species: Female Class
Summer Flounder 6.4 lbs 25”, Black Sea Bass Squid 4.94lbs 22”, Bluefish 16.25 lbs 39”, Striped 21.94 lbs 36”, Scup 2.81 lbs 17.5”. Tautog 12.10 lbs 26” and Northern Kingfish 1.75 lbs 16”.

Heaviest Trophy Fish for each species: Youth Class
Scup 2.63 lbs 18”, Weakfish 4.19 lbs 23.6”, Bluefish 14.31 lbs 35”, Tautog 13.1 lbs 27”, Summer Flounder 12.75 lbs 32”, Black Sea Bass 4.32 lbs 22”, Oyster Toadfish 1.44 lbs 12” and Striped Bass (Catch &Release) 39”.

There has been a trend in recent history, which shows a dramatic decline in Marine and Inland fishing licenses issued. The number of marine fishing licenses issued in 2013 was 51,918 (23,724 paid and 28,191 free). Fishing licenses both inland & marine paid for was 93,147. Inland fishing licenses 41,275 paid and 28846 free. So anglers in state and out-of-state paid for 158,146.

Note: The total number of anglers does not include individuals under the age of 16 (no license required). One comparison, in 2011, approximately 127,000 inland licenses and 107,000 marine licenses were sold. As the age 65 and over licenses are now registered annually, there are better counts for the “free licenses, so additionally, 21,700 inland and 21,400 marine free licenses issued in 2011.

According to the late Jim Moulton, who was Manager of Inland Fisheries and deeply involved the Record and Trophy programs, "The purpose of the TROPHY FISH AWARD PROGRAM is to recognize and to reward angling skill and to maintain a listing of Connecticut record fish. The TFAP is not a Fishing contest." The freshwater and the saltwater programs started in 1963 and 1983 respectively. Note--the length of the fish is measure in the (2008) Catch & Release section of the program. The Trophy Fish Award Program has issued more than 8,000 certificates and pins. That has made a lot of anglers happy. Read the ANGLER”S GUIDE for the rules and affidavit information. Thanks to DEEP Fisheries personnel Dave Molnar (Marine fisheries) and Bill Foreman (communications) for providing information.

Anglers pursuing marine species of fish in Connecticut waters this year hoping to receive a TROPHY AWARD and/or set a new STATE RECORD have that enjoyable task ahead of them. Remember—you can’t catch fish, if your line is not in the water and when your line is in the water, you never know what you might catch. Good luck!

Bob Gregorski

Naugy Shad 2014 June 13, 2014

Here’s the report researched by Bob Gregorski with information from Inland Fisheries Division (IFD)
June 2014 Report; data has been confirmed by Tim Wildman – Fisheries Biologist Diadromous Fisheries/Marine Headquarters.

AMERICAN SHAD – DEEP June 2014 Inland Fisheries Division Report
Transplanted 323 adult pre-spawn American Shad: (Farmington River = 160) and (Naugatuck River = 163 stocked at Riverbend Park Beacon Falls). Shad were transported from the Holyoke Fishlift (Connecticut River) to spawning habitat upstream of fishways to accelerate restoration.

Another success story: TU & NRWA assisted Mike Horbal & Don Mysling in designing Riverbend Park so stocking of: shad, herring, trout & salmon would be easy.

Hopefully the young-of-the-year shad will use the new by-pass channel to return to the ocean and later return as adults.

Bob Gregorski

Free Membership for Women
Expanding TU's Membership Base.

And speaking of new members, do you know any women who enjoy our sport, conservation or both? Well, TU is interested in attracting more women to the organization and for a limited time is offering women free memberships. feel free to share this information with any women anglers or conservationists you might now. Let's all work to expand our influence.

  Membership Renewals:
Recent changes have been made to TU's policy toward membership renewals. Individual chapters no longer receive a portion of each renewal. As such, please send renewals directly to TU national or renew on the web site.

Trout Unlimited's Mission

To conserve, protect and restore North America's cold water fisheries and their watershed.