Tom Schlichter writes the Outdoors column for Newsday.
With Father’s Day upon us, fishing around Long Island seems to be on the upswing. Usually, mid-June is prime time for catching fluke, stripers, blues and porgies but recent catches had been a little “off” due to stiff winds, occasional thunderstorms and cool water temperatures.
With the weather settling into a more stable pattern the past few days, a rebound seems to be underway.
Fluke, although still picky in most areas, are offering a surprisingly high ratio of keepers along both the North and South Shores. Mattituck, Greenport and Montauk have produced doormats, but the best overall action has been in Great South Bay toward the north end of Snake Hill Channel and around the Captree islands. That’s where Captree’s Laura Lee and Captree Pride found non-stop action on Wednesday and Thursday. The Captree piers have offered a pleasant mix of fluke, blue claw crabs, big blowfish and bluefish to 6 pounds.
If it’s blues you want, you’ll find all you can handle on diamond jigs or poppers in Long Island Sound waters from Stony Brook Harbor east to Wading River. These fish are easy to spot below diving terns feasting on schools of sand eels. If you can get through the choppers, there are a fair number of keeper fluke, plus plenty of porgies to be had off Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai.
For big stripers, trolling remains the best bet with West End ports generally more consistent than those to the east. Debs Inlet has given up linesiders to 50 pounds on spoons while Orient Point has seen relatively good scores with bass to 25 pounds on bucktails.
Peconic River dam replaced
Long Island’s freshwater anglers will be happy to know that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has replaced the Edwards Avenue Dam on the upper stretch of the Peconic River. The original concrete and wooden structure had long ago outlived its usefulness and needed to be rebuilt.
The project had been on the drawing board for several years and cost nearly $1 million to complete, with funding received from the NY Works program. No small task, designing of the new dam drew on input, support and cooperation from both Brookhaven and Riverhead towns, plus an assembly of environmental advocacy groups.
The new dam features a canoe/kayak portal and raises the water level west of Edwards Avenue in Browns Bog to depths not seen for over a decade. That will surely improve the habitat for bass, pickerel, sunnies and other creatures that call these waters home. Even better, the incorporation of both a fish ladder and the river’s first eel ladder should go a long way toward enhancing the long-term ecological vitality of the Peconic River Watershed.
Installation of the fish and eel ladders is part of a progressive restoration plan to open 300 acres of critical spawning habitat for river herring (alewife) and American eels along the corridor. A Peconic River fish ladder previously installed in Riverhead’s Grangeable Park seems to be working working quite well.
“Down the line, once all of the remaining barriers to migratory fish have been removed from this river,” said DEC Regional Director, Carrie Meek Gallagher, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, “we hope to see upwards of a million alewives pass through here each year.”