While local anglers wait for striper fishing to grow more consistent and porgy (May 1) and fluke (May 4) seasons to commence next week, there’s always freshwater trout. You’ll find the rainbows and browns in as many as 30 stocked lakes, ponds and rivers across Long Island.
For the trout, small Mepps, Panther Martin Classic and Blue Fox Super Vibrax spinners are great lure choices if spinning gear is your preferred tackle. These will work in nearly any water with gold or silver the best colors. Belmont Lake is one spot worth checking out; Argyle Lake in Babylon, at the opposite end of Carlls River, is another.
Stocked ponds are also good places to try a little fly fishing. Small bead-head nymphs, including Pheasant Tails, Zug Bugs and Woolly Buggers will work, as will dry flies, including Blue Dunns, Bi-visibles and Adams patterns. You can also hit Connetquot River State Park Preserve or Caleb Smith State Park.
It’s fly fishing only at these two spots, but the fish run bigger and are more heavily stocked. The cost is $25 per four-hour session at either park and you get your own stretch of river to work. As with all freshwater fishing in New York State, a freshwater fishing license is required. You can review freshwater fishing regulations at dec.ny.gov/outdoor. Be sure to check special regulations for the county in which you plan to fish.
You can also obtain a copy of Trout Fishing Long Island’s Spring Creeks. In its third edition, this is an accurate and well-presented treatise published by the Long Island Chapter of Trout Unlimited. It’s $17, and proceeds go toward the club’s habitat improvement projects. Checks payable to LITU should be sent to LI Stream Guide, c/o T. Loporto, 68 Murray St., Westbury, N.Y., 11590. The book is also available at riverbayoutfitters.com, campsitesportshop.com, Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Terminal Tackle in Kings Park.
If you’re chasing stripers, best bets are to head west. Vessels from Freeport and Point Lookout have been cutting across the New York Bight to prospect in Raritan Bay where limit catches have been the rule and some fish have topped 30 pounds. That action has seen a wide variety of lures and baits prove effective, including Tony Maja Mojo Rigs and spoons, cut bunker, deep-diving plugs and large swim shads.
School bass have entered both South Oyster Bay and Great South Bay with Babylon Dock, Tanner Dock, Patchogue Dock and West Sayville Dock among hot spots. There are also some keepers mixed with shorts inside Hempstead, Manhasset and Little Neck bays, plus a fair number of schoolies running both sides of the South Fork. Inside the bays, soft-plastic swim shads have worked well, while the harbors have seen better action on swimming plugs and Bass Assassins thrown after dark. Along the ocean beaches, cut bunker and clam baits have reigned supreme.