April 8, 2016

Freshwater Report -

On this eve of opening day we anticipate that all of our local trout streams will be stocked well with brookies, browns and rainbows, along with a few tiger trout hybrids in the mix! It has been a cold start to the spring so nymphs and streamers will be the ticket for action in riffles and pools. The Hendrickson hatch has started on the lower Farmington River but these cold temps of the past week will slow the progression slightly. I expect to see good dry fly fishing by the end of next week, this is always an epic event on the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers so set some time aside! It is not often you can cast to 20+ inch trout surface feeding on size 12 flies, and when I say 20+ I have personally caught wild browns on the Farmington and Housy up to 24 inches long, and I have witnessed catches up to 28 inches...this is truly a special time of year on our waters for the next month or so. Indicator nymph fishing is currently going to be the most productive method for holdover and wild fish but if you are looking for action with the recently stocked fish you can't go wrong with a bead head wooly bugger or a white marabou black ghost streamer fly stripped through the head of any pool on almost any major stream in the state! Have fun and enjoy this tradition we call "Opening Day"!

A 20" survivor strain Farmington River brown trout hooked on a size 12 parachute Hendrickson dry fly!

Saltwater/Tidal River Report

The tidal Housatonic River is all the talk lately with a solid topwater bite underway in the upper and mid sections of the river. The stripers are spread throughout the river system right now and now the wade fisherman can finally get in on the action as well. There are fish of all sizes available with a larger than normal range this year, we have landed several in the 30-36 inch range already but the larger fish are feeding primarily at night and the first 2 hours of daylight so set you inner clock accordingly! Flies of choice are as always a 7-9 inch white flatwing pattern cast on a 450-550 grain line, and spin fisherman can't go wrong with a 9 inch white sluggo at first light teased through the surface film. Fly anglers that want to tempt the topwater bite should use a 10 wt. floating or intermediate line and large herring patterns that provide enough bulk to move surface water on a moderate to fast retrieve. I prefer Pete Viviano's yak hair herring patterns as they cast fairly well (for a 10-12 inch fly) and they attract a lot of attention from bigger fish. Right now we have silversides spawning in the marshes of the lower river so that will concentrate a lot of the schoolie size resident fish near the mouth of the river as always around this time of the year. If you are targeting bigger fish you should look up river more, near drainage areas of any kind on the outgoing tide at first light...these fish will be gorging on herring over the next several weeks and this is the time to run into a striper of a lifetime on the Housy. Tight lines folks, it's time to fish!!

Interested in Fly Casting instruction for fresh or salt water? Captain Chris Elser is a certified casting instructor and will be offering lessons and instruction throughout the season. Take advantage of one-on-one personalized instruction at any location that is convenient for you, even your own home! He has all the tackle and can also incorporate a lesson into a trip out on the Sound or inland lakes for trout and smallmouth bass.

Captain Chris Elser has been writing the Western Long Island Sound fishing reports since April of 2006, you will surely get detailed information on fishing for Stripers, Bluefish, False Albacore and more! Pick up the new isue for the latest info!

Tight Lines!

Sweet....my daughter and I found these beautiful wild brook trout right on our property in a tiny trickle where they continue to survive through floods and drought conditions.

Another late September father and son team fish in the 30lb. range.

These 3 boys had the time of their life catching Gorilla blues near shore on a very sporty day of seas!

CJ Elser, with a personal best 50+ pound striper!

July - Curt Gowdy, Jr., above, with a sweet 25 lb. striper taken near mid day on July 6th. He also landed many 10+ lb. bluefish using grain lines and a 10 wt. fly rod...great fishing to end the day today Curt!

May - This was an epic day on the western LI Sound folks...we had 8 fish over 30lbs. in less than 3 hours live lining bunker in the Bridgeport area. The fish in the photo was by far not the largest but did not survive so I had a nice photo op before making dinner for 8 from her fillets! The largest fish was 48 inches and well over 40lbs. and I did not see a fish under 30....VERY memorable for this neck of the woods my friends.

Heather above with a 52.5 inch striper taken on a red tube and gulp imitation sandworm trolled up on light tackle with a Lamiglas Tri-Flex conventional and Avet MXL reel!

My son CJ with a fat 44lb. striper taken on July 18, 2009...we had about 10 this size in less than 3 hours!

Heather Elser shows off a sweet 43 inch striper taken in shallow water the first week of September, there were many more keepers and big bluefish as well and all within a stone's throw from shore!

July 23 - Heather with another 40+ lb. striper.


May 8, 2012 – A healthy 16" holdover rainbow trout taken on a pheasant tail nymph in a headwater riffle.


"IP" Gregory with a fine wild brown trout he caught on our outing near my home in Southbury, CT...what a great day of catching and catching up!

July 28, I actually took the liberty to land one myself on that epic day...but we had over 30 bass between 35-62lbs. in 5 days!!

October 24, 2011- A 2nd 30lb. b'day cow...wtg Shane

September 25, 2011- Shane with a 10 lb. false albacore off of Milford, CT.

This false albacore was 6 oz. from being a state record at just over 14lbs. and was caught on Sept. 29, 2009 near Milford, CT. It was my personal best fat albert! Let's hope they stack in tight again!

Bonito can be expected in August, it was an epic year in 2009.


October 24, 2011- Shane treated himself to a cow hunt for his birthday and succeeded witha fat 44" bass at 30+ lbs. taken at spot X near Stratford!


My big fly rod fish above was taken July of 2009 on a 15 inch all black spun deer hair pattern tied by Peter Viviano, Jr. - check out all of his selection at www.fishflyes.co

Albies were thick near the mouth of the Housatonic River as well as east and west October and early November of 2015.

Alec and Lewis with another Cow - October 23

A pristine wild brown trout that fell for a traditional wet fishing the Pomperaug River in early May!


All images and text - Copyright 2015 - Elser Guide Services, LLC

August 2015 - I finally got my busy daughter Heather into some action!

August, 2015 - The bluefish are abundant this year but the question is will they remain for the WICC Bluefish Tourny at the end fo the month!

May 29, 2015 - The bass have arrived, FINALLY!

August 2014 - A 35lb. bass landed by Phil Stein that got the boat off to a quick start!

July 2014 - Rick with a nice 30+ lb. bass taken off of Clinton, CT

June 2014 - Captain Elser with a 27lb. bass


My son CJ with a nice shallow water striper taken on the Housy in early May!

June, 2013 - Haas with brace of nice bass taken on live eels in very close to shore.

June 2014 - Rick with a nice 25lb. bass

June, 2013 - Pete Viviano with a really nice striper taken within a stone's throw of shore.


October 2014 - Mike and his dad had great action in
the Stratford area last week, fish busting on top and down deep.

October 2014 - Mike booked 2 consecutive trips and
once again some memories were made as he had
his fiance along for some Albie action! Congrats to
the happy couple!

August 2014 - A 50lb. class bass taken on a bright sunny day near Clinton, CT!

June 5, 2013 - Evan and his Dad Ryan above with a few fat stripers caught on live bunker off of Milford, CT.


The Captain with a 44 inch Block Island Striper.

April 2013 - Peter Viviano Sr. with a sweet fly rod caught Housy striper and the best part his clouser was tied by his favorite tyer...the one and only Pete V. Jr :-)

April 27, 2013 - Steve with a 30" striper taken on an Xrap in less than 8 feet of water 5 miles up the Housatonic River.

April 27, 2013 - Peter Viviano, Sr. sticking it to a Housatonic River striper near the mouth of the river.

Pete V with a nice Housy spring bass on one of his signature "Yak" herring patterns - check out his fly selection at FishFlyes!


October 30, 2013 - Mike and his Dad got to experience some of the finest Western Sound fishing all year with several 35+ inch bass and bluefish as well as some light tackle action.


October 30, 2013 - Mike with a sweet 22lb. bass taken off of Milford, CT live lining bunker!


October 30, 2013 - Mike and his Dad with a pair of fat Stripers on a beautiful late October afternoon.

April 2013 - This 24 inch rainbow fell for a size 16 emerger!

November 2012 - Curt Gowdy with a 34" inch striper taken off of Stratford CT.

July, a Block Island Cow caught by Heather Elser in tight to shore, we had several stripers between 40-58lbs. during our annual family trip!

40lb. bass like the one above stacked up nicely in the Milford and Stratford area in October and early November....the fall run! Congrats to Lewis on this 47" Cow!