One of the rivers that I like to fish is Little River in Oxford. It is well stocked and has a lot of peaceful runs. But, thanks to an accident, parts of the Little River should be avoided.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), is advising people not to consume fish taken from a segment of the Little River because of the potential that these fish may carry contamination resulting from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) released by a damaged electrical transformer.
A downed tree knocked the electrical transformer off a telephone pole on Oxford Rd. (Rt. 67), Oxford, last Wednesday evening. When it hit the ground, the transformer released oil into a nearby catch basin that drains into the Little River. Tests showed that the oil contained significant levels of PCBs.
"As a temporary precaution, we are advising people not to consume fish from this stretch of the Little River until testing confirms that the fish are safe to eat," said Bill Hyatt, Bureau Chief, Natural Resources for the DEP. "There is the potential for the PCBs released to make its way into the tissue of fish over time. This can pose health risks to anyone eating trout or other species."
This temporary DEP advisory for the Little River runs from Seth Den Rd., Oxford, which is upstream from where the transformer hit the ground, downstream to the mouth of the river where it meets the Naugatuck River in Seymour. DEP said tests of fish tissues will be conducted later this summer to determine if the advisory against consumption can be lifted.
A portion of the Little River, including part of the restricted area, is managed by the Inland Fisheries Division as a Wild Trout Management area, supporting wild brook trout and brown trout. That's one of the places I like to fish.
DEP officials said that when the transformer came down it spilled about 15 gallons of oil.
Much of the spill ran into the catch basin and reached the river. The transformer is owned by Connecticut Light & Power who has initiated clean-up activities and is evaluating additional response actions that may be necessary.
The Oxford Fire Department deployed booms to contain the oil near the catch basin and also to attempt to recapture oil that was in the river. The booms are expected to remain in place over the weekend.
Fishing was almost as hot as the weather was last week. Striped bass was your best bet but fluke, blues and porgy action was also very good.
Freddy Leno hit a grand slam at the Stamford Cows last week. He caught his limits of porgies and fluke as well as a few bluefish and a 44-inch striped bass. The linesider weighed 30 pounds. Freddy was using a variety of baits.
Randy The Kayak' Sala was `Back in the Yak' last week. While fishing off Shippan Point in his kayak, Randy caught a 35-inch, 15-pound striped bass. Randy was using sandworms for bait.
Danny Gonzales, his son, Danny Jr., along with several friends had an interesting day at the Cows last week. They caught four stripers measuring up to 33 inches. They also caught three sandsharks measuring up to 44 inches. The fish were taken on fresh bunker.
Alex Mazola has been busy at the Stamford Cows. He fished there several times last week including once with his friend, Ben Digirolamo, who is visiting from Italy. Their largest bass was a 40-incher that was taken using fresh bunker.
Chris Miller had a so-so day last week at Sound Reef. First he caught and released lots of striped bass including a 40-incher. However, he lost a brand new rod and reel outfit on his way in. It seems that he forgot to reel in the line and the rig was not secured so somewhere there is a new rod and reel in the Sound waiting to get caught.
The folks at Rudy's Tackle Barn reported that Jim New trolled up a 40-inch striped bass in Greenwich waters. The fish weighed 27 pounds and was taken on a spoon.
Adam Nestico was fishing the Norwalk Islands when he caught a nice striped bass. Using chunks of bunker, he reeled in a 26-pound linesider.
Rowayton Beach is a great spot for shore anglers. Gloria at Fisherman's World called to say that Tony Vavala caught a nice 38-inch linesider from the shore. He was using bunker chunks for bait.
Three youngsters also did well at Rowayton Beach last week. Jack Sovak, age 4, caught a 12-inch striped bass, Maggie Sovak, age 7, reeled in a 20-inch striped bass and James Yallop, age 9, caught a 30-inch striper while his dad, Martin, watched.
Joe Walinowski fished a couple of times last week. On one trip he caught a 29-inch, 12-pound linesider on a bunker chunk off Captains Island. Later in the week he boated a 24-inch fluke that he caught off Stamford using squid and spearing.
Capt. Gus Bretolf of Island Girl Charters took out Pete, Chris and Hare Newgen last week. Fishing a couple of different spots they caught five blues weighing more than 10 pounds each and a pair of 35-inch striped bass.
Rob Messinger caught several fluke while bottom fishing off Greenwich. The catch included a personal best of 26 inches. They fish were taken using sand eels.
Mike Noyes caught a nice fluke while fishing in Stamford waters. Using a squid and spearing combo he caught a 6-pound fluke.
Dillon Rozen was visiting the area from New Hampshire last week. While fishing Can 26 with some friends, the 12-year old angler caught six keeper fluke including a hefty 26-incher.
Tommy Flynn has been finishing up at Kensico Reservoir with success. Last week, while trolling stick baits, he landed several nice brown trout including one that tipped the scales at 6.25 pounds.
Martin Armstrong is a member of the Fisheries Advisory Council, a lifetime member in Trout Unlimited and a member of the Outdoors Writers Association.