Opening Day of the trout fishing season is this Saturday — April 8th — and Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has the state’s rivers, streams, lakes and ponds stocked and ready. Over 306,000 trout have already been released this spring into nearly 100 lakes and ponds and more than 120 rivers and streams located throughout Connecticut and are awaiting Opening Day anglers. DEEP’s spring trout stocking effort began in late February and will continue through mid-May. When the spring stockings are completed, DEEP expects to have stocked approximately 530,000 trout.
“Opening Day is an exciting time for Connecticut’s many trout anglers, and they can look forward to a great fishing season,” said Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner of DEEP. “The fish are in excellent condition, our trout waters are stocked and anglers can enjoy a wide range of fishing options. Additionally, Opening Day is a special time for many families, the traditional first time to get outdoors together after winter.”
Among the best places for families to fish on Opening Day are the designated Trout Parks. “Trout Parks are easily accessible, have picnic areas and other amenities nearby, and are stocked frequently so that there are plenty of trout for children, families, and novice anglers to catch,” said Bill Hyatt, Chief of DEEP’s Bureau of Natural Resources. “And as an added feature, families and young anglers will be able to help stock trout at eight of the Trout Parks on Opening Day. We have found that these stocking events are a real highlight for many families. Please come help us stock trout on Opening Day.”
All 11 Trout Parks have already been stocked by the DEEP, including the eight areas that are scheduled to be stocked again on Opening Day: Black Rock Pond (Watertown), Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth), Great Hollow Pond/Wolfe Park (Monroe), Mohegan Park Pond (Norwich), Southford Falls State Park (Oxford), Stratton Brook State Park (Simsbury), Valley Falls Park Pond (Vernon) and Wharton Brook State Park (Wallingford)(see table on last page for stocking Trout Park times). All the remaining Trout Parks will be re-stocked shortly after Opening Day and all Trout Parks will be stocked several times through May.
DEEP expects to have over 200 waterbodies stocked at least once prior to Opening Day. This spring however, approximately 90,000 less trout will be available for stocking. “Due to ongoing drought-related water flow issues, fiscal and staffing constraints at hatcheries and the need to complete pond repairs at Quinebaug Hatchery, we’ve had to temporarily reduce production at our hatcheries,” said Pete Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Fisheries Division. “We are addressing this decrease with modest reductions in the numbers of fish stocked at many areas, and by removing a number of smaller and less popular areas, mostly streams or sections of streams, from the stocking schedules.”
Anglers can find more information on trout stocking online. A list of the waters that were dropped from this year’s stocking schedule is on our webpage at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing, along with an interactive trout stocking map (www.ct.gov/deep/troutstockingmaps) that anglers should find very useful for planning their next outing. The new application (mobile friendly) provides the number of days since the last stocking at each of our stocked waters enabling anglers to search for their favorite waterbody or by that have been recently stocked.
Anglers are advised that the recent rains may affect their fishing plans for this weekend. “Although the recent rains mean at least short term relief from the ongoing drought, it also means that some rivers and streams may be difficult to fish effectively or safely this weekend due to high flows,” said Aarrestad. “Anglers should definitely use extra caution if attempting to wade their favorite spots, and may need to consider fishing other locations.” Anglers are reminded that they can find real time stream flow information from over 60 USGS gauging stations by checking the USGS website at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ct/nwis/current/?type=flow.
Many trout fishing areas have special regulations, including Trout Parks, Trout Management Areas, Trophy Trout Streams, Sea-Run Trout Streams and Wild Trout Management Areas. Anglers should consult the 2017 CT Angler’s Guide for detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations. Printed versions of the 2017 Angler’s Guide are now available at more than 350 locations statewide, including town halls, bait & tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities, and commercial marinas and campgrounds. Fishing and fisheries related information can be found on the DEEP web site at www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.
DEEP Fisheries and Wildlife information can also be found directly on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife. This page features a variety of information on fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching in Connecticut. Anglers can find updates on DEEP’s trout stockings on both the Fisheries and Wildlife Facebook page and on the DEEP website. Maps of all of the state’s trout streams and rivers showing the many stocking and access points can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/troutstockingmaps.
Avoid running around at the last minute by purchasing your 2017 fishing licenses directly online through our mobile friendly site. You can also obtain them at one of the many participating town halls, tackle retailers and DEEP offices. Remember that fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 16 and 17 year olds are ½ price (most hunting permits, stamps and tags are also ½ price for 16 and 17 year olds). For a complete list of fishing license vendors, visit the DEEP website (www.ct.gov/deep/fishing) or call DEEP Licensing and Revenue (860-424-3105).