Opening Day of the trout fishing season is this Saturday — April 14th starting at 6:00 am sharp!– 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 125 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 550,000 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 twelve 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 ten 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 twelve Trout Parks have already been stocked by the DEEP, including the ten 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), Kent Falls (Kent), Mohegan Park Pond (Norwich), Pasture Pond (Quinebaug State Trout Hatchery, Plainfield), 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 Trout Park stocking 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 220 waterbodies stocked at least once prior to Opening Day. Roseland Lake (Woodstock) and Pattaconk Brook (Chester) will be stocked for Opening Day this year. These areas were among the more than 60 waters that were removed from the stocking schedule when DEEP reduced the number of areas stocked last year (most were generally smaller and less popular areas, primarily streams or sections of streams). Another of these areas, Raymond Brook (Hebron) will be stocked this spring, but sometime after Opening Day. Anglers planning to fish the Natchaug River should be aware that due to ongoing bridge repairs there’s no access to the North Bear Hill Road area and the site won’t be stocked this spring. Additionally, on the East Aspetuck River, due to ongoing dam removal activities just upstream, the Van Car Road location will not be stocked for Opening Day.
As the weather is expected to be warmer than normal on Saturday, we would like to remind all anglers who will be fishing from a boat to wear your PFD. Whether fishing from a kayak, canoe, rowboat, or outboard a PFD will save your life should you unexpectedly capsize. Please do not make this Opening Day your last – Wear your PFD.
Anglers can find more information on trout stocking online including an interactive trout stocking map (www.ct.gov/deep/troutstockingmaps) that anglers should find very useful for planning their next outing. This 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, find a new favorite, or look for those that have been stocked most recently.
Anglers are reminded that there are some new regulations for 2018. Of most interest to Opening Day trout anglers is the new Trout & Salmon stamp that those anglers ages 16 and older may need to purchase. A Trout & Salmon Stamp is now required to fish in any designated Trout Management Area, Wild Trout Management Area, Trout Park, or Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area and for anglers harvesting trout or salmon anywhere throughout the state. There are several exemptions from the requirements for a Trout & Salmon stamp. Holders of lifetime fishing licenses issued to persons that are blind, have an intellectual disability, or have certain physical disabilities are exempt from the requirement. Additionally, those fishing waters that are not stocked by the state, but have been stocked by another entity such as a fish and game club pond or by a town or organization for a local fishing derby, do not need the Trout & Salmon Stamp. The fees for the Trout & Salmon Stamp are $5 for resident anglers who are 18 and older, $3.00 for CT residents ages 16 or 17 and $5.00 for nonresident anglers age 16 and older. Information on the new stamp, including FAQ’s and a brochure, is available at www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.
Many trout fishing areas have special regulations, including Trout Parks, Trout Management Areas, Trophy Trout Streams, Trout Management Areas, Sea-Run Trout Streams and Wild Trout Management Areas. Anglers should consult the 2018 CT Angler’s Guide for detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations. The 2018 Angler’s Guide are now available online at www.ct.gov/deep/anglersguide. Print versions of the guides are 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 2018 fishing licenses and Trout & Salmon stamps 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 and fishing 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).