Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today that Channel Catfish, one of the most sought after freshwater game fish species in the country, were stocked into nineteen (19) water bodies located throughout Connecticut (see list of locations below) on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. This is the thirteenth consecutive year that DEEP has stocked Channel Catfish in Connecticut waters.
This year 10,610 catfish were stocked. This year, DEEP has shifted from stocking a combination of juvenile and adult fish to stocking only the adult fish averaging 14-18 inches in length and weighing just under 2 pounds. Stocking the larger fish provides an immediate summer fishery for what many anglers consider to be a great tasting-high quality fish. The years of stocking of the smaller fish has paid off with many of the lakes that were stocked for years with juvenile fish supporting a fishery of large to very large channel catfish.
“This DEEP program establishes Channel Catfish in lakes where we know there is sufficient food and habitat to support a population of large gamefish,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Fisheries Division. “Anglers have reported taking five-to-ten pound fish from several of the lakes. We believes that the combination of a popular gamefish stocked into waters that are selected based on scientific data is a winning combination. We’ve had great success in using this approach to develop exciting fisheries for Northern Pike and Walleye and now we’re seeing similar results with Catfish.”
The majority of the locations stocked this year are part of DEEP’s Community Fishing Waters Program (CFW). Community fishing waters are located in municipal parks that are in close proximity to hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. Many of these waters are located along bus stops enabling anglers to ride the bus to fish. The intent of the Community Fishing Water program is to enhance year-round fishing opportunities in highly populated areas.
“Stocking catfish in urban areas provides excellent family recreational opportunities close to home for the many local residents,” said Aarrestad. “The Community Fishing Program is one of our many efforts to promote fishing throughout the state and to provide opportunities for all to enjoy the great outdoors.”
Tips on fishing for Channel Cats and how to prepare a delicious meal with your catch are easily found with a quick internet search. DEEP encourages anglers to enjoy fishing and catching this great gamefish, but please only take the fish intended for eating and release the rest. There is currently no minimum size for harvest; however there is a three (3) fish per person daily harvest limit at the CFWs and a six (6) fish per day limit in all other waters. The daily harvest regulations allow a greater number of anglers to benefit from this popular fishery.
All anglers can find fishing regulations in the 2019 Connecticut Fishing Guide, (also in Spanish) found online at www.ct.gov/deep/fishingguide. Print version of the English and Spanish versions of the guides are available at more than 350 locations statewide, including many town halls, bait & tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities, and commercial marinas and campgrounds, or by contacting DEEP’s Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH). Additional fishing and fisheries related information can be found on the DEEP web site at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife.