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DEEP Announces Special Bonus Fishery of Lake Trout

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is pleased to announce a surprise “bonus fishery,” recently stocking close to 500 Lake Trout in select waters around the state!

Averaging between 24-36 inches in length, and weighing between 5-7 pounds, these fish are ready to catch in the following waterbodies, stocked last week: Winchester Lake, Coventry Lake, Tyler Lake, Squantz Pond, and Bigelow Pond. There is no expectation that these fish will holdover for an extended period of time (years) or that they will reproduce. The intent in stocking them is strictly to provide Connecticut anglers with a specialty fishery, enhancing late season and winter fishing opportunities.

The fish come from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Berkshire National Fish Hatchery out of New Marlborough, Massachusetts, where they raise Lake Trout for restoration efforts in the Lower Great Lakes.

Historically, Lake Trout used to be reared by the state of Connecticut and stocked into a handful of lakes around the state; stocking ceased in 1967 and was likely attributed to poor survival in the wild. The current harvest state record dates back to 1918, for a fish caught out of Lake Wononskopomuc that weighed a whopping 29 lbs. 13 oz.!

While these recently stocked fish won’t break the state record in the harvest category (the largest fish by weight), they should provide the catch of a lifetime for many, and for the possibility of filling the state record in the “Catch & Release” (the largest fish by length) category created just this year. For more information on state record fish and the Trophy Fish Award program, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Fishing/General-Information/Trophy-Fish-Award-Program.

As Lake Trout are considered trout along with brooks, browns, rainbows, and tigers, there will be no special rules or regulations applied with this specialty stocking; therefore, the standard statewide regulation of 5 trout per day applies to all stocked Lake Trout as well. The lone exception is in Squantz Pond during the month of March, when there is a 16” minimum length daily creel limit of 1 trout.

Please share photos of the Lake Trout you catch with us on Facebook! Also, please complete this survey after each Lake Trout fishing trip. Results from surveys like this help us better manage our fisheries and provide you with the opportunity to provide data/comments that factor into our decision-making process. Good luck, and please continue to practice social distancing if venturing out for a fishing trip. Tight lines!