DEEP: DEP To Convert Public Fishing Ponds at Quinebaug State Fish Hatchery to Fish Production

January 5, 2010
DEP To Convert Public Fishing Ponds at Quinebaug State Fish Hatchery to Fish Production

Trout Management Areas now provide ample opportunities for pre-season trout fishing, Trout Parks offer easily accessible trout fishing

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the two "fishing ponds" at the Quinebaug State Fish Hatchery, Plainfield, will no longer be managed for public fishing. These two-acre ponds have traditionally been open to the public for fishing by reservation on weekends and holidays for a modest fee from early March through mid-May.

In previous years, beginning in January, individual anglers and angler groups could reserve three-hour time slots on the ponds. One pond was restricted to fly-fishing only, and the other to use of artificial lures only. Both ponds were stocked with trout.

"We realize that these ponds are popular with certain anglers but there are a number of significant obstacles in the way of continued operation," said Bill Hyatt, Acting Chief of DEP’s Bureau of Natural Resources. "The ponds are a revenue loss, a drain on resources, and they serve a shrinking clientele. Staff typically assigned to oversee the ponds need to be reassigned to core fish production and stocking programs. In addition, there are now many areas located around the state where anglers can enjoy year-round trout fishing. The Quinebaug trout ponds are no longer the only option for early season fishing."

Since 1992, use of the ponds has declined more than 40%, and in 2008, only 1,800 tickets were sold for the entire season, generating $3,600 in revenue. Operating costs were more than $26,000 in 2008 for on-site staffing, tickets and taking reservations, pond and grounds maintenance, and the production of the 5,000 trout stocked into the ponds. Closing the two ponds would provide approximately $22,000 in net savings. Additionally, personnel are needed to assist in the production and distribution of approximately 1 million trout to more than 100 lakes and ponds and 200 rivers and streams. "Supporting statewide trout fishing is the highest priority for our hatcheries. The two ponds will be converted to active fish production, providing a further benefit to the state’s anglers," said Hyatt.

Opened in the mid-1970’s, the Quinebaug Hatchery fishing ponds were originally intended to provide an area where children could learn to fish, and where anglers could fish for trout prior to Opening Day. However, as DEP’s trout management programs have evolved, there are now thirty areas throughout the state that are open for year round trout fishing (sixteen Trout Management Areas, nine Class I Wild Trout Management Areas, and portions of five Sea-run Trout Streams). Additionally, there are now eleven designated Trout Parks that provide excellent in-season opportunities for children (and adults) to enhance their fishing abilities.

Anglers can find information on Trout Management Areas, Trout Parks and many other trout fishing opportunities in the 2010 Connecticut Angler’s Guide, which is now available online (