Opening Day of the Trout Fishing Season is Saturday, April 21st and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has the state’s rivers, streams, lakes and ponds stocked and ready. Approximately 400,000 trout have already been released this spring and are awaiting Opening Day anglers. DEP’s spring trout stocking effort began in late February and will continue through the end of May. When the spring stockings are completed, DEP expects to have stocked 101 lakes and ponds and 200 rivers and streams throughout Connecticut with over 700,000 trout.
"Opening Day is an exciting time for Connecticut’s many trout anglers, and they can expect excellent fishing in many waters throughout the State," said Gina McCarthy, Commissioner of the DEP. "Nearly all of our trout waters have been stocked, the fish are in excellent condition, and anglers have a wide range of options for fishing. This is also an excellent time for families to get back outdoors after the winter."
Among the best places for families to fish on Opening Day are the designated Trout Parks. First created in 2002, these areas are managed to enhance fishing opportunities for families and novice anglers. "The Trout Parks have been a great success," said Edward C. Parker, Chief of the Bureau of Natural Resources. "These areas are stocked more frequently so that children, families, and novice anglers can be certain that there are trout to be caught." All eleven of the Trout Parks have been stocked by the DEP and six of them will be stocked again on Opening Day. The areas scheduled to be stocked on April 21st are Black Rock Pond (Watertown), Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth), Southford Falls State Park (Oxford), Stratton Brook State Park (Simsbury), Wharton Brook State Park (Wallingford), and Wolfe Park (Monroe) [See chart below for stocking times].
The Northeaster earlier this week will affect both Opening Day fishing and this week’s DEP trout stocking activities. The current high flows, especially in our larger rivers, will generally make lakes and ponds and the smaller rivers and streams (which typically recede quickest) the best options for fishing this weekend. The DEP reminds anglers that these conditions may make fishing and/or wading difficult to dangerous in some areas. Anglers are advised to use the utmost caution and to scout out their areas on Friday. Larger rivers such as the Housatonic, Farmington, Shetucket, Naugatuck and Quinebaug Rivers should be avoided.
Some areas may be closed due to storm damage. In Trumbull, the parks along the Pequonnock River are currently closed and Twin Brooks Park Pond will not be stocked this week. Depending on conditions there may however be some access to the river for anglers through Unity and Tungsten Mine Parks. DEP will be reducing the number of fish stocked in this section of the Pequonnock River, and no larger trout will be stocked into the Trophy Trout section until conditions improve. The Pomperaug River will also receive a smaller allotment of preseason fish. The section of the West Branch Farmington River from Goodwin Dam to Riverton has been stocked this week and flows are being moderated for Opening Day Weekend. However, this week’s stocking runs were cancelled for other sections of the West Branch Farmington and Farmington Rivers due to high flows. The US Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas at Hop Brook Lake, Black Rock Lake, Northfield Brook Lake, Colebrook River and Thomaston Dam Lake will be closed at least through this weekend. The MDC boat launch at Lake McDonough (New Hartford) is currently inaccessible and will be closed. In Eastern CT, all waters scheduled for stocking this week will be stocked, although flooding may prevent some locations from being stocked. The state launch at Mansfield Hollow Reservoir (Mansfield) is currently inaccessible due to high water. Statewide, anglers can expect that fish, especially recently stocked trout, may have been widely dispersed by the storm, and may be distributed differently than usual for Opening Day.
DEP is pleased to announce that several new areas have been stocked this spring including Keney Park Pond (Hartford) and Lake Wintergreen (Hamden), the two most recent additions to DEP’s new urban fishing program. Additionally, a stretch of the Norwalk River downstream of the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk has been added this spring. This new area is along Riverside Avenue below Route 123.
The DEP does remind anglers that the area known as the "Fireman’s Grounds" on the Salmon River just downstream of the Comstock Bridge and Route 16 in East Hampton has recently been purchased by DEP and added to the Salmon River State Forest. In previous years, this area served as a traditional campsite for Opening Day anglers. However, camping is not permitted in Salmon River State Forest, and as a result, anglers will no longer be able to camp at this location for Opening Day. Camping in State Forests and Parks is limited to designated campsites only. For more information contact DEP Eastern District Headquarters at 860-295-9523.
Until further notice, it is recommended that people not eat fish caught in the section of the Fivemile River from the Warsaw Pond Dam downstream to the dam at the outlet of Ballouville Pond. Anglers may be aware that nearly 200 lbs of mercury was recently recovered from a roadside near the Fivemile River in the Ballouville/Dayville area of Killingly. The Fivemile River was stocked in mid-March with 1,970 brook and brown trout (including 20 of the large broodstock trout) and the river will be open for fishing as usual on Opening Day. However, as a precaution, a special fish consumption advisory has been placed on the section of river closest to the recovery site. Although the preliminary sampling suggested that the mercury contamination did not reach the Fivemile River, additional and more detailed sampling will be required to confirm these preliminary results.
There are a number of regulation changes that became effective earlier this year. Day Pond (Colchester), Mohegan Park Pond (Norwich) and Valley Falls Pond (Vernon) have been newly designated as Trout Parks with a two trout per day creel limit. The Trout Park designation has been removed from Horse Pond (Salem), and the creel limit is five fish per day. The Mill River within Sleeping Giant State Park has been re-designated from a Trout Park to a Trout Management Area. Boundaries of several designated Sea-run Trout Streams have changed, most notably on the Eightmile River (East Haddam/Lyme) where the creel limit for trout has been returned to five per day on the river upstream of the dam at Mt. Archer Road. A number of additional streams in the Connecticut River basin have been added to the list of streams with a nine-inch minimum length as protection for juvenile Atlantic salmon.
Anglers should consult their 2007 Angler’s Guide for the current fishing regulations that apply to the waters they plan to fish. In addition to the recent regulation changes, Trout Parks, and the many waters designated as Trout Management Areas, Trophy Trout Streams, Sea-Run Trout Streams and Wild Trout Management Areas each have special regulations. The 2007 Angler’s Guide is available at all Town Clerks Offices and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. The Angler’s Guide can also be accessed on the DEP web site at: www.ct.gov/dep/fishing