DEEP: DEP To Begin Fall Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Stocking

October 16, 2007

DEP To Begin Fall Broodstock
Atlantic Salmon Stocking

Shetucket River flows remain too low for stocking broodstock salmon,
Beach Pond and Crystal Lake will be stocked instead

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the beginning of its annual stockings of surplus broodstock Atlantic salmon. In the first of several stockings, DEPís Inland Fisheries Division will be releasing a total of 510 salmon into the Naugatuck River, Crystal Lake (Ellington) and Beach Pond (Voluntown).

The stocking of several lakes with broodstock salmon is a departure from previous practice necessitated by the recent drought. Since DEP began stocking surplus Atlantic salmon in 1992, all fish have been stocked into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers, where very popular fisheries have developed. However, the dry weather that began in August caused stream flows in both rivers to decline to levels unsuitable for stocking the large salmon. Although recent rains have significantly increased flows in the Naugatuck River, flows in the Shetucket River have not improved enough to permit salmon stocking at this time.

"The first batch of broodstock Atlantic salmon needs to be stocked immediately as holding them longer will interfere with and endanger salmon spawning operations that are currently underway," said Edward Parker, Chief of the DEP Bureau of Natural Resources. "Under normal conditions we would be releasing these fish into the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers. We only have a limited number of salmon available each year, and our data indicate that river fishing attracts the most fishing trips and provides the highest catch rates," explained Parker. The DEP does plan to take advantage of this yearís lake stockings to collect information on the resulting fisheries, which may be used to inform future stocking decisions. "At this point our hope is that flow conditions in eastern Connecticut will recover soon and that weíll be able to stock the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers with the additional salmon that will be ready for release in November following spawning," said Parker.

The 510 fish that will be released this October are surplus and barren 3-15 lb salmon from DEPís Kensington Fish Hatchery (110 salmon) and the White River National Fish Hatchery in Vermont (400 salmon). A total of 260 fish will be released into the two designated Broodstock areas on the Naugatuck River, 160 fish will be stocked into Beach Pond, and 100 into Crystal Lake. In November, following spawning, the DEP expects to have available an additional 600-700 salmon from its Kensington Hatchery. Additional fish may also become available following spawning in the federal hatchery in November and December.

Anglers should be aware that the regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon released into lakes and ponds do differ from the regulations for salmon that they are accustomed to on the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers. In each lake, the regulations for methods, seasons and minimum lengths for salmon will be the same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily creel limit will be one salmon per day. As such, specific regulations for salmon fishing in Beach Pond and Crystal Lake can be found in the 2007 Connecticut Anglerís Guide and are provided at the conclusion of this news release.

There are two designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas on the Naugatuck River where broodstock salmon are stocked; the "Campville Section" of the upper Naugatuck River from Route 118 downstream to the Thomaston Flood Control Dam (Litchfield-Thomaston) and the "Beacon Falls Section" of the lower Naugatuck, from Prospect Street (Naugatuck) downstream to Pines Bridge Road (Route 42 bridge, Beacon Falls). Anglers are allowed to fish for salmon in the Naugatuck River from the confluence of the East and West Branches (Torrington) downstream to the Housatonic River (Derby). Anglers may also fish for Atlantic salmon in the Housatonic River downstream of Derby Dam.

In the Naugatuck and Housatonic Rivers, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only through November 30. From December 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon will be one. During the open season in the rivers, the legal method for taking Atlantic salmon is limited to angling using a single fly, or an artificial lure with a single free swinging hook and no additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure. Also, from October 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.

The regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon stocked into lakes and ponds will be posted at each water body. Anglers can also contact the DEP Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH) for more information and stocking updates. All other regulations, including those for broodstock salmon in the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers, can also be found in the 2007 Connecticut Anglerís Guide. Guides are available from Town Clerks, many bait & tackle stores, or by contacting the DEP Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH). The Angler's Guide, Weekly Fishing Reports and news releases can all be found on the DEP web site at: www.ct.gov/dep

Regulations for Atlantic salmon fishing in Beach Pond and Crystal Lake are as follows:

Beach Pond

  • Legal Methods: Angling and Ice Fishing Ė Fishing with hook and line. May include fishing with bait, flies or lures.
  • Open Season: Third Saturday in April through last day in February.
  • Minimum Length: None
  • Daily creel limit: 1 Atlantic salmon

Crystal Lake

  • Legal Methods: Angling and Ice Fishing - Fishing with hook and line. May include fishing with bait, flies or lures.
  • Open Season: Third Saturday in April through last day in March.
  • Minimum Length: Salmon must be greater than or equal to 16 inches to keep.
  • Daily creel limit: 1 Atlantic salmon