Winter has finally left us and now itís April. Is the gear ready? Have your license? Made the plans to meet up with family and friends? Opening day of trout fishing season is Saturday, April 16th and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has the stateís rivers, streams, lakes and ponds stocked and ready.
Since early March, nearly 387,000 trout have been released into over 100 lakes and ponds and 200 rivers and streams throughout Connecticut and are now awaiting the stateís many anglers. DEPís spring trout stocking effort will continue through the end of May and when completed, DEP expects to have stocked over 650,000 catchable size trout.
"Opening Day is an exciting time for Connecticutís many trout anglers, and they can look forward to exceptional fishing this season," said Dan Esty, DEP Commissioner. "The fish are in excellent condition, nearly all of our trout waters are stocked and anglers can enjoy a wide range of fishing options. Additionally, Opening Day is a special time for many families, the traditional first time to get outdoors together after the winter."
Among the best places for families to fish on Opening Day are the designated Trout Parks. "Trout Parks are easily accessible, have picnic areas and other amenities nearby, and are stocked frequently so that there are plenty of trout for children, families, and novice anglers to catch," said Bill Hyatt, Chief of the Bureau of Natural Resources. "And as an added feature, families will be able to help stock trout at eight of the Trout Parks on Opening Day. We have found that these stockings are a real highlight for many families."
All eleven of the Trout Parks have already been stocked by the DEP. The areas that are scheduled to be stocked again on Opening Day 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), Mohegan Park Pond (Norwich), Valley Falls Park Pond (Vernon) and Great Hollow Pond/Wolfe Park (Monroe). All the remaining Trout Parks will be re-stocked shortly after Opening Day.
DEP will again have Keney Park Pond (Hartford), Lake Wintergreen (Hamden), Bunnells Pond (Bridgeport), Mohegan Park Pond (also managed as a Trout Park) and Upper Fulton Park Pond (Waterbury) stocked with trout for Opening Day. These waters are being managed as "Community Fishing Areas". This pilot program was begun in 2006 as part of the "No Child Left Inside" initiative, and is intended to enhance fishing opportunities in Connecticutís major population centers.
Trout Parks do have special regulations, a two trout per day creel limit. As many other specially managed areas including Trout Management Areas, Trophy Trout Streams, Sea-Run Trout Streams and Wild Trout Management Areas also have special regulations, anglers are advised to consult the new 2011 Connecticut Anglerís Guide for the current fishing regulations that apply to the waters they plan to fish. The 2011 Anglerís Guide is now available at Town Clerks Offices, many DEP offices and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. Anglers can purchase their fishing licenses online or at particpating town halls, DEP field offices and fishing tackle vendors. Both the Anglerís Guide and the online licensing system can be accessed on the DEP website at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.
Trout anglers will soon have a new convenience available to them on the DEP website, maps of a number of the stateís trout streams and rivers showing the many stocking and access points. DEP expects to have these maps available online by the end of April.
DEP also reminds anglers that the invasive freshwater alga Didymosphenia geminata, known as "didymo" or "rock snot", was recently found in the West Branch Farmington River. Additionally, zebra mussels have expanded their distribution in Connecticut. Anglers are asked to take proper cleaning precautions to avoid spreading these and other invasive plants and animals to new waters. Anglers will find information specific to didymo on signs posted along the West Branch Farmington and Farmington Rivers, and information specific to zebra mussels will be posted at waters known to have zebra mussels and at other areas with suitable zebra mussel habitat. Invasive species information can be found in the 2011 Anglerís Guide and on the DEP website (www.ct.gov/deep/invasivespecies).
Numbers and types of trout stocked for Opening Day and list of the Trout Parks.
The following species & sizes of trout will be stocked for Opening Day, 2011:
The following is a list of the designated Trout Parks in Connecticut, approximate stocking times are given for the areas scheduled to be stocked on opening Day: