DEEP: Trout Research and Management

Trout Research and Management


Trout are Connecticut's most sought after gamefish, attracting more than 1.9 million fishing trips each year. The Fisheries Division has implemented several programs which are designed to maintain and improve trout fishing opportunities for Connecticut anglers.

Trout Research and Management in Connecticut Lakes: Anglers fishing Connecticut lakes presently catch very few trout which are larger than the size at which they are stocked. Springtime harvest rates (63% - 98%) limit the number of fish available for continued growth. To increase the opportunity for anglers to fish for large trout, a 12-16 inch slot limit on trout was implemented in 1993 on three lakes having abundant alewife populations (Crystal Lake, Highland Lake, Quonnipaug Lake).

Data collected during this project will enable the Fisheries Division to evaluate the effectiveness of slot length limits as a technique for increasing catch rates of holdover brown trout. The Division is also stocking and evaluating Seeforellen brown trout (in the same three lakes and Saugatuck Reservoir) to determine if this strain is capable of producing larger holdover trout in Connecticut waters than our hatchery strains.

In East Twin Lake the Fisheries Division is attempting to increase the population of brown trout by applying a 14-22 inch slot limit and reducing the length of the season. This is being done with hopes of eliminating a population of illegally introduced alewives by predation. The Division wishes to eliminate the alewives so that a kokanee salmon fishery may be restored. Alewives and kokanee both feed on zooplankton and the alewives have outcompeted the salmon.

Statewide Stream Survey: A comprehensive survey of the streams and rivers of the State of Connecticut began in 1988. Such a survey has not been done since the 1930's. Data on stream habitat, invertebrate populations, fish populations and angler use have been collected. This data base provides the information necessary for timely and accurate completion of environmental reviews and will quantify the state's coldwater and warmwater stream resources.

The Fisheries Division continues to collect data to update the trout stocking formula which optimizes the allocation of hatchery fish.  This data will also be used to revise the current Trout Management Plan which is planned for 2020.

Trout Stocking Support: Approximately 800,000 catchable sized trout are produced each year by the DEP Fisheries Division. These fish are stocked into a total of 308 rivers and streams and 82 lakes and ponds. This fishery is dependent on the efficient transport and stocking of trout produced in the state's two trout hatcheries. Stocking schedules are prepared for the preseason (March 1 - opening day), inseason (opening day-May 31), summer, fall and winter. Fisheries Biologists are required to develop stocking schedules, coordinate personnel, and to provide assistance when needed.

Trout Management Areas: Monitoring: Connecticut has 18 Trout Management Areas (TMAs) and 28 Wild Trout Management Area (WTMA). These areas are all managed with variations of catch-and-release regulations and typically attract more angler days, sustain higher catch rates throughout the year, and are more cost effective (more angler hours per trout stocked) than areas managed under statewide trout regulations. Collectively they attract more than 100,000 angler hours per year. Monitoring provides the information necessary to evaluate the success of these areas. Periodic monitoring of all TMAs enables the Division to determine if objectives are being met and to respond to angler inquiries and requests.

Trout Management Areas Brochure

Farmington River Survivor Program (from Connecticut Wildlife Magazine)

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Content last updated May 2017