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Hearing on trout stamps, Mill River set

Requiring the purchase of trout and salmon stamps and changing making a longer section of the Mill River in Easton and Fairfield catch and release are among the proposed regulation changes up for hearing Wednesday, Aug. 9.

The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Headquarters. The deadline is Aug. 25 to submit comment to the DEEP. Click here to read more about the hearing. 

The purchase of a $5 trout stamp and $10 broodstock Atlantic salmon stamp ($12 for a combination stamp) to fish for trout and Atlantic Salmon would generate an estimated $300,000 that would go directly to fisheries and recreation programs, by law, according to the DEEP. Federal law requires that license revenue and money raised by fees and taxes on hunting and fishing equipment be dedicated to those purposes.

If passed, all anglers 16 and older fishing for any species in Trout Management Areas, Wild Trout Management Areas and Trout Parks, as well as any anglers 16 years of age and older wishing to keep trout they’ve caught in state waters, would be required to purchase a trout stamp. All anglers 16 years of age and older fishing for any species in the designated Broodstock Areas of the Shetucket and Naugatuck rivers from September 1 through March 31, and any anglers 16 years of age and older wishing to keep broodstock Atlantic Salmon they’ve caught anywhere (where fishing for Atlantic salmon is allowed) throughout the state would be required to purchase a salmon stamp. A combination stamp, less expensive than purchasing both separately, would cover both waters.

Mill River

Another proposal would extend the Mill River Wild Trout Management Area to stretch from the first bridge crossing below the Easton Reservoir to the Merritt Parkway. Currently the catch-and-release-only WTMA extends from South Park Avenue to [downstream of the third bridge crossing. Signs would indicate the WTMA.

DEEP officials said the changes would better protect the populations of naturally reproducing trout and stocked trout from undue depletion by eliminating harvest throughout this stretch of river. The “catch-and-release only” Class I Mill River Wild Trout Management Area would be expanded downstream to the Mill River Trout Management Area and fishing in the Mill River Trout Management Area would be limited to “catch-and-release only” year-round; currently some harvest is allowed from Opening Day through Aug. 30.

A short closed season would be placed on a small portion of the Farmington River TMA in the Riverton area, intended to restore a traditional Opening Day atmosphere to the upper West Branch Farmington River. As many anglers view the traditional Opening Day when the fishing season first opens for the spring as a longstanding rite of spring passage, DEEP officials expressed hope the change would increase the number of anglers fishing this section of river on Opening Day, and also enhance participation in a traditional Opening Day fishing derby held in Riverton since 1949. Participation has declined since this section of river became open to fishing year-round in 2012.

Language changes would define Tenkara, fishing with a fly on a fixed line, fly fishing. stablish definition for maximum length. Bubble floats are also addressed. Click here to read a PDF of all the proposed changes.

The proposed regulations, statement of purpose, a small business impact statement and a fiscal note indicating no additional expense to the state or municipal governments to implement these proposed regulations are posted and available for download (pdf) on the eRegulations system (https://eregulations.ct.gov).

Copies of the proposed regulations, statement of purpose, small business impact statement and fiscal note are also available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, 6th Floor, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127. These documents can also be obtained by contacting Bill Foreman at the above address, by phone at (860) 424-3474, or by email (deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov).

Interested persons may also choose to present their views regarding the proposed regulations in writing during the public comment period. Written comments should be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. Aug. 25, 2017. Based on public comment, the proposed regulations may be adjusted to meet the objective of the proposal. Comments may be submitted using one of the following methods:

  • Online via the eRegulations system (https://eregulations.ct.gov) on the Secretary of State’s website. Go to “Open for Public comment”, select this regulation and follow instructions for submitting comments.
  • By mail or delivery service to Bill Foreman at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Fisheries Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127.
  • By email to william.foreman@ct.gov.
  • By fax to 860-424-4070 (attention: Bill Foreman).

Opening day moved to April 11

The Legislative Regulations Review Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 24, approved the Inland Fisheries regulations proposal that includes moving Opening Day one week earlier to the second Saturday in April (instead of its current third Saturday). This means that Opening Day 2015 will be April 11.

A summary of the regulation changes can be found here.

The new regulations are not yet effective. It typically takes a week or so following approval to finish up the legal process and get them over to the office of Secretary of State for official posting. DEEP will post again as soon as they are effective.