Saturday, May 13, is Free Fishing Day in Connecticut.
Anyone can fish, inland or marine waters, without having to have a fishing license. According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, this is a great chance to share your passion for fishing with your whole family, your significant other, or your BFFs.
All size limits, harvest limits, and other regulations still apply.
Mike Humphreys, the DEEP Inland Fisheries Biologist for the western district, will speak at the next meeting of Nutmeg TU, set for Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Port 5, 69 Brewster St., Bridgeport.
Mike is a longtime fish biologist, holding a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee with more than 30 years in his profession.
His topics will include updates on the Housatonic River, focusing on trout in the Cornwall TMA, and an assessment on wild trout in Connecticut streams, as well as the latest information about the effects of the recent drought on fish in the state.
In past 25 years with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, his work has focused on Statewide Stream Electrofishing Surveys, a Statewide Wild Trout Research and Management Project, and Housatonic River Research and Management.
During previous, well attended visits, Humphreys spoke to Nutmeg TU about his findings on trout survival with run of river in the Housatonic TMAs, various fish stocking programs, and regulation changes for some sections of the Mill River.
Due to the third Tuesday of this month falling on St. Patrick’s Day, March’s membership meeting will move to the fourth Tuesday of the month, March 24, 2015. This change only affects this March’s meeting.
Mike Humphreys DEEP Inland Fisheries Biologist for the western district, our district, will speak. Of most interest to our chapter, he will present findings from his 5 year study of the effects on trout survival in the Housatonic TMAs from run of the river and different stocking programs, and changes in wild trout management areas, which will include planned changes to the regulations governing sections of the Mill River. Mike will also discuss the Farmington River.
This should be a most informative meeting. Please update your calendars with the change to March 24, 2015 for this meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Port 5 in Bridgeport
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced March 31 that expects to stock almost 390,000 trout in waters across the state in time for opening day of the trout fishing season April 19 despite challenges posed by extended winter conditions this year.
“Stocking nearly four hundred thousand fish prior to opening day is a monumental task in the best weather,” said Pete Aarrestad, director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “We’ve had to postpone several days of stocking due to morning temperatures in the single digits, and a number of other scheduled stocking runs were shifted to sites with better winter access.
“However, we still plan to stock all of the usual water bodies that have historically been done for opening day. Hatchery staff have endured and prevailed under prolonged winter conditions unseen in Connecticut in over 50 years. It is a testament to their ‘can do’ attitude and dedication on behalf of recreational anglers.”
More than 200 truckloads of trout are scheduled to be released into 100 lakes and ponds and 194 rivers and streams in time for opening day. The following species & sizes will be stocked prior to opening day:
• 62,600 brook trout (10-11 inch)
• 193,500 brown trout (10-11 inch)
• 6,600 brown trout (12 inch)
• 1,900 tiger trout (10-12 inch brook/brown hybrid)
• 107,300 rainbow trout (10-12 inch)
• 15,900 rainbow trout (12-14 inch)
• 1,335 surplus broodstock (3-10 pound trout – all species)
Trout anglers looking to test out their gear prior to the start of trout season can visit one of the state’s 15 trout management areas (TMAs), all open for pre-season catch-and-release fishing. TMAs are located on the Farmington River, Hammonasset River, Hockanum River, Housatonic River (two TMAs), Mianus River, Mill River (Fairfield), Mill River (Hamden), Moosup River, Pequabuck River (including Coppermine Brook), Naugatuck River, Salmon River, Saugatuck River, Willimantic River and Yantic River.
Typically, DEEP stocks nearly all these areas as soon as they are accessible by the hatchery trucks. This year, however, due to snow cover, frozen snow banks and shoreline ice cover, a number of the TMAs were inaccessible, thus stocking them had to be postponed. “Barring more winter weather, we plan on having most of the Trout Management Areas stocked by the end of next week,” said Aarrestad.
Anglers can access up-to-date information about where and when trout are stocked on Facebook at facebook.com/ctfishandwildlife.
In addition to the TMAs, class I wild trout management areas (WTMA) are also open year-round for catch-and-release fishing, and are located on Deep Brook, Eightmile River, Hawleys Brook, Beaver Brook/Merrick Brook, Macedonia Brook, Mill River (in Easton), Quinnipiac River, Tankerhoosen River, and Wachocastinook (Riga) Brook. Class I WMTA’s are typically not stocked. Additionally, downstream portions of six of the designated sea-run trout streams (Eightmile River, Farm River, Hammonasset River, Latimer Brook, Saugatuck River, and Whitford Brook) are open year-round with a two trout per day creel limit and a fifteen-inch minimum length.
Anglers should consult the Conncticut Angler’s Guide for detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations. Printed versions of the 2014 Angler’s Guide are now available at more than 350 locations statewide, including town halls, bait & tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities, and commercial marinas and campgrounds. The electronic versions of the Guide can be found on the DEEP website at (ct.gov/deep/anglersguide).
Additional fishing and fisheries related information can be found on the DEEP web site at ct.gov/deep/fishing. The web site has a wealth of information including; trout stocking location maps, annual fish stocking summary report, the very popular youth fishing passport program, and when you catch the big one, criteria for trophy fish awards.
Save the last-minute running around and purchase your 2014 fishing licenses directly online, or if you prefer, at one of the many participating town halls, tackle retailers and DEEP offices. For a complete list of vendors, visit the DEEP website (ct.gov/deep/fishing) or call DEEP Licensing and Revenue (860-424-3105).