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Grant to help restore Mill River

The Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited has received a grant for restoration of the Mill River and been entered in the Embrace A Stream Challenge, a new online contest sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited. From Nov. 6-12, the chapter has a chance to win its share of $50,000 in cash prizes to help fund the Mill River Conifer Revetment Project, an initiative to restore the Mill River in Fairfield County.

In early October, the Nutmeg Chapter received an $670 grant from the Embrace A Stream program to support removal of invasive species and shoring up of the banks of the Mill River near the Easton-Fairfield border, along Congress Street in Fairfield.

From Nov. 6-12, anyone who visits embraceastream.org and makes a donation of as little as $10 to support Nutmeg TU’s work will help it unlock prizes ranging from $250 to $5,000. Nutmeg TU is competing in this contest with more than 40 other Trout Unlimited chapters from across the country.

“We’re excited to have the chance to raise even more money to restore and improve the Mill River in the Embrace A Stream Challenge,” said Rich Rosen, Nutmeg TU president. “But we need the help of all of our community members to win. If you care about clean water, and share our love for the Mill River, please help our more than 300 local members and volunteers by donating to this important project.”

The Mill River Conifer Revetment Project will focus on a section of stream that runs along Congress Street in Fairfield, where the river is more than 40 feet wide in some places, when it should average 15 feet. TU volunteers and their partners will narrow the stream channel and stabilize the banks using conifer revetments to prevent future erosion and ensure that the stream at the site and downstream can support excellent trout habitat.

The Mill River is currently home to some of the highest densities of wild and native trout in the state, but TU and other experts believe that the fishery can support even more trout with habitat improvement. Pending before state officials is a regulation change that would make the stretch a catch-and-release only area dedicated to wild trout.

The site is near the Merritt Parkway and a heavily used service area, and frequently needs litter removal in addition to replacing invasive species with native fauna, which Nutmeg TU has been doing, in cooperation with the Town of Fairfield, for four years.

Embrace A Stream is a matching grant program administered by Trout Unlimited that provides funds to local chapters and councils for coldwater fisheries conservation. Since its inception in 1975, the grant program has funded more than 1,000 individual projects for a total of $4.4 million in direct cash grants. Local chapters and councils contributed an additional $13 million in cash and in-kind services to EAS funded projects, for a total investment of more than $17 million. The Embrace A Stream Challenge is a new national online contest sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited to connect people who care with a chance to support improvements to the rivers and streams in their communities.

“This year, more than 40 local Trout Unlimited chapters from across the country have brought forward plans to take care of the rivers that they love to fish,” said Russ Meyer, chairman of the Embrace A Stream grants committee, a group of Trout Unlimited volunteers who review and approve all grant applications. “The Embrace A Stream Challenge gives everyone in your community the chance to join us in supporting this important local project.”

The Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited serves more than 300 members in Southwestern Connecticut. Nutmeg TU works with partners to restore local rivers, engage area youth in outdoor education and protect trout streams that are a mere stone’s throw from Manhattan, specifically the towns of Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton,  Redding, Trumbull, Monroe, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford and Shelton.

Nutmeg TU meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month, September through May, at Port 5, 69 Brewster St., in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. They are open to the public free of charge. The Nov. 21 meeting features Greg Myerson, who holds the world record for the largest striped bass.

Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with more than 300,000 members and supporters dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Visit TU online at tu.org.

Local rivers stocked with trout

UPDATE: The Mill River, the Saugatuck River fly fishing area and the Mianus River TMA have all been stocked with trout, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reported on Nov. 1.

ORIGINAL POST: The Mill River in Fairfield and Saugatuck River in Westport should soon be stocked, according to the Connecticut Department of Fish & Wildlife. Most of the trout stocked will be rainbows, not browns as pictured.

Cooler weather has allowed the fall stocking program to get into full swing, according to the latest weekly fishing report. Click here to read it.

Stay up to date with daily stocking posts on Facebook, the DEEP’s interactive trout stocking map, and its stocking report.

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).

Planting, fishing on the Mill April 29

The Nutmeg and Mianus chapters of Trout Unlimited will gather to celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees along the Mill River in Fairfield Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The project is the latest step in Trout Unlimited’s ongoing rehabilitation of the Mill River, a stream that is home to native brook trout and wild brown trout. Invasive flora has been removed, and native species are being planted along the banks.

Donuts and coffee will be provided.  Please bring a shovel.

Friends, kids and anyone who wants to help may attend.

Register below in “Leave A Reply” by sending us your Name & Email Address and stating April 29 Planting Volunteer in the Comments Box.  You can also register at mianustu.org. 

All Volunteers are asked to register to help with food counts and planning.  After registering watch your emails for any additional information and where to meet.

Feel free to take a fly rod to fish the Mill with us after planting is done. 

We look forward to seeing you there and come back to this site often for more of our fun events.