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Environmental issues put rivers at risk

Ron Merly, holding a nice Atlantic salmon from the Naugatuck River, says, “Do not let the state take this fishery from us!”

Ron Merly, holding a nice Atlantic salmon from the Naugatuck River, says, “Do not let the state take this fishery from us!”

The trout season has officially ended except for the designated TMAs. Opening day has been switched to the 2nd Saturday in April this year so mark your calendars. A few of the open areas on the Farmington have been producing some beautiful browns for those fishing nymphs in these very cold temperatures however most of the state’s streams remain icy or slushy.

The Kensington Hatchery is up on the block for the third time so write letters immediately. The comment period is nearly over. The Kensington Hatchery produces all of the eggs used in SIC and TIC and is the only hatchery in the state capable of raising Seeforellen brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The loss would be a travesty for Connecticut’s fisheries and would also set precedent for more cuts to the state fisheries rather than increasing monies allocated to DEEP.

While you are writing, you might consider writing the Connecticut Siting Council in opposition of an enormous power plant that is proposed very close to the Oxford Airport. This plant will save the average Connecticut customer within a 10 mile radius of the plant approximately $35 annually as most of the power will be sold to residents in R.I. and Mass. The cost of this plant will be six trout streams, the lower estuary of the Housatonic and Long Island Sound.

The proposed Towantic Power Plant will draw more than a million gallons of water annually from the Pomperaug River which is formed by the Nonewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers as well as Sprain Brook. Currently, these streams run very low during summer months. The plant will be built right near the headwaters of the Little River which is right on the fringes of over development as it sits. All four of those streams contain wild and holdover trout. The grey water or outflow from the plant is proposed to release all of this very warm and not very clean water into the Naugatuck River upstream of where a 6.5 million dollar fish bypass was recently completed. The Naugatuck flows into the lower estuary of the Housatonic a relatively short distance downstream. The estuary contains the largest wintering over populations of striped bass in the northeast. This would be a huge step backward for Connecticut as the Naugatuck and Housatonic have come such a long way ecologically.

Remember, there has been nothing invented by humans since the dawn of time that does not break or fail. what will happen when this plant breaks or fails. Would the damage take decades to repair itself or will the damage be permanent?? Either way, this is not good for Connecticut.

– Ron Merly

Trout stocking under way

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).

Connecticut begins spring trout stocking

Connecticut DEEP Inland Fisheries staff began the 2013 spring trout stockings this week. Among the areas scheduled to be stocked sometime in the next two weeks are many of the  state’s Trout Management Areas (TMAs).

Early spring stockings are very dependent on weather and site conditions. (Click here for trout stocking maps.)

As of March 1, fishing season is closed on many rivers and streams, and at a number of lakes and ponds.

All 16 of the state’s Trout Management Areas remain open year-round, but all are catch-and-release only during winter and early spring.

Class I Wild Trout Management Areas are also open year-round for catch-and-release fishing.