Fishing Opening Day April 11; New Regulations Announced
Fishing opening day is Saturday, April 11. The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) announces new regulations in effect as the season gets underway. Below is a summary of the regulation changes of most interest to anglers. An updated set of the complete regulations may be found online at 1.usa.gov/1GITYtw (click on “Final Regulations”).
*Opening Day: The date of opening day has been moved one week earlier, from the third Saturday in April to the second Saturday in April. Opening day of 2015 Trout Season will be April 11.
*Fishing seasons: Batterson Park Pond (Farmington), Mansfield Hollow Reservoir (Mansfield), and the Yantic River below the falls at Indian Leap (Norwich) will now be open year-round; the fishing season will now close at Scoville Reservoir (Wolcott) on the last day of February and the season at East Twin Lake is extended through the end of March.
*Methods: Anglers will now be able to use up to three lines (instead of two) at one time when fishing, except in specially designated trout areas (Trout Management Areas, Wild Trout Management Areas, Trout Parks, Sea-run Trout Streams, and Trophy Trout Streams) where the limit will remain two lines at one time.
*Wild Trout Management Areas (WTMA): The portions of the Tankerhoosen River in Vernon located in the Tankerhoosen Wildlife Management Area becomes a class I WTMA (open year-round, catch-and-release fishing only) and will be combined with the Belding WTMA to become the Belding-Tankerhoosen Wild Trout Management Area.
*Creel and length limits, inland: The creel limit for kokanee salmon is reduced from eight to five fish per day, the special limits at East Twin Lake for brown trout are removed, and for American eel, the creel limit is reduced to 25 fish per day and the minimum length is increased to 9 inches.
*Creel and length limits, marine: The creel limit for striped bass is reduced to one fish at 28 inches. The creel limit for scup (porgy) increased to 30 fish per day and the minimum length is reduced to 10 inches. The minimum length for black sea bass increased to 14 inches. The creel limit from June 1 through August 31 is three fish per day; creel limit from September 1 through December 31 is five fish per day.
“We are excited about the additional fishing opportunities provided to anglers with this change to an earlier opening day,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “This change provides an additional week of fishing opportunities for both resident and nonresident anglers targeting trout or fishing for other species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass found in trout waters.
“Additionally, most of the state’s school-age anglers will also now have the opportunity to fish for trout during their spring breaks, as opening day will now come at the beginning of that school vacation for most school systems in Connecticut,” Klee added.
School-age anglers ages 16 and 17 may obtain their 2015 fishing, hunting and trapping licenses at half the adult price (most hunting permits, stamps, and tags will also be half price for 16- and 17-year-olds).
DEEP expects to stock more than 341,000 trout in waters across the state in time for opening day of the trout fishing season. Nearly 100 lakes and ponds and 190 rivers and streams are scheduled for stocking. The very cold temperatures, prolonged heavy snow pack, and icy conditions have been challenging for DEEP stocking efforts.
“Stocking well over 300,000 fish prior to opening day is a monumental task in the best weather,” said Pete Aarrestad, director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “Due to the prolonged winter freeze and morning temperatures in the single digits, trout stocking got off to an unprecedented slow start in late February and early March. In spite of significant weather related setbacks, we still hope to stock most of the usual water bodies that have historically been done prior to opening day. Should some areas not get stocked, we will provide that information to anglers prior to opening day via both print and electronic media.”
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 (TMA), which are open for preseason catch-and-release fishing. While many of the TMAs have yet to be stocked, they should all have reasonably good fishing from fall trout stockings.
So far this spring, the Farmington River (above and below the year-round catch-and-release area), Hockanum River, Naugatuck River, Sleeping Giant (Mill River, Hamden) and Willimantic River TMAs have been stocked. Other TMAs scheduled for stocking before opening day are located on the Hammonasset River, Hockanum River, Mianus River, Mill River (Fairfield), Moosup River, Pequabuck River (including Coppermine Brook), Salmon River, Saugatuck River, and Yantic River. Anglers can access up-to-date information about where and when trout are stocked on Facebook at facebook.com/ctfishandwildlife.
Anglers should consult the 2015 CT Angler’s Guide for detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations. Printed versions of the 2015 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. Anglers are advised that there are several errors in the print version, where the date for opening day was not updated to reflect the recent change from the third Saturday in April to the second Saturday in April. The electronic versions of the Guide can be found on the DEEP website (ct.gov/deep/anglersguide) and have been fully corrected.
Additional fishing and fisheries related information may be found on the DEEP website at ct.gov/deep/fishing. The website 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.
Fishing licenses can be purchased online or at one of the many participating town halls, tackle retailers, and DEEP offices. For a complete list of vendors, visit ct.gov/deep/fishing or call DEEP Licensing and Revenue at 860-424-3105.