DEEP to stock 390,000 trout before open season

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Monday it expects to stock almost 390,000 trout in waters across the state in time for Opening Day of the 2014 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,” Pete Aarrestad, director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division, said in a news release. “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. Stocked species will include brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout and rainbow trout.

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, all open for pre-season catch-and-release fishing. Trout Management Areas are located on the Farmington, Hammonasset, Hockanum, Housatonic, Mianus, Moosup, Pequabuck, Naugatuck, Salmon, Saugatuck, Willimantic and Yantic rivers, as well as the Mill River in Fairfield and Hamden.

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, several of the trout management areas were inaccessible, so 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: www.facebook.com/ctfishandwildlife.

In addition to the Trout Management Areas, Class I Wild Trout Management Areas 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 Wild Trout Management Areas 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.

For detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations, see the CT Angler’s Guide. Printed versions of the 2014 edition are available at more than 350 locations statewide, including town halls, bait and tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities and commercial marinas and campgrounds. The electronic version can be found at: www.ct.gov/deep/anglersguide.

Additional fishing and fisheries related information can be found at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.

Fishing licenses can be obtained directly online, or at town halls, tackle retailers and DEEP offices. For a list of vendors, visit the website or call the DEEP Licensing and Revenue at: (860) 424-3105.

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