State brings catfish to nearby waterways

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced today that 17,000 channel catfish, a popular freshwater game fish, have been stocked in 24 lakes ponds across Connecticut.

In eastern Connecticut, 670 adult catfish were released into Spaulding Pond at Mohegan Park in Norwich; 1,285 yearlings were released into Hopeville Pond at Hopeville Pond State Park in Griswold; and 1,290 yearlings were released into Quinnebaug Lake at Quinebaug Lake State Park in Killingly. Adult fish are about 12 to 18 inches and weigh just under 2 pounds, while the yearlings are 9 to 12 inches and weigh about a half a pound.

The fish were purchased with federal Sport Fish Restoration funds, DEEP said in news release.

“This DEEP program establishes channel catfish in lakes where we know there is sufficient habitat to support a population of large game fish,” Susan Whalen, deputy commissioner of DEEP, said. “Anglers have reported taking 5 to 7 pound fish from several of the lakes. DEEP believes that the combination of a popular game fish stocked into waters that are selected based on scientific data is a winning combination. We’ve had great success in using this approach to develop exciting fisheries for northern pike and walleye and now we’re looking forward to similar results with catfish.”

Of the 24 waters being stocked, five are new to the Community Fishing Waters Program. The goal of the program is to create and enhance year-round fishing opportunities in urban areas by combining trout stocking in the spring and fall with catfish stocking in late spring or early summer. The program began in 2007.

There is currently no minimum size for harvest or daily catch limit for catfish in Connecticut. DEEP strongly encourages anglers to take only those fish they intend to eat.

All anglers can find fishing regulations in the 2014 Connecticut Angler’s Guide. Print version of the guides are available at town halls, bait and tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities, and commercial marinas and campgrounds, or by contacting DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860) 424-3474. For additional fishing information, visit DEEP's website, or check in with the agency on Facebook.

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