Fishing Column: DEP's Fall fish stocking underway across Connecticut
By Martin Armstrong
Updated: 10/10/2009 08:23:29 PM EDT
Fall is my favorite time of the year. The days are cool and crisp and vibrant foliage provide a spectacular backdrop for trout fishing! The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has begun its annual autumn trout stockings.
The DEP expects to release more than 36,000 trout into selected waters throughout the state by the end of October. Among the areas scheduled for stocking this fall are twenty-two lakes and ponds, eight Trout Parks, and sixteen rivers and streams including 14 Trout Management Areas (TMA).
The DEP will also be stocking eight of the designated Trout Parks. Connecticut's Trout Parks are managed to enhance fishing opportunities for families and novice anglers. All the Trout Parks are easily accessible and have picnic areas and other amenities nearby.
"Our Trout Parks are great places for family fishing outings in the fall," said Susan Frechette, Deputy Commissioner of the DEP. "A family can enjoy the brilliant fall foliage and a day of fishing and picnicking in the refreshing fall weather."
This fall, approximately 36,500 trout are scheduled to be released, of which 12,400 will be large brown trout (greater than 12 inches in length); 6,100 are standard size (10-12 inch) brown trout, 15,000 are standard size rainbow trout and 3,000 are "yearling" brown trout (7-9 inch).
Plentiful stream flows and cool temperatures allowed a number of TMAs to be stocked earlier in September. DEP will complete its stockings
of the 14 Trout Management Areas (TMA) soon.
Among the Trout Management Areas (TMA) stocked this fall are the two areas on the Housatonic River.
The DEP released a total of 9,100 trout (1,000 large brown trout, 5,000 rainbow trout, and 3,100 "yearling" brown trout) into the Housatonic River TMA and 2,500 rainbow trout into the Bull's Bridge TMA.
The large brown trout are intended to augment the population of holdover trout in the river this fall, while the rainbow trout and "yearling" browns will enhance the holdover population for next spring.
The West Branch Farmington River (West Branch Reservoir to the West Branch TMA upper boundary) also received its annual Labor Day stocking with DEP releasing 2,500 of the large brown trout (12 inches and larger fish) just prior to Labor Day weekend.
Anglers should be aware that two Trout Parks that are often stocked in the fall, Stratton Brook Park Pond and Southford Falls Park Pond, will not be stocked this year due to planned dredging projects.
Fishing in all sixteen Trout Management Areas is catch-and-release only during the fall. Trout Parks have a two-fish per day creel limit.
Regulations vary on many of the other waters being stocked this fall. The DEP advises anglers to check fishing regulations in their 2009 Connecticut Angler's Guide.
Guides are available from many Town Clerks and bait & tackle stores, or by contacting the DEP Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH). The Angler's Guide, Weekly Fishing Reports and news releases can all be found on the DEP web site at: www.ct.gov/dep.
The Trout Parks being stocked are Black Rock Pond, Chatfield Hollow. Day Pond, Great Hollow Pond in Wolfe Park, Mohegan Park Pond, Natchaug Pond, Valley Falls Park Pond and Wharton Brook.
Trout Management Areas (TMA) receiving a fall stocking of trout are: Bulls Bridge TMA; Farmington River TMA; Hammonasset River TMA; Hockanum River TMA; Housatonic River TMA; Mianus River TMA; Mill River TMA; Moosup River TMA; Naugatuck River TMA; Salmon River TMA; Saugatuck River TMA; Sleeping Giant TMA; Willimantic River TMA and Yantic River TMA.
The following rivers are also being stocked outside their TMAs. They are the Hammaoassett River, Naugatuck River, Salmon River, Saugatuck River, Natchaug River and the West Branch Farmington River.
The following lakes and ponds are also being stocked for the fall fishing season: Amos Pond; Basham Lake; Beach Pond; Bigelow Pond; Black Pond (Meriden); Black Pond (Woodstock); Cedar Lake; Coventry Lake; Crystal Lake (Ellington); Gardner Lake; Long Pond; Mashapaug Lake; Mohawk Pond; Mt Tom Pond; Pattaconk Lake; Quonnipaug Lake; Rogers Lake; Stillwater Pond; Tyler Pond; Wauregan Reservoir; West Hill Pond and West Side Pond.
On Tuesday, October 13th, the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its monthly meeting. The club will feature a presentation on the ongoing restoration efforts on the fabled Battenkill River by Doug Lyon.
Thanks in large part to the work of Trout Unlimited volunteers, the Battenkill -- which had suffered from decreasing wild trout populations for a number of years -- is seeing resurgence to its glory days as a fly fishing Mecca.
Learn how TU is turning the Battenkill around, where these efforts will mean better fishing for your next trip and how you can help preserve the Battenkill and our chapter's coldwater resources.
The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Waveny Park Mansion in New Canaan. Members, guests and the public are free to attend. http://www.newcanaan.info/content/2...aspx&;gt;.
To get to Waveny Mansion take exit 37 off the Merritt Parkway in New Canaan. Take a left at end of the exit ramp onto South Avenue (Route 124). Continue north approximately 1/4 mile, on left you will see stone pillars and Waveny Park sign at the driveway entrance to the park.
Last weekend the South Norwalk Boat Club held its annual bluefish contest. Winning the event this year was Gary Bartush and his grandson, Austin Getner. Together they weighed in a five fish entry weighing 47-pounds.
Taking second place was Paul Hiller and his brother, Mark. They tallied a five fish entry that weighed 44-pounds.
Striped bass and blackfish angling are very good right now. And, there are still plenty of bluefish around.
The heaviest striper reported this week was caught by Pete SanFilippo. While trolling a tube and worm combo south of the Norwalk Island, he reeled in a 30-pound, 10-ounce linesider.
Striped bass fishing in Stamford Harbor is excellent. Fishing from West Beach last week, Raymond Dong reeled in a 35-inch linesider using fresh bunker for bait.
Across the harbor at Cummings Beach, Pete Miller reeled in a 40-incher while live-lining a bunker.
Also doing well at Cummings last week was Paul McFarland with a 36-incher and Louie Garcia with a 32-incher. McFarland was using live bunker and Garcia used a clam.
Lucie Kennelry and Wojtek Husak fished off Captains Island. Dave at Pete's Place reported that Lucie caught a 35-inch striper, a couple of porgies, which were released, and some bluefish as Wojtek watched empty-handed.
Patricio Moncayo is new to the world of fishing. Last week he fished for the second time ever and caught a 5-pound bluefish off Shippan Point. With him was his pal Miguel, who caught a 36-inch striper. They were using mackerel chunks for bait.
Justin Harrison sailed on the Byram based party boat "the Snow Goose" last week and returned home with lots of fish. He caught 14 porgies and two blackfish..
Blackfish action is picking up in the Greenwich area. The folks at Sportsman's Den reported that Larry Imbrogno reeled in a nice 9-pounder while fishing with green crabs in Greenwich waters.
Jeff Downes also did well fishing off Greenwich. He brought in an 8.12-pound blackfish. He also used green crabs.
Stan Leonard caught 7 blacks using crabs while fishing from shore in Greenwich. He kept four of the fish.
Bob Brady and Phil Vincoli caught their limit of blackfish while fishing around Stamford Harbor.
Sage Nakamura caught several blackfish weighing up to 6-pounds while fishing some of the local reefs.
Taking some time off from their duties behind the counter at Fish Tales Bait and Tackle, Bill Wilder, Pete Henderson and Scott Denise fished off the West Haven Breakwall. They each caught their limit of blackfish weighing up to 7-pounds.
Last week, Joe Horvath, Gene Barry and Carlo "The Shadow" fished from a party boat based in Rhode Island. Carlo caught a 30-pound cod and a small barracuda. Gene caught a couple of nice sea bass and a few sculpin. And Joe, who organized the trip, went home empty handed.
Martin Armstrong is a member of the Fisheries Advisory Council, a lifetime member in Trout Unlimited and a member of the Outdoors Writers Association.