Fishing Column: The Atlantic salmon are coming
By Martin Armstrong
Updated: 10/16/2009 11:51:00 PM EDT
Last week the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced its schedule for its annual fall stockings of surplus broodstock Atlantic salmon.
This fall the DEP's Inland Fisheries Division plans to release a total of 1,100 salmon into the Shetucket River and the Naugatuck River.
An additional 200 salmon will be released into two lakes, Crystal Lake (Ellington) and Mount Tom Pond (Morris/Litchfield/Washington).
The broodstock salmon stocked in Connecticut are raised in state and federal hatcheries to provide eggs for the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program. Surplus and spawned fish are then made available to provide a recreational fishery for Connecticut anglers.
Anglers should expect that the salmon stocked this year will not be as large as many of the salmon stocked in the last several years. Typically, the fish released in Connecticut are two to five years old, and weigh from 2 to 20 pounds each.
The 1,300 fish that are being released this week are younger fish, all between two and three years old, that range in weight from 2 to 5 pounds each.
For the third consecutive year, DEP will stock several lakes with broodstock Atlantic salmon. DEP began stocking surplus Atlantic salmon in 1992, and until 2007, all fish had been stocked only into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers.
However, in October 2007, salmon were stocked into Beach Pond (Voluntown) and Crystal Lake. Data collected following these
stockings indicated that that salmon fishing in lakes might be popular.
In 2008, the DEP stocked Mashapaug Lake and Crystal Lake on an experimental basis to collect additional data, which also indicated that stocking these salmon had created a popular fishery.
This fall, two lakes will be stocked, one in western Connecticut (Mount Tom Pond) and one in eastern Connecticut (Crystal Lake). In addition, anglers may occasionally catch salmon that have held over from previous stockings of Beach Pond and Mashapaug Lake.
Be aware that the regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon released into lakes and ponds are different from the regulations for salmon that are in the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers.
In each lake, the regulations for methods, seasons and minimum lengths for salmon are the same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily creel limit is one salmon per day. As such, specific regulations for salmon fishing in Crystal Lake, Mount Tom Pond, Mashapaug Lake and Beach Pond can be found in the 2009 Connecticut Angler's Guide and are provided below.
Atlantic salmon broodstock stocked in the Shetucket and Naugatuck rivers are released into three designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas: 1) between Scotland Dam (Scotland) and Occum Dam (Norwich) on the Shetucket River; 2) the "Campville Section" of the upper Naugatuck River from Route 118 downstream to the Thomaston Flood Control Dam (Litchfield-Thomaston); and 3) the "Beacon Falls Section" of the lower Naugatuck from Prospect Street (Naugatuck) downstream to Pines Bridge Road (Route 42 bridge, Beacon Falls).
Anglers should be aware that the section of the Naugatuck River in the Beacon Falls area along the RR tracks in Naugatuck State Forest is no longer stocked due to safety concerns.
Anglers are allowed to fish for salmon in the Naugatuck River from the confluence of the East and West Branches (Torrington) downstream to the Housatonic River (Derby). Anglers may also fish for Atlantic salmon in the Housatonic River downstream of Derby Dam.
On the Shetucket River, anglers can fish for salmon downstream from the Scotland Dam (Windham) to the Water Street Bridge in Norwich (the first bridge upstream of Norwich Harbor).
In the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only through November 30. From December 1, 2009, through March 31, 2010, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon will be one.
During the open season in the rivers, the legal method for taking Atlantic salmon is limited to angling using a single fly, or an artificial lure with a single free swinging hook and no additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure. Also, from October 1 through March 31, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.
"Fly Fishing the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers" is the topic of the Tuesday, October 20th meeting of Trout Unlimited's Nutmeg Chapter at Fayerweather Yacht Club, 51 Brewster St., Black Rock, Bridgeport. The meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m., is free of charge and open to the public.
Rich Strolis is the featured speaker and, as a fly-fishing fanatic, he is also an expert caster and fly tier. Strolis especially enjoys guiding on the Connecticut's Farmington and Housatonic Rivers and he will talk about areas to target, flies and hatches, and give a presentation of his fishing adventures on those rivers. For more info about Strolis, please go to his website at www.catching-shadows.com.
For more information on Nutmeg Chapter visit www.nutmegtu.org , call 203-856-2004, or email email@example.com.
Fall fishing is super. Saltwater anglers are catching lots of striped bass, bluefish and blackfish. Freshwater fans are enjoying some excellent trout angling thanks to the recent stockings in local waters.
The largest striped bass reported last week was a nice 44-inch fish caught by Randy Sala while fishing off Shippan Point. The big fish weighed 29-pounds and was taken using fresh bunker for bait. Sala also caught a 40-inch, 24-pounder on the same trip.
On a second trip to Shippan Point, he caught five more linesiders including one that measured 37-inches.
Freddy Bonilla also caught some nice stripers off Shippan Point. His largest linesider measured 33-inches. Bonilla also caught some bluefish weighing up to 12-pounds. All of his fish were taken on fresh bunker.
Tim Hughs caught some nice stripers while fishing off Fairfield before the storm. He caught two 36-inch fish and a 34-inch fish. He was using bunker chunks and eels for bait.
A fellow known as Capt. Nemo caught a 33-inch striper and a limit of blackfish while fishing the Stamford Cows.. He was using fresh bunker and green crabs for bait.
Paul McFarland also did well at the Cows. He caught a limit of blackfish and a couple of blues. His largest blackfish weighed 5-pounds and was taken on a green crab. The bluefish were taken on fresh bunker.
The largest blackfish of the week was reported by Scott at Fisherman's World. Dave Deboer brought in four keepers to be weighed. His biggest fish tipped the scales at 11-pounds, 8-ounces. It was taken at Greens Ledge using green crabs.
Terry McPartland caught a couple of blackfish including a 7-pounder while fishing at the Great Reef. He also caught some black sea bass.
Kevin Miller from Sportsman's Den reported that Pat Vagnone boated a 7.62-pounder while fishing at Buoy 34. Vagnone was using green crabs.
Kevin Miller took some time off from behind the counter at Sportsman's Den to fish with his boss, Mike Noyes. Fishing in Greenwich waters they caught and released lots of porgies and a few keeper blackfish. Later in the week, Noyes fished off Playland and jigged up some bluefish including a hefty 14-pounder.
John Sudell tried his luck bottom fishing off Playland. Using green crabs he caught several blackfish. His fish, with the exception of one, were too small to keep so they were returned to the water unharmed.
Karina Adams, age 7, and her sisters, Isabella, 6, and Sophia 2, fished with their father Mike Adams and their friend, Mary Kanos, 6, off Cummings Beach last week. All of the girls caught bluefish weighing up to 10-pounds using fresh bunker.
Last week we detailed the DEPs fall stocking report. This week we heard about two local anglers that did so well on the Norwalk River that they don't want their last names used. Ernie and Keith fished the river at a location they don't want disclosed and here's why. Ernie reeled in a 5-pound 14-ounce rainbow trout along with 4 smaller fish using 2-pound test line. Keith landed four trout measuring between 14 and 16-inches. All of the fish were taken on nightcrawlers.
Martin Armstrong is a member of the Fisheries Advisory Council, a lifetime member in Trout Unlimited and a member of the Outdoors Writers Association.