Connecticut Stocks Salmon And Walleye In Several Rivers And Lakes - The Fisherman

Connecticut Stocks Salmon And Walleye In Several Rivers And Lakes

Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that its 2023 autumn stockings of Atlantic salmon are underway, the fall program began back on October 10 and continues through November. DEEP’s Fisheries Division began the fall tradition by stocking Crystal Lake (Ellington/Stafford – 125 fish), Mount Tom Pond (Morris/Litchfield/Washington – 125 fish) and the Shetucket River. In addition to these two lakes and this river, the Naugatuck River also received salmon on November 3.

“Atlantic salmon are renowned for their size, beauty and fighting ability,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Fisheries Division. “The Atlantic salmon recreational fishery has become quite popular, and catching one of these large leapers provides a thrilling experience for anglers.”

DEEP expects to stock more than 1,500 Atlantic salmon this fall, which are specifically raised at DEEP’s Kensington State Fish Hatchery for this very popular recreational fishery. Most of these fish range in weight from 2 to 5 pounds, but approximately 275 will range in weight from 10 to 15 pounds.

The regulations for fishing methods, seasons, and minimum lengths for salmon in the two lakes are the same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily creel limit is one salmon per day. In the rivers, fishing for Atlantic Salmon requires the use of a fly or an artificial lure with a single free-swinging hook. Fishing is catch-and-release until December 15, 2023. Starting on December 16, 2023, anglers may keep one salmon per day. Please refer to the DEEP website for all the specific regulations for each body of water and legal angling methods.

Additionally, the state completed its annual fall stocking of fingerling walleye last month. The Fisheries Division began stocking fingerling walleyes in 1993 to diversify the State’s recreational fisheries. The initial list of lakes were selected because they were best suited for walleye, have marginal trout habitat and abundant forage fish populations. The first waters selected included Gardner Lake (Salem) and Squantz Pond (New Fairfield). Due to the popularity of the program, two water companies initiated stocking walleye into Lake Saltonstall (Branford) and Saugatuck Reservoir (Weston).

In 2001, the Fisheries Division expanded to: Batterson Park Pond (Farmington); Beach Pond (Voluntown); Coventry Lake (Coventry), and Mashapaug Lake (Union). Most recently walleye fingerlings were stocked into Lake Zoar (Monroe-Oxford in 2011) and starting in 2012 Mt Tom Pond (Litchfield); Cedar Lake (Chester) and West Thompson Reservoir (Thompson).

Walleye populations in these lakes are completely supported by annual fall stockings of 4- to 6-inch fingerlings purchased from a commercial supplier located in the midwest.  Currently the state stocks more than 33,000 fingerlings into 10 public lakes. An additional 10,000 fingerlings are stocked by South Central Regional Water Authority (Lake Saltonstall) and Aquarion Water Company (Saugatuck Reservoir) into their lakes that allow fishing through permit access.  Statewide walleye regulations in Connecticut are an 18-inch minimum size limit and a two-fish creel limit.

Trophy fish awards of walleye catches greater than 23 inches (released) or greater than 6 pounds (kept) have been awarded to anglers from every lake stocked with walleye (since 2001). Most trophy fish awards have come from Lake Saltonstall and Squantz Pond. The Fisheries Division is continually exploring new options to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of this program with a priority to assess angler harvest rates to ensure that current walleye regulations are adequate to sustain quality fishing. Please visit one of our walleye lakes and get in on the fast action and excellent table fare that these fish provide!