Connecticut Stocks Trophy Lake Trout! - The Fisherman

Connecticut Stocks Trophy Lake Trout!


Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, lake trout (salvelinus namaycush) have returned to Connecticut waters in 2023! The CT DEEP Fisheries Division is pleased to announce a surprise “bonus fishery” of lake trout. The state stocked 440 lake trout in five lakes scattered throughout Connecticut. As lake trout are considered trout along with brooks, browns, rainbows, and tigers, there will be no special rules or regulations applied with this specialty stocking; therefore the standard statewide regulation of 5 trout per day applies to all stocked lake trout as well. The exceptions are in Squantz Pond and Crystal Lake (Trout Management Lakes) where from March 1 to 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April the daily creel limit is 1 trout that must measure 16 inches or greater. Additionally, from 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April to the last day in February, Crystal Lake has a protected slot limit of 12 to 16 inches for all trout, and a daily creel limit of 5 trout, only 1 of which may measure 16 inches or greater.

The 440 lakers that have been stocked throughout the state average 30 inches with a size range of 24 to 36 inches and weighing between 6 and 18 pounds present a unique opportunity for Connecticut anglers—there is a very real opportunity to catch a trophy class laker! These fish are ready to catch in the following waterbodies: Coventry Lake, Crystal Lake, Tyler Lake, Squantz Pond, and Bigelow Pond. The state made sure to tell the angling public that these fish are there to be taken home for the table saying, “These fish are not expected to holdover for an extended period of time (years) and they will not reproduce in CT waters,” so harvest as you see fit.

These bonus lake trout, which are surplus brood stock, come from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in North Chittenden, Vermont where hatchery manager Shane Hanlon and his crew raise lake trout for restoration efforts in the Lower Great Lakes as well as for recreational fishing opportunities throughout Vermont.

Lake trout are the largest of the freshwater char and are native to northern North America, from Alaska to Nova Scotia and throughout the Great Lakes. Historically, lake trout used to be reared by the state of Connecticut and stocked into a handful of lakes around the state; stocking ceased in 1967 and was likely attributed to poor survival in the wild. The current harvest state record dates to 1918, for a fish caught out of Lake Wononskopomuc that weighed a whopping 29 pounds, 13 ounces!

While these recently stocked fish won’t break the state record in the harvest category (the largest fish by weight), they should provide the catch of a lifetime for many, and for the possibility of filling the state record in the “Catch & Release” (the largest fish by length) category. For more information on state record fish visit the Trophy Fish Award program on the DEEP website.

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