As you will see, I didn’t end up with a local feature this month on trout fishing. I was back and forth on what to cover as trout fishing across New England is so varied in how, when and where it is practiced. Some states have special restrictions at certain spots and/or times of the season and it can get downright confusing to stay on top of all of it.
Season-wise it’s somewhat easy to get a handle on, but you still have to dig around to match it all up. You’ve got Massachusetts where there is no closed season and very healthy stocking program that supports a great year-round fishery. Heck, trout fishing on the Cape these days is right up there as one of the best fisheries they’ve got going, and that isn’t a knock on the others! Then you’ve got Connecticut, which has a closed season in March for most spots but allows for some catch and release fishing in certain trophy management areas all year with special limited gear restrictions within those areas. Rhode Island similarly has a closed season in March and opens up on the second weekend in April but has limited bag limits in the winter and some modified regulations regarding bag limits and catch methods in certain water bodies. Is your head spinning yet? Well just wait, we’re not done yet…
New Hampshire and Maine gave me a migraine the first time I tried to get a handle on their rules and regulations, but here goes. In New Hampshire there are trout ponds with closed season from October to April, open-water regulations, ice fishing regulations, river and stream regulations and so-on. Maine has different regulations based not only on water type (lake, pond, river, etc.) but also on its geographic location—northern or southern—and open versus ice fishing. Sheesh!
In Vermont trout season is closed from the first day of November until the second Saturday in April in most places, but remains open year-round in Lake Champlain. However, there is a lengthy list of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers with alternate regulations on season, bag limits and gear type limitations.
So let’s just sit back for a minute, take a deep breath, maybe crack open some Tylenol and take a sip off a frosty beverage before we proceed any further. You good? Ok, well here are some helpful general dates and links that will help you going forward this month if catching a trout is on your itinerary. As you read above, things can get complicated so in the very least make certain to consult your chosen state’s fishing guide book, which outlines, in greater detail, the complete scope of regulations. With trout stocking trucks firing up all the way back in early March, once you get a handle on things suffice it to say there will be plenty of fish to catch; good luck!
Opening Days Across New England
Massachusetts: Open year-round
Maine: Open-water fishing begins April 1
Connecticut: April 8
Vermont: April 8
Rhode Island: April 8
New Hampshire: April 22
Rhode Island: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries/troutwaters.php
New Hampshire: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/trout-stocking.html