One of the best things to come out of the COVID years is that state officials in Connecticut relaxed their stance on an official Opening Day of trout season and on December 27 of last year, the state made it official. Their new regulations state that as of March 1, 2023 there will be no closed fishing season on trout-stocked waters, but all trout caught between March 1 and 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April (the 8th in 2023) must be released. These regulations also apply to Kokanee salmon. These regulations DO NOT apply to waters with special fishing regulations such as trout management areas, trout management lakes and wild trout management areas, check the DEEP website before fishing these waters.
In addition to the new ‘catch and release trout season’ there are many additional changes. For starters, the daily creel limit for trout and Kokanee salmon has been revised, previously the limit was 5 fish per angler of either or 8 in aggregate, but the new rules state that anglers may now keep 5 of each species per day (during the harvest season: the second Saturday in April through the last day of February). There are also special trout regulations on East Twin Lake and Lake Wononskopomuc: “During the period from 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April through the last day of February, the daily creel limit for trout shall be five, not more than one of which may be a brown trout, and the minimum length for brown trout shall be 22 inches. During the period from March first through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April, inclusive, the daily creel limit for trout shall be one and the minimum length limit shall be 22 inches.”
Other items of note are that Long Pond in North Stonington and Lake Wononskopomuc have now been added to the list of Trout Management Lakes. Curiously, ice fishing has been prohibited on the following lakes: Factory Pond in Salisbury, Lake Chamberlain in Bethany, Lake Saltonstall in Branford and East Haven, Maltby Lakes in Orange and West Haven, Lake McDonough in New Hartford and Barkhamsted, and Shenipsit Lake in the towns of Ellington, Tolland and Vernon. And while we’re on the subject of ice fishing, please note that a limit of two devices per person has been set when ice fishing on East Twin Lake or Lake Wononskopomuc. This may be two (2) tip ups, two (2) jigging rods or one of each.