Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), in collaboration with J.F. Griffin Publishing, publishers of the CT Angler’s Guide and CT Hunting & Trapping Guide, and Berkley and Shakespeare Fishing today announced the winners of the new Youth Fishing Passport Sweepstakes.

The grand prize, a fishing charter aboard The Otter with Captain Bruce Sportfishing, goes to Austin Getner, Norwalk. Three second place prizes, fishing gear packs from Berkley and Shakespeare, go to Brandon Barde, Pittsfield, MA; Aleia Atherton,Wilkes Barre, PA; and Eva Solarsk, Guilford. Six third place prizes of Shakespeare rod and reel combinations go to Brandon Sulkazi, Bristol; Nash Knowlton, Meriden; Eric Hagglund, Middletown; Julia Florek, Waterford; Ethan Torrens, Bethany; and Monique Cyr, Litchfield.

“The “Youth Fishing Passport” program promotes environmental responsibility, stewardship, and a sense of belonging to the sportsmen community,”said Peter Aarrestad, Director, DEEP Inland Fisheries Division. “The program encourages youth to take an active role in responsible fishing, increases awareness of fishing regulations, and makes young people embrace being a true angler.”

“Congratulations to each of the winners” said Jeremy Garnish of J.F Griffin. “I am very pleased that we were able host these sweepstakes and to offer such a great list of prizes for these young anglers. It is our hope that this great new program will help encourage more families to get out and experience the joys of fishing.”

“We are very proud to support youth fishing initiatives across the country and especially Connecticut’s Youth Fishing Passport as it is a truly special program” says Roxanne Coleman, senior field marketing manager, Pure Fishing (Berkley and Shakespeare brands). “I congratulate each of the winners and especially would like to encourage all Youth Passport Holders to take advantage of the many excellent fishing opportunities across Connecticut.”

The free Youth Fishing Passport is available through the online sportsmen licensing system, for youth under the age of 16 (detailed instructions are available on the Youth Fishing Passport website), and each youth who registers will be issued a life-time Conservation ID number, identical to what adult sportsmen currently receive. In Connecticut anyone under the age of 16 can fish without requiring a youth passport or a fishing license. Those 16, or older who would like to fish, must have a valid fishing license.

“The ultimate goal of the Youth Fishing Passport Program is to get kids and their families excited about fishing,” said Aarrestad. “To keep kids and their families engaged, the Youth Fishing Passport program focuses on activities, incentives from the fishing industry, and a support network to build confidence in fishing skills including free fishing classes, sharing of fishing successes and failures, and partnering with the No Child Left Inside® Program to create safe and supportive opportunities to fish.”

Youth Fishing Passport Activities: “Geo-Catching” and “Fishing Challenge” are two activities for Youth Fishing Passport holders to test their angling ability throughout the year. Both activities encourage young anglers to try to catch featured fish species commonly found in Connecticut. The activities differ in that “Geo-Catchers” must capture a “featured fish” from a particular body of water, while the “Fishing Challenge” simply requires youth to catch at least one of each “featured fish” on the official list regardless of the fishing location.

The Inland Fisheries Division keeps track of each passport holder’s progress as they send or email ([email protected]) their Conservation ID and a photo of the captured fish with the angler in front of a recognizable landmark. Those who have been most successful in each activity will be recognized in conjunction with the annual Trophy Fish Awards ceremony held in February.

Youth Fishing Passport Support and Encouragement: No doubt that fishing is fun, but getting started can seem a daunting task. To help young anglers make their first cast, families are offered free “learn to fish” classes through the Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) family fishing program. These classes are offered at numerous locations across the state throughout the year. The current listing of CARE classes is available on

Wondering where and when to go fishing? What are the fishing regulations? Or just need some general pointers? Inland Fisheries staff are always available to answer your questions via phone (860-424-3474) and/or email [email protected]. Anglers can find all the fishing regulations (plus other fishing related information) in the Connecticut Angler’s Guide, online at Print versions of the guides are available from many Town Clerks and bait & tackle stores, or by contacting DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH). Additionally, the Fisheries and Wildlife Facebook page features a variety of information on fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching in Connecticut