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Chris French
Mike Roberts

Trout, turkey and the gateway to autumn

The trout are on their way. The DEEP says that it has began its autumn stocking of trout, which is good news for local fishermen, especially those that like to fish our own Black Pond in Meriden.

The ongoing trout stocking will continue right through mid-October with about 29,000 trophy (greater than 12 inches in length) and adult (9-10 inch trout) going into 23 lakes and ponds and 14 rivers and streams, including 12 of the Trout Management Areas and eight trout parks.

As most of you already know, trout parks are maintained to enhance fishing opportunities for families and novice anglers and are easily accessible with picnic areas and other amenities nearby. Properly used, they are great spots to take a family to during these early autumn days while the foliage is in a change to fall mode.

And, sad to say, there are a few shallow sports that use these trout parks to prove to the world what great fishermen they are because they seemingly have the ability to catch and release these newly stocked trout at will, while some of the beginning young fishermen look on knowing they would be happy to simply catch their two trout limit.

Approximately 29,000 adult trout will be released this fall, of which 12,800 are trophy-sized brown trout and the remaining 6,200 trout will be adult rainbow trout.

The Farmington TMA has already received its annual Labor Day stocking with the release of 2,000 large brown trout just prior to the Labor Day weekend.

These fish were stocked into sections of the Farmington River TMA area from the Goodwin (Hogback) Dam to the old bridge abutments just below the Route 219 Bridge in New Hartford to the Route 177 Bridge in Unionville.

Among other TMAs being stocked this fall are two areas on the Housatonic River, which is a beautiful spot to fish in the autumn. The DEEP will be releasing a total of 9,000 trout into the Housy: 1,000 large brown trout, 5,000 rainbow trout and 3,000 “yearling” (small 5-7 inch) trout and 2,500 rainbow trout going into the Bull’s Bridge TMA section of the Housatonic River.

The DEEP says that the large brown trout are intended to augment the population of holdover trout in the river this fall, while the rainbow trout and yearling browns should enhance the holdover population next spring.

For those of you who might not know, the Housatonic River is a very popular fly-fishing river and it also holds a decent population of small-mouth bass. I have seen hardcore fly fishermen on the Housatonic in the dead of winter fishing for trout. It is that popular.

A number of years ago, while on a bear hunting trip to the Grand Lake Stream area of Maine, I ran into a Maine fly fishing guide. I was amazed when he told me that the Housatonic River in Connecticut was on his “Bucket List” of best places to fly fish in New England.

Fishermen are reminded that fishing in all TMA during the fall is catch-and-release only. Trout parks have a two-fish-per-day creel limit. Fishing regulations constantly vary on the many bodies of water and the DEEP advises fishermen to use their 2013 CT Angler’s Guide to make sure they are in compliance with the varying regulations.

Trout parks that will be stocked are Black Rock Pond, Chatfield Hollow, Day Pond, Mohegan Park Pond, Natchaug River, Valley Falls Park Pond, Wharton Brook and Wolfe Park.

Trout Management Areas (TMA) to be stocked are Bull’s Bridge on the Housatonic River, Farmington River, Hammonasset River, Housatonic River, Mianus River, Mill River, Moosup River, Salmon River, Saugatuck River, Sleeping Giant (Mill River), Willimantic River and the Yantic River.

Other rivers and streams are the Hammonasset River, Natchaug River, Salmon River and the Shetucket River. They are listed twice because there are areas in these rivers that have different regulations.

Lakes and ponds that will be stocked are Amos Lake, Beach Pond, Bigelow Pond, Black Pond (Meriden), Black Pond (Woodstock), Cedar Lake, Coventry Lake, Crystal Lake, Gardner Lake, Highland Lake, Long Pond, Mashapaug Lake, Mohawk Pond, Mount Tom Pond, Pattaconk Lake, Quonnipaug Lake, Rogers Lake, Squantz Pond, Stillwater Pond, Tyler Pond, Wauregan Reservoir, West Hill Pond and West Side Pond.

For the locations and regulations of any of the above fishing areas that will be stocked with trout this autumn, go to the 2013 CT Angler’s Guide for all the information you will need. Hey, you didn’t expect me to make it too easy for you did you?

Atlantic Salmon Stocking

The Inland Fisheries Division of the DEEP has also been busy with their Atlantic salmon stocking program here in Connecticut.

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

While I have yet to experience the thrill of hooking up with one of these DEEP-stocked salmon, I am aware of their thrill of catching them. Many years ago, there was a pay-to-fish spot in Monroe called Loch Day Hatchery that had Coho and Atlantic salmon in their pond as well as trout.

The thrill of a salmon taking a fly or a lure is something you will never forget once you experience it.

Loch Day also supplied trout and salmon to any organization that wanted to purchase them for stocking purposes, and the Meriden Rod & Gun Club had them in their trout pond for a couple of years.

At that time, the Meriden club was also involved in a city-sponsored stocking program. We stocked some Coho salmon into Crescent Lake up in Giuffrida Park here in Meriden.

Unfortunately, the owner of Loch Day Hatchery and Fishing Pond sold out to a private owner and the business was discontinued. It’s really too bad that more salmon fishing opportunities are not available to Connecticut anglers.

However, there are places in Connecticut that you can fish for these salmon. The Inland Fisheries has already released 300 salmon into the Naugatuck River and Mount Tom Pond and will have released another 300 salmon into the Shetucket River and Crystal Lake in Ellington as you read this.

To their credit, even though the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program was discontinued in 2012 because of storm damage to the hatchery and low returns of salmon each year, the salmon stocking still prevails. The DEEP has developed a new “Legacy Program” to maintain this popular recreational fishery and to also preserve the unique and potentially important strain of southern Atlantic salmon that had been developed during the restoration effort.

The group of salmon that were recently released weighed 2-6 pounds each with more stockings yet to come.

In the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket rivers, from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only. From Dec. 1, to March 31, 2014, the daily limit for Atlantic salmon is one.

During the open season on the rivers, the legal method for taking a salmon is limited to angling using a single fly or an artificial lure with a single free-swinging hook. No additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure.

Also, from Oct. 1 to March 31, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.

Wild Turkey Season

The fall firearms season for wild turkey in Connecticut opened last week. Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset and the season ends Oct. 31.

There is a two-bird, either sex bag limit on private and a one-bird, either sex bag limit on state lands. You must have a firearm hunting license and a Fall Firearms Turkey Permit.

For fall turkey hunting on state land, check out pages 35-38 in your 2013 CT Hunting & Trapping Guide. If you hunt private land you must have a signed official permit form from the landowner.

That’s it gang, See ya’ at the Turkey Shoot and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.

Mike Roberts ‘Woods N’ Water column appears in the Record-Journal.

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