Fish with CARE Coaches Certification 

Thank you for your interest in becoming part of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Fisheries Division – Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) Program Fishing Coach instructor team! Since 1986, "Fish with CARE" has offered classes and events designed to engage people in the outdoors by showing how fun and easy fishing can be. Simultaneously, we aim to foster an appreciation for our states natural resources and the environment. As a certified volunteer Fishing Coach, you will be acknowledged as a representative of the DEEP while working to provide quality fishing education programs and events to the public.

The DEEP Fisheries Division relies heavily on our corps of volunteer FISH with CARE Coaches – who are supported by CARE staff with training and regular email communication with opportunities to get engaged. We greatly appreciate your desire to give the gift of fishing back to your community!

Volunteer Fishing Coach certification is offered in a convenient 4-step process:
  1. Complete the online application  OR download and return a printed application (Microsoft Word Format). You will be subject to pass a State Police background check.
  2. Review our Let's Go Fishing / Vamos de Pescar online fishing course – at your convenience to familiarize yourself with the foundation of our basic fishing fishing course.
  3. Attend a 1.5 hour New Coach Training Session: CARE staff will present the history, background, and goals of the Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) Program and explain how Certified FISH with CARE Coaches are critical for success! We will discuss in detail how you can get involved immediately by helping at FISH with CARE events, and go over volunteer conduct, policy, and reporting expectations. New Coach Training is being offered in-person or via ZOOM (you can attend either the ZOOM or the in-person, so choose just one and let Justin Wiggins know your preference):
    1. ZOOM Training on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm.
    2. In-person on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the CARE Education Center in Killingworth, CT. Immediately following the in-person training is a FISH with CARE Event across the street at Schreeder Pond (Chatfield Hollow State Park) where you can complete the 3rd step in the certification process!
  4. Volunteer at a local FISH with CARE Event: This is the final step in your certification process! Join us at a FISH with CARE Event and shadow a CARE staff and/or veteran volunteer Fishing Coach and help participants at the casting station, bait station, equipment return/repair station, and lead them out to the water to provide some basic oversight and assistance. From April through October, CARE offers 2-3 FISH with CARE Events per week all over the state.  


Once you have completed the above requirements, you will join the ranks of our FISH with CARE - Fishing Coach team! The benefits of being a certified Fishing Coach include

  • Being added to our email distribution list where you will receive regular Fisheries Division updates and volunteer opportunities.
  • Having access to all our loaner fishing equipment to provide programs and events of your own. 
  • Recognition as an environmental steward who shares your love and passion for the outdoors with others! You will meet other like-minded individuals, many of whom become lifelong friends.
  • Receiving a DEEP “FISHING FUELS CONSERVATION” – Fishing Coach t-shirt at your first volunteer event.
  • Receiving a DEEP “FISHING FUELS CONSERVATION” – Fishing Coach hooded sweatshirt after 25 hours of volunteer time!
  • Being invited to special trainings only open to active Fish with CARE coaches! Past trainings include electrofishing, fish hatchery tours, kokanee salmon netting, and more!

We look forward to having you in the CARE Family!

If you have any questions, please call the CARE Center at 860-663-1656 and speak to Justin Wiggins (CARE coordinator) or email at

Content last updated in February 2023.