Establishment and Assessment of Walleye Fisheries
Walleye are one of the most popular gamefish in North America. They grow to a large size, can be caught throughout the year using a variety of techniques, and are known for their exquisite flavor. Walleye are also efficient pelagic predators that play an important role in enhancing balanced fish populations and quality fisheries. The Inland Fisheries Division began stocking fingerling walleyes into a few lakes in 1993 to diversify the State's recreational fisheries. These lakes were selected because they were best suited for walleye, have marginal trout habitat and abundant forage fish populations. In these waters walleyes will create additional fisheries for large open-water gamefish. In addition, a lack of large predatory fishes has been identified as a problem resulting in imbalanced fish populations in many Connecticut lakes.
As part of DEEP Inland Fisheries Research and Mangement Grant (F-57-R), quality walleye fisheries were established in Gardner Lake, Salem and Squantz Pond, New Fairfield. Due to the popularity of the program, two water companies initiated stocking walleye into Lake Saltonstall, Branford and Saugatuck Reservoir, Weston. Also, in 2001, Connecticut expanded the walleye program to include the following lakes: Batterson Park Pond, Farmington; Beach Pond, Voluntown; Coventry Lake, Coventry and Mashapaug Lake, Union. More recently walleye fingerlings were stocked into Lake Zoar, Monroe-Oxford (2011) and Mt Tom Pond, Litchfield; Cedar Lake, Chester and West Thompson Reservoir, West Thompson (2012).
Walleye populations in these lakes are completely supported by annual fall stockings of 4 to 6-inch fingerlings purchased from a commercial supplier located in the mid-west. Currently the state stocks more than 33,000 fingerlings into 10 public lakes. An additional 10,000 fingerlings are stocked by South Central Regional Water Authority (Lake Saltonstall) and Aquarion Water Company (Saugatuck Reservoir) into their lakes that allow fishing through permit access. Statewide walleye regulations in Connecticut are an 18-inch minimum size limit and a 2-fish creel limit. Trophy fish awards of walleye catches greater than 23 inches (released) or greater than 6 pounds (kept) have been awarded to anglers from every lake stocked with walleye (since 2001). Most trophy fish awards have come from Lake Saltonstall and Squantz Pond. Check out the link on our Facebook page to see how the Inland Fisheries Division uses electrofishing techniques to sample walleye populations. Inland Fisheries Division is continually exploring new options to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of this program with a priority to assess angler harvest rates to ensure that current walleye regulations are adequate to sustain quality fishing. Please visit one of our walleye lakes and get in on the fast action and excellent table fare that these fish provide!
This Fisheries Research and Management Project is funded by your purchase of fishing equipment and motor boat fuels.
Content last updated May 2016