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Community Fishing Waters

Boy with a large channel catfish.

There are 16 lakes in Connecticut designated as “Community Fishing Waters”. Beginning in 2006, the Community Fishing Waters program (formerly Urban Fishing) was established by the Fisheries Division to promote natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities within Connecticut’s major population centers and urban neighborhoods. By partnering with civic groups, municipal leaders, and local citizens, the program also maximizes community involvement. Since the inception of these Community Fishing Waters, thousands and thousands of anglers have taken advantage of the great fishing opportunities, right in their own backyard!

The Fisheries Division works to enhance fishing opportunities within our Community Fishing Waters by stocking trout and/or channel catfish in them.

Anglers with a freshly caught rainbow trout.

Trout are cold-water fish and are stocked in the spring (and possibly the fall depending on the location) in Community Fishing Waters. In our CT Fish Hatcheries, we raise and stock four species of trout – rainbow, brook, brown, and tiger (a hybrid of brook and brown trout). Check the DEEP Interactive Trout Stocking Map to find out when the last trout stocking has occurred by searching Community Fishing Waters. Each person fishing is allowed to keep 5 trout a day at Community Fishing Waters.

To provide a year-round fishery, channel catfish, who thrive in warm summer water temperatures, are also stocked each May - typically at 14-18” long! Each person fishing is allowed to keep 3 catfish a day at Community Fishing Waters.

No channel catfish will be stocked in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Trout Fishing Tips:

  • Trout are wary fish so keep your fishing line between 4 lb test and 8 lb test (nothing heavier) and hook size should be small (size 6, 8, or 10) when using bait.
  • Worms, meal worms, and live shiners make excellent live bait for trout. These baits can be fished 2 ft. under a bobber or rigged for bottom fishing (no bobber) by placing 1 or 2 split shots 18” above the hook.
  • PowerBait is an artificial scented bait that is irresistible to stocked trout. PowerBait comes in egg, nugget, or dough form and floats, so should be fished on the bottom with no bobber. Place a few split shots (fishing weights) 18” or so above your hook, cast out, and let sit on bottom until a trout finds it.
  • There is an endless variety of artificial lures that can all be very effective for catching trout. Ask your local bait and tackle shop what lures they suggest for trout. What is important is to keep trout lures small, no larger than 2 inches. Lures should be casted and immediately reeled in.
  • You can learn more about fishing for trout by watching our CT Trout Park Tutorial.

Channel Catfish Fishing Tips:

  • Channel catfish can be caught throughout the day, but they are nocturnal feeders so dusk or night time are the best times to target them.
  • Channel catfish are bottom feeders that use their “barbels” or whiskers to taste their prey from far away. Be patient! Live or fresh dead baits that produce a lot of scent fished on or near the bottom is your best bet for catfish.
  • Good bait choices include nightcrawlers, live minnows, cut chunks of fish (fresh chunks of eel or sunfish work great), or chicken livers (which are a particularly popular bait used by catfish “sharpies”).

Caring for the Catfish and Trout You Catch: Both trout and channel catfish are delicious and healthy food, and make a fine dinner that you can be proud to have caught yourself! Trout and catfish are both very versatile and can be prepared a variety of ways. But first, take care of your catch by keeping the fish on a stringer in the water while fishing or, better yet, put directly on ice in a cooler.

Catfish are best filleted and fried (see recipe below)! You could fillet trout, or simply remove the guts and cook whole. If you plan to release the fish you catch, be sure to keep the fish in the water as much as possible and pinch the barbs on your hook to make removal easier. View some Tips for Better Catch and Release.

Be sure to visit one of the Community Fishing Waters near you!

Map of community fishing waters

Town Size (acres) Waterbody
Ansonia
3.6
Colony Pond
Bridgeport
42.0
Bunnell's Pond
Bristol
11.8
Birge Pond
Derby
9.0
Pickett's Pond
Enfield
8.0
Freshwater Pond
Hamden
58.0
Lake Wintergreen
Hartford
3.0
Keney Park Pond
Manchester
5.8
Center Springs Park Pond
Meriden
7.4
Mirror Lake (Hubbard Park Pond)
Middletown
2.9
Rowan’s Pond (Butternut Park Pond)
New Britain
6.4
Stanley Quarter Park Pond
New Haven
8.5
Beaver Park Pond/Lagoon
Norwich
14.0
Mohegan Park Pond
Southington 51.2 Crescent Lake
Waterbury
60.0
Lakewood Lake
Waterbury
2.1
Upper Fulton Park Pond

Easy Fried Catfish (or Trout): Catfish are best filleted, skin removed, and fried! After removing the skin from your catfish fillets, cut away any red tissue under the skin that may be present – this is the fat and may have a “fishy” taste. Here is a simple yet delicious technique for your catfish fillets: 

• Rinse catfish fillets well in cold water and pat dry.
• Prepare a bowl of beaten eggs and another bowl of fine cornmeal.
• Heat oil (vegetable or canola) in a deep fryer or cast iron pan to 375 degrees.
• Dip fillets into egg, then cornmeal, then egg, then back into cornmeal and into oil.
• Cook 2-3 minutes until done and drain on wire rack.
• Enjoy with chips, coleslaw, and beverage of choice!

Delicious looking fried fish.

For additional information about the Community Fishing Waters program, please contact Mike Beauchene at 860-424-4185, mike.beauchene@ct.gov or deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov

Community Fishing Waters Brochure

Link to Facebook

Get Your Fishing License Here!

Content last updated in May 2020.