"REEL" CT Fishing NewsWelcome to the Connecticut DEEP Fisheries Division's page where all things fishing; news, pointers, tips, and information are posted. The intent of the page is post information and associated links and contacts to support you and your fishing passion. Comments or questions about anything on this page may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates are posted from newest to oldest.
May 17, 2023: Effective at 12:00 am on May 26, 2023, CT's Striped Bass regulations change to become a slot of 28 inches to 31 inches. Any striped bass that is less than 28 inches or greater than or equal to 31 inches must be released without avoidable injury. This change was the result of emergency action by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on May 2, 2023. This action set a maximum size of 31 inches for striped bass coast-wide. As a result Connecticut's previous slot of 28 inches to 35 inches is now reduced to 28-31 inches.
March 28-29, 2023: Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have returned to Connecticut waters in 2023!
The CT DEEP Fisheries Division is pleased to announce a surprise “bonus fishery” of lake trout -- 440 lake trout are being stocked this week in select waters around the state! Averaging 30 inches in length (range = 24-36”) and averaging 12 pounds (range = 6-18 lbs), these fish are ready to catch in the following waterbodies: Coventry Lake, Crystal Lake, Tyler Lake, Squantz Pond, and Bigelow Pond. These fish are not expected to holdover for an extended period of time (years) and they will not reproduce in CT waters.
These bonus lake trout, which are surplus brood stock, come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in North Chittenden, Vermont, where hatchery manager Shane Hanlon and his crew raise lake trout for restoration efforts in the Lower Great Lakes, as well as for recreational fishing opportunities throughout Vermont.
Lake trout are the largest of the freshwater char and are native to northern North America, from Alaska to Nova Scotia and throughout the Great Lakes. Historically, lake trout used to be reared by the State of Connecticut and stocked into a handful of lakes around the state; stocking ceased in 1967 and was likely attributed to poor survival in the wild. The current harvest state record dates to 1918 for a fish caught out of Lake Wononskopomuc that weighed a whopping 29 lbs., 13 oz.!
While these recently stocked fish won’t break the state record in the harvest category (the largest fish by weight), they should provide the catch of a lifetime for many, and the possibility of filling the state record in the “Catch and Release” (the largest fish by length) category. For more information on state record fish, visit the Trophy Fish Award program.
As lake trout are considered trout along with brooks, browns, rainbows, and tigers, there will be no special rules or regulations applied with this specialty stocking; therefore, after the catch and release season (from March 1 to 6:00 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday in April), the standard statewide regulation of 5 trout per day applies to all stocked lake trout as well. The exceptions are in Squantz Pond and Crystal Lake (Trout Management Lakes) where from March 1 to 6:00 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday in April the daily creel limit is 1 trout that must be 16” or greater. Additionally, from 6:00 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday in April to the last day in February, Crystal Lake has a protected slot limit of 12” to 16” for all trout and a daily creel limit of 5 trout, only 1 of which may be 16” or greater.
March 24, 2023 - Changes to Black Sea Bass and Scup (Porgy) are regulations are official. Please visit our saltwater page for details.
March 9, 2023 - A guide to the timing for required catch and release of trout is available for view/download.
March 6, 2023 CT partners with FishBrain, the world's largest fishing app. Download the app for free and get CT's regulations right on your smart phone for where you are fishing.
March 1, 2023 Trout fishing goes catch and release in all places except for Trout Management Lakes and sections of Rivers and Streams classified as "Tidal Waters and Tributaries. Catch and Release ends at 6:00 am on April 8.
February 28, 2023 Video summarizing changes to CT's inland sportfish regulations.
February 16, 2023 The weather is mild, flows are favorable, bugs are beginning to hatch, and lake ice is melting (oh wait, ice never formed!). Trucks are rolling and trout stocking is in full swing! The Fisheries Division is taking full advantage of the current and forecasted conditions, as well as the no closed season on trout. Note, the statewide catch and release season is quickly approaching and begins March 1st and ends the second Saturday in April (4/8). Waterbody-specific regulations remain in place. Stay up to date by checking the current stocking report on our webpage.
February 10, 2023 Congratulations to the 2022 trophy fish award winners. Check out the report for inland and marine.
February 3, 2023 The report summarizing fish stocked during 2022 by the Fisheries Division is posted and available here.
January 27, 2023 Congrats to Daniel Echols of Glastonbury for being the 2022 Top angler for our Fishing Challenge. View local news coverage on FOX 61 and also on NBC 30
This activity invites you to try and catch at least one of every type of fish listed on the Fishing Challenge Scorecard. Submit your catch using the online angler recognition portal (select fishing challenge as the recognition type)
January 24, 2023 The list of the largest freshwater fish submitted as part of the DEEP Trophy Fish Program are posted here.
January 22, 2023 Job postings for various seasonal positions are posted on the DEEP web page.
January 13, 2023 The 2023 Fishing Guide is available for download here. Please feel free to download the most recent version as indicated by the date on the cover of the fishing guide. The Fisheries Division will be printing and distributing a limited number of copies to fishing license vendors as soon as the saltwater species regulations are finalized, which typically happens in mid-March. Direct your questions to email@example.com.
As a reminder this guide is provided as a simple summary of fishing regulations and definitions. The official version of the regulations are on the web page of the Secretary of State
December 30, 2022 Atlantic salmon (3+ year old fish) were stocked into the Naugatuck River (Naugatuck/Beacon Falls section) today.
December 28, 2022 Atlantic salmon (3+ year old fish) were stocked into the Naugatuck River (Campville section) today. The section in Naugatuck and Beacon Falls will be stocked later this week.
December 27, 2022 Changes to the sportfishing regulations for the inland district have been approved and are in effect. The official changes are posted on the Secretary of State web page. The following are key changes to the regulations to bring the fishing regulations into compliance with Public Act 21-12 (removal of the closed season for trout).
Download a copy of the summary
- Removes the closed season for fishing on all lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. (Legal access still required).
- Establishes a statewide “Catch and Release” season for trout and kokanee from March 1 to 6:00 am on the second Saturday of April (Opening Day of harvest). This does not apply to waters with special fishing regulations like trout management lakes, trout management areas, wild trout management areas.
- Extends the season on trout management lakes to 6:00 am on the second Saturday of April (Opening Day of harvest) from March 31.
- Retains the closure to protect trout seeking refuge in cold-water tributaries as indicated by signs posted by CT DEEP.
Species and Waterbodies:
- Revises the statewide daily creel limit for trout and kokanee to be 5 trout daily AND 5 kokanee daily (previously 5 of either, 8 in aggregate).
- Establishes the following special trout regulations on East Twin Lake and Lake Wononskopomuc:
- During the period from 6:00 a.m. on the second Saturday in April through the last day of February the daily creel limit for trout shall be five, not more than one of which may be a brown trout, and the minimum length for brown trout shall be twenty-two inches. During the period from March first through 6:00 a.m. on the second Saturday in April, inclusive, the daily creel limit for trout shall be one and the minimum length limit shall be twenty-two inches.
- Adds Long Pond (North Stonington) and Lake Wononskcopomuc to the list of Trout Management Lakes.
- Prohibits ice fishing on Factory Pond (Salisbury), Lake Chamberlain (Bethany), Lake Saltonstall (Branford, East Haven), Maltby Lakes (Orange, West Haven), Lake McDonough (New Hartford, Barkhamsted) and Shenipsit Lake (Ellington, Tolland, Vernon).
- Establishes a limit of two devices per person when ice fishing on East Twin Lake or Lake Wononskopomuc. This may be two (2) tip ups, two (2) jigging rods or one of each.
- Establishes a definition for Cast Net, Inline Circle Hook and Culling.
- Revises the definition of Closed Season to conform with the definition provided in state statute
December 19, 2022 The 3+ year old Atlantic salmon are being stocked. These fish will be going into the Atlantic salmon management areas over the next couple of weeks. As of December 16, the daily creel limit is 1 fish per angler per day. Gear is limited to an artificial lure with a single free-swinging hook or a fly.
December 5, 2022 What's that tag on the striper I just caught? Some anglers and boaters have noticed the red buoys that appeared in the lower Housatonic River last Friday 12/2. These buoys mark the location of acoustic telemetry receivers deployed as part of a collaborative project between the CT DEEP Marine Fisheries Program and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA DMF) to study post-release mortality of striped bass in the Housatonic River winter holdover fishery.
In coming months, DEEP and MA DMF staff will catch striped bass with rod and reel and tag them with specialized acoustic tags before releasing them. If you should catch one of these tagged striped bass, please record the id number on the tag before releasing the fish and report the date, location, and tag number to the CT DEEP Marine Fisheries Program by calling 860-447-4341.
November 10, 2022 The Fisheries Division is stocking roughly 8,000 brook and brown trout averaging 8” into the Farmington River below Collinsville Dam to allow for major renovations at the Quinebaug Valley State Fish Hatchery in Plainfield. As part of standard operations, Connecticut’s hatcheries produce extra fish as a “buffer” to ensure production goals are met. When possible, these fish would be assimilated with the other fish. However, this year’s renovations have forced the Quinebaug Valley State Fish Hatchery to stock them early.
The Fisheries Division has decided to stock them into the Farmington River downstream of Collinsville Dam (specifically from the RT 177 bridge in Unionville to the RT 4 bridge in Farmington) for several reasons. First, fingerling brown trout are stocked into the Farmington each year and this fall about 9,000 have already been stocked. Second, both species (brook and brown trout) are already present throughout this section. Third, these fish will provide an immediate fishery for folks who may enjoy targeting these size classes, and many fish will have the opportunity to put on growth through the winter and grow to larger catchable-sized fish come spring. Finally, due to the low flows and extreme temperatures that many of Connecticut’s rivers and streams experienced in early fall - including in the lower Farmington River - most of the fingerlings had been stocked above the RT 177 bridge. Flow and water temperatures are now suitable, and this section of the river will benefit from these surplus trout
November 9, 2022 Stocking of Seeforellen brown trout (about 14") into select CT Lakes has begun. Thus far, Highland Lake and Crystal Lake (Ellington) have been stocked. This stocking is the second year "Seefs" have been stocked as the Division works to re-establish trophy brown trout fisheries in lakes that can support such growth and survival.
November 1, 2022 the Naugatuck River (upper and lower sections) were stocked with 2+ year old salmon (18-24”). This year's 2+ allotment has now been fully distributed for both the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. Upcoming will be several stockings of the 3+ year old fish.
October 26, 2022 Trout stocking in rivers, streams, and Trout Parks has wrapped up for the fall. Hatchery staff distributed 57,570 trout. 22,120 of those were greater than 12”. Draw down updates: Lake Zoar. The drawdown has been completed and the lake is refilling. Lake Lillinonah. A drawdown will begin today, Wednesday, October 26, and will run through Monday, November 7. During this drawdown launching of trailered boats from the Route 133 state boat launch will be difficult and launching from the Pond Brook boat launch will likely not be possible.
October 25, 2022 Atlantic salmon were stocked into the Shetucket River Atlantic Salmon Management Area
October 24, 2022 Walleye fingerlings (4-6 inch average length) were stocked into 13 lakes today. These fish are purchased from a vendor in Minnesota. The fish should take a few years to grow to reach legal size (statewide minimum length of 18"). Learn more about CT Walleye.
October 21, 2022 Atlantic salmon were stocked into the Naugatuck River Atlantic Salmon Management Area
October 15, 2022 Nets were set in Lake Wonoscopomuc as Fisheries Biologists will be evaluating the stocking of yearling Seeforellen Brown Trout, which has occurred over the past several years.
October 14, 2022 Lake Zoar is scheduled for a drawdown from this Friday night, October 14, through Wednesday, October 26, the launching of trailered boats from the state launch will be very difficult during the drawdown.
October 12, 2022 - Atlantic salmon were stocked into two lakes, Mount Tom Pond (Washington) and Crystal Lake (Ellington). Learn more about this special fishery.
October 11, 2022 - Boat launching updates; Quaddick Lake (launch access). The access road into Quaddick State Park (including the boat launch) is now closed to vehicular access for the season. Additionally, the annual drawdown of Quaddick Lake is scheduled to begin this week. Candlewood Lake (boat launch). Launching of trailer boats at the Lattins Cove state boat launch may be difficult due to current water levels. Use extra care if attempting to launch trailered boats here.
Kokanee update. Nets were set into West Hill Pond so Fisheries Division staff can collect spawn-ready Kokanee. These fish will be taken to the Burlington State Fish Hatchery where hatchery staff will spawn them. The progeny will be used to stock the lake in June. Learn more about Kokanee Management.
October 10, 2022 - Fall Tautog (Blackfish) opened today. Please wear your PFD when on the water. Daily limit is 3 fish per person, 16" minimum length.
October 3, 2022 - Population estimate work starts on Stillwater Pond, Torrington. Please do not disturb the nets while this study is ongoing (into November). Check out what this work involves with this video. Learn more about our Channel Catfish program.
Lake and Pond fish surveys begin this evening and will occur into November. Staff will be working from sunset to about 11:00 pm on a select number of lakes and ponds across the state. Learn more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
October 1, 2022 - Connecticut Fishin' Tips e-newsletter went out today. Opt-in so you don't miss out on future editions.
September 29, 2022 - Summer flounder (Fluke) season closes tomorrow September 30, 2022
September 28, 2022 - We are encouraging anglers to report their catches of Smallmouth Bass from the following waterbodies: the Bolton Lakes, Mansfield Hollow Reservoir, Wyassup Lake, Black Pond (Woodstock), Quinebaug Lake, Moodus Reservoir, Chamberlain Lake, Shenipsit Lake, Beach Pond, Gardner Lake, Mashapaug Lake, and Lake Pocotopaug. The survey can be accessed here.
September 26, 2022 - Atlantic salmon were stocked into the Shetucket River Atlantic salmon Management Area. Check out our tips for fishing for Atlantic salmon in our YouTube video.
September 23, 2022 - Atlantic salmon were stocked into the Naugatuck River (upper and lower Atlantic salmon Management Areas) and Trout were stocked into the Salmon River and Moosup River Trout Management Areas. Check out our tips for fishing for Atlantic salmon in our YouTube video.
September 22, 2022 - Seasons, daily limit, and method of take have been established for Atlantic salmon per declaration by Commissioner Dykes. View the declaration.
September 16, 2022 - Fall trout stocking is underway. Please follow along with our posts on our Facebook Page (made each Wednesday and Friday) as well as our interactive trout stocking map and the trout stocking report found on the main DEEP Fishing webpage.
September 14, 2022 - The Fisheries Division is hiring 2 biologists, one for the Coldwater Fisheries Program and the other for the Warmwater Fisheries Program. If you or someone you know is interested, please check out the job posting and apply. Closes on 9/26. Apply on CT JobApps
September 2, 2022 - The Bass Action Plan has been revised based upon public feedback following the release of the draft plan on June 29, 2022.
Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions.
Phone: 860-424-FISH (3474)
Content last updated May 2023