New Inland Fishing Regulations Being Proposed
Most Closed Fishing Seasons to Be Eliminated, Plus Revisions to Creel Limits and More, Public Comment Period Now Open, Public Hearing Scheduled for March 16
(HARTFORD)—DEEP’s Fisheries Division is proposing to amend inland regulations concerning angler access in easement areas; fishing methods, creel and possession limits (culling, catch-and-release) and gear types (cast nets); closed fishing seasons, harvest regulations for certain species (trout, Kokanee Salmon), and Trout Management Lakes (one new waterbody added to list. Several minor and technical changes, corrections and updates are also made.
Proposed Changes to Inland Fishing Regulations
The primary goal of these proposed changes is to comply with PA 21-12, while simplifying the fishing regulations, allowing anglers to fish for any species in any water, year-round, by removing of all closed seasons from the regulations.
Many of these proposals are intended to bring inland sport fishing regulations into compliance with, or to facilitate, provisions of Public Act 21-12 that prohibited closed fishing seasons for trout, while also maintaining and enhancing fishing opportunities throughout the state. These proposed regulations include provisions eliminating both the closed fishing season for trout and all closed seasons specific to lakes, ponds, rivers and streams with the exception of several limited closures intended to protect fish health.
Some of the other provisions of these proposed regulations would:
- Establish definitions and restrictions for “culling” and “cast nets”; and clarify that an angler in the inland district may continue to fish (catch-and-release) once they reach their creel/possession limits.
- Revise statewide trout and kokanee creel limits (establishing a five fish limit for trout and a five fish limit for kokanee); and establish a catch-and-release only requirement for trout and Kokanee during the proposed open season from March 1 to 6 a.m. on the second Saturday in April.
- Amend trout regulations at East Twin Lake to reflect increases in alewife populations; add Long Pond to the list of Trout Management Lakes.
- Establish a prohibition on ice fishing at several lakes and ponds (Factory Pond, Lake Chamberlain, Lake Saltonstall, Maltby Lakes).
The full proposed regulations, along with a stand-alone statement of purpose document, a small business impact statement and fiscal note are posted and available for download (MS Word for the regulation text, PDF for other documents) on the eRegulations system (https://eregulations.ct.gov/eRegsPortal/) found on the Secretary of State’s website. They can also be found on DEEP’s Fisheries Division webpage (). Copies of these documents are also available by contacting DEEP’s Fisheries Division by phone (860-424-3474) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). When reading the formal regulations text, remember that text in between brackets is being deleted and underlined text is new text being inserted.
Public Hearing and Feedback
One public hearing has been scheduled to obtain public comment to determine whether to adopt the proposed regulations as is or to adjust the proposals. This hearing will be held through Zoom, a remote online public hearing platform. All interested persons are invited to express their views on the proposed regulations at the following public hearing (pre-registration required):
Date: March 16, 2022.
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Interested persons may also present their views regarding the proposed regulations in writing during the public comment period. Written comments should be submitted no later than 11:59 PM on April 1, 2022. Based on these comments, the proposed regulations may be adjusted. Comments may be submitted using one of the following methods:
- Online via the eRegulations system (https://eregulations.ct.gov/eRegsPortal/) on the Secretary of State’s website. Go to “Open for Public comment”, select this regulation and follow instructions for submitting comments.
- By email to email@example.com.
- By mail or delivery service to Bill Foreman at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Fisheries Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127.
Public Reminder on Current Regulations
DEEP reminds anglers that all current freshwater (inland) fishing regulations, including daily creel limits, methods and size limits remain in effect until new regulations are adopted, likely sometime in early summer, 2022. All closed seasons also remain in effect, except for fishing for trout (due to Public Act 21-12’s prohibition on closed seasons for trout). This means that one can continue to fish for trout at any waterbodies typically closed to fishing in late winter and early spring but cannot fish for any other fish species.
DEEP acknowledges the fact that we are currently in a confusing time as the current regulations and the recently passed public act are not in sync. The primary intent of these proposed changes are to comply with PA 21-12, which will simplify the fishing regulations, allowing anglers to fish for any species in any water year round (removal of all closed seasons from the regulations).