Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) has begun the 2013 autumn stockings of broodstock Atlantic salmon.
Last week DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division released 300 salmon into the Naugatuck River and Mount Tom Pond and 300 salmon into the Shetucket River and Crystal Lake (Ellington), according to a department release.
“Atlantic salmon are renowned for their size, beauty and fighting ability,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division in the release. “The Atlantic salmon recreational fishery has become quite popular, and catching one of these large leapers provides a thrilling experience for anglers.”
The Atlantic salmon being stocked in Connecticut were raised in the Kensington State Fish Hatchery and are the progeny of sea-run fish that returned to the Connecticut River. Salmon at this hatchery were raised to provide eggs for the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program that began in 1967. Since 1992, surplus and spawned fish from this program were made available to provide a recreational fishery for Connecticut anglers.
In 2012 the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program was discontinued due to storm damage at a federal hatchery. Since then, DEEP developed a “Legacy Program” to maintain recreational fishery for Atlantic salmon in Connecticut and to preserve the strain of southern Atlantic salmon that had been developed during the restoration effort.
“DEEP will continue to stock salmon fry, although at a much reduced rate, into a limited number of areas with the best habitat on several tributaries to the Connecticut River that were part of the restoration program,” said Aarrestad in the release. “Continuing to spawn salmon at the hatchery will also allow a popular educational program, Salmon-in-Schools, to continue and assist with research of Atlantic salmon in natural habitats.”
The salmon released last week for the fishery range in weight from 2-6 pounds. In early October, approximately 400 additional fish in the same size range will be available for stocking, according to the release. Following spawning later this fall, DEEP expects several hundred additional salmon from the Kensington Hatchery will be available for stocking in November. These fish will range in weight from 3 to 15 pounds each.
Atlantic salmon broodstock stocked in the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers are typically released into three designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas:
- Between Scotland Dam (Scotland) and Occum Dam (Norwich) on the Shetucket River
- The “Campville Section” of the upper Naugatuck River from Route 118 downstream to the Thomaston Flood Control Dam (Litchfield-Thomaston)
- The “Beacon Falls Section” of the lower Naugatuck from Prospect Street (Naugatuck) downstream to Pines Bridge Road (Route 42 bridge, Beacon Falls).
Salmon Fishing: Where, When and How Many?
Anglers are allowed to fish for salmon in the Naugatuck River from the confluence of the East and West Branches (Torrington) downstream to the Housatonic River (Derby). Anglers may also fish for Atlantic salmon in the Housatonic River downstream of Derby Dam. On the Shetucket River, anglers can fish for salmon downstream from the Scotland Dam (Windham) to the Water Street Bridge in Norwich (the first bridge upstream of Norwich Harbor).
In the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon is one fish per day through September 30, 2013.
From October 1 through November 30, angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only.
From December 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon will be one.
During the open season in the rivers, the legal method for taking Atlantic salmon is limited to angling using a single fly, or an artificial lure with a single free swinging hook and no additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure.
From October 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon.
In 2007 DEEP began stocking selected lakes with broodstock Atlantic salmon. This fall, Mount Tom Pond and Crystal Lake are again being stocked. Anglers may also very occasionally catch salmon that have held over from previous stockings of Beach Pond, Long Pond (Ledyard/North Stonington), Mashapaug Lake and Nells Rock Reservoir (Shelton).
The regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon released into lakes and ponds are different from the regulations for salmon in the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers. In each lake, the regulations for methods, seasons and minimum lengths for salmon are the same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily creel limit is one salmon per day.
The specific regulations for salmon fishing in lakes that have been stocked with Atlantic salmon can be found in the 2013 Connecticut Angler’s Guide
Regulations for broodstock Atlantic salmon stocked into lakes and ponds will also be posted at each water body. Anglers can also contact DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH) for more information.
— Information from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection