Trout fishing season begins Saturday

Trout fishing season begins Saturday Commentary by Mike Roberts

Wow! Can you believe it? Next Saturday brings with it another Opening Day for trout fishing — Yippie! Man, it’s been one mother of a winter and regardless of what the weather may be for opening day, at least it’s a start.

As we do every year, we will try to help out area trout fishermen by providing some suggestions on places to fish, both locally and around the state as well as let you know what the local tackle shops have in store for their opening day customers.

First off, let me pass this information on to you. According to the DEP, a total of 198 truckloads of trout should be distributed throughout the state before Opening Day. These trout will be released into 97 lakes and 200 rivers and streams throughout Connecticut. The following species will be stocked this preseason: 68,200 brook trout (10-11 inches); 200,300 brown trout (10-12 inches); 15,100 brown trout (12 inches); 9,600 tiger trout (10-12 ih brook/brown hybrid); 103,100 rainbow trout (10-12 inches); 17,100 rainbow trout (12-14 inch plus greater than 14 inches); and 1,750 broodstock (3-10 pound trout).

The broodstock along with the 450 broodstock Seeforellen brown trout ranging in size from 3 to 8 pounds should make for some exciting fishing for some lucky fishermen. And on the plus side, the DEP will resume stocking at Higganum Reservoir and Starret’s Pond (Huntington State Park) this spring. The DEP also plans to stock a new area, Valley Falls Pond in Vernon prior to Opening Day. It’s nice to see Higganum Reservoir stocked again. It was one of my favorite places for trout fishing.

For the cartop boat fisherman, I would venture a guess and say that Black Pond right on the Meriden/Middlefield town line is a good bet. Gas engines are not allowed on Black Pond but you can use an electric trolling motor. Get there early if you want to park close to Black Pond. Of course it will be crowded, but that’s part of the mystique of opening day of trout fishing. In fact just about any body of water stocked with trout for the opening day will be crowded.

For parents with kids, Baldwin Pond on the corner of North Wall Street and Westfield Road is a good place to bring the kids to. It has plenty of open shoreline and gives the youngsters plenty of room to practice their casting. Keep in mind, if you are fishing Baldwin that you really have to try and get your bait out quite a bit if you fish the grassy area alongside the old railroad line. The water is rather shallow. I recommend Power Bait on the bottom for those fishing Baldwin Pond.

Of course over the past decade or so, thanks to the valiant efforts of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA) the Quinnipiac River has gained in stature as a viable body of water for the serious trout fishermen. One of the reasons for this is a private trout-stocking program that supplements the state stocking in the Quinnipiac.

The QRWA will once again be stocking the Quinnipiac River prior to the opening day. The first stocking headed up by Pete Picone will take place this Wednesday. Pete invites you to help the QRWA stock the section of river from Red Bridge on Oregon Road upriver to Carpenter’s Dam on the South Meriden/Cheshire town line.

Those wishing to help stock the river should meet at Red Bridge at 5 p.m. on April 13. Be advised that because Hanover Pond is now drained, the lower portions of the river leading into Hanover Pond will be much lower than it has been in previous years. Nonetheless, the river will be stocked with some better than average trout as well as some tagged trout.

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