DEEP Begins Fall Atlantic Salmon Stockings

Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that it has begun the 2013 autumn stockings of broodstock Atlantic salmon. DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division yesterday released 300 salmon into the Naugatuck River and Mount Tom Pond. Later this week, DEEP will release 300 salmon into the Shetucket River and Crystal Lake (Ellington).

“Atlantic salmon are renowned for their size, beauty and fighting ability,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “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 and low returns of salmon in recent years. DEEP subsequently developed a new “Legacy Program” to maintain the popular recreational fishery for Atlantic salmon in Connecticut and also to preserve the unique and potentially important 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. “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 group of Atlantic salmon being released this week for the fishery range in weight from 2-6 pounds each. In early October, approximately 400 additional fish in the same size range will be available for stocking. 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).

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. Also, 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 and are also provided at the conclusion of this news release. The 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.

All other regulations, including those for broodstock salmon in the Naugatuck, Housatonic and Shetucket Rivers, can also be found in the 2013 Connecticut Angler’s Guide, found online at www.ct.gov/deep/anglersguide. Print versions of the guides are available from many Town Clerks and bait & tackle stores, or by contacting DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH).

Additional fishing and fisheries related information, including the Weekly Fishing Report, can be found on the DEEP Fisheries web pages at www.ct.gov/deep/fishing and on the Fisheries and Wildlife Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife. This fall, anglers will find updates on DEEP’s broodstock Atlantic salmon stockings and the fall trout stockings in the Weekly Fishing Report, on the Fisheries webpage and on the Fisheries and Wildlife Facebook page.

Regulations for Atlantic salmon fishing in Crystal Lake (stocked this fall), Mount Tom Pond (stocked this fall), Long Pond (last stocked-April, 2012) Nells Rock Reservoir (last stocked-April, 2012), Beach Pond (last stocked-2009) and Mashapaug Lake (last stocked-2009) are as follows:

Crystal Lake

§ Legal Methods: Angling and Ice Fishing - Fishing with hook and line. May include fishing with bait, flies or lures.

§ Open Season: Third Saturday in April through last day in March.

§ Minimum Length: Salmon must be greater than or equal to 16 inches to keep.

§ Daily creel limit: 1 Atlantic salmon

Mount Tom Pond, Beach Pond*, Long Pond**, Mashapaug Lake*, Nells Rock Reservoir**

§ Legal Methods: Angling and Ice Fishing – Fishing with hook and line. May include fishing with bait, flies or lures.

§ Open Season: Third Saturday in April through last day in February.

§ Minimum Length: None

§ Daily creel limit: 1 Atlantic salmon

*Beach Pond and Mashapaug Lake are not being stocked with salmon this fall. Both lakes have been stocked previously, most recently in April, 2009.

**Long Pond and Nells Rock Reservoir are not being stocked with broodstock salmon this fall. Both lakes were stocked in April, 2012 with small (1-2 pound) surplus Atlantic salmon.

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