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Latest Bites - February 2018
We predict the "Ground Hog-fish" will predict a fishy 2018.

2018 Fishing Licenses are available now:  Fishing licenses for 2018 are now available at many town clerks, bait and tackle shops, and online.

Correction - 2018 Youth Fishing Passports:  Youth Fishing Passports are only available online (self-service only) and are NOT available at locations that sell fishing licenses.

2018 Regulations:  The proposed changes to INLAND regulations will not take effect on January 1, 2018.  The proposed changes must first be approved by the Legislative Regulations Review Committee (scheduled for the February Meeting).  Stay tuned - we will keep you informed.

Trout Stamp Update:  The Trout Stamp regulations package was on the docket for the Legislative Regulation Review Committee (LRRC) meeting on January 23rd. The LRRC voted to "reject without prejudice" the regulations package, which means that there were some issues that were deemed to be "substantive concerns" that need to be addressed. We are currently working on addressing those concerns to the committee's satisfaction so that the package can be resubmitted for approval at the next LRRC meeting on February 27th. 

None of the concerns raised affect the content of the regulations. We will provide an update on the status of the proposed regulation following the February 27th meeting with the Legislative Regulation Review Committee.  In the meantime, if you have some questions, visit our FAQ page.
Grab your winter gear, bundle up your children and join us for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) No Child Left Inside® 12th annual FREE Winter Festival at Burr Pond State Park: 384 Burr Mountain Road, Torrington.  A full range of fun, outdoor winter activities for the entire family will be happening on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 10 AM to 3 PM. 

Activities planned for the day include:
  • Ice fishing
  • A fish fry
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice sculpting and snow play
  • Wildlife tracks
  • Winter hikes
  • Winter games
  • Marshmallow roasting
  • Bonfire and stories
  • Ice safety rescue demonstrations by the Torrington Fire Department
  • LL BEAN and BASS Pro demos 

Special Guests include:
  • Resources in Search and Rescue
  • The Hartford Wolfpack Mascot
  • NBC Channel 30's SNOW MONSTER!

"Join us outdoors with family and friends for an unforgettable winter experience at Burr Pond State Park. Weather permitting, you can try your hand at ice fishing and hopefully reel in a fish, perhaps learn how to snowshoe and play winter games at DEEP's annual Winter Festival," said Commissioner Robert Klee.  "Year after year families look forward to this Festival where they can spend the day outdoors, bonding with each other, meeting new friends, and participating in good old-fashioned fun."

The Festival is FREE and there is no registration required. Everyone is welcome to attend. 
Fishing On the Water - Literally
Ice fishing is a great way to beat those doldrums and enjoy winter in Connecticut. Get some exercise all the while spending quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors!  Here are some pointers to enjoy the ice while being SAFE.  Want to see more?  Check out our Ice Fishing video, then take a FREE Learn to Ice Fish class.

  • Never ASSUME any ice is safe, there is no 100% guarantee.  Check the thickness of the ice at the shoreline and every 10-20 feet as you head out.
  • Carry safety gear like hand held ice spikes, a whistle, a personal flotation device, a cell phone, and a throw-able rope.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be off the ice.

Be Prepared:
  • Dress in a series of layers (avoid cotton if possible) and have a windproof outer layer.
  • Wear warm socks, preferably wool, and waterproof boots.
  • A hat, mittens, and sunglasses are a must.
Have Fun:   
  • Make it an event -  pack food and drinks, some even bring a portable stove to make warm food and heat up water for hot chocolate!
  • Multi-task, if conditions permit, with ice skating, snow shoeing, or throwing a football or frisbee.
  • Bring the family and friends - ice fishing is a social activity and even more fun when "flag up" is shared with others.
2018 Youth Fishing Passports Available NOW!
The Youth Fishing Passport program (FREE) is your ticket to great family memories.  Check out the two activities, the Fishing Challenge and Geo-Catching as well as the list of sponsors who graciously support our young anglers with discounts and/or free items.  Renew or join today using DEEP's sportsmen licensing system!
Youth Fishing Passport
This Month's Mystery Fish
Email your guess to 
All Things Fishing 
We have fishing covered in the new "Connecticut is Fishy" application. Within a 60 minute drive you can be fly fishing the famed Housatonic River or Farmington River, catching monster Northern Pike in Bantam Lake, jumbo Common Carp from the Connecticut River, or on Long Island Sound fishing for tasty favorites like fluke, porgy, sea bass, and bluefish.
The "Connecticut is Fishy" application is a cross between an atlas, our Angler's Guide, our fishing web pages, and interactive maps. We know you will be hooked.
Mystery Fish Revealed
Last month's  Mystery Fish  was the BLACK CRAPPIE, also referred to as Calico Bass. The Black Crappie is an introduced fish to Connecticut waters but are now fairly common and can be found in many lakes and ponds, and backwaters of large rivers. Black Crappies are a schooling fish and are often found around submerged aquatic vegetation, boulders, or other underwater structure.
Black Crappies are a beautiful fish and are considered by many to be the very BEST EATING freshwater fish you can catch! They are considered a panfish, which means there is no minimum size and no limit on how many you can keep (but remember, ethical anglers only keep what they will eat!).
During the winter months, Black Crappie remain very active under the ice.  They can be caught on tip-ups using small or medium sized shiners as bait, or on jigging rods using a variety of  small ice fishing lures or jigs. To target Black Crappie, keep your hooks on the small size (size 6 or smaller) and use a light leader (4-6 pound test). Remember that crappies are schooling fish, so when you find one you will often find many. 

TIP: when jigging for Black Crappie and other panfish, keep drilling holes and moving around until you find the school.
Join Us on FishBrain

We are pleased to be on FishBrain, the most popular social media app for anglers. FishBrain is a free download for iphone and android. Users take advantage of the free angling support features (or elect to subscribe for premium features).  Follow CTDEEPFish and we will follow you back!

License Fees Fund Hunting and Fishing Programs

100%  of the fees collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, tags, permits, and stamps goes to support fish and wildlife conservation, preservation, and recreation programs administered by the Bureau of Natural Resources (Connecticut General Statutes 26-15, 20-15(a), 26-15 (b)). 

Each time you purchase a license your contribution goes to support hunting, fishing, and open space right here in CT. 

So, the next time you see a bald eagle, harvest a white-tail, pheasant, or turkey, or catch a brown trout or striped bass, give yourself and your fellow sportsmen a pat on the back!

You are making a difference and we thank you for your support!
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