CT Fishin' Tips
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150 Years of Natural Resource Conservation in Connecticut

Visit our special web page frequently throughout 2016 for new features and information related to 150 years of natural resource conservation in Connecticut. 
Mystery Fish

Do you recognize this fish?

Email your guess to DEEP.inland.fisheries@ct.gov

The February mystery fish was the Burbot ( Lota lota).  

The Burbot is one of Connecticut's most unique freshwater fish.  A quick glance of a Burbot and one may think that they have captured a Bowfin or an eel.

Burbot prefer very cold water placing Connecticut at the southern end of their distribution.  Burbot are considered endangered in Connecticut as there is only one known established population in state waters. 

Anglers are reminded that if they accidentally catch a Burbot, it must be immediately released unharmed.  We would be very interested in hearing about your catch (deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov)

A member of the cod family (Gadidae), Burbot have a tell tale single chin whisker like their saltwater cousins.  
Are you 16-17 years old? 
Get 50% off fishing and hunting licenses
All 16 and 17 year old Connecticut residents can purchase 2015 fishing and hunting licenses, tags, permits, and/or stamps at 50% of the full resident cost. Get your license now!
Have a Tip or Photo You Would Like to See in CT Fishin' Tips?
Email your tip to DEEP.Inland.Fisheries@ct.gov 
Budding Angler in Your Family?
Youth Fishing Passport

Wondering what's new in fisheries?  
Get the latest in fisheries through our quarterly reports.

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Connecticut Wildlife Magazine
Every issue of this bi-monthly publication includes great wildlife photography, in-depth feature articles written by DEEP biologists, information about hunting and fishing, and natural history articles.

Connecticut Wildlife Magazine is published six times each year. 

Subscriptions are $8 for one year, $15 for two, or $20 for three years.

License Fees Fund Fishing and Hunting Programs
100% of the fees collected from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps goes to support fish and wildlife conservation, preservation, and recreation programs administered by the Bureau of Natural Resources. 

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

So the next time you catch a Walleye, Brown Trout, or Striped Bass, see a Bald Eagle, harvest a white-tail, pheasant, or turkey, give yourself and your fellow sportsmen a pat on the back!

You are making a difference and we t hank you for your support!
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Report a Violation
Help to protect our natural resources for future outdoor sports enthusiasts.  Report suspected violations by calling DEEP Environmental Conservation Police at 1-800-842-HELP
Missed an Issue of CT Fishin' Tips?
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Latest Bites
New Publication  Schedule!  Thank you for your continued support! Expect to see your email of Connecticut Fishin' Tips at the beginning of the month (formerly at the end of the month). We plan to provide more content on what to use, where to go, what is hot and what is not.  As always, if you have a photo or a tip you would like published, send it along to deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov

New Marine Regulations:
Please note changes to our Black Sea Bass Regulations for 2016 (below).  The February 2016 CT Fishin' Tips was sent prior to finalizing the change and included the 2015 regulations.

2016 Angler's Guide Coming Soon:
We expect to begin distribution of the 2016 Angler's Guide around March 22.  We will let everyone know as soon as it is available, including an electronic version, which can be found on our web site.

Trout Season Closed* :  The majority of waterbodies that are stocked with trout are currently closed to trout fishing and will re-open on April 9th at 6:00 am (Opening Day).  This closure allows our hatchery staff to distribute approximately 350,000 catchabable-size trout to your favorite trout stream and ponds.  Now is the time to start making plans for Opening Day.

*Some exceptions include Trout Management Lakes (open until March 31st) and  our trout management areas  (sections of river or stream with specific regulations).   Check out the Angler's Guide    for specific details and follow instructions on any posted signs.
Black Sea Bass -NEW Regs for 2016
The 2016 recreational regulations for Black Sea Bass have changed:

Season:  May 1 to December 31, 2016

Minimum Size:  15 inches

Daily Creel:  5 fish per angler
Daily Fish Stocking Report Survey
For the past 3 years we have been posting daily fish stocking reports to the CT FishandWildlife Facebook page.  We are looking for your opinion about the distribution of this information.  Please take our short survey, it will take only a minute to complete.  
The survey will close on March 11, 2016. 
Upcoming Fishing Events
2016 Save the Dates!
Fishing events you and your family will not want to miss. 

April 9, 2016:   Trout season opens at 6:00 am.

April 23, 2016:   Special Mom and Me Learn to Fish Class.  Moms, Grandmas, or Aunts, grab your kids and come to join Miss Judy and certified fishing Instructors from the Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education program for a fun day of learning how to fish at the Winding Trails Outdoor Center in Farmington. This class is open to female caregivers and their children only (sorry guys).

We will teach you the basics of fishing including; what to use, how to tie a strong knot, proper bait selection, rules and regulations, how to identify your catch, and will conclude the day with a fishing trip (loaner fishing equipment will be provided FREE of charge).  

Classroom instruction will run from 9:30am to 11:30am and the fishing trip will follow from 12pm to 3pm.  Registration information can be found on our schedule of upcoming classes . So, pack a lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Winding Trails.

May 7, 2016:  Statewide Free Fishing Day (no license needed). No Child Left Inside Great Park Pursuit and CARE Family Fishing Day, Stratton Brook State Park, Simsbury.

June 19, 2016:  First Free Fishing License Day (free 1-day license is needed and are available starting 3 weeks prior to the event).

June 25, 2016:  Women can fish too! On this day, our basics of fishing class will be open to women (16 and up) only.  Come to our class, held at our CARE education center in Killingworth (10 am to 3 pm), to get a leg up on your significant other - show them you can fish too! Call 860-663-1656 to reserve your place (FREE!).

August 13, 2016:   Second Free Fishing License Day (free 1-day license is needed and are available starting 3 weeks prior to the event).   The CARE saltwater fishing event and  No Child Left Inside Great Park Pursuit , Fort Trumbull State Park , New London from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Trout Fishing Starts Soon
Start Planning for Opening Day- April 9, 2016 at 6:00 am.

Opening Day of Trout Season is a long standing tradition for many.  No matter where you will be casting your line at 6:00 am, consider the following to help make opening day a memory to last a lifetime.

* Visit the area you plan to fish in advance.  This will help you to identify parking, access, and any changes that may have occurred since your last visit.

* Prep your rod and reel.  Nothing is worse than making your first cast and having catastrophic failure. Check your rod and reel, adding new line, greasing the gears, and making sure everything is in order.

* Attend a "Fishermen's Breakfast".  Many civic groups offer a delicious homemade breakfast on opening day.  Make plans either before or after your fishing trip to fill up on some delicious food and support the local community. 
* Be considerate of your fellow anglers.  Trout fever is at its peak and sometimes the excitement may get the best of some people.  Please do not crowd your fellow anglers, be polite and courteous, and carry out more than you carry in (pick up any fishing related debris or garbage).

* Report Illegal Activity.  If you notice any illegal activity, please let our EnConn Officers know by calling 1-800-842-HELP (4357).  

Take The Fishing Challenge in 2016
2016 is the year of family fishing! 

The Youth Fishing Passport program is a free program for youth 15 and under.  Anyone can obtain a youth fishing passport by registering in the Connecticut Sportsmen Licensing system.  

To facilitate family together time, create memories of a lifetime, and to try fishing for a bunch of different types of fish, we challenge you and your youth anglers to take our "Fishing Challenge".

Each time your Youth Fishing Passport Holder catches one of the types of fish on our  fishing challenge list , snap a photo and email it with the angler's conservation ID to deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov (attn:fishing challenge).  We will keep a tally throughout the year.  In February, the four anglers who have captured the most number of fish on the list will receive a prize pack of great fishing items.  
Looking Back - 150 Years of Natural Resource Conservation
Opening day- a longstanding tradition:

For many of us, the Opening Day of trout season triggers memories of days filled with family and friends out at our favorite fishing hole, sometimes with frozen eyelets on the rod, other times with early spring heat, and everything in between.

The roots of Opening Day can be traced back to 1871 when a law was passed restricting the capture of speckled trout (Brook Trout) to be by "hook and line" only.  Additionally, "...no person shall catch any such trout, or have such trout in his or her possession, save only during the months of April, May, June, July, and August."  The penalty for violation was $25 per fish (fairly steep for 1871).

Trout stocking in the late 1800's through 1920's was primarily put-grow-and-take; stocking fry (recently hatched fish capable of surviving on its own) and yearlings with the intent they will grow to harvestable size on their own.  Brook Trout were the first trout widely stocked, followed by Rainbow Trout (introduced to Connecticut in 1884) and Lake Trout and Brown Trout (introduced in 1893). 

In 1926, primarily due to expanded capacity to produce trout at the recently built Burlington State Fish Hatchery (1923) and from anglers "demanding" larger fish, put-grow-take began to be replaced with put-and-take fisheries (stocking fish at harvestable size).

In 1943, trout season was extended to the end of October, adding two full months for angling.  Then, i n 1947, Opening Day changed from a specific date like April 1st or April 15th to the "third Saturday in April".

Most recently, in 2015, to increase the length of the season by a week and to encourage more family and youth fishing (most public schools are on vacation the third week of April), the Inland Fisheries Division moved Opening Day to the second Saturday of April.  This year it will be April 9th.

Trout fishing has been and continues to be a very important part of many people's lives.  We are honored and privileged to continue this tradition for generations to come.  See you out on the water come April 9th.

Join us as we celebrate throughout 2016! Visit our special web page dedicated to our past, present, and future. Including our 150th video .
By purchasing a fishing license, you help to support conservation and improvement of Connecticut's fisheries.  Thank you!