The state of Connecticut wants you to fish.
“Start simple,” said Mike Beauchene, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Supervising Fisheries Biologist.
(Editor’s note: Easy for him to say.)
“Simple spin fishing rod with bobber and bait, then head out, cast a line and hope for the best,” Beauchene said. Thanks to the three hatcheries in the state, you’ve got a good chance. Nearly three-quarter of a million fish are dumped into the state’s waters each year.
“We stick 750,000 catchable trout, mostly in the spring, some in the fall, which we distribute throughout the state,” said Rick van Nostrand of the Burlington Fish Hatchery.
Producing fish is a full-time job for the DEEP. It’s a long process, taking up to 18 months. But once released, there’s a secret to hooking one.
They’re not raising dummies at the Burlington location.
“With the new fish going out, I suggest to use hardware, something flashy. They tend to be attracted to hardware,” said van Nostrand. “The longer the fish are in there, the more they are caught and released, they do smarten up.”
A stress free environment is key to successful fish raising. Of course, being in the middle of nature has its challenges.
Of course, being in the middle of nature has its challenges. Most visitors are welcome, as long as they don’t eat the fish.
“Bears wander by,” said Beauchene.
Producing and distributing fish are parts of Beauchene’s job. Raising interest in the sport is another.
“The number of people fishing and hunting has dropped nationally through the years,” he said. “We’re trying to recruit anglers back into the system, the next generation,” he said.
Since the late 80 ‘s, early 90’s we are down about 100 ,000 anglers from historic numbers. Our goal is to get some of those people back.
One of the things the state is doing to regenerate interest is the Community Fishing Program. For the seventh straight year, the state has stocked urban waters with channel catfish. Earlier this month, 21,000 catfish were spread across 20 locations.
Lake Wintergreen in Hamden was one of the drop spots.
Sam Kirchenbaum enjoys fishing the lake.
“I like being out here. It’s peaceful, the best feeling is if you have something on the line and you bring it in and see what you got,” he said. Aside from the community program, there is a youth fishing passport program.
And one called no child left inside.
“We just had one in Derby have. We have another one in New London on August 10th at Fort Trumbull in New London. It’s free, the public is invited down, we have hundreds of rods and bait and everyone can come down and try it out. There are lots of experts on hand,” said Kirchenbaum.
Just show up, and maybe one day you’ll find a big fish on the end of your line.
For more information on programs and how to get involved, click here.