Trout Fishing Season Opening Early to Encourage Social Distancing, Anglers Reminded to Exercise Caution if Fishing on Late-Season Ice
Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed an executive order removing closed seasons for fishing on all inland waters in Connecticut, and opening additional lakes, ponds, as well as rivers and streams to fishing statewide, effective today. The governor signed a similar order last year to open the state’s fishing season early at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order No. 10B removes prohibitions on fishing for trout, effectively advancing opening day of trout season from April 10, 2021 to today. The governor said that opening the fishing season early permits anglers to enjoy additional access to outdoor recreation, which has been a help to residents’ mental and physical health.
“Opening the fishing season early helps to reduce opening day crowds and limit the potential for spread of COVID-19,” Governor Lamont said. “Anglers are encouraged to continue to practice social distancing, and we encourage fishing to be enjoyed only with members of your immediate household and not as a group activity.”
Connecticut saw a 17 percent increase in new fishing and hunting license sales last year, evidence of how residents are enjoying the state’s spectacular fisheries and natural resources as a safe respite during the pandemic.
The Fisheries Division of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) began its 2021 spring stocking of all traditional trout fishing areas in early February. There are also plenty of opportunities to fish for bass, pike, walleye, catfish, and carp in areas that are usually closed at this time of year. Anglers are reminded to purchase 2021 fishing licenses, Trout & Salmon Stamp, and Youth Fishing Passports online, through DEEP’s mobile friendly website or access through DEEP’s main fishing website.
Rivers & Streams: DEEP will be stocking throughout March and early April and anglers are encouraged to enjoy early season fishing on rivers and streams that are traditionally closed during this time.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing opportunities may exist on some waters in parts of Connecticut. DEEP does not monitor ice thickness and warns all anglers to exercise caution if planning to fish on the ice. DEEP reminds winter anglers that safety comes first. Be aware that ice thickness varies on all waterbodies due to a number of environmental factors, including in-lake water circulatory patterns. Please check the late season ice carefully before venturing out and check repeatedly to make sure that ice thicknesses are sufficient. Remember, late season ice is not as safe as early season ice. Thickness that would be safe at the beginning of the season should be viewed with caution now. If in doubt, DO NOT GO. Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Visit the DEEP Ice Safety webpage for more information.
Social Distancing: Anglers should maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, practice good personal hygiene, and stay home and away from others if you feel sick. If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and see that crowds are forming, choose a different location, or return another day or time. Please respect social distancing for your safety and that of our staff if you encounter DEEP’s hard-working staff stocking trout.
Boat Launches: All of DEEP’s 117 boat launches located throughout the state remain open provided the launch is free from snow/ice, although docks will not be in place yet. DEEP reminds boaters that social distancing rules still apply and all boaters are encouraged to consider the size of the vessel, the number of people on board, and the ability of people to keep separation distances. From October 1st through May 31st, you must wear a Life Jacket (state law). All children 12 and under must wear a Life Jacket. Whether fishing from a kayak, canoe, rowboat, or outboard a PFD can save your life should you capsize.
While Executive Order No. 10B opens water to fishing, all other fishing laws and regulations, including requirements for a fishing license and trout and salmon stamp when needed, and all methods, creel limits and length limits remain in effect. The executive order does not change the regulations for Trout Management Areas that are currently open for catch and release fishing only nor does it change the one fish per day, 16 inch minimum length, currently in effect at Trout Management Lakes.