Thursday, May 21, 2015

Revisiting

My friend Todd and I recently took advantage of a break in our work schedules and fished together for the first time in a long time. It's always a treat getting stream-side during the week since most of my trout fishing is regulated to the crowded weekends. The plan was to revisit a stretch of river that we had fished a few February's ago. It was great to be back on this portion of river again in mid May when there was much more life apparent in the water and woods around us. We dropped one vehicle upstream and drove down river a mile so with the other and waded our way back.

It was a gorgeous spring day weather wise and the fishing was pretty damn good too. We found more than enough freshly stocked trout to keep us busy at each stop along our route and there were a few higher quality trout mixed in. The highlight of our day was an awesome brown trout that fought like mad and was the most beautiful fish I had seen in some time. If I had to guess, I'd say that one was born in the river. It was a hell of a way to cap off a fine day on the water. We'll have to revisit this stretch more often. 







Monday, May 4, 2015

Like Old Times

"Sometimes it's about the company, sometimes it's the fishing, but every now and then the two elements line up for an incredibly memorable day." Those were the wise words from a friend that I shared the river with on Friday. While we don't fish together as often as we used to, we try to make it count when we do. This was a damn good outing, one that reminded us of old times. Times when our biggest responsibility was being in good position for the start of a hatch. Life has changed a bit in the decade-plus since we began fishing together, but between the laughs, cold Guinness, fresh fiddleheads, and rising trout, it brought us right back. It was like old times.










Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sayonara Winter

Another ice season is in the books. I didn't get out nearly as much as I did in years past, but each outing was an adventure. The peak of my season was a road trip to Lake George with some of the best ice I've ever stepped foot on. I love ice fishing as much as the next guy, but it's hard not to be looking forward to open water and warmer weather. Here are a few photos to remember this winter by. 







Monday, March 9, 2015

A Call for Action (again)

Connecticut anglers have been down this road before and it's time to make some noise again. Governor Malloy's new budget includes a proposal to close the Kensington State Fish Hatchery in Berlin to save $196,000 a year. The argument against this is simple: the recreational revenue generated from fishing throughout Connecticut is significant and the value from fish stockings and unique programs that the Kensington Hatchery supports far outweighs the cost of keeping it open and fully staffed.

Kensington Hatchery is unique because it is responsible for all of Connecticut's seeforellen brown trout, a special strain of trout that grow exceptionally large. In fact, a 19-pound seeforellen trout raised in the Kensington Hatchery was recently caught in Connecticut’s West Hill Pond and is now the new brown trout state record. These fish are extremely popular and it just so happens that Kensington Hatchery has the only disease-free stock of seeforellens left in the nation. Shutting it down would mean losing the seeforellen strain in Connecticut waters and tossing years of hard work out the window. 

Kensington Hatchery employees stocking huge seeforellen brown trout (photo credit: CT DEEP).



Altogether the Kensington Hatchery produces approximately 50,000 catchable size trout and 700 surplus broodstock trout annually that are stocked in our most important trout waters. In addition, 250,000 of its trout fry and parr are used annually in programs to enhance sea run trout and wild trout populations. 

But this is not just about trout. Approximately 2,000 broodstock Atlantic salmon are produced at Kensington Hatchery and stocked annually into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers, as well as a handful of lakes and ponds. Connecticut’s broodstock salmon fishery is quite popular and attracts anglers from around the Northeast. In fact, it is estimated that Connecticut's Atlantic salmon fishery is responsible for 5,000 – 7,000 trips per year and those anglers spend a combined $500,000 doing so. If Kensington closes there will be no more broodstock salmon stocked in Connecticut waterways!

What it's all about! A young angler with a salmon raised at Kensignton Hatchery (photo credit: Bill Smyrnow)


Furthermore, more than 500 student classrooms throughout the state are currently part of either Salmon in the Classroom or Trout in the Classroom programs. These are highly educational and beneficial programs that are run and funded through volunteer cooperation, teachers and students, and CT DEEP, which provides eggs for these programs from the Kensington Hatchery. Educational programs such as these should be encouraged and increased rather than eliminated.

The figures below speak for themselves:
  •  251,000 state residents take 5.4 million fishing trips and spend $198 million per year.
  •  51,000 non-residents take 457,000 fishing trips and spend $45 million per year in CT.
  •   Recreational fishing supports over 4,400 jobs in CT. 
  • Trout are the most sought after gamefish species in Connecticut attracting approximately 2.1 million fishing trips per year and generating ~$50 million per year in annual expenditures having a net economic impact of $67.5 million per year. 
  •  Approximately $2.8 million in annual license revenue is generated by trout anglers in Connecticut.
  •  Approximately 100 lakes and ponds and over 200 rivers and streams are stocked annually with trout.
  •  The overall benefit to cost ratio for Connecticut’s Trout Program is 25 to 1. 
If you are a Connecticut resident that purchases a fishing license each year and supports seeforellen brown trout, broodstock salmon or the Trout/Salmon in the Classroom program, please consider calling and/or emailing Governor Malloy, your state reps, state senator, and the Appropriations Committee about keeping the Kensington State Fish Hatchery up and running. Thank you. 
A beautiful seeforellen brown trout raised at Kensington Hatchery (photo credit: CT DEEP)