Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back

I was very blessed in 2015 between watching my beautiful daughter grow, landing a new job and finishing grad school. While this past year won't be remembered for the most time I've ever spent on the water, I sure as hell made the most of each trip. Below is a look back at some angling highlights from a memorable 2015.

FRESH: The balmy winter weather we've been experiencing lately makes me appreciate 2015's ice season all the more. Friends and I had a blast in the Adirondacks jigging up lake trout and enjoyed great opportunities back home as well, like rare late-ice trips to Connecticut's largest lake. Spring brought with it our cherished Opening Day camping trip, strong mayfly hatches and several quality trout to the net. I also tagged along on a fun carp excursion on the Connecticut River, a pike float on the upper Housatonic and a small stream jaunt in the mountains. In the fall, I paid a few visits to my favorite reservoir for a handful of keeper walleye and hefty smallmouth. To close the year, I floated a river I'd never been to before and hooked (and lost!) a trout that will keep me going back.

SALT: What I'll remember most about the 2015 saltwater season was the copious amounts of menhaden in Long Island Sound and its tributaries. It wasn't limited to adult bunker either; for the first time in a long time, we experienced an incredible display of peanut bunker in our local waters, which helped attract all sorts of marine life from Humpback whales to a memorable run of false albacore. Speaking of false albacore, an unforgettable memory from this past year was catching a late-October albie five minutes from my home, in a shirt and tie before work no less! I also was lucky to witness some amazing bluefish blitzes, land a few nice bass from shore, and catch my first keeper fluke in a kayak. 

 Here's to a healthy and fish-filled 2016!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Not On Our Watch

If this blog post sounds familiar, unfortunately that's because it is. Time and time again in recent years, we as anglers have had to band together to help keep one of three state fish hatcheries from closing. Now, instead of just Kensington State Fish Hatchery on the chopping block, Governor Malloy's new proposed budget would eliminate all three. 

I probably don't need to tell anyone reading this just how ridiculous that sounds. The amount of funding necessary to keep those hatcheries running and their 17 employees working is dwarfed by the revenue they ultimately bring into the State of Connecticut. Millions of dollars are spent every year on freshwater fishing licenses alone, not to mention all the money spent in bait and tackle and fly shops. A large part of that revenue is directly tied to Connecticut's trout and salmon fisheries, which for the most part are dependent on our three state fish hatcheries. Yes, there are wild and native trout populations in our state waters, but not enough to sustain the amount of fishing pressure they will receive if our hatcheries close. 

This is a bad idea and our lawmakers need to hear about it. What can you do? 
  • Find your Connecticut legislators and contact them today. Write emails or, better yet, make phone calls. Let them know that you're a constituent, a registered voter and just how important this issue is to you. Here is a fact sheet from CVTU to help craft your message.
  • Share your opinion with Governor Malloy. This is where out-of-state anglers who spend time and money chasing trout on the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers or broodstock Atlantic salmon on the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers can chime in. These hatchery closures would impact more than just Connecticut anglers! Look no further than the growing number of vehicles with non CT license plates parked along our finest freshwater fisheries. 
  • Sign this online petition. It takes two minutes and every signature helps. At the time of this writing, 2,786 supporters had signed on--we can do better than that!
  • Spread the word! Tell your fishing buddies about what is going on. If they don't know about the issue, they can't be a part of the solution. 

Just a small sample of what we are at risk of losing.