WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Big Mike gets back on his feet, and back in the swing

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Big Mike gets back on his feet, and back in the swing


“You should get him to the Emergency Room right away!”

And with that, I began another medical adventure that I would not wish on anyone.

The last thing I remembered about that first couple of weeks was Edna bringing me into the Emergency Room to fill out insurance papers. The rest is nothing more than a gray spot in my mind.

I owe my getting through this ordeal to my wonderful wife Edna, who has been as solid as a rock through the whole deal.

I’m still a little shaky on the computer, so we will keep this short and sweet.

First off, what in the heck is all of the moaning and groaning over the new trout and salmon stamp? We think nothing of paying a couple of bucks for a bottle of spring water or close to $80 bucks or more for a carton of cigarettes, yet a $5 stamp to fish for trout and salmon gets the hackles up on some fishermen, I don’t get it!

The stamp is dedicated funding and will be required for anglers fishing trout or salmon anywhere throughout the state, including many dedicated trout parks, Trout Management areas and Wild Trout Management areas (like some of the Quinnipiac River) and Atlantic Salmon Brood Stock areas. 

The trout stamps cost $5 for resident anglers 18 years and older, $3 for CT residents 16 or 17 and $5 for nonresident anglers 16 years and older.

“It will help provide additional financial support for the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources, which is responsible for overseeing important programs including the state’s three fish hatcheries,” said Bill Hyatt, Chief of the Bureau of Natural Resources. “Each year, over 4.4 million fishing days are spent on the water by anglers across Connecticut, making it one of our most popular outdoor activities. Our fish hatcheries ensure that Connecticut anglers have an opportunity to experience excellent trout fishing throughout the state.”

DEEP operates three fish hatcheries in Burlington, Kensington and Plainfield. Currently, five different trout and salmon species are raised at the hatcheries, including Atlantic salmon, Kokanee salmon, brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout.

The staff at these hatcheries are responsible for annually hatching, rearing and distributing over one million adults, juveniles, fingerlings/fry and eggs in support of various fisheries management goals.

There are several exemptions from the requirements for a trout and salmon stamp. Holders of lifetime fishing licenses issued to persons who are blind, have an intellectual disability or have certain physical disabilities are exempt.

Additionally, those fishing waters that are not stocked by the state, but have been stocked by another entity — such as a fish and game club pond or by a town or organization for a local fishing derby — do not need the stamp.

The trout and salmon stamp can be obtained the same way licenses are: online or in person at one of DEEP’s offices, at a town hall that has opted to sell licenses, or at a number of other vendors.

There is no physical stamp. When a trout and salmon stamp is purchased, a line noting that you have obtained one is added to your license document.

A view of the DEEP 2018 Anglers Guide also reminds anglers that a number of other new regulations have also just become effective. Print versions of the guides will be available at more than 350 locations statewide or by contacting DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH).

A couple of other new regulations might have an effect on some of the fishing at Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park. One of the attractions for fishing Mirror Lake is the stocking of channel catfish, generally in May. The fish are excellent fighters and also very good as table fare. The only problem is that when some fishermen got into them, they did not know when to stop and just kept taking them.

This is NOT why the catfish are stocked into Mirror Lake. We want the general public to have a chance to enjoy fishing for them, too..

There is now a creel limit of six channel catfish and white catfish in aggregate per day, except in Beaver Park Lagoon, Birge Pond, Bunnells Pond, Center Springs Park Pond, Freshwater Pond, Keeney Park Pond, Lake Wintergreen, Lakewood Lake, Mirror Lake,  Picketts Pond, Rowans Pond, Mohegan Pond and Stanley Quarter Pond, where the creel limit is three catfish per day.

There is also a creel limit on common carp of five per day, with no more than one fish greater than 30 inches in length, except in trophy trout waters.

For me, it has been exciting to see a fish like the carp reach “Trophy” status. In Mirror Lake, many anglers fish exclusively for some of the giant carp that inhabit its waters. I have seen carp caught there that tipped the scale at 39 pounds!

Most of the carp fishermen return any carp they catch unharmed back to the lake and that is the way it should be for such an exciting fish. And let me tell you, if you have not caught a carp heavier than 20 pounds, then you don’t understand the frenzy about carp fishing.

Trophy carp waters also include Batterson Park Pond, the Connecticut River (including the portions of tributaries open year round), Squantz Pond and West Thompson Reservoir. Creel limit is one carp per day and a 26–inch maximum length for common carp. Personally, I find it amazing that our own Mirror Lake does not yet have official Trophy carp recognition.

Trout stocking

I understand that Pete Picone and the young gang of fish stockers who showed up for the annual trout stocking on the Quinnipiac River had a successful outing, with Tom Barry showing them the way. 

A huge thank you to the L. Suzio Companies, Pastor Ron of Faith Living Church and Tom Barry for their support of the stocking. It never would have happened without you!

Morgan Morenz of Meriden caught a tagged trout and won a Eagle Claw combo fishing rod from the Fishin’ Factory in Southington.

Hey, it feels good to be back. Give me a shout if you have got anything special to report and keep May 12 open for the City of Meriden/Meriden Rod and Gun Club kids fishing derby at Mirror Lake. Free hot dogs and a chance to catch some trout.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops!


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