Alive and well and living in Mirror Lake

Alive and well and living in Mirror Lake


Mike Roberts

“I challenge anyone to take a glass and fill it with Mirror Lake water and drink it. I don’t think there would be any takers.”

— March 21, 2014 R-J Readers Opinions

This statement was made protesting the stocking of trout into Mirror Lake at Hubbard Park by the DEEP Inland Fisheries. The writer of the letter thought that the water was too polluted because of the overabundance of waterfowl that inhabit the area due to the many folks who feed the ducks and geese that come begging for handouts.

Regarding the thought of dipping a glass into Mirror Lake and drinking the contents, I could not agree with him more. But then, I would not dip a glass into any body of water and drink it, including trout streams like the Salmon River, Farmington River, Housatonic River, Quinnipiac River, Black Pond, Silver Lake, Baldwins Pond, Wharton Brook, Hanover Pond and ANY other so-called trout waters — even Broad Brook Reservoir, one of our main drinking water supplies.

The reason being obvious: Animals poop in the water. But,I will eat the fish caught in those waters.

Of course, our drinking water is treated before it gets to the faucets in our homes, so there is nothing wrong with filling up a glass and drinking it. However, I wonder if the letter writer would dip a glass into any of the other bodies of water that I have mentioned and proceed to drink the contents, including Broad Brook Reservoir if the water was untreated?

That being said, I have to tell you that I have witnessed the fishing at Mirror Lake the past couple of years and I have seen yellow perch, bluegills, bullheads, largemouth bass, calico bass and even an occasional trout come out of its waters and none of them showed any outward signs of being “infected” by the water in Mirror Lake.

Many of the fishermen return them to Mirror Lake unharmed. And, yes, some people eat them.

But the same holds true for every body of water in Connecticut. Critters that inhabit the water go poop in the water regardless of what body of water it may be, including your reservoirs. I have yet to see a “comfort station” for water fowl, muskrats, beaver or any other of the hundreds of other aquatic creatures that call these bodies of water home.

The Quinnipiac River has become a mecca for recreational fishermen and even supports a healthy native brook trout population in some areas, yet it is also the recipient of treated waters from a whole bunch of municipal sewerage treatment plants in towns through which the river runs. It also has some excellent trout fishing.

The writer also said, “This lake is ill-suited for any fish (except for maybe the lowly carp). What fish are not caught will surely die in time for reasons given.”

From what I have personally seen, the fish in Mirror Lake are doing quite well and there are many different species. Can anyone come up with a body of water here in Connecticut that has not been used as a toilet by waterfowl and other aquatic critters? I’ve been all over this state in by fishing endeavors and for some reason I can not think of even one.

Oh, and I even have eaten fish caught in Mirror lake as well as the Quinnipiac River and Hanover Pond.

It goes without saying that just about all of the food we eat has a warning attached to it, especially those coming out of the saltwater like striped bass and bluefish. I for one commend the DEEP Inland Fisheries for taking the time to look at Mirror Lake as a spot that will promote more interest in the outdoors and fishing.

Regarding the waterfowl at Hubbard Park, I would have a greater fear of having a picnic there while trying not to step in a pile of goose poop that literally covers all of the grassy areas in the park. If you don’t believe me, take the time to walk the grassy areas of the park, but be careful where you step.

When I walk the “girls” Daisy and Lily (our two Bichons) I have to bring along some plastic “poop bags” to pick up their poop, but I have yet to see any of the waterfowl feeders using a plastic bag to pick up the goose poop so no one has to step in it.

If the water was that “terrible,” as the writer suggests, then I would think that the shores of Mirror Lake would be lined with fish killed because of the “polluted” water, yet that has not been the case. Every fish I have seen caught in Mirror Lake has looked and acted healthy. And as for “the lowly carp” the reader refers to, I know of a lot of carp fishermen who would take offense at such a statement.

Of course, there was the huge waterfowl die-off last year when so many ducks fell ill to some type of avian disease that was transmitted from one duck to another. I was informed by those in the DEEP who should know that, in all probability, this was caused by the ducks flocking together while being fed by well-meaning folks who come to the park to feed them. This closeness when scrambling for food makes it easier for any disease to be transmitted from a sick duck to a healthy duck.

Regarding the stocking of the trout and catfish into Mirror Lake, I hope that it will give area families a better chance to spend time in our great outdoors fishing together. It isn’t like it used to be back in the “Good Old Days” when I was a kid and could go anywhere I wanted unattended by a protective adult to pursue my outdoor loves, especially fishing.

Back then Mirror Lake at Hubbard Park was the number one draw for young fishermen and the lake was designated as a children-only fishing spot. We would board a bus in South Meriden and then transfer to the West Main Street bus that would take us to Hubbard Park for the day and then reverse the bus ride for the trip home.

But then some horrible things began to happen to children and they seemed to drop from the face of the earth. Concerned parents would no longer let the kids go out alone, and this included trips to Mirror Lake. Since it was only a children-only fishing spot, when the parents did take the kids out, it was to a spot that they too could fish. For quite a few years now, Mirror Lake was virtually void of any children fishing, and then our City Councilors wisely changed the regulations, now allowing both children and licensed adults to fish Mirror Lake. This has gone a long way in revitalizing Mirror Lake as a family-friendly place to take the kids fishing.

I for one can’t wait to see catfish and trout stocked into Mirror Lake by the DEEP. It will cost the city nothing to enhance the recreational fishing for families to enjoy. The DEEP Inland Fisheries deserves nothing but kudos for their progressive program in trying to get fishing for more children and their families.

I recently attended a Community Fishing Waters Summit in Hartford. The DEEP Inland Fisheries said it was adding six locations to the five urban water bodies it has been stocking since the program started in 2006. As part of the Community Fishing Waters initiative, urban waters are stocked with trout in early spring and channel catfish by early summer to provide year-round opportunities for anglers of all ages.

“With the expansion of our Community Fishing Waters Program, we will put enough fish in 11 urban lakes and ponds to create memorable fishing on Opening Day and beyond at these locations,” said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee. “Over the past seven years, we have seen an increase in angler participation and the number of fish caught by local residents at the urban ponds we have been stocking. Our research also showed that 97 percent of the people fishing in these waters traveled less than five miles, sometimes using public transportation to get there. This is certainly a success story that we want to build on.”

The five original bodies in the Community Fishing Waters Program are Bunnell’s Pond in Bridgeport, Lake Wintergreen in Hamden, Keney Park Pond in Hartford, Mohegan Pond Park in Norwich, and Lakewood Lake and Upper Fulton Pond in Waterbury.

The six bodies being added are Birge Pond in Bristol, Center Springs Park Pond in Manchester (in 2015), Mirror Lake in Meriden, Butternut Park Pond in Middletown, Stanley Quarter Park Pond in New Britain and Beaver Park Pond/Lagoon in New Haven.

Regarding the fishing program at Mirror Lake, the responsibility for the success of this program is going to be with the people that choose to fish it. The best way to get a good fishing spot closed is to leave all kinds of fishing and lunch debris on the shore of the spot you are fishing. IF YOU BROUGHT IT IN THERE, TAKE IT OUT WHEN YOU LEAVE!

This means bait containers, fish hook packages and any and all other fishing trash INCLUDING the number one enemy of wildlife, discarded fishing line. Bring a plastic trash bag with you and use it to carry out any trash you might see when you leave. The city and the state have gone all out to give fishermen a new spot to fish. Now it is up to the Mirror Lake fishermen to see that it stays open.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops where ever they may be serving.

Support Quality Local Journalism

Latest Videos