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Here we go again, gang, Opening Day for trout fishing starts tomorrow statewide!
Any idea where you want to fish?
In our area, there are a number of spots, depending on what kind of fishing you want to do.
Black Pond on the Meriden/Middlefield line is always a “go-to” spot for many Opening Day anglers. Black Pond does have a small boat launch area for smaller boats, including canoes and kayaks.
In fact, the number of kayak fishermen seems to be increasing on a yearly basis. I just hope they all are wearing their life jackets (PFDs) because a dump into the frigid waters can be hazardous.
Black Pond has been stocked quite heavily, and while it does get a number of boat fishermen on opening weekend, there are also a number of anglers who like to fish from its shoreline and they seem to do so quite well.
If you are fishing from a boat, be reminded that you cannot use a gas outboard on Black Pond. You can use an electric trolling motor or the old fashioned “Armstrong propulsion” (rowing or paddling) to make you way around Black Pond.
What bait to use on Opening Day is always a good question. I prefer to use lures, although some of those Power Baits are also a good choice. A lot depends on the weather and how cold it will be on opening morning.
Also, if you are going to fish Black Pond from a water craft, I suggest you get there early because there is limited parking for boat-carrying trailers, especially on Opening Day.
Another hot spot you might want to try is the ever-beautiful, Quinnipiac River. The Quinnipiac was heavily stocked with trout by both the DEEP Inland Fisheries and the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA) last Monday.
Some will be carrying tags that will award the lucky angler who catches one with various prizes donated by local businesses. If you do catch a tagged trout, give QRWA Trout Stocking Chairman Peter Picone a call at 860-919-7236.
You can find trout in most parts of the Quinnipiac from Red Bridge up to the area of the former Carpenter’s Dam. The dam has been removed and I did notice some construction in that area. I have been notified by QRWA President Davis James that the pipe that impeded canoe travel for so many years has been removed.
Speaking of the Quinnipiac, this might be a good time to serve up a reminder: There are homes on the river and IF you are allowed to fish in those areas, it is a privilege, not a right. Respect property. Do not leave a mess. This can result in the land being posted simply because of some uncaring person. Don’t be afraid to clean up if others have left debris in the area.
This applies to just about all of our fishing areas in Connecticut. Just because you purchased a license does not mean that there is going to be someone to pick up after you. If you brought it in, you should bring it out.
Much of the litter left behind is in the form of discarded fishing line, styrofoam bait containers and packaging for hooks and lures. It can all be harmful to any wildlife in the area.
Where else to fish? Wharton Brook down on the Wallingford/North Haven town line is also an excellent place to take kids and first-time anglers. Wharton Brook is a “trout park.” This means that the area is constantly being stocked with trout, so the kids there get a chance to help with the stocking.
Be reminded that trout parks have a two-trout limit. This means when you catch your two, head for home and clean them.
One of the downsides that I have constantly seen at some trout parks — especially Wharton Brook — is that some greedy people (they are NOT sportsmen) like to high grade their two trout limit. This means they will catch a trout on a baited hook, rip the hook uncaringly out of the trout’s gullet and then throw the trout back into the water to die.
This is not why trout parks came into existence. If you want fish hook catch-and-release, try fly fishing and use barbless hooks for bait and on your lures. Catch-and-release means returning a fish back to the water unharmed.
If you have a trout on your line and want to release it, try and keep it in the water, grab the hook with a pair of needle-nose pliers or forceps and give it a shake and the fish will go back into the water. If the fish looks too hurt to release, you are expected to keep it.
Here in Meriden we also have a couple of easy access ponds to fish for trout. The first one is Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park. It is now designated as a Community Fishing spot by the DEEP Inland Fisheries and receives some heavy stockings of trout in April and channel catfish in May.
Mirror Lake is an excellent spot to start a child fishing simply because of the number of fish that call it home. Besides the trout and catfish, you can hook up with some monster carp over 30 pounds, calico bass, yellow perch, sunfish, bullheads, eels and some really nice largemouth bass.
The other Meriden pond is Baldwins Pond on the corner of North Wall Street and Westfield Road. There was a time that this spot was the place to be on Opening Day. Over the years it has lost its luster, but it is still stocked with trout for Opening Day. The drawback of Baldwins Pond is that is gets a heavy growth of lily pads as the water warms up and this makes it quite hard to fish from shore.
Don’t forget to buy a Trout Stamp!
The Meriden Motorcycle Club will hold a Lucky Target Ham Shoot this Sunday, April 14 on the club grounds on Stantack Road, just past Suzio/York Hill on the left. The shoot starts at noon and goes until all shooters are finished. For more info contact George Eddy at 203-237-2377.\
That’s it, gang. Good luck tomorrow, and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.