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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Making the best of a bad cast of fate

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Making the best of a bad cast of fate

“April Fool!” At least that’s what I thought the TV and radio were playing on me when I heard that the 2020 opening day of trout season was opened early by Gov. Ned Lamont.

However, it wasn’t. The dreaded coronavirus that has swept across the world also had an impact on our opening day of trout season this year.

Scheduled for the second Saturday in April, opening day was moved up to give folks a chance to get out of the house and into our wonderful outdoor world.

The Quinnipiac River was stocked with trout just in time for the surprise opening day as were many other trout fishing spots, like some of the trout parks.

In fact, local sportsman Kyle Cooney and his son Brayden hit Southford Falls Trout Park in Southbury and each got their two-fish limit.

Tom Barry fished the Quinnipiac River and got his limit of brown trout. He said there were not many fisherman taking advantage of the early opening.

Marty Loos said the action at Black Pond was good, although there were not many boats on Black Pond at the time he was fishing.

In fact, as I made the rounds of the regular trout fishing spots, I was really amazed that there were not more fishermen out and about. However, seeing some adults with youngsters in tow doing some fishing was really great to see.

To be sure, the coronavirus has upset many plans for trout fishing as well as for trout stocking, including the annual Quinnipiac River stocking that usually takes place the Wednesday before the regular opening day.

Because of the threat of spreading the virus when too many folks get together, Pete Picone and I decided to take a wait-and-see position on the Quinnipiac River stocking. If the threat ends early enough, we will have the event at a later date in the spring.

The stocking always draws so many kids and parents. Last year’s event was held through the generosity of the L. Suzio Companies, Meriden Lions Club and the Faith Living Church of Plantsville.

I do know that we can count on our DEEP Inland Fisheries to continue its stocking programs throughout the rest of April and May, and some even beyond. They do an amazing job and, hopefully, we will get through this and things will get back to normal.

So, have you taken advantage of the early trout season opening yet? And if not, why not? The areas in and around here are many.

Trout parks have become quite popular with many fishermen who find them a great place to take their kids or to even up the odds of catching and keeping a couple of trout for a fish fry.

Sad to say, though, there is a dark side to some of the trout parks due to the greed of a few bad apples. (They surely are not sportsmen.) These are the ones who seem to think it is alright to use baits like power bait and meal worms to catch as many fish as they can by hook-and-release fishing.

This is not what trout parks were intended for!

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to watch a guy using meal worms catch trout on just about every cast and then rip the hook out of the trout’s mouth and toss the fish back into the water.

I pointed out to him that some of the trout he released were coming to the top of the water and dying. He got ticked off at me for telling him that that was not why trout parks were made. He got a little rude, but picked up his gear and left. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

The trout parks are intended to make trout fishing easier for just about anyone who wants to use them. All trout parks have a two-trout limit. You catch two trout, you are finished fishing there for the day.

Also, it is not a good idea to fish somewhere else and, say you only catch three trout, to go to a trout park to finish off your five-trout limit that is allowed on many waters. If you get caught with more than two trout in a trout park you will get a ticket.

If there is an exception at a trout park, I would imagine it is for fly fishing using flies only. Many caring fly fishermen use barbless hooks so they can easily release a hooked trout without even taking them out of the water, thus keeping a healthy trout in the water to give someone else a thrill fishing for them.

Of course, the trout season was opened early to give some folks a way to get outdoors and away from the crowds. This is going to work only if those that do so obey the rules. They have been on the news enough, so I do not have to repeat them.

As I said earlier, the DEEP Inland Fisheries will be doing its very best to provide good trout fishing for everyone, and this will mean continued trout stockings across the state.

Locally, even though I have said this many times, Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park is an excellent place to take the kids fishing or for mildly handicapped fishermen. Access is easy at many of the shore points and Hubbard Park is an absolutely beautiful spot to spend some time in the outdoors.

Mirror Lake is stocked with trout and channel catfish, but also is home to some really nice largemouth bass, crappies (calico bass), sunfish, yellow perch and pole-busting carp. I am talking about carp over 30 pounds!

Black Pond is also stocked with trout and catfish, but at this time of the year it is the trout that fishermen are after. There was a trout stocking previous to the so-called icefishing season, but since we did not get any ice there are even more trout in Black Pond.

And don’t overlook the Quinnipiac River for some action while trout fishing. So far, I have not seen that many fishermen on the Quinnipiac. I do know that it was stoked prior to the premature opening of trout fishing.

And it really made my day to see so many adults out fishing with the kids this time around. Fishing is a great way to get kids hooked on fishing, not drugs.

Hey, gotta run, but I will try to keep you posted. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops and medical workers who are on the front lines fighting the coronavirus.