The 40-year failed effort to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River system ended last year after tens of millions of dollars had been spent. That doesn't mean the state of Connecticut isn't continuing to release hundreds of young salmon into rivers and lakes.
No one, however, expects those fish to travel like their ancestors down through the Connecticut River, out to sea, and return in several years to swim up-river and spawn. These babies are meant to end their lives on the hooks of fishing lines.
State officials are calling the on-going salmon-stocking thing a "Legacy Program" to satisfy fisher folk who like the idea of hauling in 2-6 pound salmon that were raised at the Kensington State Fish Hatchery.
"The Atlantic salmon recreational fishery has become quite popular," says Peter Aarrestad, director of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's inland fisheries unit, "and catching one of these large leapers provides a thrilling experience for anglers."
"DEEP will continue to stock salmon fry (aka young salmon), although at a much reduced rate, into a limited number of areas with the best habitat on several tributaries to the Connecticut River that were part of the restoration program," Aarrestad says.
About 300 salmon were let loose this week in the Naugatuck River and Mount Tom Pond. Another 300 are scheduled to be put into the Shetucket River and in Ellington's Crystal Lake later this week. Next month, 400 more salmon will be ready to be given their bit of freedom in Connecticut waters, and even more sometime in November.
Check out the DEEP's Connecticut Angler's Guide at its website details on regulations governing the catching of these dudes.