CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon
That was a big salmon! I said after seeing
a large fish break water and hearing its return to the river.
My heart rate increased. I was anticipating hooking my first
salmon of this season as I waded out to the center of the
Naugatuck River to get within casting distance. I worked
a fly that has caught many salmon out to the where the salmon
had risen. I made about 30 casts with no follows or hits,
so I changed to an attractor fly. Ill call it Popsicle.
Ive used it several times, but never hooked a salmon
with it. My Fishing Angel suggested it, so whos to
argue with an angel.
After another 25-30 uneventful casts over the same water,
I began working my way down river. I knew there was at least
one large salmon in the one hundred yards of river I was
fishing. That was enough motivation to continue.
About 15 minutes later and 20 yards downriver, there was
a big swirl behind the Popsicle. Evidently I pulled the
fly away from a large fish when it attempted to bite it.
My heart renewed a quick beat and I hightened my alertness.
That fish was only about 15 feet away. A few casts later,
as the Popsicle swimming about three quarters across the
current, a salmon grabbed it. A few seconds after I set
the hook, Salmon salar-the leaper- was airborne
with the popsicle hooked to its lower jaw. I had a close-up
view. It was a hen about 34 inches long and 14 pounds heavy.
She took off across river leaping a second, third and fourth
time. I doubted I would land her on the barbless hook. She
expended so much power and energy as she headed upriver.
I was sure to play her with line on the reel making sure
there was no slack fly line.
I wanted to land and release her as soon as possible before
she got exhausted and could not be resuscitated. I waded
back toward shore to put myself in an area of quiet water
while keeping the line taught. She resisted my trying to
steer her into quiet and shallow water by going airborne
a fifth and sixth time. What a sight! And there was no other
people to see the action. Theres always the possibility
on the hook coming out when the angle on the line changes,
but I took the chance in order to get her in a position
where I could release her. As I changed the angle on the
rod she let me know she wasnt going to make it easy
by going airborne about two feet and coming down broadside
on the river surface with a resounding splash.
I was lucky the hook remained in her jaw until I was able
to get her in some shallow, quiet water. I placed my rod
on a boulder, reached down and lightly touched the fly and
it came loose from her jaw. We looked at each other momentarily.
I firmly grabbed her in front of her tail, lifted her out
of the water long enough to point her upriver and held her
so the current moved into her mouth and out her gills. She
was exhausted! After a few minutes, I let her go. I saluteded
her and thanked her for the entertainment. She responded,
with one broad stroke of her tail she swam off into the
faster water. I looked skyward and thanked my Fishing Angel.
That scenario took place recently on the Naugatuck River.
Note: I do not use a landing net; my fly rod was a nine-foot,
seven-weight with eight-pound test leader. My estimate of
the salmons length and weight is accurate because
I have my first steelhead trout that I caught mounted on
a wall at home; she is thirty four inches long and weighed
fourteen pounds. The salmon was a mirror image of my steelhead.
Recently the first of its annual stockings of surplus broodstock
Atlantic salmon for 2010-2011 was completed. The Shetucket
River received 100, Crystal Lake (Ellington) 45 and 45 for
Mount Tom Pond (Morris-Litchfield-Washington) and 100 salmon
into the Naugatuck River. Broodstock salmon at the Kensington
State Fish Hatchery are spawned to provide eggs for the
CT River Atlantic salmon Restoration Program. The surplus
broodstock DEP is stocking in 2010 range in size from 4
to 20 lbs each. . Following spawning later this fall, the
DEP expects an additional 700 salmon from the Kensington
Hatchery will be available for stocking in November.
Anglers should be aware that the regulations for broodstock
Atlantic salmon released into lakes and ponds are different
from the regulations for salmon in the Naugatuck, Housatonic
and Shetucket Rivers. In each lake, the regulations for
methods, seasons and minimum lengths for salmon are the
same as for trout in that specific water body but the daily
creel limit is one salmon per day. As such, specific regulations
for salmon fishing in Crystal Lake, Mount Tom Pond, Mashapaug
Lake and Beach Pond can be found in the 2010 Connecticut
Anglers Guide and are provided at the conclusion of
this news release.