As part of DEP’s “No Child Left Inside” initiative, DEP initiated a pilot program (“Urban fishing”) in 2006 to enhance fishing opportunities in Connecticut’s major population centers.
- The initial site for this program, Bunnells Pond in Bridgeport’s Beardsley Park, was added to the spring trout stocking schedule in 2006.
- In 2007, Keney Park Pond (Hartford), Lake Wintergreen (Hamden/New Haven), and Mohegan Park Pond (Norwich) were added to the Urban Fishing program. DEP began stocking trout into Keney Park Pond and Lake Wintergreen that spring. Trout had already been stocked into Mohegan Park Pond for a number of years.
- Trout can typically provide a spring (and possibly fall) fishery in these areas. To provide a second, and year-round fishery, DEP decided to stock channel catfish into the Urban Fishing Areas.
- In 2008, the program expanded into the City of Waterbury, designating Lakewood Lake and Upper Fulton Park Pond as Urban Fishing Areas. Lakewood Lake was added to the list of areas stocked with channel catfish, and the current stocking of Upper Fulton Park with trout will continue.
- In the first four years (2007–2010) of catfish stocking, a total of 20,100 adult-size (14–18", 2-lb plus) channel catfish were stocked into the Urban Fishing Areas. An additional 2,250 9–12" fish were also released into Lake Wintergreen.
- To better reflect both the location of many of these areas and program goals, the program was renamed “Community Fishing” in late 2010.
- In 2007, DEP began a channel catfish stocking program in an effort to provide an additional year-round fishery for a large game fish. This is the first time that the DEP has released catfish into state waters.
- The catfish stocked by DEP are farmed fish obtained from commercial suppliers in Arkansas.
- In addition to the 22,350 catfish stocked in the Community Fishing Ponds (formerly “Urban Fishing Areas”) during the first four years of the program, 38,000 9–12" catfish were released into the following waters:
Lower Bolton Lake
Maltby Lakes 2 & 3
- All these lakes have adequate shore access and a sufficient forage base to support another population of large gamefish.
- DEP expects the 9–12" fish released into these lakes will survive for many years and grow to much larger size. To jump start the fishery, 800 of the larger 14–18" catfish were also stocked in 2007.
- DEP currently plans to stock catfish annually. As with other fisheries programs, both the channel catfish stocking and the Urban Fishing programs will be assessed for effectiveness after several years.