Here are your best bets for bass fishing in Connecticut.
Bass in most Nutmeg State waters are managed through statewide regulations (a standard 12-inch minimum length limit, 6-fish possession limit). However, in Bass Management lakes a special length and creel limits designed to improve fishing are in place. Many Bass Management lakes have 12- to 16-inch slot length limits, which mean that bass below 12 inches and above 16 inches may be harvested, but none within the “slot” (12-16 inches).
Slot limits are designed to protect larger, more desirable fish from being harvested while allowing anglers to harvest smaller fish that are often overabundant. Harvesting small bass reduces competition for food and allows remaining bass to grow faster.
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Bass populations are monitored by night electro-shocking, tournament weigh-ins and angler surveys. Most of the state’s important bass lakes are sampled every three years. Abundance, sizes and growth rates of bass are tracked over time to detect trends in fish population health. Since 1987, the Lake and Pond Monitoring Project has sampled more than 200 water bodies statewide.
In 2013 the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Inland Fisheries division embarked on a new bass research program in cooperation with the University of Connecticut’s Natural Resource Department. New research indicates that fishing causes genetic changes in fish populations by removing the boldest, most aggressive and active, fastest growing bass, which hampers biologists’ ability to control overabundant forage fish species. In addition the remaining less aggressive bass are harder to catch by angling.
It may be possible to introduce desirable genes from “natural” bass populations into public lakes by stocking bass from water supply reservoirs that are not fished. This program is investigating the feasibility of this cutting edge management strategy.
Some of Connecticut’s top-rated bass waters for 2014 include Bantam Lake in Litchfield (947 acres), Bashan Lake in East Haddam (273 acres), Candlewood Lake in Danbury (5,064 acres), East Twin Lake in Salisbury (569 acres), Mansfield Hollow Reservoir in Mansfield (460 acres) and Mashapaug Lake in Union (287 acres), where the current state-record largemouth was taken. Don’t ignore small ponds such as 113-acre Mono Pond in Columbia, where a largemouth rivaling the state-record fish was caught (and released) some years ago.
For more information on Connecticut’s bass management plan, licensing information and recommended hotspots, log onto www.ct.gov.
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