Fishing offers reprieve, sport for social distancing

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

The second Saturday of April has long been circled on the calendar for seasoned anglers and novice fisherman alike. Traditionally, the second weekend of the month marks opening day of fishing season — a day to usher in the sweet smells of spring and put winter behind us once and for all.

Opening day came early this year. Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order in March that kicked off the state’s fishing season more than two weeks early.

“These are definitely unprecedented times,” Mike Beauchene, supervising fisheries biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, told the Republican-American. “We probably received two dozen requests to open the season. I think a whole lot of this was coming from people saying: ‘This is a crazy and stressful time, can you help us out?’”

The move provides an opportunity for a recreational activity that allows for social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are adamant about following CDC guidelines,” Beauchene told the Republican-American. “Fortunately, fishing lends itself to that, because you don’t want to be close together because you don’t want to tangle your lines.”

Anglers age 16 and up need a fishing license. Many town clerks offices are closed, but these can still be purchased online through the DEEP website.

DEEP is encouraging all anglers to follow social-distancing practices and maintain six feet of separation, practice good personal hygiene, and stay home and away from others if they feel sick. DEEP is also urging people to choose a different location if a spot starts to become crowded.

There are plenty of local fishing spots to choose from.

In Naugatuck, there’s Baummer’s Pond on Mill Street. The banks of Hop Brook and the Naugatuck River also offer spots for anglers to cast their lines.

The Naugatuck River runs through Beacon Falls, too, and anglers can take up a spot on the river bank in Riverbend Park off Nancy Avenue. There’s also Carrington Pond at Matthies Park on Pines Bridge Road or Toby’s Pond off Route 42.

Prospect offers the pond at McGrath Park behind Town Hall.

For information on fishing in the state, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.