Good news for anglers: Free licenses and lots of catfish

Dads who are anglers — and anyone else for that matter — may fish for free on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, which is one of Connecticut’s two free fishing license days. The second is Aug. 13.

Anyone may obtain a free one-day fishing license to fish each of these days. The free 1 license for June 19 is available now through the state’s online sportsmen licensing system, which is mobile friendly. Licenses for Aug. 13 will be available starting July 27. Visit

That’s not the only good news for those who enjoy really fresh catfish.

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has stocked 24 lakes and ponds with approximately 15,800 channel catfish. It’s the 10th year DEEP has been able to stock channel catfish purchased with Federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds.

The “cats” stocked last week include adult fish averaging 12 to 18 inches in length and weighing just under 2 pounds; and juvenile fish, averaging 9 to 12 inches and about a half-pound in weight. Stocking the larger fish provides an immediate summer fishery for a great-tasting, high-quality fish, while stocking the smaller fish provides a cost-effective investment for catfish fishing into the future.

“This DEEP program establishes channel catfish in lakes where we know there is sufficient habitat to support a population of large gamefish,” said Bill Hyatt, chief of DEEP’s Bureau of Natural Resources. “Anglers have reported taking five- to seven-pound fish from several of the lakes.” He said the state has had great success developing fisheries for northern pike and walleye and is seeing similar results with catfish.

Lakes nearby that have been stocked include Lake Kenosia in Danbury, stocked with 545 juvenile fish and Beardsley Park Pond in Bridgeport, stocked with 800 adult fish.

While there is no minimum size for harvest or daily catch limit for catfish in Connecticut, DEEP strongly encourages anglers to only take those fish they intend to eat.

The 2016 Connecticut Angler’s Guide can be found online at A print version of the guide is available at Wilton Town Hall. Additional fishing and fisheries-related information can be found at and on Facebook at