Self-described “diehard fisherman” Matt Walsh, caught an 18-inch, three-pound brown trout during opening weekend in the Norwalk River across the street from Walmart on Route 7.

“Yeah, that’s right, Walmart,” he said in a message to The Bulletin.

Reached by phone, Walsh, who lives in Wilton, said, “I’ve been fishing forever and that’s the biggest trout by far I’ve ever caught in the Norwalk River.”

The Norwalk River is one of nearly 170 rivers and streams stocked with trout earlier this year by the state Department of Energy and the Environment.

Walsh grew up in Ridgefield and was “known as the kid on the bike with the rods going to everybody’s ponds and lakes and rivers.”

And he’s still fishing. Since he travels internationally for his work, he has fished around the world from the Middle East to Latin America.

But, whenever he gets the chance, he drives up and down Route 7, fishing for trout. Walsh didn’t get out on opening day, which was Saturday, April 9, but he went fishing with a friend on Sunday.

“We were by the recycling center in Wilton, across from the high school, then we went farther down by Walmart, to a little secret spot I go to,” he said.

Using a Rooster Tail lure, he felt a tug. “I hooked onto this, and I thought I was stuck at one point. Slowly but surely this thing came up to the surface. My heart was pounding. I ended up walking halfway into the water so I wouldn’t lose it.”

After taking some pictures and showing it off to friends and family, he let it go “to grow bigger for another day.”

In addition to the big brown trout, he also caught a nine-inch rainbow and a 10-inch brown trout. There are also brook trout in the river and Walsh said, “you have a good chance of catching all three on any given day” in not only the Norwalk River but the Silvermine River as well.

But you may have to act quickly. Walsh said he noticed the Norwalk River is lower right now compared to other years, perhaps because of the lack of snow melt due to the mild winter.

“To me, that means early summer, mid summer and in the fall, the river will be a lot lower and even dried up in other areas.”