Sportsmen Aid Connecticut Trout Hatcheries
July 17, 2003

Serious problems at the Burlington and Quinebaug hatcheries began to filter out to the public in 2003. A short report regarding matters of concern to Sportsmen was written in October of 2003, and can be found under Council Issues on our NWCSC web site.

Just over nine months have passed since our report and we are pleased to follow up that initial report with news of major progress at the Burlington hatchery. The Burlington hatchery has suffered losses of tens of thousands of trout each year. The primary cause for the loss has been the uncontrolled predation of fish eating birds. Predation from fish eating mammals was addressed by DEP with changes to the trapping regulations a few years ago that have resulted in more effective use of Connecticut’s trappers to address predators at sensitive locations such as the hatcheries. Avian predators continued to present a major problem. Since most of the predatory species are protected by either state or federal law, a different approach to controlling their activity had to be found.

DEP Biologist; David Zadrozny, who recently took over the management duties at the Burlington hatchery has done a commendable job in addressing the issues that affect his facility. Mr. Zadrozny instituted a program consisting of net coverings over the ponds and raceways most in need of protection from avian predators. Without agency resources to fund and build the needed protective coverings, Mr. Zadrozny found an effective partner for this project within the sporting community.

The Connecticut chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Farmington River Anglers are two organizations that have been cited at a recent Conservation Advisory Council meeting for their contributions in financing and constructing net coverings over most of the affected water bodies during this past year. This represents a considerable financial investment. Material to cover each pond averages $1500.00 in cost, and there are at least 30 ponds requiring netting! Sportsmen also contributed time and labor to construct the network and framing on site.

Most of the netting was in place in time to affect 2004 trout production and the results have been dramatic. The Burlington hatchery is typically reported to raise approximately 45 to 50 tons of trout to stockable size each year. In 2004, the hatchery has broken all previous records for trout production, coming in with 80 to 85 tons of stockable trout!

The extra 30 tons of trout will become part of the statewide distribution network. The extra capacity now realized in Burlington should be maintainable and thus relieve some of the pressure that remains with problems of water flow and capacity at the Quinebaug hatchery.

Several project items remain to be completed at the Burlington hatchery. Temporary netting needs to be replaced with permanent netting. Our NWCSC has followed this project and is now involved with the final stages of completion. We have been in touch with Mr. Zadrozny and the required netting has been ordered. Volunteers from the Northwest Chapter of Trout Unlimited, (a Council member) will provide the labor and the Council will fund the netting purchase.

This success story is yet one more example of what can be accomplished through the good will and cooperation of our state fish and wildlife agency and sportsmen’s organizations.





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