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BigOutdoors
04-15-2009, 07:07 AM
Fishing licenses snag on new computer system
By Charles Walsh
Correspondent
Updated: 04/11/2009 08:36:28 PM EDT

Can you believe it? Just seven days until opening day of the 2009 trout season. Time to dig out that cobwebbed trout rod and reel combo from the bedroom closet or garage, wipe off the dried algae and fish scales leftover from last season, and get ready to get out there.
One thing is for sure: there will be plenty of trout to go around.
The state Department of Environmental Protection's Inland Fisheries Division began its annual spring trout stocking on March 4. By Saturday, the staff expects to have 386,000 trout, over 200 truckloads, stocked in 102 lakes and ponds and 201 rivers and streams throughout the state.
If there is a dark cloud hanging over the opening day picture, it is the state's new online system for purchasing fishing licenses. Some bait and tackle shops are reluctant to shell out the $1,800 or so required to purchase the license-issuing computer from the DEP. Even shops that might spend the money are hesitant, fearing their lack of computer skills will make operating the system a huge headache. So in some cases anglers are going into tackle shops to buy licenses only to be told that have to go elsewhere. Most cities and towns have the license computers, but some do not. In addition, the DEP did a less-than-adequate job of alerting the fishing public to the new licensing system, so many anglers have no idea they cannot just drop in at their local tackle shop.
On the other hand, tackle shops that have purchased the system seem
to be happy with it.
"I used to have to set $5,000 aside every year to buy licenses from the city to sell at the store," said Jimmy Orifice of Jimmy O's in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. "With the new computer after the initial investment I didn't need to invest any more cash and I never run out of licenses."
Orifice also was pleased that with the computer sales system he received $1 for each license sold, doubling the old system's payout to stores.
Anglers with home computers can get a freshwater license directly online at the DEP website www.ct.gov/dep/fishing by clicking on the "Online Sportsman Licensing System" under "Featured Links" heading.
You'll need a driver's license and credit card. The computer must be equipped with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, Netscape 6.0 or higher or Firefox 2.0 or higher to complete the license transaction.
Here are the trout stocking breakdown by species: 66,700 brook trout (10-11 inch), 198,600 brown trout (10-11 inch), 7,000 brown trout (12 inch), 6,500 tiger trout (10-12 inch), 90,000 rainbow trout (10-12 inch), 16,000 rainbow trout (12-14 inch) 1,800 surplus brood stock, (3-10 pound trout).
An additional 700 brood stock of Seeforellen strain brown trout ranging in size from 1 to 19 pounds were stocked into 13 lakes and ponds in late December of last year and early January.
Trout anglers looking for an early start to the fishing season can visit one of the state's 16 trout management areas that are open for pre-season catch-and-release fishing only. The TMAs on the Mill River in Fairfield and the Saugatuck River in Westport and Weston have all been stocked. In addition there are TMA areas in the Hammonasset, Hockanum, Mill (Hamden), Naugatuck, Farmington, Mianus, Willimantic, Moosup, Yantic and Salmon river. There also are plenty of large holdover trout in the TMAs on the West Branch Farmington River and the Housatonic River TMA in Cornwall/Sharon.
Class I wild trout management areas (WTMAs), also open year-round for catch-and-release fishing, are in Deep Brook, Eightmile River, Hawleys Brook, Beaver Brook/Merrick Brook, Macedonia Brook, Mill River in Easton, Quinnipiac River, Tankerhoosen River, and Wachocastinook (Riga) Brook. Downstream portions of five of the designated sea-run trout streams are open year-round with a two-trout per day creel limit and a 15-inch minimum length.
The 2009 Connecticut Angler's Guide, available at many DEP offices, all town clerks offices and at many tackle shops, contains detailed information on specific locations and angling regulations.