Flooding may have displaced stocked trout

HARTFORD, Conn.— Thousands of freshly stocked trout may
have been swept away by this week's storm, but anyone who finds one
better not try to put it on the dinner table without a fishing
license, state officials said.

The Department of Environmental Protection has been stocking
tens of thousands of fish in ponds, rivers and lakes in preparation
for Saturday morning's start of trout-fishing season.

Fishing without the $20 state license carries a $77 fine during
the season, and $154 during off season. The fines can be applied
even if the fish are caught by hand.

William A. Hyatt, the DEP's director of inland fisheries, said
wild fish and trout that were stocked more than a week ago probably
fared well.

However, officials worry that many of the stocked fish might now
be swimming in flooded fields and backyards because they had little
time to get accustomed to their surroundings and establish their

Flooding in several waterways — particularly the Quinnipiac,
Connecticut and Farmington rivers — has inundated low-lying areas
and left fish swimming among trees, marshes, fields and yards.

``Flooding is part of the natural process and adds nutrients to
the land, but part of that is that fish do leave the river basin
and can get stranded in fields, which will lead to seeing some
large fish in very small waters, backyards and even basements,''
Hyatt said.

People who find any wayward trout are being asked to pick up the
fish and put them back into the nearest permanent body of water.