Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
Photo of angler holding a striped bass that he caught in the Connecticut River in Hartford, CT - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo of angler holding a striped bass that he caught in the Connecticut River in Hartford, CT. Credit: USFWS

License Information

Fishing in the Connecticut River basin is regulated by four State agencies. You can find information on buying your fishing license and on the specific the laws and regulations of each state by visiting their Web sites:

In CT, MA, NH and VT, it is illegal to fish for Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River or its tributaries while the population is under restoration. If you catch a salmon, you must release it immediately. In Massachusetts, for example, fines for illegally catching salmon are $50-100 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

It is also illegal to fish for shortnose sturgeon. This is an endangered species. So, the Massachusetts Environmental Police may enforce a $50-100 fine and/or 30 days in jail or Federal Law Enforcement agents can fine an individual up to $100,000 (or $200,000 for a corporation) and impose a sentence of not more than a year of prison.

Trout or Salmon? Know the Difference

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Where is Atlantic Salmon Fishing Legal?

The Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program involves collection and spawning of returning adult Atlantic salmon. Most of the young that are produced are stocked after hatch throughout the watershed. A small portion are retained and grown to adulthood at the hatchery. These fish are called domestic brood stock because they have never been to the ocean. They will produce eggs and fry for stocking in the watershed. Once they have done their job, they are placed in lakes and ponds outside of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. These Atlantic salmon are legal to catch.

Massachusetts lists the lakes and ponds where Atlantic salmon brood stock are released on their Web site. Connecticut stocks Atlantic salmon brood stock into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. Anglers make almost 10,000 trips per year to fish for surplus salmon brood stock in these rivers. Vermont stocks brood stock in Lakes Willoughby and Seymour for ice fishing. In New Hampshire, the tagged brood stock are released into the Merrimack River for a recreational fishery there.


Last updated: September 1, 2010
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