BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Ryan King has a theory about fishing.
“If a kid has a fishing rod in their hand, they’re not going to get into trouble,” said King, manager of Jimmy O's Bait and Tackle in the Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport.
A lot of families tested out that theory Saturday, the official opening day of fishing season in Connecticut.
Fishing is a family tradition for Noel Gonzalez and his son and three daughters.
“They’ve all been fishing since they were 2, 3 years old,” said the longtime angler, who had stopped into Jimmy O's for supplies.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has released more than 306,000 trout into nearly 100 lakes and ponds and more than 120 rivers and streams across the state in preparation for the big day.
The stocking effort continues through mid-May and, when complete, will mean about 530,000 trout ready for the taking in Connecticut’s waterways.
“Opening Day is an exciting time for Connecticut’s many trout anglers, and they can look forward to a great fishing season,” said Susan Whalen, deputy commissioner of DEEP. “The fish are in excellent condition, our trout waters are stocked and anglers can enjoy a wide range of fishing options.”
Saltwater fishing opened Saturday for some species, too, so Jimmy O's has had a steady stream of customers all week, King said.
“We’ve had fathers and sons and a lot of fathers and daughters coming in,” he said. “It’s really nice to see.”
Some have been asking about new saltwater regulations. For instance, the rule for summer flounder has changed. Enthusiasts used to be able to take five flounder over 18 inches long. Now the rule is three flounder at 19 inches or longer.
“It’s preservation of the species,” King said.
Among the best places for families to fish on the opening weekend are the designated trout parks.
DEEP Fisheries and Wildlife information can also be found directly on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife .
For a complete list of fishing license vendors, visit the DEEP website, www.ct.gov/deep/fishing , or call DEEP Licensing and Revenue at 860-424-3105.