Connecticut Saltwater Regulations

SPECIES OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT MINIMUM SIZE
Alewife/Blueback Herring CLOSED NO POSSESSION ALLOWED NO POSSESSION ALLOWED
American Eel¹ All Year 25 Per Angler 9 Inches
American Shad CLOSED NO POSSESSION ALLOWED NO POSSESSION ALLOWED
American Shad (Connecticut River System) All Year 6 fish per angler (American and hickory No Size Limit
Atlantic Cod² All Year 10 22 Inches
Black Sea Bass May 1 – Dec. 31 5 15 Inches
Black Sea Bass(Party/Charter Vessels: For paying passengers only) May 1 – Dec. 31 8 15 Inches
Blue Crab May 1 – Nov. 30 No Limit Hard Shell 5 Inches, Soft Shell 3 1/2 Inches, Egg-bearing females prohibitted
Jonah Crab May 1 – Nov. 30 50 Egg-bearing females prohibitted
Bluefish (including “snappers”) All Year 10 No Size Limit
Haddock² All Year No Limit 18 Inches
Hickory Shad All Year 6 fish per angler (In aggregate with American Shad on the Connecticut River and it’s tributaries) No Size Limit
Atlantic Menhaden All Year 50 Fish per angler or a 5 gallon bucket (whichever is greater) No Size Limit
Pollock² All Year No Limit 19 Inches
Scup (Porgy) Enhanced Opportunity Shore Fishing Sites the Minimum Length is 9 inches May 1 – Dec. 31 30 10 Inches
Scup (Porgy) Anglers aboard licensed
party/charter boats
Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 45 10 Inches
Sea-Run Trout(Brown, Brook, Rainbow) All Year 2 in aggregate 15 Inches
Striped Bass (Bonus Striped Bass Fishing Program) All Year 1 28 Inches
Summer Flounder(Fluke) (Enhanced Opportunity Shore Fishing Sites the Minimum Length is 17 inches) May 17 – Sept. 21 3 19 Inches
Tautog (Blackfish) April 1 – April 30 2 16 inches
July 1 – August 31 2 16 inches
Oct. 10 – Dec. 6 4 16 inches
Weakfish All Year 1 16 Inches
White Perch All Year 30 7 Inches
Winter Flounder April 1 – Dec. 31 2 12 Inches
Sharks/Tuna* https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/

(1) Eel pots limited to 2 pots per person, personal use only. Legal methods: Angling, snagging, spearing, eel pots. Silver eel harvest is prohibited.
(2) www.nero.noaa.gov/sustainable/recfishing/regs
(3) Daily Logbook Catch Reporting required on trips taking Black Sea Bass.

NOTES:

*Atlantic highly migratory species compliance guide: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/Compliance_Guide/index.htm

Marine recreational fishing regulations apply “while on the waters of this state or on any parcel of land, structure, or portion of a roadway abutting tidal waters of this state.” Consistent with this regulation, regardless where you caught your fish, (federal waters, another states’ waters) any fish in your possession must meet Connecticut regulations (size, season, possession limits) when you are in Connecticut waters.

Definition of “Land” and “Possess”

For sport fishing purposes, to “land” means to fail to immediately return any finfish, lobster, or crab, without avoidable injury, to the waters from which such species were taken. Any landed fish counts toward the daily creel limit. The term “possess” has the same practical meaning as “land” – failing to immediately return to the water from which such species were taken.

Fish taken contrary to the minimum length, creel limit or open season regulations to be released

Any fish taken contrary to the minimum length, creel limit or open season regulations must, without avoidable injury, be returned immediately to the water from which taken.

Daily Creel limit.

The daily creel limit is the maximum number of fish an individual engaged in sport fishing may possess or land while on the waters of this state or on any parcel of land, structure, or portion of a roadway abutting tidal waters of this state. This limit applies to each 24 hour daily period regardless how many trips a person may make in a day. Note this is an individual limit. Pooling landings among a group of fishermen in a party is not permitted. In other words three anglers in a party fishing under a 3 fish limit do not get a total of 9 fish. Rather, each individual angler in the party is limited to 3 fish.

This (creel limit) section shall not be construed to restrict the number of legally acquired fish that may be kept in storage in the home or other storage facilities, or in a commercial storage facility where seafood is handled, stored, processed or marketed

Minimum length
The minimum length is measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. The tail may be pinched to achieve the longest length when measuring, but the minimum length does not include the tendril (dorsal tail filament) found on black sea bass. Fish measuring less than the identified minimum length must be released immediately, with avoidable injury.

Open Season
The calendar period during which a species may be possessed or landed. Fish taken outside the open season must be released immediately, without avoidable injury.

Culling or high-grading is prohibited
“Culling” or “high-grading” means discarding or returning a previously retained fish to the water in order to retain a more desirable fish. Any fish placed on a stringer, in a container, cooler, live well or similar device, or otherwise not immediately released to the water shall count against the daily creel limit.

Note:

  • This rule is not meant to prevent tagging and release of fish, other than striped bass, under a tagging program consistent with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s standards for scientific tagging programs.
  • Fishing tournaments that meet certain criteria may be granted an exemption from the culling restriction by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. See section 26-159a-26 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

Striped bass spearing or gaffing is prohibited
Striped bass may only be taken by angling (spearing is prohibited) and the use of a gaff in the taking of striped bass is prohibited. However, striped bass legally taken by spearing in another state may be landed in Connecticut.

Summer flounder filleting
If summer flounder are filleted on board either: 1. each fillet is required to meet the minimum fish length, or 2. the carcass (rack) of the fish from which the fillet was removed has to be retained and the carcass has to meet the minimum length. This rule shall not be construed to prevent filleting of fish on shore or dockside.

Mixed commercial and sport fishing trips
No person engaged in sport fishing shall also, during the same trip for which the creel limit applies, possess any fish taken under commercial fishery trip limits. Note that commercial fishery possession limits apply to the aggregate of all persons on board, meaning if one person on a vessel is commercial fishing the entire vessel is limited to the commercial trip limit even if the other anglers on that vessel are sport fishing.

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