Fishing is being prohibited in several areas on the Farmington River due to unhealthy water temperatures caused by the heat, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Officials said the emergency closure goes into effect Saturday. DEEP officials said the hot weather is creating unhealthy water temperatures for trout.
“Fishing for trout in these thermal refuges would put additional stress on these fish, and could lead to increased mortalities,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Mason Trumble said. “To protect these fish, we are establishing refuges where fishing is prohibited near key tributaries on the West Branch Farmington River and Farmington River.”
According to officials, fish congregate near tributaries, or side streams, in hotter weather. This is because they bring cooler water into the river.
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Fishing will be closed at certain tributaries in an effort to protect fish populations. People will still be allowed to go fishing on most of the Farmington River.
“High temperatures combined with low stream flows – are causing fish in these rivers to suffer from heat stress,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.
The following are areas that will be closed:
- East Mountain Brook (Hallock Brook), New Hartford
- Cherry Brook, Canton
- Rattlesnake Hill Brook, Canton
- Burlington Brook, Burlington
- Hawley Brook, Avon
- Unionville Brook, Farmington
- Hyde Brook, Farmington
- Pequabuck River, Farmington
Over the past week, water temperatures during the day reached into the 90s and remained above 70 at night. Similar conditions are expected as we head towards the end of the summer.
DEEP officials said they plan to increase flow into the river by releasing water from the West Branch Reservoir. They plan to conserve water to last into the coming weeks of hot weather.
The closure is expected to remain until Sept. 15, but it could be shortened if water conditions improve. Anyone who violates the closure is subject to a $154 fine.
Even though fishing is only being conserved in certain areas, people are still being asked to avoid fishing during the hottest times of the day and consider going upstream of the Collinsville impoundment. Water temperatures are cooler and fish are less stressed there.
DEEP said they took similar action in Aug. 2016 when similar conditions led to trout dying as a result of increased stress.