Local fishermen (and women) head out on opening day

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Apr. 22, 2013
From right: Mike Mariasi, his son Vinny, and friends Jarrett Good and Joseph Sinopoli fish at Gay City State Park in Hebron on freshwater opening day on April 20. Photos by Melanie Savage.
From right: Mike Mariasi, his son Vinny, and friends Jarrett Good and Joseph Sinopoli fish at Gay City State Park in Hebron on freshwater opening day on April 20. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Bloomfield resident George Szala headed out at 6 a.m. on April 20 to throw in a line at Lake Hayward in East Haddam. His friend, Hebron resident Bob Fitzgerald, opted to skip the early-morning session. “He was scared of the rain,” said Szala, good-naturedly ribbing his friend.

“I’ve been fishing in the rain on enough opening days,” countered Fitzgerald.

Szala was rewarded for his efforts. “I caught one trout,” he said.

By mid-morning the weather had cleared, and the friends headed out to a spot along the Blackledge River in Marlborough. They found it packed with fishermen. “We’re looking for someplace that’s not real crowded,” said Fitzgerald. So they headed to Gay City Pond in Hebron.

By late morning the crowd at Gay City State Park had thinned out from an early-morning peak, and Fitzgerald and Szala had a whole portion of the beach to themselves. But they weren’t having much luck. “We’re catching a lot of the bottom,” said Fitzgerald, pulling in a large clump of weeds. “I think we’re going to leave soon and check out a couple of other spots.”

On a ledge above the dam, several families were having better luck catching the adult trout stocked annually by the Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. According to the official report linked by the DEEP web site, Gay City Pond receives a combination of adult rainbow and brown trout. According to 2011 figures, the pond received a total of 910 fish throughout the season.

Bolton resident Mike Mariasi had brought his son, Vinny, to fish with several friends. The opening day trip to Gay City is a tradition for them. “I’ve been coming here ever since I was my son’s age,” said Mariasi, “a good 30 years or so.” Since their 6 a.m. starting time, Mariasi said the group had caught “about three trout each.” They planned to have the fish for dinner that night. “We’ll probably cook them on the smoker,” said Mariasi. “The kids like them better that way.”

Mariasi said his family has made Gay City Pond a tradition for a couple of reasons.  “They stock it well for the area,” said Mariasi. “And when the kids were smaller, it was a good place to let them play and still be able to keep an eye on them.”

A case in point was 4-year-old David, who was happily playing on the grassy bank while his dad pulled in the rainbow trout with friends. “We got four,” said the little boy excitedly, pointing to a bucket containing four adult rainbow trout. Nearby, 9-year-old Ariela was fishing with her grandpa, Alex. It was her first time fishing, and thus far Ariela hadn’t had much luck.

“She’s catching a lot of them,” said Ariela, pointing to her 6-year-old cousin, Emma, who was fishing with her grandpa, Nezir. As if on cue, Emma pulled out her line to find a four-inch sunfish on the hook. Not exactly a keeper, but Emma looked pleased as her grandpa pulled the fish off the hook and released it back into the pond.

For a list of release areas for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stocking program, go to http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2696&q=467456.


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