WALLINGFORD - On Opening Day in Connecticut, if the ponds are stocked, the fishermen will come.
Dozens of fisherman flocked to Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford as early as 4 o’clock Saturday Morning.
“We didn’t think it be that packed this morning,” said Guy Pappalardo. “When we got in here though, first-row parking was filled.”
This year, fishermen eagerly anticipated opening day. Last year’s thunderstorms and macrobursts tore through Wharton Brook, cutting the fishing season short. And that had anglers of all ages itching to get back on the pond. Not even a little rain could stop fishermen from partaking in opening day tradition.
“I'd like it not to be raining but I came no matter what,” said Pete Lupoli who has been participating in opening day for 45 years. “You know, getting hooked up on peoples lines -- that’s all part of the opening day fun.”
The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection stocked 260 locations with about 310,000 trout. For Tony DeGrogorio and his son Antonio it’s a tradition better than any other holiday.
“He’s been fishing since he was 4,” said Tony. “He’s 13 now it’s just very enjoyable to come out every year spending time together. It’s better than Christmas Day.”
“It’s for the love of the sport right now building memories,” said Johnny Garcia. “My buddy caught the first fish today so he won the pool.”
Some fisherman also found themselves lucky in more ways than one. For Chris Mallinson and his son Aidan, building memories is something, not even a little rain could wash away.
“It’s an awesome experience that I hope he never forgets it,” said Chris.
DEEP’s trout stocking began in February and will continue through late May. Connecticut residents can purchase 2019 fishing licenses online by visiting DEEP's website, DEEP offices or at participating town halls and retailers.