The DEP Fish Hatchery In CT Review

Now that the days are getting warmer, you might be looking for an “outdoor thing to do”. Have you ever considered a visit to the Fish Hatchery? The town of Burlington, Connecticut has one of two Fish Hatcheries in the state. The Trout and Salmon raised in this facility are eventually released in Connecticut’s streams and lakes.

As you walk inside the fish hatchery building, you’ll see long concrete, “river streams”. They’re not real river streams to us, but to the hundreds of trout swimming inside of them, they feel real. Each concrete tank has its own little waterfall to give the trout air and provide circulation. There is food on top of the tanks, and if you spot someone tending to the baby fish, they might tap some food down, so you can watch the babies eat.

The concrete tanks do not have lids, so kids can look right down at hundreds of little trout! Check out tank after tank to see these trout babies, in their various stages. If you stand back, and look from a distance, you’ll see them swimming back and forth in their environment.

When you get a second, head over to the office, and inquire about fishing maps – or guides, and great spots to fish. The DEP would love to encourage young children to fish & will happily share some great spots for beginners!

After you tire of seeing hundreds of trout inside, head out to the nursery pools to try and catch a glimpse of some large trout. Several pools are fenced off with netting, and easily accessible. More fish are happily swimming in their round, outdoor setting. There are also, large concrete tanks housed outside.

Mom’s Review:
I was so hesitant to pull up to the fish hatchery. I had passed the sign a couple of times, and saw it was open to the public. I still didn’t think it would be a “big” deal. But, I was pleasantly surprised. We were greeted by very nice people, that stopped to explain the purpose of the hatchery. Inside the staff was just as friendly, and loved seeing the kids. The kids loved seeing the baby trout, and salmon! It felt like a visit to an aquarium, (well, on a much smaller scale) but I didn’t have to pay $20 a person to get in! Good Stuff!

Friendly Staff
Great for those little fishermen/women!
Plenty of Fish To View on a self-guided tour!

This is a short day trip, so just keep in mind, you’ll run out of things to see pretty quickly. Just keep in mind, this is not action-packed, just a nice day with nature! To me, that is a nice quality, and sometimes just what we need.

Favorite Season To Visit:
I would go from Spring to Fall. Or, a warm winter day. The kids will want to spend some time outside. Because several of the tanks are inside, I will also list this as an “indoor” place.

Activities/Things To Do:
Enjoy nature
View Fish
Gather fishing maps – or guides – the staff would love to encourage kids to get out there and fish. They have maps of some fishing spots, and will tell you the places the fish are released for fishing!

What To Pack:
Baby Carrier: It might be hard to move a stroller around through the tanks.
Camera/Video Camera
Usual Kid Stuff
A fishing pole, and some bait if you want to take a short drive over to some great fishing spots. (Ask the DEP employees for insider information.)


  • The rules of the hatchery are:
  1. No running
  2. Don’t put your hands in the tank
  3. Don’t throw anything into the tanks
  • Groups of 5 or more can have a tour guide – Call ahead to arrange this.
  • The Burlington Web Site mentions a walking trail, at the facility. I did not see it, when I was there. So, after I read about it on the Burlington Web Site, I went back. Nope, no usable trail. Bummer.


Kid’s Review: What did the kids think of the place?:
Ella – “I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to keep trying to find more fish outside!”
Older kids didn’t go – They were upset we went without them, and I had to promise to go back.

Is There Anything That Made This Mom Nervous?
The floors might be a little slippery in some spots. That’s probably why the first rule is no running.
Also, be careful outside. The wooden boxes hold the pumps (I think). I wouldn’t let the kids stand on them.

Dad’s 2 Cents $$: What’s All Of This Quality Time Going To Cost Me?:
Absolutely Nothing. It’s a FREE visit to the fish hatchery.

34 Belden Road
Burlington, CT

7 Days a Week: 8-3:30

Our Experience:
I’ve noticed the big wooden sign with a fish, that says “Open To Public”, a few times. It definitely piqued my curiosity, and I wondered if it was worth a visit. To me, it looked like “official state property”, and even with the “open to public” sign, I was a little hesitant to just pull on up, and walk-in! But, we had an unusually warm winter day, and I had the two little ones with me. I happened to be looking for something to do outside. So, I thought, why not? Let’s check this out!

I’m so glad I pulled in. The staff was so friendly, and a very nice lady took the kids around to the different tanks. She showed them the baby fish and fed them so the kids could see.

Of course, she explained her 3 rules. They were # 1. No running. Hmm…, that’s one strike, for Connor. # 2 – Don’t put your hands in the tanks. Two strikes for Connor. # 3 – Don’t throw anything into the water. Three Strikes Connor! You’re out Connor! Oh, this is gonna be fun! Oh, Connor.

More Pictures For A Better Visual:
go to

A Web Site To Check Out:
go to

KidFriendlyThingsToDo.Com –

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