Connecticut may be small, but small is the opposite of what describes Fly-Fishing in this state. The unique combination of stocked rivers and ponds, along with the wonderful coastline that borders the Atlantic Ocean, is what makes Connecticut one of the most experience packed states to Fly-Fish in. Connecticut can easily be overlooked when you go to plan your next trip, but I have made this guide to explain why it shouldn’t be.
The information I have gathered will give nine great places to begin your Fly-Fishing journey in Connecticut and you don’t need to stop there; the state is filled with plenty of great places to fish.
Best Places to Fly-Fish in Connecticut
1. Farmington River
The Farmington River has a rich history. Originally used for “small-scale manufacturing” the Farmington River is a 46.7-mile-long river on its main stream, but its longest branch becomes an 80.4-mile-long river. Stocked at four different locations, totaling around 40,000 fish every year, the Farmington River is a great place to find trout.
With year-round fishing in its Upper Trout Management Area and seasonal catch and release at its Lower Trout Management Area, and plenty of other great locations, the Farmington River is a perfect location to begin your Fly-Fishing experience in Connecticut.
Where to Fly-Fish on the Farmington River
I would suggest testing the waters, so to speak, by familiarizing yourself with the Farmington River at its Upper Trout Management Area. This is a 3.5-mile-long length of water that harbors huge brown trout, and plenty of them! The only thing hampering the year-round fishing here is the year-round catch and release regulations in place. Additionally, only barbless hooks are permitted for use here.
Recommended Flies for the Farmington River
- Blue Wing Olive or Hendrickson in the spring. Around mid-April when things begin to warm up is usually when these will hatch.
- In the summer, Caddis and Stonefly nymphs are great to fly.
2. Housatonic River
A popular Fly-Fishing destination in Connecticut, the Housatonic River, is also known for its white-water rafting. Much of the river is either class I or class II white waters, however certain portion can get up to class V.
The famous Appalachian trail follows the river from Bulls Bridge all the way to Falls Village. Known for some of the finest trout in all of the East Coast, the Housatonic River provides bountiful recreation opportunities, but specifically an amazing, strictly catch and release, Fly-Fishing experience.
Where to Fly-Fish on the Housatonic River
Housatonic Meadows State Park. Many activities such as camping, hiking, and, yes, Fly-Fishing make the 452-acre State Park a smart location to take your shot at fishing the Housatonic.
- March Brown (#10-12)
- Pheasant Tail (#12-18)
- Stoneflies (#6-10)
- Pheasant Tails (#14-20)
- Black Stoneflies (#18-22).
3. Mianus River
The Mianus River begins in North Castle, New York and flows into Fairfield County, Connecticut. Best in the spring and the fall, Fly-Fishing on the Mianus is really dependent on rainfall and water levels.
There is a chapter of Trout Unlimited located in Mianus with over 500 hundred members. Dedicated to the conservation of cold-water fisheries, this chapter of Trout Unlimited is also a great place to find local Fly-Fishing information.
Where to Fly-Fish on the Mianus River
The best place to Fly-Fish here is also a State Park. The Mianus River Park is the most popular destination to fish on the Mianus and, like any State Park, provides an abundance of recreation activities.
Recommended Flies for the Mianus River
- Known for an early stonefly hatch, in February and March, stoneflies are great near the beginning of the year.
- Sulphurs, light Cahills and other mayflies in May
- Nymphs like Deer Hair Caddis as the summer progresses.
4. Naugatuck River Fly Fishing
This watershed is great for catching trout as it is stocked with around 1300 annually. Access points include: Gated Park Road, Newfield Road, Newfield Spring Road, and North Main Street. Atlantic Salmon are also stocked here. The Naugatuck River (Wikipedia) is considered a “trophy trout stream” , large fish and exciting catches are sure to always be available.
Due to the large size of the fish here, a 7, or even 9, weight rods are recommended. Additionally, plenty of backing and a strong drag system are essential to catching the fish in this river. The Atlantic Salmon will prefer large and bright leach patters, while the trout will prefer nymphs and streamers. I recommend additional weight for nymphs here as the rapid quality of this river will make fishing smaller flies or lighter flies more difficult.
5. Salmon River
This river is actually formed by the combined flow of two separate rivers: the Jeremy River and the Blackledge River. This water remains cool and pristine by a combination of natural and man-made aspects. The large trees that border both sides of this river keep the water shaded and the extensive conservation effort carried out by the Wopowog Wildlife Management Area keep the waters clean and packed with plenty of trout and, of course, salmon. Access is mostly found through the Salmon River State Park.
Newly stocked trout are easy to catch as they are stocked near maturity. Open year round, generic trout-attracting flies, such as the Adams or the Caddis, should produce pretty predictable catches. Additionally, a standard 5 or 6 weight rods should be perfect for catching fish, but you risk the possibility of catching a larger salmon, or even trout, and getting you line broken. So, you should be sure to bring everything you need to re-setup your Fly-Rod.
6. Moosup River
Heavily stocked with brown and rainbow trout, Fly-Fishing is permitted in its lower section. Fly-Fishing here is catch and release. Access points for this watershed include: Water St. Bridge, East Main St, Barber hill, and River Street Road. Currently a dam exists that separates the lower and upper sections, however this dam had been marked for removal to assist even further in the migration of its fish species.
Again, due to the river being heavily stocked with trout, and common trout-attracting flies should perform just fine. Additionally, common midweight tackle should fair just as fine against most any fish that can be found here.
7. Kent Falls Brook Trout Park
As a breakoff of the Housatonic river, this is one of the many trout parks created by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. It is stocked with around 1300 trout every year. Common access points include: The Corner pool, the pool between the corner and footbridge, the footbridge, the covered bridge, the pool above the covered bridge, and the first two big pools at the base of the falls.
Often dry flies will work just fine here as these pools are generally calm, although nymphs for trout such as Caddis flies will also work perfectly. A lightweight 3 or 4 weight rod should accommodate the fish in this park and, due to these trout almost all being stocked trout, this would be a great location for beginners.
Other Tout Parks to Fly Fish in Connecticut include:
- Black Rock State Park, Watertown;
- Chatfield Hollow State Park, Killingworth;
- Pasture Pond, Plainfield (Quinebaug Hatchery)
- Southford Falls State Park, Oxford
- Spaulding Pond, Norwich
- Stratton Brook State Park, Simsbury
- Valley Falls Pond, Vernon
- Wharton Brook State Park, Wallingford
- Wolfe Park, Monroe
- Day Pond, Colchester
- Natchaug River, Eastford
8. Quinnipiac River
Access points are at Old Abutments (just below Cheshire St bridge), the pipe crossing before the pump house (above and below the pipe), and the small park with the red bridge at the bottom of the greenway. All points provide you with an amazing trout fishing experience. Due to the presence of heavy industry in the 19th and 20th century, the Quinnipiac River used to be plagued with high amounts of pollution and remnants of that still exists today. This is why it is a good idea to consult with local wildlife agencies as to where exactly on the river is safe to fish for the catches you plan to eat. With 2500 trout stocked annually, however, there should be an abundance no matter where you decide to fish.
Much like the trout park, common lightweight tackle will do just fine here as the water is relatively calm and the trout here are not small but also not trophy size. Nymph flies would work best in the areas near Hanover Pond and other sections of the river where the water is a bit deeper.
9. Pomperaug River
Important to agriculture, this 90-squar-mile watershed created a landscape similar to that of the fertile Connecticut River Valley. Layers of glacially placed sediments make up an aquifer that purifies the water. It is for this reason that the Pomperaug River is a beautiful, pristine stretch of water; spanning all the way from the center of Woodbury to the Housatonic river where it eventually discharges.
Access points include: multiple spots along the river at Three Rivers Park, Near Judson Road Bridge, and Hollow Park. Additionally, around 9600 trout are stocked in this river annually. Known as a “trophy trout stream”, it would be a good idea to use medium tackle.
Recommended Fly Fishing Gear for Connecticut
In terms of rods, two main sizes should cover you at most any river. These rods are a weight-4 rod, which is a compromise between a light and medium weight rod, and a weight-8 rod, which is a heavier weight rod for the larger salmon and trophy trout you can find at so many of these locations.
In terms of flies, I would recommend keeping an assortment of standard trout-attracting dry flies and wet flies as most locations are stocked with mature trout rather than halving experienced fish who would know better the hatching flies in the area. Some specific flies would be:
- Blue Winged Olive
- Black Caddis
Some other gear to bring would include:
- Weights, to get nymphs to drop easily in faster moving waters, as well as float more naturally down the rapids.
- Waders, to get to better spots when the common access points are not returning predictable catches.
- A kayak or larger row boat, to either maneuver through smaller tributaries or to withstand faster moving white waters.
Official References for Fly-Fishing in Connecticut
The most useful resource I have been able to find is a pretty much all-encompassing database of trout stocking maps and access points that are provided by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP, for short).
Fly Shops and Clubs in Connecticut
- The Mianus chapter of Trout Unlimited – http://www.mianustu.org/
- Housatonic River outfitters – http://www.dryflies.com/
- Farmington River trading company – https://www.farmingtonrivertradingcompany.com/
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