Connecticut Fly Fishing
Connecticut fly fishing opportunities include saltwater fishing for striped bass, bluefish and albacore along the coast. The Housatonic River and Farmington River also provide great dry fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout, and smallmouth fishing in warmer months.
The Deerfield River
The Deerfield River, located in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, is fed by the cool waters of the Fife Dam reservoir. The dam marks the up-stream beginning of the upper catch-and-release area terminating above the Mohawk bridge in the lower catch-and-release area. The entire river, including the no-kill section, is stocked annually throughout the early spring and summer with rainbows in the 14 to 20 inch class. Adding more variety are colorful native brookies. Because Massachusetts has no closed fishing season, impatient anglers can try their luck as soon as melting ice permits access to the river.
The Farmington River
The Farmington River is the foremost, full season, trout stream in Connecticut. As the river enters Connecticut from Massachusetts, the west branch begins its southward journey from the Colebrook and West Branch reservoirs. The water release is from the bottom of the dam, ensuring cool water temperatures for its tail waters and makes trout fishing last through the heat of the summer.
As it leaves the dam, the Farmington passes through the near-wilderness areas of Connecticut. One mile above where Route 318 crosses the river is the start of the “Trout Management Area”, which extends for 4 miles. This stretch is open year round, where all fish must be returned to the water unharmed.
Guide to fishing the Farmington
Access is limited in the upper parts of the river, but it is good on almost the rest of the river. The river is stocked annually with both Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Recently some Atlantic Salmon have been stocked as well. One of the most enjoyable things about this river is the wide open, completely wadable water you see when you get there. The water flow is controlled by the Scotland Dam a couple of miles upstream from Baltic. Some caution is advised while fishing/wading here.
- Nymphs – Woolybuggers, Hare’s ear, Pheasant Tail, Brassie, Hellgrammites, all work well here.
- Caddis – This is the best all around fly for this river. You will need all colors and all stages. Sizes range from a 20 to a 12. Emergers work especially well here.
- Mayflys – For you dry fly “specialists”, I suggest you come to the river and observe. The olives are very prominent and have their own tint to them. There are great spinner falls at dusk.
The Yantic River, from just above the Barstow Rd. access point to an area about a half mile downstream is Flyfishing only, stocked heavily and offers good fishing. Then from Gilman (across from mill) to just above Colonial Sports is fast moving and challenging. From Colonial to the next bridge is Flyfishing only and is quite good. A little further downstream it runs thru a residential area, flows into a pond and emerges around the Stockhouse Rd area. From here to the beginning of some large fields is good early season angling. Once you are past this area the river flows into the Norwich area, You must pick your spots to fish here. Some of the area here is slow deeper water, with a muddy bottom.
- Drys – I have found that Mosquitos, Knats and Adams work well here. Also a good choice is the ever present Caddis fly. Here though it seems the smaller the better.
- Nymphs – Little Black Stoneflies, Beadhead Hares Ears, Beadhead Isonychia, Zug Bug, and others.
- Streamers – Small size Woolybuggers, Downwing Hornbergs, and different colored Ghost patterns .
More like a brook than a river, this gem still has “native” trout production. Little River meanders through many eastern towns. It starts way up in Hampton and flows through the following towns; Scotland, Canterbury, and Hanover. Some of this river is not accessible at all. It is stocked by the state at a number of locations. This is a tough river to flyfish, because It runs mostly in deep woods. I have fished this river since I was very young. It is a good idea to ask local landowners for access.
- Streamers – Woolybuggers, Grey Ghost, Hornberg, and Sculpin Imitations work well.
- Nymphs – Stonefly (various types), Hare’s ear, Red Fox Squirrel Hair are enough to get you started.
- Drys – Caddis are sparce on this river but don’t rule them out. Mayflys are here but not in any force, I always carry some small ( size 18 ) Adams for this river.
This river is really like two rivers in one. From the area in the town of Moosup (the Old Brunswick Mill Site) to Rte. 14 in Central Village it is open fishing. There are many good spots to fish here on the upper Moosup. The next part from Rte 14 to the Quinnebaug river is a Trout Management Area. This area is catch and release only. It is also broken into two parts. One for any type of spinners and the lower section is Flyfishing only. It is clearly posted on the river banks. I fish this river quite often in the later part of the season because it is very shaded and cool late in the year. Some of the largest trout I have taken on a fly come from this river.
- Streamers – Woolybuggers, Sculpin Imitations and Red Nose Dace.
- Caddis – This seems to be the best choice, Dry or Emergers.
- Nymphs – Stone flys, Hares ear.
The Quinnebaug is the largest of these rivers. It is also the most difficult to wade in. The slippery rocky bottom can be quite difficult to navigate at times, so be careful. This is a large river with all kinds of water, parts of it are very deep and others are only knee deep. The state stocks the river at various locations. In the summer this river turns very green from the low water and growth of plant life.
- Nymphs/Streamers – Woolybuggers early in the season. Later switch to smaller larvae and pupae type patterns.
- Drys – This river like the Shetucket is a wide open fishery, many types of Mayflies hatch here. A good Cahill hatch here. Also the Olives are abundant. I will mention that this is a good river for terrestrials; meaning hoppers, ants, beetles..etc…
- Caddis – This is however the #1 source of food for trout on this river. From caddis pupae to emergers to hatching adults the river is full of Caddis. Not to mention the great Alder Fly hatch.
The Housatonic River flows through western Massachusetts and down into Connecticut where it spills through some of the Berkshire foothills
In that last few year a lot has been written about fishing for false albacore…
DEP Announces Atlantic Salmon Stocking
The Shetucket River in the eastern part and the Naugatuck River in the western part both receive stockings of excess Atlantic salmon brood stock fish. www.noreast.com/fly/tech/Salmon.cfm
Connecticut’s most reliable early season striper destination is the lower Connecticut River.
Where to fish the CT river for stripers
Dusk and dawn are times of transition, fleeing hours when the world slips to and from the full light of day…
Connecticut Fishing & Boating Page
Year-round hatch information for the Farmington River
Year-round hatch information for the Housatonic River
by Housatonic River Outfitters
13 Rt. 7, Cornwall Bridge, CT 06754, 860.672.6064
24 Kent Road, Cornwall Bridge, CT 06754, (860) 672-1010
P.O. Box 91, Granby, CT 06035
13 Route 7, Cornwall Bridge, CT 06754 , (860) 672-6064
987 Post Road, Darien, Connecticut 06820; (203) 655-9400
440 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475; 860-388-2283