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Connecticut is home to a host of fantastic fishing opportunities, both saltwater and freshwater. With over 180 public lakes and ponds and endless miles of rivers home to some incredible bass, trout, walleye, pike, and bluegill, it’s a freshwater dream.
Connecticut can be one of the most consistent trout fishing destinations due to their trout management areas, where catch and release and barbless hooks are mandatory to help trout reach incredible sizes and populations. And with fishing in Long Island Sound, the state has saltwater offerings of striped bass, bluefish, flounder, scup, hickory shad, sea bass, and tautog.
Connecticut Freshwater Opportunities
The Upper Housatonic River and Farmington River are two legendary freshwater fishing locations offered within Connecticut’s state borders. The Upper Housatonic or “Housy” is the source of some of the best trout fishing nationwide, and also lends a chance at bass, pike, carp, and other common river-dwelling fish.
The ideal stretch of river for fishing is from Canaan to Cornwall, the trout management section, although any part of the river is bound to offer a great deal of fish. Fly fishermen especially should be interested in the Housy with its deep pools, between the months of May and November.
As for the Farmington River, it similarly has legendary trout fishing, especially in the stretch from Riverton to Farmington.
If you’re looking for some salmon fishing opportunities, look no further than the Naugatuck River. The Naugatuck is stocked with salmon from October to November and although during this period it’s only catch and release, you’ll have some great salmon luck during this stocking period. Starting in December and running through March, you’ll be able to keep a salmon each day.
The largest natural lake in Connecticut is Bantam Lake, and within it contains some of the best northern pike and bass fishing in the state. Locals suggest fishing Bantam in the heat and humidity (not the most comfortable fishing, but supposedly worth it). Then suspending a shiner over identifiable structures, over 20 feet down is said to work perfectly.
Others recommend using plastics, spinners, or a deep-diving crankbait to reel in from the weed line to higher in the water column.
Candlewood Lake is Connecticut’s largest overall lake and is manmade. Candlewood is known for its noteworthy smallmouth bass angling. Many anglers recommend using alewife live bait on a drop shot rig in the summer to catch bass at Candlewood.
Another popular summer fishing method is using Senko worms on a Texas rig. Earlier in the season, topwater lures are known to offer great bass action, such as the infamous Zara Spook. Some of the largest bass are found south of Chimney Point, although the entire lake is ripe for some of the best bass fishing in the nation.
Saltwater Fishing in Connecticut
The list of fishing spots in the Long Island Sound is so extensive it could go on forever, but some of the most noteworthy spots are New Haven Harbor, Meig’s Point, and the Branford Beacon. New Haven sits at the convergence of the Quinnipiac, Mill, and West Rivers, creating a baitfish dumping area at the mouth where larger fish love to feed.
New Haven can be fished from land, although the best spots are only accessible by boat, such as the West Haven Sand Bar. The shellfish beds of West Haven offer great fluke fishing near high tide. For drift fishermen, fishing between the break walls of West Haven and Middle will bring a good current for drifting.
The Branford Beacon is said to have some of the best saltwater fishing in the state between the months of May and November. The Beacon is a reef and, in turn, offers a large covered area for fish to be drawn out of. To access the Beacon, you can launch from the Branford ramp or the Guilford or New Haven marinas.
To fish this spot, many fishermen use diamond jigging, anchoring and dunking bunker chunks, or trolling, and in turn land many striped bass and bluefish. The Beacon is inviting to anglers because although it offers great structure to fish around, it doesn’t have many jagged edges making it less likely that you’ll snag.
Fishing Meig’s Point Jetty is known to yield bass and bluefish by using lures around rock piles near the jetty. If Meig’s Point isn’t offering anything, trying nearby Hammonasset Point might be worthwhile.
Before fishing in Connecticut, take a look at their trout management areas and see if any are nearby to your location since these offer some of the most consistent trout fishing in the nation. Of course, make sure to check local regulations, since many freshwater locations in Connecticut are stocked and managed, making them great for fishing, but prone to regulation and laws.
Connecticut can be a top-tier fishing destination for many different species of fish, saltwater or fresh. Check the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for weekly fishing reports and stocking reports, so you can chase all of the latest hotspots and stay up to date on any pertinent information.