Here’s our guide to fly fishing in the Constitution State!
Find out what you need to fish in Connecticut, get up to date on the local regulations, and discover the hottest Connecticut fishing spots!
Despite being one of the smallest states, Connecticut offers ample fly fishing opportunities both in stocked streams and lakes and along the coastline. Anglers will find plenty of brilliant fresh and saltwater fly fishing spots to catch brown trout, striped bass, and even Atlantic salmon!
Best Places to Fly Fish in Connecticut
If you’re not sure where to go fly fishing in CT, here’s all the info you need to know! From the popular Farmington River to saltwater fly fishing on Long Island Sound, we’ve recommended the top fly fishing Connecticut has to offer.
1. Farmington River
Farmington River is one of the most well-known trout streams in Connecticut, with 46 miles of fantastic trout waters.
It’s a tailwater fishery with just the right conditions for trout to thrive, making it the most trout-dense water in Connecticut since 40,000 stocked trout go in every year.
It’s stocked regularly with adult brown trout that reach 12-14 inches, although some can grow to 20+ inches long. Native wild trout can also be found in the waters here, too, so the trout fishing is awesome.
Summer is the peak season for fishing the Farmington River, although you will find high numbers of canoes, kayaks, and boats on the river during these hotter months. You can also bring your best canoes if you’re planning on visiting this area.
There are two Trout Management Areas to maintain the healthy trout populations on the Farmington River.
The upper Trout Management zone is where most fly anglers flock – it stretches for 4 miles and is particularly popular for dry fly fishing. This area is very productive but it is busier, meaning that the fish can be tricky to tempt. You’ll need to match the hatch carefully here to catch those wily trout. It’s catch and release fishing only here, and make sure you use barbless hooks.
Where To Fish On The Farmington River
The most productive stretch of the Farmington River is between Riverton and New Hartford, just below the 200-foot Hogback dam. You can access the river anywhere along this section, but take note of the fishing regulations mentioned above
Best Flies For The Farmington River
- Blue Wing Olive
- Caddis flies
- Stonefly nymphs
- Pheasant tails
- Copper John
2. Naugatuck River
The Naugatuck is a brilliant trout stream and salmon river in Eastern Connecticut where you’ll have the opportunity to fish for multiple fish species. Atlantic salmon plus brown and rainbow trout, some are stocked trout, some are wild trout, and even the salmon are stocked too.
Salmon season runs over winter, and the salmon are stocked in October and November, and it’s catch-and-release only during these months. You can take one salmon a day from December through March but may only use an artificial fly with single barbless hooks.
As one of the top large fish fishing destinations in Connecticut, the chances of hooking a tank is very possible. Arm yourself with a 7-9 wt fly rod and a good amount of backing in case you snag a fish that just wants to run!
If you want to catch fish that are bigger than most fly anglers dream of, this is the place to fly fish. Streamer fishing is advised and switch to nymphs for trout stream mode.
Weighted nymph patterns work a treat for the Naugatuck trout, while the salmon go crazy for big salmon fly patterns such as the leech patterns.
Where To Fly Fish On The Naugatuck River
If you’re a fly fisher who wants to go for the big boys on this salmon river then head to the lower section closer to the sea just above where the river flows into the Housatonic River.
If you’re looking for some wild trout, head further up to the skinnier water.
Best Flies For The Naugatuck River
- Big bright leaches – Salmon
- Wooly bugger
- General Nymphs
3. Shetucket River
Located in eastern Connecticut, the Shetucket runs for 18 miles until it eventually goes into the Atlantic Ocean. These waters offer excellent fishing for brook trout, rainbows, big brown trout, and the elusive Atlantic salmon that all fly fishers love.
The range of species on offer is a fly fishers salmonid wet dream and it’s a stunning river to spend the day fishing on. Don’t come with a small fly rod though if you want to swing flies for salmon.
If you’re fly fishing for trout, then a 5 weight is ideal, as it’s big enough if you to handle a giant, just.
Where To Fish On The Shetucket River
If you’re a fly fisherman hunting salmon, the best spot to head to is the four miles below Scotland Dam.
Trout anglers prefer the Shetucket tributary, Little River, for the diverse underwater structures, riffles, and deep pools. The section below the Hanover Reservoir offers the best pickings.
Best Flies For The Shetucket River
- Big bight leeches
- Wooly buggers
4. Housatonic River
Head to the Housatonic River for the first-class trout fishing, as well as opportunities to catch pike and smallmouth bass! It’s exciting to go white water rafting on the Class I and II waters, and the fly fishing prospects are great too.
The Trout Management Area below West Cornwall has some of the best Connecticut fly fishing in the state. Fish the pockets and pools in the catch and release section with weighted nymphs and streamers, and you’ll easily lure the trout out of their hiding places, and dry flies work too.
For a fly fisherman looking to catch and release come smallmouth bass, you’ll need some larger baitfish patterns and bass poppers to strip across the deep pools.
Where To Fish On The Housatonic River
Public fly fishing access is available at the Housatonic Meadows State Park, which is heavily stocked by DEEP in the spring and fall with 9,000 fish. Also known as the Housy, you’ll find trout all along this river.
Best Flies For The Housatonic River
- Pheasant tails
- Small dry flies
- Wooly bugger
5. Moosup River
The Moosup River is a catch-and-release-only river and a superb spot for fly fishing for stocked and a few wild fish.
Fly fishing is only permitted on the lower section, where regular trout stocking makes this a top Connecticut river for anglers. Make sure you’re aware of the local regulations before heading out and choose the weekdays to avoid any extra fishing pressure.
The fish aren’t too smart and you’ll catch more fish than ever using attractor dry, wet flies, nymphs, and streamers. Classic trout fly patterns are particularly productive, and you’ll catch plenty of healthy-sized fish on the Moosup River.
Where To Fish On The Moosup River
You can access the Moosup River from East Main St, River Street Road, and Water St. Bridge.
Best Flies For The Moosup River
- Wooly bugger
- Copper John
6. Kent Falls Brook Trout Park
Located in the Housatonic Valley, Kent Falls Brook Trout Park is a trout management area stocked annually with 1300 trout. It’s calm enough for fly fishing dry flies effectively, but the nymph fishing is also great here.
If you’re new to fly fishing, the Kent Falls Brook Trout Park is one of the ideal fishing destinations in Connecticut to grow your skills and hone your techniques. The stocked fish aren’t fussy, and a 3/4 weight rod is perfect for hauling them in.
There are several easy access points at the footbridge, the corner pool, and the covered bridge, among others.
Where To Fish On The Kent Falls Brook Trout Park
One of the best spot to go fly fishing in the trout management area is around the covered bridge but the whole river is great too. Start at the bottom and start fly fishing your way up the the creek until it ends.
Best Flies For The Kent Falls Brook Trout Park
- Copper John
- Pheasant tails
7. Long Island Sound Coastal Fishing
If you’re more of a saltwater fly angler, head to the Long Island Sound. You’ll find plenty of public access points between Fairfield county and Greenwich. There, you can try your hand at catching the local striped bass, as well as flounder, bluefish, black sea bass, and even false albacore.
It’s possible to go saltwater fishing from the shore, but you’ll see lots more action if you head out fly fishing on a boat. Kit yourself out with an 8/9 weight saltwater rod, an intermediate fly line, a strong leader, and some big flies, and you’ll be all set!
Recommended Fly Shops In Connecticut
Fly fishing always changes throughout the fishing season and you’ll always needs to visit a few fly shops to top up on fly line or flies and get some advice about what works. Here are some great fly fishing shops in Connecticut.
Recommended Connecticut Fly Fishing Guides
It’s always a wise move to go out with a pro fly fishing guide when fly fishing a new area as you can get a sense of the fishing very quickly after just a day on the water. Here are some great fly fishing guides in Connectictut.
Connecticut Fishing License
There are a variety of fishing license options for Connecticut, depending on whether you only want to go fly fishing inland or also along the coast.
Anyone aged 16 or over must have a license, although there are half-price options for 16-17-year-olds. The resident inland permit costs $28, while the All Waters permit costs $32.
The non-resident season inland license will set you back $55, but there’s also a 3-day permit which costs $22. If you want to fish both inland and saltwater, the All Waters non-resident license costs $65.
You can check out all the prices here and find out which fly fishing permit is best for your needs.
You can buy your license online or from participating tackle shops, town halls, and DEEP offices across the state.
Connecticut Fishing Regulations
Before you head out fly fishing, you’ll need to make yourself aware of the CT fishing regulations.
From daily bag limits to minimum sizes, fishing seasons, and which lures you can use, you can find out all you need to know on the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection website.
For example, the daily creel limit for smallmouth and largemouth bass is 6 per angler per day, while the creel limit for common carp is 5. You can take up to 5 trout per day, but you may need to buy a Trout Stamp, too.
The trout season in Connecticut runs from the second Saturday in April until the last day of the following February, although you can fish the tidal waters for striped bass and other saltwater species all year round so bring some striped bass fly patterns too.
Connecticut Fishing Reports
The easiest way to stay up to date on the conditions of the lakes, rivers, and tidal waters of Connecticut is by checking out the fishing reports.
The DEEP website is updated weekly with the latest reports from across the state from spring to winter, so you can find out what the fish are doing and what the water conditions are. You can also find detailed reports from experienced anglers on The Fisherman website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I fly fish in CT?
You can fly fish in CT at loads of great spots, from rivers and streams to the fantastic coastline. Some of the best places to fly fish are the Farmington River, Housatonic River, and the Shetucket River.
Can you catch salmon in CT?
You can fish for salmon in CT on the Naugatuck, Housatonic, and Shetucket Rivers. Just check the regulations – most of the time, you can only fish for Atlantic salmon with a single, free-swinging hook on an artificial fly.
You can visit Pennsylvania as well since it’s just a nearby state. And while you’re planning on visiting PA, here’s our guide for some of the best pennsylvania trout fishing destinations
Don’t be discouraged by the size of the state, because the Connecticut fly fishing scene is lively and rewarding!
Now that you know all it has to offer, what are you waiting for? Grab your fly rod, your gear, and flies then set off for one of the top locations we mentioned above and catch all the sepcies from striped bass to salmon!
Drop us a comment to let us know which spot you’ll go to first, or let us know your recommendations if we missed anything off!
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