February 26, 2024

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Connecticut Fishing Seasons – The Complete Guide

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Considering it’s one of the smallest states in the US, Connecticut offers bountiful angling opportunities. Between its various freshwaters and access to the Atlantic Ocean, there’s plenty to explore and lots of fish to catch. And to do so effectively, it’s useful to get familiar with the fishing seasons in Connecticut.

Generally, there’s something to fish for year-round in the “Constitution State.” But if you want to target a specific species, you’d do well to plan your trip around the season when they’re most active. In this article, we’ll first provide you with a quick overview of what bites when, before delving into what each month offers in terms of fishing. When you’re ready, scroll on!

What’s the best season to go fishing in Connecticut?

If you’re not chasing a specific type of fish, Connecticut’s summer season offers the most variety when it comes to casting a line. It’s when the saltwater action is at its peak – on top of a very solid freshwater fishery.

Despite this, some fish, such as Trout, prefer the colder weather. The same goes for Bass fishing – they’ll bite during summer but spring and fall are by far the better seasons. Below, we’ll provide you with a couple of fishing calendars, before diving into the kind of angling each month entails. That way, you can hit the waters when the fishing for your favorite species is at its hottest.

Saltwater

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Striped Bass Fair Fair Fair Good Great Great Great Great Great Great Good Fair
Bluefish Weak Weak Weak Weak Good Good Great Great Great Great Fair Weak
Fluke Closed Closed Closed Closed Good Good Great Great Great Fair Closed Closed
Porgy Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed Good Great Great Great Great Good Good
Black Seabass Closed Closed Closed Closed Good Great Great Great Great Great Good Good
Tautog Closed Closed Closed Great Closed Closed Great Great Closed Great Great Closed
False Albacore Weak Weak Weak Weak Weak Weak Weak Fair Great Great Weak Weak
Tuna Weak Weak Weak Weak Weak Fair Great Great Great Weak Weak Weak

Freshwater

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rainbow Trout Good Good Good Great Great Great Fair Fair Fair Great Great Good
Lake Trout Good Good Good Great Great Good Fair Fair Fair Great Great Good
Brown Trout Good Good Good Great Great Great Fair Fair Fair Great Great Good
Black Bass Fair Fair Good Great Great Great Good Good Good Great Great Good
Walleye Good Good Good Great Great Great Good Good Good Great Great Good
Northern Pike Good Good Great Great Great Good Fair Fair Fair Great Great Good
Yellow Perch Great Great Great Great Great Fair Fair Fair Good Great Great Great

January

It’s wintertime in Connecticut, which means it’s ice fishing season. The state boasts numerous lakes and ponds, most of which form an ice sheet thick enough to fish through by the middle of January.

An angler kneeling on a frozen lake, posing for a photo while holding a Yellow Perch he caught ice fishing, with his rod under him and the ice stretching out behind.
Photo courtesy of Battle Fish Charters.

Popular ice fishing spots include Candlewood Lake, Highland Lake, Lake Zoar, and East Twin Lake, just to name a few. As for what you’ll catch, it’s typically Bass, Trout, Yellow Perch, and Pike, all depending on which particular waters you visit. Just make sure that the ice is safe to fish on.

Of course, there are fish to catch in the rivers and streams as well. If the conditions are favorable and the water levels aren’t too high, Trout will eagerly take your bait. The Housatonic River is a good bet both for Trout and holdover Striped Bass.

Unfortunately, it’s the offseason when it comes to saltwater fishing. Most charter captains won’t be running trips during this time. However, if you hook up with the few that do, you can expect to focus on bottom fishing for Cod.

February

For the most part, you can expect similar fishing conditions in February as in January. The difference is that the winter ice will probably set in by now, offering more stable fishing. Again, all you have to do is find a lake or pond you like, check if the ice is thick enough, and you’ll have a wealth of Bass, Pike, Trout, and Perch to reel in.

An angler making a scared face while holding a Northern Pike that he caught ice fishing next to his head, with the snowed-over lake and coastal forests visible in the background.
Photo courtesy of Battle Fish Charters.

Meanwhile, many flowing rivers and streams remain unfrozen, with plenty of fish swimming through them. Trout remain the main target in places such as the Salmon River, as well as on the Farmington and Pequabuck Rivers. They all flow fairly close to Hartford, which means you can start your adventure from the state capital itself.

The saltwater fishing is still fairly slow, with bottom fishing remaining an option if you can find someone to take you out. However, this is soon to change as we approach spring.

March

With the ice thawing and rainfall slowly replacing snow, March can be a bit hit or miss when it comes to freshwater fishing. The high flow rates on the rivers spell difficulties for anglers even though there are definitely fish to catch.

A closeup of a Smallmouth Bass being held inches above the water by a man's hand.
Photo courtesy of Brookdog Fishing Company.

If the weather favors you and you find the water levels have subsided, expect excellent Trout fishing. Many waters across Connecticut get their Trout stocks during this month, which means there’ll be hungry fish waiting for you to reel in.

But even when the river conditions are subpar, you can still fish Connecticut’s lakes. In most stillwaters, you’ll find a great early season Bass bite and plenty of Yellow Perch. Check out places such as Lake Waramug, Lillinonah, and Congamond for Bass.

As for saltwater, things start picking up the warmer it gets, although most game fish will still be closed for retention.

April

It’s a bit of a cliché but everything – including fish – comes alive in April. And the angling improves tremendously, too. In fact, the entire spring season is a wonderful time to go fishing in Connecticut.

A woman standing on a charter boat in Connecticut, smiling and posing for a photo while holding a Striped Bass she caught during the early season, with the Long Island Sound's waters in the background.
Photo courtesy of Striper Snax Fishing Charters.

The main freshwater stars at this time of the year are, of course, Bass. These fish spawn in spring and they get pretty aggressive while they’re doing so. They’ll feed with fervor before the spawn, strike ferociously during it, and then take a small break to rest before getting active again. For the best action, hit lakes such as Candlewood, Highland, or Bantam, among others.

Of course, there’s plenty of other fish to catch, too. April is an excellent time to fish for Trout, Catfish, Crappie, and Pike. On East Twin Lake, West Hill Pond, and Lake Wononskopomuc, you can even fish for Kokanee Salmon – the season opens in the latter half of the month.

But the biggest change April brings is in coastal Connecticut. Striped Bass fishing improves in the salt ponds and estuaries, with bigger specimens showing up more and more. Also, Tautog and Winter Flounder seasons open, giving you two delicious fish to chase after.

May

In May, the fishing improves even more compared to April. Connecticut’s Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and Walleye are all in their prime seasons. You’ll find these across the different lakes and ponds, but consider hitting the Connecticut River as well.

A boy in a NASA hoodie smiling and posing for a photo with a Porgy he caught, with the fish is dangling off the line in his right hand, while he's holding his fishing rod in his left.
Photo courtesy of Bridgeport Fishing Charters.

Depending on whether the water flows are stable, Trout fishing is also outstanding. But even if river conditions are difficult, plenty of lakes have gotten their stocks, meaning you can simply fish there instead. Saugatuck Reservoir, Highland Lake, and Mohawk Pond are just a few choice picks where you can catch Trout.

With Fluke and Porgy seasons opening at the beginning of May, and Black Seabass in the second half of the month, saltwater fishing in Connecticut only gets better. To add to that, more and more Stripers and Bluefish show up along the coast and in the sounds, providing some more variety.

June

By late spring, the fishing is great just about wherever you turn in Connecticut. The rivers and streams are gradually getting warmer, but not to a level where Trout turn inactive. Quite the opposite, June is a great month to fish for these beauties. Try rivers such as Salmon, Farmington, and Housatonic and you’ll get to reel in Rainbow, Brown, and sometimes even Brook Trout.

A woman standing sideways and holding a Fluke she caught fishing in Connecticut during the early summer season, with the waters and the shoreline visible behind her.
Photo courtesy of Nightjack Sportfishing.

Bass fishing is also on fire during this time of the year. We’ve already mentioned the top lakes throughout the article. Candlewood Lake remains the most popular destination, and for good reason, as it definitely holds the most trophy Bass. Lake Lillinonah is probably a close second.

In the Long Island and nearby Block Sounds, Striper fishing is off the charts. Head out and you’ll get a shot at catching specimens exceeding 40 pounds. Bottom fishing is just as stellar, with plenty of Seabass, Porgy, and Fluke taking the bait.

July

As the water temperatures rise, the fishing patterns change. During the dog days of summer, Trout typically won’t bite in the rivers and streams, but you may have some luck fishing deep lake holes. Bass fishing is still productive, although you can expect them to move to their summer habitats, which lie in the deeper portions of whatever waters they reside in.

An angler in sunglasses and a hat smiling and sitting on a boat with a big Striper in his lap, with a few fishing rods and the open waters visible behind him.
Photo courtesy of Apex Angling CT.

On the saltwater front, Connecticut’s sound fishing season is reaching its peak. Striped Bass and Bluefish are the standard targets, along with an assortment of bottom fish. In particular, Fluke and Porgy fishing are excellent, with the Seabass season reopening in the first half of July after a short break.

But what’s even better is that some captains also offer deep sea trips during summer. These will take you south of Long Island, as far as the offshore canyons. Here, you’ll get a shot at reeling in Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna, as well as Marlin, Tilefish, and more. For the shortest ride out, hook up with a charter captain in Old Lyme or New London.

August

With the waters still warm, Trout fishing has fallen into a lull for the most part. However, some highland streams in the northern part of Connecticut may still be cold enough for summertime angling.

An angler sitting on the edge of a boat, smiling and holding a huge Bluefish he caught on the fly, his fly fishing rod is partially visible behind the fish and calm waters are in the background.
Photo courtesy of Apex Angling CT.

As for other species, such as Bass and Walleye, they’ll bite but you’ll have to find their summer hiding spots. Night fishing is also a good option, as many species will feed more actively with the sun out of the way, and Bass might creep closer to shore.

Saltwater fishing, however, is absolutely top-notch in August. There’s plenty of Striped Bass lurking around, though you might have to head a bit further from the coast to cooler waters. Bluefish will bite over the reefs, often stripping your bait as you troll over their hunting grounds.

Bottom fishing is also excellent, with Porgy, Black Seabass, Tautog, and Fluke in the cards. Just beware of the hungry Sharks looking to steal your catch. If you’re looking for a starting spot, Fairfield and Stamford will serve you well.

September

While the first half of September features the same summertime fishing you’d find in August, the seasons begin to shift around the end of the month. With the waters getting colder, you might see Trout getting active and Bass beginning to migrate away from their summer haunts. It all depends on the weather, though. If it stays warm the entire September, you’ll have to wait a while longer for the fall fishing to kick in.

An angler in a hat and all black clothes standing on a charter fishing boat in Connecticut and holding a big Striped Bass he caught fishing during the summer season, with waters and cloudy skies in the background.
Photo courtesy of Striper Snax Fishing Charters.

On the other hand, saltwater fishing will be great no matter whether it’s a cold or a hot September. Bluefish and Striped Bass will be biting with enthusiasm. Depending on the particular year, you might even see the first signs of the Striper migration, which usually spells some of the most epic fishing of the season.

Meanwhile, the Fluke season is nearing its end, but Porgy and Bass will still happily gobble up your bait on the reefs. Around this time, you’ll also see False Albacore and Bonito show up in the sounds, adding some more variety to the standard cast anglers have been fishing for so far.

October

With the heat of the summer all but gone, you’ll see Connecticut’s Trout fishery come alive once again. Some waters have already received their fall stockings, with more lakes and rivers to follow in October. To help you decide where to go, the DEEP has developed an interactive map you can use to keep track of where Trout are stocked.

An angler in sunglasses and a hat holding a sizeable False Albacore he caught fly fishing in Connecticut during the early fall season, with partially cloudy skies and waters in the background.
Photo courtesy of Apex Angling CT.

Come fall, you can also expect Walleye and Bass fishing to improve. You’ll start seeing Bass migrate away from the deep waters, and you’ll often catch them around the transitional humps and ledges, as well as in the shallows. As a reminder: Lake Zoar, Candlewood Lake, and Twin Lakes are just some spots in Connecticut that offer amazing fishing during the fall season.

Saltwater fishing enters fall in strong fashion. Tautog season reopens early in October, with Black Seabass and Porgy biting hard on the bottoms. After spending the summer in deeper waters, Striped Bass and Bluefish move inshore feeding hectically along the coastline and tidal rivers. False Albacore and Bonito are also in the area.

November

The winds begin to blow cold in November, but there’s still fishing to be done. There’ll be plenty of Trout to fish for as a result of the fall stockings. Pike fishing will also improve since these fish love the cold.

An angler in a hoodie, sunglasses, and a face buff holding a big Tautog towards the camera, with clear skies and dark blue waters behind him.
Photo courtesy of Stamford Fishing Charters.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass will continue to bite, feeding up for the winter with wild abandon. The fishing is noticeably better in the first half of the month because the Bass might start getting drowsy later on if it’s a particularly cold November.

Striped Bass fishing will remain strong throughout fall. However, the weather conditions often turn unstable, sometimes getting in the way of your saltwater plans. Provided that the seas aren’t too rough, you’ll still be able to reel in Bluefish, Black Seabass, Tautog, and Porgy.

December

As we get closer to winter, saltwater fishing opportunities begin to dwindle. Tautog season closes, leaving only Porgy to fish for on the bottoms, and Black Seabass if you’re fishing from a chartered vessel. Striped Bass can still be found inshore, though they’ll start migrating upriver. Often, it’s the Housatonic River that features the hottest Striper action at this time of year.

A closeup of a Brown Trout's mouth as it's being held by an angler in heavy winter clothes, with some snow visible on the ground behind him.
Photo courtesy of King David Guide Service.

On that note, there’s still solid freshwater angling to enjoy in December. In particular, you can target Atlantic Salmon on the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. These two are the only places in Connecticut where Salmon retention isn’t prohibited, aside from a portion of the Housatonic River below the Derby Dam.

As an alternative, try the Saugatuck Reservoir. It typically offers fantastic fishing at this time of year, with Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, and Brown Trout to reel in. In general, most lakes and reservoirs will remain viable options for fishing until the ice begins to set.

Connecticut: A Small State with Bountiful Fishing

A an aerial view of the entrance to the Southport Harbor in Fairfield, CT, one of the most important harbors in the state.

Taking its size into account, Connecticut truly overdelivers when it comes to fishing. Trophy Bass lakes, pristine rivers, and a good Trout program make this small state a heaven for freshwater fishing. Meanwhile the Long Island Sound and Block Sound are full of excitement for the better part of the year. So find a charter captain you like, and experience the best of what Connecticut has to offer.

What’s your favorite season to go fishing in Connecticut? What’s your favorite species to target? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Fishing Seasons in Connecticut: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Marko
Title: Fishing Seasons in Connecticut: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/connecticut-fishing-seasons/
Published Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2023 10:24:31 +0000

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