Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Upper Connecticut River
The Upper Connecticut River is one of the best trout
steams in New England. The river begins from the
outflow of the Third Connecticut Lake, located off
U. S. Highway #3 near the U. S./Canada line. Logging
roads access this part of the river and you must hike in
a short distance to fish.
The next point downstream to access the river is right
below the Second Connecticut Lake. You can catch
landlocked salmon in this area.
The section of water with the most access is below the
First Connecticut Lake. It has four main access points
including one a few hundred yards below the dam. It is
fly fishing only in this section.
The next access is in the trophy section along River
Road leading down to Lake Francis State Park. You can
also fish Perry Stream a tributary to the Connecticut in
this location. Lake Francis State Park also provides
access to the river.
Below the little town of Pittsburg, Highway #3 again
provides access to the river. The fishing continues to be
good below Lake Francis. The deeper water of the lake
provides a cold water discharge. Many anglers prefer to
fish this section from a drift boat.
It is easy to forget the river is a tailwater. It looks like a
freestone stream. It has a lot of good hatches of
mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies much like you would
expect from a freestone stream.
River New Hampshire
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Upper Connecticut River Fly Fishing Guide:
Fly fishing the Upper Connecticut River depends
greatly on the species and time of the year. The
Connecticut River has some very good dry fly fishing,
almost unlike what you would expect from a series of
For all practical purposes, the Upper Connecticut River
fishes like a freestone stream more than a tailwater. Of
course the dam does discharge water at varying rates
and the water can rise and fall accordingly. Always use
caution when fishing the river and watch for changing
Fishing first starts to get good in the middle of May.
The salmon run is underway big time when the smelt
come out of the lakes to spawn. The salmon follow
along right behind them.
The ponds can produce good in the middle of May.
The best fishing in the rivers starts in late May and
early June. The water temperatures stay in the low to
mid sixties throughout the summer in most areas.
The Connecticut River is a cold river and
the season is more like some of the
Northwestern Rivers than an Eastern
The season opens Jan. 1 but the fishing
really begins just after ice out around the
first of May. This is when salmon are
following the smelt run upriver..
Dry fly fishing begins by the middle of June
and can be very good. July and August
normally provide good dry fly action.
When the weather starts to cool off in
September, the dry fly fishing decreases and
nymphs and streamers become the key flies.
In the fall, the salmon fishing picks up again
with the beginning of the salmon spawn.
Above the little town of Pittsburg, most of the
fishing is done wading. The bottom is gravel
and it is easy to wade in most places. There
are some areas the water gets to deep to
wade, but for the most part, it is very nice
water to wade. High water discharges can
affect the wading.
The river deepens and slows down below
Pittsburg. The pools become longer and
deeper and the character of the stream
changes some. Most anglers drift this
section. All types of boats are used from
one-man pontoon boats, to canoes, to
drift boats. The river is floatable all the
way to Colebrook.
Stream levels are very important for
success. If they are too high, it can really
make it tough. You should always get the
rates of flows for the streams below the
various lakes. In some cases, it is
necessary to know if you can wade the
stream or not.
Upper Connecticut River Hatches
and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods at
the particular time you are fishing. Unlike the
generic fly shop trout flies, we have specific
imitations of all the insects in the Upper
Connecticut River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call. We
not only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
Be certain you have a variety of streamers,
especially if you plan on fishing for
Landlocked Salmon. Traditional flies like the
Gray Ghost and Wooly Buggers are popular.
Be prepared to fish several mayfly and
caddisfly hatches when you are pursuing
trout in the Upper Connecticut River. Our
hatch chart will give you a detailed estimate
of when each species hatch.
Blue-winged Olives hatch for much of the
season starting in the early season with
another hatch coming in late August and
The March Browns start hatching in May.
This hatch can last a couple of months bu
never real intense.
The Hendricksons follow about two weeks
after the March Browns with sparse hatches
in some sections.
The Light Cahills usually hatch starting
about the first of June. Look for them in
the fast water sections.
The Hexagenia species hatch in late July
through the first of August. This includes
the Great Olive Wing Drake or Hex.
Sulphurs start about the first of August.
This hatch can last up to a month.
Never forget the midges. The river has a
huge population of them and they can be
the most important insect to imitate at
certain times of the season.
Caddisflies are very plentiful for most of
the season. The Little Black Caddis are
the first ones to appear in late April to
The Cinnamon Caddisflies start hatching
in late May and last through August.
They are by far the most plentiful and
consist of several species that are all
Green Sedges also hatch starting in June
and last through July. There are several
other species of caddisflies of minor
Don't overlook the terrestrial insects.
Beetles, ants and grass hoppers are
popular flies to use during the late
summer and early fall.
The summer season is the best time to
fish the river.
The early fall season can be good but the
season ends October 15
Click on Thumbnails to enlarge
Upper Connecticut River Fishing Report - 05/20/19
The water is getting a little warmer. Several insects are hatching.
7 Day Weather Forecast: There is a chance of rain everyday, except Wednesday. Highs
will range from 49 to 70 degrees and lows from 38 to 45 degrees.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
White Belly Sculpin and Brown Sculpin will work well year-round. The Black Matuka and
olive Matuka Sculpin flies are great flies to use right now.
Hatches of various species of Blue-winged Olives are possible in the afternoons and
more likely and in greater quantities if the skies are cloudy or overcast.
We still think the best strategy is to fish a tandem Midge rig under a small strike
indicator with the midge lava as the bottom fly and the midge pupa as the top fly. Fish
the adult midge only when you observe trout feeding on the surface.
Little Brown stoneflies are hatching. Little black caddis are hatching.
Quill Gordons are hatching. Blue Quills are hatching.
American March Browns are hatching.
Hendricksons/Red Quills are hatching.
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Fishing Report 05/20/19
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Cream, size 20/22, larva pupa and adults
Blue-winged Olives: size 18/16, nymph, emergers, duns and spinners
Brown Sculpin/White Belly Sculpin, size 6
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6/8
Blue Quills: size 18, nymphs, emergers duns and spinners
Quill Gordons, size 12/14, nymph, emerging duns, duns and spinners
Little Brown stoneflies, size 14, nymphs and adults
Little Black Caddis, size 18, pupa and adults
American March Browns, size 10/12, numphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Hendricksons/Red Quills: 12/14, numphs, emergers, duns and spinners