A Complete Guide to Fishing in Connecticut

Despite being one of the smaller states, Connecticut has no shortage of fishing attractions, and that may come as a bit of a surprise to outsiders. Keep in mind that this isn’t just limited to nonresidents, as even some of Connecticut’s inhabitants don’t know how good they have it when it comes to fishing.

To give our readers a better understanding of what to expect from a Connecticut fishing adventure, we’ve put together this short guide. We’re going to go over the ins and outs of getting your fishing license, and then we’ll start talking about the most common fish species and the best fishing spots in Connecticut.

How to Get a Fishing License in Connecticut

We’re going to try and summarize the different licenses and the requirements for getting a license in Connecticut. Unfortunately, the official online gov portal for getting a fishing license is a bit of a disaster, so pay close attention and make sure that you’ve selected the right package for your needs.

Free Fishing Licenses in Connecticut

Certain individuals are also entitled to free fishing licenses in Connecticut. These include seniors over the age of 65, who are automatically granted a lifetime fishing license for free. You are also entitled to a free fishing license if you are blind, physically disabled, or intellectually disabled.

If you are under 16, you can print out the Connecticut Youth Fishing Passport to show that you are allowed to fish.

Where Are You Going to Fish?

Unlike other states, Connecticut has its fishing licenses split based on where you want to fish. Here’s some general information about them. There are three types of fishing licenses: inland, marine, and all waters.

An inland fishing license allows you to fish on lakes, streams, and other waterways that aren’t touching the coast, this is the best pick for fly fishing.

Marine fishing licenses are for coves, bays, and other waterways that are directly adjacent to the coast.

All-waters fishing licenses are combined marine and inland licenses that will allow you to fish anywhere in the state.

Connecticut Fishing License Pricing

Licenses are available to both residents and nonresidents, and the marine fishing license is available at a lower price than the inland fishing license.

For an annual marine fishing license, residents can expect to pay 10 dollars. The price of an equivalent license for inland fishing is nearly triple, at 28 dollars. The all waters fishing license offers the best value for money, as it’s only four dollars more for a total of 32 dollars.

A seasonal marine fishing license for a nonresident will cost 15 dollars. Nonresidents who wish to fish inland will have to pay 55 dollars for their license. Finally, the all waters license for nonresidents costs 63 dollars, once again offering better value than the other two licenses individually.

Fish Species in Connecticut


Fishing reports show that the most common fish in Connecticut are Trout species, and there are four that are common in the area. The most prized species is the Rainbow Trout, so-named due to the rainbow-like stripe that runs along the fish’s side. Next, you have Brook Trout, with their distinctive orange bellies.

Brown Trout are also common, and they have a somewhat lighter body than the other species, though juveniles will feature a greyer complexion. The final Trout species in Connecticut is the Tiger Trout, which is the sterile child of a female Brown Trout and a male Brook Trout. Trout fishing is one of the most popular forms of sport fishing in the state.


There are also two species of Salmon in Connecticut’s waters. The first of these is the Kokanee Salmon, which features a distinctive hooked jaw. During the spawning season, the males will turn a vibrant red, making them one of the more distinctive species, though they die shortly after spawning.

The second type of Salmon in Connecticut is the Atlantic Salmon, which is usually a mottled mix of silver and brown. The degree of each color depends on the type of water that the salmon is in, as they tend to turn brown in freshwater but will remain silver when they’re in saltwater.


Connecticut features three species of Bass. The first is the Largemouth Bass, and it is identifiable by its jaw, which extends past the eye. Smallmouth Bass, on the other hand, have a jaw that ends near the middle of their eye.

The final Bass species in Connecticut is the Striped Bass, which features a lighter silver color and dark, horizontal stripes that extend along its flank.


Pumpkinseeds are the first species of Sunfish that you’ll find in Connecticut, with an identifying red dot right above their gills. Bluegills are the next species, and they resemble a less colorful version of Pumpkinseeds, as they lack facial markings and the red dot on their gills.

Redbreast Sunfish are the final species of Sunfish you’ll find in Connecticut, and they’re identified by their ear-like markings just past their eyes.


You’ll find two kinds of Catfish and two kinds of Bullhead in Connecticut. The Catfish varieties include the Channel Catfish and the White Catfish. You can distinguish between these two species by looking at the head, as the Channel Catfish has a narrower head than the White Catfish.

The two varieties of Bullhead include the Yellow Bullhead and the Brown Bullhead. As you can guess by the names, the colors of these fish are their distinguishing traits.


Connecticut is home to one species of Pike and one species of Pickerel. The Northern Pike is a commonly-occurring species in the area. These fish can grow quite larger, and they combine a scaly face with a brown body and light spots.

The Chain Pickerel is named for the chain-like pattern that extends along its side, and it’s a bit darker and greyer than the Northern Pike. Much like the Northern Pike, the Chain Pickerel’s head is scaly.


Finally, you can also find the Common Carp in Connecticut’s waters, and some of them can grow to tremendous sizes. The White Sucker is a relative of the Common Carp, and it has a less bulbous body than the Carp with a darker coloration.

Best Fishing Spots in Connecticut

Farmington River

The Farmington River is a prime choice for anglers looking to catch some Trout, offering a pleasant and secluded fishing experience. While you can find Rainbow Trout in this river, it is primarily dominated by Brown Trout. The stretch of the river between Riverton and Farmington comes highly recommended for the best results.

Connecticut River

The river for which the state was named offers some varied angling due to the wide range of fish species that you can find in its waters. Due to this wide variety of fish, it can be tricky to decide on your tackle, and you may end up running into species that you’re poorly-equipped to handle.

The Connecticut River features Salmon, Sturgeon, Northern Pike, Trout, and every type of Bass that is native to the state, including Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, and Striped Bass. 

Candlewood Lake

Candlewood Lake is renowned across the USA for its Smallmouth Bass fishing. This man-made waterway is the largest lake in the state, and it hosts some of the most exciting fishing derbies of the year.

Keep in mind that Candlewood Lake may be famous for its Smallmouth Bass, but it has plenty of other fish species to offer, as well. You can find Largemouth Bass in slightly fewer numbers, but you’ll also come across Bullheads and Catfish, as well as a few different varieties of Trout.

East Haddam

East Haddam features two prime freshwater fishing spots, the first of which is the Moodus Reservoir. Moodus is part of Connecticut’s Bass Management Program, so it will be filled with both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, as well as smaller numbers of the rarer Calico Bass.

The second attraction is Bashan Lake, a natural waterway that has been raised artificially. This is one of the best spots in the state to fish for Bluegills. Trout, Bass, and Perch can also be found relatively easily in the waters of Bashan Lake, though Largemouth Bass are more common than Smallmouth.

New Haven Harbor

New Haven Harbor is perhaps the most popular saltwater fishing attraction on Connecticut’s side of the Long Island Sound. You can fish from shore or on a boat in New Haven Harbor, though you’ll undoubtedly get better results if you head out on the water. There are also plenty of fishing guide services available here.

This harbor is home to species that you won’t find inland, like Blackfish, Weakfish, Fluke, and more. As a bonus, there are plenty of tackle shops in the area.

Meigs Point

The jetty at Meigs Point is one of the better-known angling spots in the state, and it gets extremely popular, so it’s a great choice for more sociable anglers. 

There is a huge variety of fish species that you can catch at Meigs Point, including Winter Flounder, Striped Sea Robin, Black Sea Bass, and more. You can even find Blue Crab, and if you’re lucky, they may have recently molted so that their shells are still soft.


As you can see, Connecticut (much like other places in New England) has no shortage of sportfishing destinations, and getting your license is a pretty simple matter once you’ve deciphered their website. We hope that this guide has provided you with all of the info that you were looking for. Good luck on your next fishing trip.

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