The inland waters of the “Constitution State”, the third smallest state in the United States, are some of the most beautiful and pristine in the northeastern region. The state was named after the Connecticut River that runs through the middle of the state. Bass fishing Connecticut may not be world renown, but it certainly has plenty of opportunities to land a giant!
With over 180 public lakes and ponds and thousands of miles of rivers and streams abundant with a variety of gamefish, it is no wonder why millions of people visit Connecticut each year to enjoy its famed diverse fisheries. Here are the top five lakes you should try for bass fishing.
Bass Fishing Connecticut: Lake Lillinonah
The second largest and one of Connecticut’s longest warm water river-like fisheries, Lake Lillinonah spans 45 miles of shoreline across 1,900 acres of land. This reservoir was created in 1955 by the Connecticut Light and Power Co. by building the Shepaug Dam across a section of the Housatonic River.
This lake’s average depth of 45 feet with a maximum of 110 feet boasts a healthy population of large and smallmouth bass, carp, black crappie and white perch. The main forage found in Lillinonah consists of crawfish, juvenile panfish, alewife, minnows and golden shiners.
The best time to fish this lake for bass is around the spawn into early summer using jigs with crawfish trailers, topwater poppers, soft jerkbaits and plastic worms. The action slows quite a bit during summer months but picks back up around October. Targeting docks, lay-downs with nearby weedbeds and other man-made structure during early morning hours will provide the best chances for success.
Bass Fishing Connecticut: Bantam Lake
Located in Litchfield and Morris townships, Connecticut’s largest natural lake covers 947 acres and is fed by the Bantam River and Whittlesey Brook. Bantam’s average depth of 16 feet with a maximum of 26 feet provide some of the best shallow fishing in the state.
As a popular fishery selected to host numerous bass fishing tournaments annually, it’s biggest claim to fame is its northern pike along with bass, panfish and chain pickerel. Consisting of mostly weeds, moving baits such as spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are your best options for targeting bass.
Bass Fishing Connecticut: Mashapaug Lake
This small natural lake found within the Nipmuck State Forest and Bigelow Hollow State Park is only 297 acres with a average depth of 15 feet and just under 40 feet maximum. However, don’t let it’s size fool you as it is famous for yielding Connecticut’s state record for a largemouth bass of 12-pounds and 14-ounces and the state record channel catfish weighing in at 29-pounds and 6-ounces.
This clear water lake has a bottom composition that consists of silt, gravel and sand with scattered stumps and boulders. It is home to various species of trout, panfish, bass, catfish and walleye. This is a great lake for kayak fishermen. Mashapaug Lake could be the little gem that produces your next personal best.
Bass Fishing Connecticut: Lake Zoar
This 909 acre man-made impoundment was created in 1919 with the construction of the Stevenson Dam by the Connecticut Light and Power Co. Predating Lillinonah on the Housatonic River, Lake Zoar is relatively short in comparison with its length of only 10 miles and average depth of 29 feet with a maximum of 72 feet in depth.
This lake’s most prominent fish species is smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, trout, panfish and bullhead catfish. The fishing conditions and natural forage are very similar to Lake Lillinonah as both are a part of the same river system. Some good size bass can be caught using big swimbaits over weed-beds, hair jigs and topwater lures over shallow flats near moving water.
Bass Fishing Connecticut: Lake Candlewood
Connecticut’s largest and most popular lake known for producing sizable tournament limits, Lake Candlewood was created by the Connecticut Light and Power Co. as an impoundment of the Rocky River in 1928. Consisting of 5,420 acres of land including Squantz Pond at a maximum of 85 feet, this lake is one of the most diverse fisheries in the state.
Smallmouth bass grow in size and abundance here along with largemouth, perch and black crappie. Alewife and juvenile panfish are the predominant forage for this massive fishery. The best time to fish this lake is as soon as ice out into post spawn and autumn. The boat and recreational traffic is extremely heavy during the summer months with the shoreline densely populated with vacation homes, marinas and waterfront restaurants. However, with the chance of catching one of the biggest bass of your life, it is totally worth braving the masses.
Fishing these beautiful lakes is sure to give you a plethora of wonderful memories and many fishing stories to tell all your friends. Next time you are looking for a fishing adventure, consider these little slices of heaven and be sure to bring your ANGLR Bullseye. Take care and tight lines!
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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