Northeast of Pittsburg in northern New Hampshire, the upper section of the Connecticut River is considered the best trout stream in New England. Spanning a series of lakes with tailwater dams, the Connecticut River offers amazing fly fishing for brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and salmon. Known as the jewel of the Great Northwoods, the tailwater dams above Pittsburg fish much more like a classic freestone stream and are ideal for wading. The section below Pittsburg are even known to be good and are popular for drift boating.
The most popular section is the 2.5 mile trophy stretch from First Connecticut Lake downstream to Lake Francis. This bottom release water has a rocky bottom with gravel that is known for its pocket water, riffles and pools. There is great riverside trail access. The best time of year for this stretch is from late-May to early-June. If you’re fly fishing in the summer, you’ll want to be out early in the morning or late in the day for the best action. While there is a 2 fish limit (trout over 12 inches and salmon over 15 inches), it is recommended to practice catch-and-release.
Above First Connecticut Lake, there are additional popular stretches. The better section is between the Magalloway Road bridge downstream to the First Connecticut Lake inlet at Green Point. The other section is from Magalloway Road bridge upstream to the tailwater dam of Second Connecticut Lake. There is good access along this stretch. In both stretches, there is a two brook trout limit (12 inches minimum).
Below the Pittsburg townsite and Lake Francis, there is even good fishing along the wider, heavier flow river, but its usually less frequented. It is accessible by SR3 and is best by drift boating.
If you are going for the salmon, you’ll really want to be out early season with the best runs from late-April through mid-May. The brook trout and rainbow trout really rise later in the season. With mainly tailwater fly fishing, keep in mind that there are numerous good hatches of stone flies, mayflies, little black caddis, cinnamon caddis, and of course midges, too.
Overall, Connecticut River is the 12th most popular fly fishing river of all 19 fly fishing spots in New Hampshire.