How to Use the Online Fishing Guide
The links on the left page menu are the "table of contents" for the Online Saltwater Fishing Guide; use them to find the appropriate sections you are interested in. A PDF option of the Fishing Guide is below. Printed Fishing Guides are available at many locations that sell licenses (locations for Spanish version) and are released in March each year. Download a PDF of the Fishing Guide in English or Spanish.
Please note that the purpose of the Fishing Guide is to provide a summary of the more important rules and regulations governing sport fishing in Connecticut and to assist in the enjoyment of the angling experience. For legal purposes, the Regulations and State Statutes must be consulted.
Useful Links For Saltwater Fishing
Message from Assistant Director Justin Davis
I am a life-long avid fisherman, but during 2020, fishing took on extra importance for me as a way to escape stressful everyday realities and spend safe quality time recreating with my family. I am not the only one; all available information suggests 2020 was a banner year for participation in outdoor recreation like fishing, with many people either trying their hand at it for the first time, or rekindling a previous interest.
A look across the Connecticut saltwater fishing landscape reveals a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges. On the positive side, populations of scup and black sea bass remain at all-time highs. These bottom-dwelling fish can be found just about anywhere in Long Island Sound, are easy to catch, and if you’re so inclined can provide a delicious and healthy meal. If you’re looking to get in on this great fishing opportunity, consider booking a bottom fishing trip on a Connecticut charter boat or headboat. These boats provide a safe and easy way for you and your family to enjoy some great fishing action (and they’ll even clean the fish for you). The current outlook for some of our other iconic marine sportfish are not quite as rosy; Striped Bass, Bluefish, and Tautog (Blackfish, ‘Tog) have all been declared “overfished” by regional fishery management authorities, and as a result Connecticut has implemented more conservative regulations in recent years, which will remain in place for 2021. I am very optimistic that these tough but necessary adjustments will bear fruit and help return these species to higher numbers. But make no mistake — in the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to catch stripers, blues, and ‘tog in Connecticut waters. A great source for some tips to improve your odds is your local bait and tackle shop. They spend all day hearing customer fish stories (some of which are even true) and can point you in the right direction.
In closing, I will highlight one way in which you can take direct personal action to improve the future outlook for Connecticut fishing. Catch-and-release is becoming an increasingly prevalent practice, which is great — but how you go about it can make a big difference to your impact on the resource. Use of proper tackle and good fish handling practices can greatly increase the odds of a fish surviving post-release (see within this Guide and our DEEP Fishing Webpage for more details). This was the motivation for Connecticut and other coastal states to adopt a new rule in 2021 requiring the use of inline circle hooks when bait fishing for striped bass. Circle hooks are scientifically proven to reduce hooking injury and improve post-release survival. Consider adopting the use of circle hooks and other best practices into your own catch-and-release fishing; the fish will thank you and so will future Connecticut anglers.
Wishing you fair winds, following seas, and tight lines in 2021.
Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions.
Content last updated March 2021