Trout Management Areas

farmington river trout management area sign

Fishing tips for trout management areas | Caring for the trout you catch | Research 

Trout have been at the forefront of fisheries management in Connecticut for more than a century and are one of the most sought after fish species by anglers, who spend approximately 2.1 million fishing trips a year seeking them.   

Connecticut's TMAs (listed below) have special regulations in place to provide high-quality opportunity to catch trout. Please consult the Fishing Guide for the specific regulations for the TMA you plan to fish. TMAs generally have good stream access, attract more angler days, and sustain higher catch rates throughout the year. Some TMA are designated as year-round catch and release fishing while others allow harvest from the second Saturday in April until August 31 (catch and release September 1 until second Saturday of April). The major benefit of the TMA network is high catch rates (as each stocked fish can be caught more than once).

In addition to a fishing license, a trout and salmon stamp is required to fish within a TMA.

Connecticut's Trout Management Areas (TMAs)

a map of Connecticut's trout management areas

trout and salmon stamp required to fish sign

Year-Round Catch and Release

There are 10 sections of river where the harvest (keeping or taking) of trout is not allowed at any time, all trout must be released. These sections of river have the ability to support trout survival year-round, unlike most waters in CT where the water temperature becomes lethal for some period of time (but the presence of cold tributaries provide survival via a "thermal refuge"). Some sections have special regulations such as requiring the use of a barbless hooks* or single free swinging hook. Always consult the Fishing Guide for site specific regulations for these year-round catch and release TMAs.

  • Hockanum River, Vernon, Manchester
  • Housatonic River, Salisbury, Canaan, Cornwall, Sharon
  • Housatonic River, (Bulls Bridge TMA), Sherman, Kent
  • Mill River (Fairfield)
  • Moosup River, Plainfield
  • Naugatuck River,  Litchfield, Harwinton, Thomaston
  • Pequabuck River/Coppermine Brook, Bristol, Plainville
  • Tenmile River (Bulls Bridge TMA), Sherman, Kent
  • West Branch Farmington River, Barkhamsted, New Hartford
  • Willimantic River, Tolland, Willington 

*Barbless Hooks: used as a technique to minimize the release time and maximize the chance of post-release survival. Currently the only TMA with this regulation is a section of the West Branch Farmington River. Barbless hooks are also required in Class 1 Wild Trout Management Areas.

Seasonal Catch and Release:

There are 8 sections of river where fishing is allowed year-round, with harvest allowed from the second Saturday of April until August 31. These waters have limited, if any, capacity to support trout during summer months (water temperatures become lethal) but have adequate water temperatures during the fall, winter, and spring. Additional stocking in the fall provides catch and release fishing (no harvest) from September 1 until the second Saturday of April, when water temperatures are within the range to support trout.

  • Farmington River and West Branch Farmington River, Intermittent sections from Hartland downstream to Unionville
  • Hammonasset River, Killingworth, Madison
  • Mianus River, Greenwich, Stamford
  • Mill River, Hamden within Sleeping Giant State Park
  • Salmon River, Colchester
  • Saugatuck Fly Only area, Westport, from Dorr's Mill Dam to Merritt Parkway
  • Yantic River, Bozrah
Fly Fishing Only:

There are eight sections of river that require the use of fly fishing gear in Connecticut:

  • Bantam River (outlet), Morris, Litchfield
  • Hewitt Flyfishing Pond (Gallup Pond), North Stonington
  • Housatonic River, Cornwall, Sharon
  • Moosup River, Plainfield
  • Salmon River, Colchester
  • Saugatuck River, Westport, from Dorr's Mill Dam to Merritt Parkway
  • Willimantic River, Tolland, Willington
  • Yantic River, Lebanon, above Johnsons Bridge and Bozrah

Fishing Tips for Trout Management Areas:

  • Trout are wary fish so keep your fishing line between 2 lb test and 8 lb test (nothing heavier) and hook size should be small (size 6, 8, or 10) when using bait. If catch and release fishing, pinch the barbs on your hook down to increase chances of survival after release.
  • Worms, meal worms, and live shiners make excellent live bait for trout. When bottom fishing, add just enough split shots to bounce along the bottom of the stream. If fishing a slow moving pool, add a small bobber to keep your bait suspended just off of the bottom and moving with the current.
  • There are an endless variety of artificial lures that are all very effective for catching trout. Ask your local bait and tackle shot what lures they suggest for trout. What is important is to keep trout lures small. Lures should be retrieved as soon as the lure hits the water.
  • Fly fishing is a very popular, effective, yet challenging method for fishing TMAs.



Caring for the trout you catch

If planning to release the trout you catch, be sure to keep the trout in the water as much as possible and pinch the barbs on your hook to make removal easier. All TMAs have “catch and release” regulations during some time of the year, so do your best to ensure survival by following some tips for better catch and release.

Trout are a delicious and healthy food, and make a fine dinner that you can be proud to have caught yourself! Trout are very versatile and can be prepared a variety of ways. But first, take care of your catch by keeping the fish on a stringer in the water while fishing or, better yet, put directly on ice in a cooler. You could fillet the trout, or simply remove the innards and cook whole. Check out our trout with almonds recipe.


A comprehensive survey of the streams and rivers of the State of Connecticut began in 1988. Data on stream habitat, water chemistry, invertebrate populations, fish populations and angler use have been collected and can be viewed on the DEEP Fish Community Data Viewer. Using this data, fish biologists determined which streams could sustain trout populations through the summer months as well as those that can only provide trout habitat during the cooler summers. The analysis of data collected during this project was the basis for increasing the number of TMAs in Connecticut.

Periodic monitoring of all TMAs, through fish electrofishing sampling, water temperature monitoring, and angler counts and surveys, enables the Fisheries Division to determine if objectives are being met and to respond to angler inquiries and requests.


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Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions. 

Phone: 860-424-FISH (3474)

Content last updated April 2023