Ftyer

What to Expect from Connecticut?

Rate this topic

34 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

So my better half wants to buy a house in Connecticut and obviously that brings me with her. Frankly, I don’t know a whole lot about the state other than the saltwater and freshwater fishing isn’t too bad and the property taxes are pretty high.

 

I spent the first 2/3rds of my life in Pittsburgh and then central PA where I was pretty spoiled with excellent trout water. However, after that many years chasing trout and learning a ton about fly fishing and fly tying, I was kind of over it and moved to Maine where I lived out the remaining 1/3rd of my life. Despite the horrible and long and boring winters, I learned a ton about saltwater fly fishing in Maine. With my parents having a place in Florida that I’d often escape to, it helped balance me into a decently well-rounded saltwater angler, and I’ve been in the Long Island area since July and I’ve had a great time learning this area since then. 
 

Anyway, what I’m asking is, what should I expect out of Connecticut, both good and bad? If it was up to me, I’d move to Florida and never see another cold day for the rest of my life, but I understand that that’s a hard sell if you’re not strongly dedicated to catching saltwater fish with a fly rod, so here we are. 
 

Also, we haven’t quite chose a destination in concrete, so feel free to recommend any areas that are better than the next for the guy who likes to catch and release fish in saltwater without living in an armpit. 

Edited by Ftyer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the state, grew up there and had tried to go back at one point.  Funny thing was the market for housing took a dive and the last few affluent folks I used to hang and fish with were bugging out, account they were just getting clobbered by taxes.  Then the pandemic happened.  Things totally reversed with the housing market as the cidiots fled the City, and there is no way I could hit my old stomping grounds.  Last time I looked at Zillow there was nothing under a Million, even though nothing was worth that.  Since I can't say anything nice about the welfare issues, so I won't.

 

Fishing was awesome, both fresh and salt.  Both a shadow of what it was when I was a kid.  Same thing with LI where I wound up, but it's even more pathetic in Fairfield County.  I had one river I won't get specific that was great but then Bridgeport Hydro started cutting off the creeks flowing into it and it got really bad.  The local Trout Unlimited chapter (Mianus, and I will never say it with a straight face, but a great chapter) offered to pay BH if they repopened the flow on the Comstock Brook, but NO, they still refused.  A place where I used to jump into from a nearby road bridge has been bone dry for well over a decade now.  So, once you know where the stocked fish hang, the fresh loses it's appeal.  What used to be a decent salt fishery is a shadow of what it used to be.  Still some good spots but competition is really fierce and I find it's not worth it anymore to make the early season river trips. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, valleygoog said:

I love the state, grew up there and had tried to go back at one point.  Funny thing was the market for housing took a dive and the last few affluent folks I used to hang and fish with were bugging out, account they were just getting clobbered by taxes.  Then the pandemic happened.  Things totally reversed with the housing market as the cidiots fled the City, and there is no way I could hit my old stomping grounds.  Last time I looked at Zillow there was nothing under a Million, even though nothing was worth that.  Since I can't say anything nice about the welfare issues, so I won't.

 

Fishing was awesome, both fresh and salt.  Both a shadow of what it was when I was a kid.  Same thing with LI where I wound up, but it's even more pathetic in Fairfield County.  I had one river I won't get specific that was great but then Bridgeport Hydro started cutting off the creeks flowing into it and it got really bad.  The local Trout Unlimited chapter (Mianus, and I will never say it with a straight face, but a great chapter) offered to pay BH if they repopened the flow on the Comstock Brook, but NO, they still refused.  A place where I used to jump into from a nearby road bridge has been bone dry for well over a decade now.  So, once you know where the stocked fish hang, the fresh loses it's appeal.  What used to be a decent salt fishery is a shadow of what it used to be.  Still some good spots but competition is really fierce and I find it's not worth it anymore to make the early season river trips. 

We still go up in the early summer for a couple of months..... the salt from shore is super tough.  Every town beach has closed down access & you need a town sticker to park. Out of town parking is not cheap. Shoreline access is severely limited due to private property. The sand eel run in May/ June is a shadow of what it used to be (I believe Sandy is to blame for that one).  Can't say that much about the rivers - but Newton got super strict with parking along the Housatonic when COVID hit.  Used to go there in late July - Aug for smallies. Now you have to go to the Bass or Trout mgt. areas or above them.  

 

Cost of living ran around 8% there for the 21 years we lived there.  They are one of 7 states that are looking into wealth tax since they think that they don't tax it's residents enough. Many financial/ wealth management firms & their clients have & continue to move south. 

 

I will say that most inshore fishing one the entire east coast has gone downhill, so they are not alone on that one.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Across the backyard water neighbor from CT who I fish with, echos all the tax negatives listed above and can't wait to retire up here.  Also don't see that anyone has mentioned the general congestion of CT, especially along the coast.  Wife is a CT girl and we can't stand the traffic when we drive down to visit.

 

Do yourself a favor and start lobbying hard for ME if New England is the ultimate goal.  The winters along the coast aren't horribly cold and not terribly long.  It's Mud Season that drags and gets long.  I've always commented that March is the cruelest month, can't get the boat in, and there's little snow to play in.  If the snow bothers you, then learn to enjoy it with alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow mobile, etc.

 

The fresh water fishing, not my cup of tea, is exceptional, especially the ability to actually catch native, non-hatchery bred brookies, which should get your fly fishing side excited.  There are other magnificent trout streams/rivers, along with "wicked good" fishing for smallies...

 

The salt water is great, but inshore fishing is limited to striped bass, along with mackerel.  From Kittery to Rockland you've got stripers all over, and the fly boys love it.  In some years, when the smaller bluefin tuna are around, you can get a shot a catching one of them on a fly!!  If you have a boat, you also get access to groundfish and sharks, along with the tuna.

 

With 1.4 million folks in this very large state, your days of ungodly congestion are a thing of the past, but we do have pretty high taxes, but they pale in comparison to CT.

Edited by Roccus7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the “quiet corner “ taxes still are awful here. Lots of people from who knows where. I own my own little paradise sort of. 150 acre farm with unreal hunting. Freshwater fishing from bass and pickerel all over the place. Pretty good trout and a few decent breeder stock salmon rivers. From my place I can be fishing the salt in 40 minutes for stripers and all the other salt demons. Blues are not as good as the past like most other species. In an hour I can be in R.I. and have all of the beaches you want. Jump on a 15 minute plane ride or an hour ferry and fish Block Island where I live and work part time. That is another place all on its own. It would take a lifetime to fish it all. Nothing is as it used to be. It’s all about how hard you work to enjoy it. I also am hooked on Florida fly fishing. Got bit hard Tarpon fishing in the Keys. I would move there but it’s just too crowded. Being on a 150 acre farm has spoiled me and don’t really care for company. Good luck. I would check out Westerly RI areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Expect a lot of Slow drivers on the parkways and interstates in ancient Subaru’s hogging the left lane. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Connecticut is a little state, but differs greatly from place to place.

 

I grew up in Greenwich.  Beautiful town, lots of amenities, but infested with hedge funders and real estate is over the top.  I still own a house there that I rent out, but if you aren't wealthy or have roots in town, buying a place is tough.  But the Fairfield County coast is, with the exception of Bridgeport and parts of Norwalk and Stamford, a nice place to live if you can afford the entry fee.  Fishing is pretty good.  Not what it was when I lived there, but I still go back every year to fish with an old friend and we do pretty well plugging the shoreline and islands for bass.  Bluefish is down, as it is everywhere, weakfish are scarce, and flounder have disappeared.  Slow pick for fluke, sea bass get scarce pretty quickly, and scup are a little better east of Stamford, but from a bass fisherman's perspective, it's not bad.  Fishing reflects general trands along the coast, although one nice thing is that when the Chesapeaks striped bass stock tanks, you get fish from the Hudson to fill part of the void.  Good saltwater flyfishing, particularly around the Norwalk Islands.  However, to fish the place properly, you need a boat.  Shore access is very limited.

 

The area between Stratford and New Haven is iffy.  New Haven is a big, working harbor, and despite the presence of Yale University, is in many places a crime-ridden dump.  Has some nice spots, but I'd probably avoid this stretch, although there are places between the two towns that aren't bad; shoreline development is significant.

 

East of New Haven, things again get better.  Branford, Guilford, Madison, and east to Old Saybrook is a pleasant stretch that takes you to the mouth of the Connecticut River.  Again, a lot of the rocky shoreline typical of the north side of Long Island Sound, although there are soime stretches of sand.  Not bad east of the Connecticut River, either, until you get close to New London, when things start getting heavily developed again; you get the sub base at Groton, and then as you get east of the Thames River, the area starts to resemble coastal Rhode Island.

 

I'm not as familiar with the inland areas, although I've spent some time in  the northwest cornerm which is much like the Berkshires area in Massachusetts, Good trout fishing in the upper Housatonic and Farmington Rivers, which aren't exactly in the "corner," but aren't too far away.  Candlewood Lake, just north of Danbury, is popular with the bass boat crowd.

 

In the Hartford area, the city itself is a dump, but some of the outer suburbs are pleasant.  The Connecticut River offers some OK warm- and cool- water fishing for bass and pike.

 

The northeastern corner is also less developed.  The main campus of the University of Connecticut is there, also a lot of agricultural land, although it probably offers the least in  the way of fishing opportunities.

 

Note as I write this tht there are a lot of ponds and lakes scattered across the state, for those who enjoy fresh water fishing.  Also some productive but lesser known streams, including some with native brook trout.

 

Taxes?  Yes.  But maybe not as bad as people believe.  For example, I own a 3-bedroom, 2-bath high ranch, with a build-in two-car garagem set back about 150 feet from the road and backing onto a parcel with a permanent conservation easement, on 1 acre in Greenwich, and I live in a smaller, less well-built, sort-of 3-bedroom (the back wall of one bedroom was knocked out so that the previous owner could add an extention for a den) 1-bath low ranch, with a semi-detached 1-car garage on a 75x290 plot in a slowly-deteriorating blue collar neighborhood on Long Island.  I pay higher taxes on  the Long Island property than I do on my Connecticut place.  So no, we're not talking about Carolina- or Mississippi tax rates, but they're still not that bad for the northeast.

 

Connecticut has its high and low points.  I don't particularly like hedge funders, and I do like the ocean, so I live where I live.  But should I get to the point where I can no longer run a boat in the ocean, I'll probably move back.  Maybe I can still run something smaller inshore, and if nothing else, In can sit on my deck, curse at the deer eating my bushes and watch the warblers move through in the spring.  Plus the hospital has a piano in the lobby, and will serve steak and lobster if you're willing to pay.  It's probably a nice place to die.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Avoid Connecticut.

Unless you have a boat and are fishing Greenwich or Norwalk Islands (most-friendly to saltwater fly fishing tactics). Even then, WLIS is spotty, sometimes its good, sometimes bad, sometimes insane... only ones that will appreciate it are putting in serious hours to figure it out. Maine, from what I've experienced is the next mecca for striped bass, especially the lower portion of the state... plus much better freshwater fishing than in CT... I'd LOVE to move to ME from CT. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a transplant from NJ. I have mixed feelings about CT from a fishing point. I moved here in 2010 (Norwalk) and 2 years later I moved east. It took a while for me to get going.

 

I went to college in RI from 87-91 and fished there quite a bit. I think one of the best things about CT is that it's close to RI (if you're east...). So early on I hit RI a lot, it's what I knew. I eventually found some places closer to me. Access is tough. NJ access is also hard too but it's worse here. The salt fishing certainly has its moments at certain times. Fresh, I know one place and that's the Farmington. I'm fortunate and I have 1-2 days off during the week, the river is good then. Weekends came suck and blow though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shoreline access is tough for sure, but if you can conquer that obstacle, the striper game is world class. Last season I found five fish from 49-51” and somewhere around fifty fish over 40” and have drawn many of my friends from MA (anglers who used to fish the canal religiously) to exclusively traveling to CT to get on the reef giants. CT is of the only places where bass consistently plant themselves on a Scup/Tog/Seabass-rich ledge and stick around all season. Just my opinion, but the biggest problem with “CT cows” is those fish are so well fed, there are thousands of giants that won’t ever take a plug more than once. 
 

I’ve been fishing the same area for 24 years so I know it like the back of my hand, and keeping in touch with the local spearfishermen is the best way to stay up to date on the class of fish to be found (also what the fish have been eating at any given time). 
 

Quick note on saltwater fly action- I spent a good amount of time fly fishing for striper in the Saybrook area with the late Bill Henning and if that’s what you’re into, that is certainly the area to go.
 

Nowadays I won’t travel more than 15 minutes for most of my outings, but mostly because the fish are always in my backyard. I’ve always had the itch worse than most, and living in CT means I can fish 30-40 nights in a row like I try to do. Last season I got out there 80 nights in an 82 day stretch (still married somehow) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
 

So what I’m trying to say is, move to Maine, we don’t need any more CT surf anglers ;)

8A878464-A726-4325-B808-07243CE35668.jpeg

17E9A7E1-DCAB-421A-AF2E-67DF75C65C58.jpeg

AB914044-3587-4BD1-B44B-892621D50ABF.jpeg

75D049DF-5E2A-4C3A-8AFB-EB7363D21887.jpeg

4EF60AA5-803A-48A8-BFDF-264B47FB1968.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.