Ice fishing in Connecticut should get the attention that it deserves.
When you’ve got a state that can produce 20-inch brown trout and world-record striped bass, some fisheries are bound to go underappreciated. Therefore, ice fishing in a state where anglers are often occupied elsewhere can yield untapped potential if you know where to go.
You can only drive 110 miles from any city in Connecticut, in a straight line, before leaving the state. Anglers can bounce around and hit new lakes and ponds every day, all within a day’s drive.
Where to Go Ice Fishing in CT
Here’s where we’d suggest you start (provided there’s safe ice, of course).
No list of freshwater fishing opportunities in Connecticut could be complete without Candlewood Lake. This 5,400-acre lake, not far from the New York border, is easily accessible from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman.
The species opportunity here is incredible. Let’s start with the largemouth bass. With good reason, Bassmaster Magazine ranked Candlewood as the 22nd-best bass lake in the Northeast in 2018.
If you’re not crazy about largemouth, how about crappie, rainbow trout, bluegill, rock bass, pickerel, smallmouth bass, walleye, brown trout, white and yellow perch, or carp? Candlewood has populations of all of the above species and also made our list of the best trout fishing spots in Connecticut.
There are multiple ramps and access points on the giant lake. The Candlewood-Squantz Cove Public Boat Launch in Squantz Pond State Park is open year-round and is as good a place as any.
Like many Connecticut lakes, Crescent Lake supports healthy populations of largemouth bass.
However, we also thought you should know that the state began stocking this Southington-area lake with channel catfish in 2018, meaning that there are some hefty specimens by now that you might wind up bringing through the ice.
At only 56 acres, Crescent is a great deal smaller than Candlewood, meaning you should be able to find fish holding on structures and drop-offs a little bit easier.
Because the lake lies almost entirely within Sunset Rock State Park, and most of its shoreline is undeveloped, your access will be on Shuttle Meadow Road.
It’s not enough to say that Pachaug Pond has northern pike. It’d be more accurate to say that Pachaug has some absolute tanks swimming under the ice.
Take, for example, the 44-inch, 25-pound northern that angler Mike Richardson caught in 2015 at this pond near Griswold and Voluntown.
With plenty of coves, bays, and mid-lake islands, Pachaug has all the structure you could ever want. The pond offers access on its Northwest end, off Rte. 138, or Voluntown Road, in Voluntown.
It’s a very shallow pond, never deeper than 20 feet, so the steep drops near the islands and the boat ramp are most likely to hold bait and fish.
One of the steepest drops on the pond is just north of Barton Island on the southern end of the pond.
Mt. Tom Pond
In west-central Connecticut, Mt. Tom Pond is a relatively small (56 acres) body of water that offers shots at pickerel, brown trout, and bass.
For a unique twist, the adjacent state park has a stone lookout tower atop the namesake Mt. Tom. You can climb the 100-year-old, 34-foot-tall stone tower for an impressive view of the surrounding scenery if the fishing gets slow.
But what makes Mt. Tom Pond really intriguing is the state’s decision to start stocking it with Atlantic salmon between 2 and 5 pounds (between 2 and 3 years old) in the fall. It’s worth noting that you can only keep one salmon per day.
Right about in the middle of the pond, there’s a hole that reaches 45 feet deep, and a second hole directly north of it by about 300 yards that’s 35 feet deep. The steepest inclines are to the west of these deepest parts of the lake.
Mt Tom Road in Mount Tom State Park offers a boat launch that provides easy ice-fishing access.
Bantam, Connecticut’s largest natural lake at nearly 950 acres, also offers chances to catch some of the state’s biggest pike.
Not just any bit pike, though. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has teased anglers with the notion of “Bantam Bertha,” a supposed record pike stocked into the lake that has yet to be caught.
In the event that you don’t land Bantam Bertha or another big pike, your odds are still good at pulling largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, white and yellow perch, and bullhead through the ice.
East Shore Road will take you to Morris Town Beach, where a boat launch offers easy access. Litchfield Town Beach on the north end has similar facilities.
About halfway down the eastern shoreline, you’ll come to the pond’s steepest drop to 24 feet.
In fact, the entire southeastern shoreline offers a fairly steep drop-off and should hold bait and fish.
If you’re on the fence about this one, just Google image search ‘Bantam Lake Pike,’ and start packing your gear.
Connecticut has unique ice-fishing opportunities in the Northeast, thanks to inventive stocking programs and beautiful natural resources.
Remember to check the latest local reports for ice thickness and take every safety precaution to make it a winter to remember.
Also, if you are still in the learning stages or need a refresher, check out our easy-to-follow guide to ice fishing techniques and tips, including the equipment, lures, baits, and safety tips you need.