13 Best Striper Fishing Spots in Connecticut

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Despite its size, Connecticut regularly produces giant striped bass, including the current world record.

We show you the best beaches and rivers to catch stripers in the state.

Long Island Sound is legendary in striper circles for its ability to attract and hold particularly large striped bass.

The fact that the all-tackle world-record striped bass (nearly 82 pounds) as well as the 30-pound-test line-class world record (71 pounds), and the junior world record (60 pounds) have all come from Connecticut waters is no coincidence. 

Long Island Sound is rich with life, and Connecticut beaches offer anglers fantastic opportunities to catch enormous striped bass as they make their way north in the spring and back down to their spawning grounds in the fall. 

While each year can vary with weather patterns and water temperatures, your best bet for finding stripers from shore in Connecticut will be between late April and early June in the spring and late September and early November in the fall.

While catching stripers from shore is possible between those two prime times in the warmer months, it’s a much longer shot as most stripers seek out cooler waters.

While boaters have the upper hand in the summer, fishing the shoreline at dawn and dusk may offer an outside chance at landing stripers.

The beaches, parks, and piers listed below will give you your best chance at connecting with the annual migration.

And stick around, because we also show you a trio of Connecticut rivers with year-round striper fishing.

10 Best Striper Fishing Beaches in Connecticut

Try the following ocean beaches and other spots along the Connecticut shore during the peak of the spring and fall runs for your best odds of catching striped bass from shore.

Rocky Neck State Park

This state park sits right on Long Island Sound where Fourmile River and Bride Brook flow into Long Island Sound, and about midway between the Connecticut and Thames rivers.

There is a jetty on the state-park beach where you can fish year-round, and fishing from the beach is allowed in the low tourist season.

A handful of islands (North Brother, Griswold and Huntley) give stripers the structure they’re looking for in this semi-protected cove.

When you consider that about twenty miles across Long Island Sound is Montauk Point, perhaps the most famous and beloved surf striper spot in the sport’s history but that also brings legitimate crowds below its iconic lighthouse, the relatively un-crowded beaches in Connecticut will seem like a hidden gem.

Access: Whether you’re camping or just staying for the day, check out the Rocky Neck State Park for rules and other information.

Harkness and Ocean Beach Parks

Neighboring public parks at the mouth of the Thames River combine for another potentially productive beach for surfcasters.

Edward and Mary Harkness were heirs to an oil fortune and left their estate, mansion and all, to the state of Connecticut. The resulting Harkness Memorial State Park sits right next to Ocean Beach Park, which has a town beach that is popular among surfcasters.

Ocean Beach Park, near Alewife Cove, has some particularly promising stretches of beach with steep drops relatively close to shore.

It’s worth noting that Ocean Beach Park is a popular destination during the summer so fishing will be easiest at first light, before crowds arrive.

You can always explore the Harkness mansion between productive tides. The summer estate of heirs to an oil fortune has 42 rooms and is available for private parties to rent.

Access: See the Harkness Memorial State Park website for more information, including fees.

Hammonasset Beach State Park (Meigs Jetty)

Wide panoramic of Hammonasset Beach and jetty sticking into Long Island Sound at sunset, a great time and place for striper fishing.
Photo by ArenaCreative (Depositphotos)

The Meigs Point Jetty at Hammonasset Beach State Park is the kind of structure striper anglers dream about.

This jetty sits at the southernmost point of a stretch of sand reaching out into Long Island Sound.

The more a body of land protrudes into the surrounding water, the greater likelihood that stripers will hug the shoreline as they migrate north and south. So a jetty on a beach that’s already protruding into the Sound is perfect.

Fishing from the jetty is allowed from 8 a.m. until sunset, and night fishing is allowed between May and October.

Access: Hammonasset Beach State Park is near Madison. Follow Water Way to Meigs Point, where there’s a public parking lot.

Sherwood Point Park

Sherwood Island State Park near Westport is perfectly situated along the coast in a host of ways that makes it a fishing favorite.

The Saugatuck River empties into the Atlantic just to the southwest, guaranteeing an abundance of bait.

The adjacent Mill Creek and Compo Cove give stripers some protected water in the lee of strong winds during fall storms, and Sherwood Beach gives them the shoreline they need to corral schools of bait to fuel the migration.

Bluefish, flounder and fluke also can all be caught from the beach, which has two jetties that give added structure to attract schooling stripers.

Access: The Sherwood Island Connector off the Connecticut Turnpike will lead you right to a Sherwood Island State Park public lot with a daily fee.

Calf Pasture Beach

Evening photo of Calf Pasture Beach with a fishing boat on the water of Long Island Sound along the Connecticut shoreline.
Photo by wirestock_creators (Depositphotos)

The Captain William Clark Fishing Pier is a popular angler destination at the southwest end of Calf Pasture Beach.

Flounder, scup (porgies) and bluefish are common catches from the pier through the summer, and the shoulder seasons of spring and fall will bring stripers within casting distance.

At 600 feet long, the pier gives anglers an impressive platform to work from. 

The pier was damaged and destroyed by hurricanes Irene and Sandy, respectively, but rebuilt in a testament to the state’s resilient population of anglers.

The pier is accessible for people with disabilities, and from it you can see more than 20 islands, including the historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse. 

Note that while Norwalk residents can park for free, visitors have to pay a fee. 

Access: Follow the one-way Calf Pasture Beach Road in Nowalk which will lead you right to pier parking. See the Calf Pasture Beach page on the city of Norwalk’s website.

Silver Sands State Park

This state park in Milford has a fascinating and unique feature in what they call a “tombolo,” which is a sandbar that in this location connects Charles Island) to the mainland.

It is worth noting that this sandbar should not be walked on at any time when water is covering it, and several signs at the beach warn visitors to this end.

Access to the island itself is prohibited May 1 through September 9 to protect nesting birds. However, provided visitors are careful to heed restrictions, fishing at or near low tide from the tombolo is allowed and potentially productive.

Millford Harbor is known as a popular place to find pods of menhaden in the spring, where they can often be seen flipping on the surface. Striped bass and bluefish are never far away from their favorite baitfish.

There’s more than a half mile of shoreline for anglers to explore and an adjacent boardwalk as well. 

Access: Silver Sands Parkway leads right to a public parking lot in Silver Sands State Park

Bluff Point Beach

Right where the Poquonnock River flows into Block Island Sound, you’ve got Bluff Point and Bushy Point barrier beaches.

The state refers to Bluff Point Beach as “the last remaining significant piece of undeveloped land along the Connecticut coastline.”

The beach is one you can access by foot only, meaning those with the wherewithal to hoof it a little farther can reach fish they won’t have to compete for.

In the spring, the Poquonnock and nearby Thames will be drawing stripers in, and in the fall stripers will be pushing schools of sand eels and peanut bunker against barrier beaches like Bushy Point as they fuel their migration. 

The area is forested, giving you a unique hiking environment before you reach the beach.

Fishing is allowed at the bluff 24 hours a day. That gives striper anglers looking for more active fish at night a better shot, especially later into the summer and earlier in the fall.

You’ll likely see fishermen climb out on the large boulders, but this type of attempt should only be undertaken with great caution.

Access: At the southernmost end of Depot Road in Groton, you’ll find public parking. Fees are seasonal and vary based on whether you’re a resident or a non-resident visitor.

Pleasure Beach and Fishing Pier

Near the intersection of Seaview and Central avenues in Bridgeport, you’ve got a public fishing pier that will give you shots at stripers, fluke, and bluefish.

One of the most intriguing elements about the fishing pier at Bridgeport is that it offers a free ferry ride to Pleasure Beach, just across what’s referred to as Yellow Mill Channel.

The fact that Pleasure Beach is most easily accessed by water taxi means it’s far less likely to receive heavy fishing pressure than even nearby shore locations.

Access: Catch the Pleasure Beach water taxi along Central Avenue in Bridgeport.

Stonington Pier/Point

The last stop striped bass will make in Connecticut before crossing into Rhode Island waters will likely be along the shores of Stonington Point, which sits about a mile west of the state line and two miles north of New York waters.

Both Stonington town dock, which faces west into Stonington Harbor, and Stonington Point, which faces south into Long Island Sound, can be rewarding places for surf fishing.

The town dock has a fishing pier which creates more angler-friendly access, but Stonington Point sits right next to DuBois Beach for surfcasters who prefer to work from sand rather than an artificial structure. 

Access: A public parking lot for Stonington Pier is just past the intersection of Pearl Street and Northwest Street. If you follow Water Street to the south you will reach Stonington Point, where there also is parking.

Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary

Reaching like a finger extending into where the Quinnipiac River dumps into Long Island Sound, Sandy Point is a popular destination for anglers and birdwatchers both.

The protected wetland and beach habitat offers anglers an escape from the nearby congested city of New Haven.

West Haven claims the longest stretch of publicly accessible shoreline in the state, and Sandy Point is right at the end reaching the farthest out into the Sound.

The Boston Globe called Sandy Point the 11th best beach to visit in New England, largely because of extraordinary amenities, like observation decks, specifically for observation of the migratory birds that frequent the region. 

But all the pains taken to make for an incredible birding atmosphere make it an excellent place for anglers to visit as well. “Surfcasters like the point at night during striper season,” The Globe wrote of Sandy Point, and they hit the nail on the head.

Access: At the intersection where 1st, 2nd and 3rd avenues meet Beach Street, you’ll find convenient public parking. See the Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary webpage for current information.

3 Top Striper Fishing Rivers in Connecticut

In late April and into May or early June, stripers push into rivers to spawn and feed during their northward migration.

A smaller population of stripers, called “holdovers,” will remain in the river systems year-round instead of migrating back to the mid-Atlantic.

Holdover stripers are typically more lethargic in the colder water, but they can still be caught even in the winter.

While any one of the aforementioned beaches can and will hold schools of stripers during both the spring and fall migration, look for schools of fish to push into harbors and river mouths in the spring, specifically.

In the fall, your best bet is to target stripers from points reaching out into the sound and the other shoreline spots we’ve already mentioned.

While these fish can arrive at a leisurely pace during the spring, exploring harbors and bays while chasing bait, they tend to move at a faster clip once water temperatures are dropping steadily in the months of October and November. 

When targeting stripers in rivers, keep in mind they’ll be pushing smaller baitfish against structure like docks, and holding in current breaks in the same way freshwater fish like trout would in a river system.

Housatonic River

The Housatonic, sometimes called the “Hoo-sey” by locals, has a healthy population of striped bass from the dam near Derby and Shelton down to where it empties into Long Island Sound.

That stretch, roughly 14 river miles, is influenced by the tides in Long Island Sound.

These fish will push up into the brackish water in the Housatonic in the spring chasing baitfish.

Anglers catch stripers here on baits like 6- or 8-inch soft plastics (Slug-Go and Hogy are good options) fished on a jighead, on topwater poppers at first light, or even on bucktails.

The Housatonic has a population of holdover striped bass that over-winter in the river as well, and can be caught year-round.

These fish are far less active in the winter months, so if you’re targeting them after October and November, make sure to slow your presentation down and fish patiently. Storm shad lures are a river favorite.

Access: Bond’s Dock and Fishing Pier is right across the lower river from the Charles E. Wheeler Wildlife Management area and is a popular public access site for targeting stripers in the spring.

Connecticut River

From late April or early May until mid-June, you’ve got your best shot at migratory stripers pushing into the river throughout the entire stretch that runs through the state (the Holyoke Dam in Massachusetts stops them eventually).

There are areas to launch boats and a few key spots to fish from the shore from the mouth up through Hartford and beyond.

Access: Anglers fishing from shore in the lower estuary can visit Ferry Landing State Park in Old Lyme, and fish from a small beach. May and June will be the best months for finding feeding stripers pushing up into the Connecticut. 

Thames River

The Thames is another Connecticut river where you’ll have stripers and bluefish chasing schools of bait upstream in May and June.

Look for breaks in the river’s current where these fish can hold and ambush their prey. Bridge abutments, any kind of structure or eddies or pools all have the ability to hold fish.

In Norwich, the Yantic River and the Shetucket River combine to form the Thames, with public access at Howard T. Brown Memorial Park.

The Thames is home to a population of holdover striped bass as well, which can be caught year-round.

These holdovers are typically smaller, and they are less active in the colder months. Your best time to fish the Thames for the bigger migrating stripers that move in to feed will be mid-May into early June. Holdover stripers can be caught year-round, however.

Access: Along Route 12 west of Ledyard, Stoddard Hill State Park Scenic Reserve offers shoreline access and a small boat launch.

Catch More Stripers

Check out our complete fishing guide to catching striped bass in the surf.


Connecticut anglers can claim their waters are home to the world’s largest striped bass, and the beaches and rivers in this beautiful state should give anglers incredible opportunities to catch stripers both in the spring and fall.

And maybe, just maybe, your next catch will beat the world record.