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Fly Fishing the Willimantic River in Connecticut

Willimantic River summary

Willimantic River is a fly fishing location in Connecticut. This destination has an elevation of approximately 446 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for Willimantic River on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).
           

Willimantic River reports

Steve Babbitt (Steve'O) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: got out for a few hours to do some pre season scouting for the upcoming season of guiding. I checked all the usual spots. Natchaug, Fenton, Still, Bigelow brook, Raoring brook, Moosup on the the way home figured I better check the Willi to see how water levels were. when I got there no cars in the pull off so I strung up the rod grabbed a couple of boxes and went down to the river. I got one quick rainbow a small stone fly nymph. I then noticed that there were trout rising on far bank. Knowing it was the egg laying stones I tied on a small dark spent stone fly and got three more rainbows on consecutive casts. had to go need to be back at the shop to teach tying class with 15 students over all nice early spring day. (04/25/13)
Steve Babbitt (Steve'O) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: This spring we have been very fortunate to have moderate temps and plenty of rain so the rivers here in North East Connecticut are in great shape. I had a few hours yesterday morning to get away before a few dad chores, a birthday party and a graduation celebration. So I was up before 5 am and in the fish mobile headed for the Willimantic River TMA by 5:30. I decided after reading a few old posts in my journals I would park at the rest area and work from that bank. In the last few years I have found that my journals, whichI have kept since the mid-80’s have become invaluable with the information they hold. When I started them it was more to remember the fish numbers and kinds,now I look back for river, weather and hatch conditions. I got to the rest area about 10 minutes later,put on my waders and put my rod together. I did not rig up as I wanted to see how the river looked like before I tied on a leader and flies. When I got totbhe river it was running fairly high for this time of year and just a bit stained. I decided I was going to do some Czech nymphing so I put on one of my custom tied leaders, it is 13’ long tapered from 25 pound test amnesia in either fluorescent red or green down to 6X. Today I used the green butt section because it shows up better in the low light. I tied on a size 14 caddis pupa in tan with the point fly being a size 10 Czech nymph with a tungsten bead head;it is a mix of golden brown SLF and tan antron. Looking at the flow I decided to drop in midway thru the pool and fish from there to the tail out. I made a few drift but did not feel the bottom so I tied a small dropper off the bend of my point fly and put a small split shot toadd just the needed weight to get it down. Third cast I felt a bump and tightened up to feel a head shake. After a good fight I landed my first fish ofthe morning a solid rainbow of about 13” a few casts later a bit farther down the current seam, I hooked it’s identical twin. Over the next hour I hooked another 4 fish losing two and landing two. One was a rainbow the other was a thick brown about 14” that put on a real nice fight up on the surface with a couple of big runs. All of these fish came on the Czech nymph. > I decided to head down stream to try another run that hold fish well in this type of flow. I am not usually prone to walking away from fish that are feeding but it was a quiet morning and I had not seen another fly fisherman in the hour or so I was there. I moved down to the spot I wanted to try just as the fog started to burn off and itstarted to get brighter. I could start to see there was a bunch of fish feeding in the lower end of this run. I move into a good spot to fish to these active feeders, I made about 50 cast and did not even get so much as bump. I decided to try a bit different approach when I saw a few small tan caddis hatching. I took off the Czech nymph and the dropper and replaced them with a veiled caddis and a soft hackle. I cast this pair upstream at about 45 degrees so they sink and then dead drift them high sticking once they reached my position I lowered the rod tip and let them swing thru the lower section ofthe run. First cast a felt a good bump, next cast I was fast into another nice rainbow. A few casts later the flies stopped mid-way thru the dead drift I tightened up figuring to feel the bottom but instead I felt a strong headshake, I set the hook and the fish went crazy. After a real good fight with what I thought was a fish of about 17 or 18 inches I landed a beautiful 13” tiger trout. This was the second in a week to come from this part of the river. I hada guide client catch one last Saturday about a ¼ mile upstream from where I was fishing. I let him go and sat on the back retying my flies as the teeth on that bugger had frayed the 6x a bit too much. I made a few more casts and got one more cookie cutter rainbow. > I looked at my watch and decided to go back to my first spot and see what was happening before heading home. I left the same two flies on and dropped into the same spot I started in, first cast I hooked and lost a fish in the tail out. I stripped a bit of line off my reel to give myself some slack to play with and recast. Bam I was into another good fish this one turned out to be a bit larger rainbow about 16” and solid muscle from back to belly. Over the next half hour I hooked 5 more fish landing only two of them , I was a bit slow on the hook set today. All in all not a bad day 16 fished hooked with 10 landed and only a brook trout away from a slam. These are the kinds of days that I remember the clearest, conditions were good and fish cooperative. I could use a few more of these as they have been far and few between the last 5 years. The rest of the day was filled with family fun and celebration. Funny thing was mynephew who just started fly fishing knew even before I told him I had a good morning by the smile on my face.> > Steve > (06/25/11)
Steve Babbitt (Steve'O) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: fished for a couple hours, lots of fish rising. managed a few on a rusty spinners sz 12 & 14. The water temp seems a bit low for this time of year so the river may fish longer into July this year. All fish I got were rainbows biggest was a beautiful 15" jumper. (06/09/09)
Steve Babbitt (Steve'O) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: This is looking to be the best fall fishing in a number of years. (09/22/08)
Steve Babbitt (Steve'O) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Guided 2 sports 8/24/08 had a great afternoon /evening. Best condition for this time of year in 10 years or so. Good flows, temps and lots of bugs (09/02/08)
Steve Babbitt (Steve b) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: fished from 6:00 am till 10:00 am. fished small BWO dries with emerger dropper. Managed to land a few in the short time I had (06/29/08)
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Willimantic River descriptions

Andy Idema (aidema) wrote - The Willimantic River is a tributary of the Shetucket River. It is ideal habitat for trout and is designated as Wild Trout Management Area. There is year round fly fishing so the river has plenty of angling traffic. (06/13/08)
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Willimantic River businesses

Legend:
Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
TEAM7x Fly Fishing in Eastern CT
Rt. 198
Chaplin, Connecticut
Guide Service JT's fly shop
664 Buckley Hwy
Union, Connecticut
JT's Fly shop
664 Buckley Hwy
Union, Connecticut
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Willimantic River comments and ratings

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1 comments
Steve Babbitt (Steve'O)
This is the gem of the NE part of CT. from Stafford down to eagleville it is great fishing. The TMA get a good bit of pressure but don't be afraid to fish out side of it. the access is excellent thru out it's legnth. It is our home water for the shop and I guide there many times in the spring and fall. (1/19/13)
1 ratings

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Nearby destinations

Blackledge River, Connecticut 7 miles away
Jeremy River, Connecticut 7 miles away
Natchaug River, Connecticut 8 miles away | Rating: 4
Mount Hope River, Connecticut 11 miles away | Rating: 4
Fenton River, Connecticut 12 miles away
Yantic River, Connecticut 14 miles away
Shetucket River, Connecticut 14 miles away | Rating: 5
Quinebaug River, Connecticut 14 miles away
Salmon River, Connecticut 14 miles away
Bigelow Brook, Connecticut 17 miles away

Nearby cities

Lebanon, Connecticut 3 miles away
Amston, Connecticut 4 miles away
Columbia, Connecticut 4 miles away
North Westchester, Connecticut 6 miles away
Colchester, Connecticut 6 miles away
Hebron, Connecticut 6 miles away
Gilman, Connecticut 6 miles away
Willimantic, Connecticut 7 miles away
South Windham, Connecticut 7 miles away
North Franklin, Connecticut 8 miles away

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