main stem of the Saugatuck River runs from Ridgefield through Redding,
Weston and Westport where it empties into Long Island Sound. Along the
way it becomes larger as two main tributaries, the West Branch of the
Saugatuck River and the Aspetuck River, enter the main branch.
Saugatuck River ranges in size from a stream roughly 10-feet wide near the
headwaters, to a much larger river as it draws closer to the Sound.
Additionally, the Saugatuck River is part of a drinking water supply
reservoir system, with a large section of the reservoir which can be
fished from shore, but is difficult to fish with a fly rod.
are all types of water to be fished in the Saugatuck River, including pocket
water and riffles, deep gorge pools below the reservoir, and large
expanses of calm water where dry fly fishing can be excellent.
Saugatuck River and its tributaries are stocked by the state, and in addition
to the stocked fish, anglers in the river sections can often catch
brown trout which have come down over the dam after gorging on baitfish
and becoming quite large, and also, increasing numbers of searun brown
trout which come up the river to spawn each fall. Walleye can also be
caught just below the reservoir, and are typically washed over in high
water conditions in the spring and fall.
What to use
most popular place to fish the Saugatuck River's main stem is in the William
"Doc" Skerlick Trout Management Area off Ford Road in Westport. Like
the Mianus River TMA, the Saugatuck TMA is a limited harvest section of
the stream, but unlike the Mianus River, the Saugatuck River TMA is reserved for
fly fishing only, with no bait or spin rods allowed. The TMA runs from
the dam near the head of Ford Road downstream to the Merritt Parkway
For this section, a longer rod is suitable, as there are wide open places to cast. A 9-foot, 4- or 5-weight works well.
the TMA, the Saugatuck River becomes smaller and runs mainly through private
residential property, making access to the stream more difficult. There
are places along this stretch, at road crossings and in public parks
such as Keene Park in Weston, which offer access. In these sections, a 9-foot rod
is functional, but a shorter rod is optimal.
Just below the dam,
in the gorge area off Valley Forge Road, a 9-foot, 5-weight is best, and
sinking head fly line is suggested, as there are deep pools and fast
As the river heads towards the Sound, it enters a
tidal estuary. In this section of river in Westport, anglers often fish
by boat or kayak, though limited wade fishing is possible in the upper
stretches of the estuary. At the head of the estuary is a small dam and
fish ladder. Here it is possible to wade fish for searun brown trout
and stocked trout which have moved downstream from the TMA. Anglers
occassionally catch striped bass and small bluefish here as well.
get to the Saugatuck River's main stem and the TMA, take the Merritt
Parkway to Exit 42, for Lyons Plains Road. Take a right at the exit.
Take a left onto Ford Road at the first traffic light and continue down
Ford Road until you see the well-worn pulloff areas right next to the
Do not park in the lot across the bridge, as that parking lot is private and the gate is locked each evening.
West Branch of the Saugatuck River is off Newtown Turnpike along the
Wilton/Weston town line. The Aspetuck Land Trust property is located
along Newtown Turnpike, just past Stonebridge Road in Wilton.