Norwalk River is a relatively small stream running from the Great Swamp
in Ridgefield to the Long Island Sound in Norwalk. For the majority of
its roughly 20-mile length, the Norwalk is publicly accessible, with
only two short sections of private property currently posted No
The river is easy to get to as it parallels Route 7
for most of its length, with many easy parking areas. The best sections
of the river runs from Wolfpit Road in Wilton north to Topstone Road
near the Redding and Ridgefield town lines.
Despite the ease of
access, the Norwalk is a challenging river for two main reasons. For
much of its length, the river width is fairly narrow, ranging from 10
to 20 feet, and is well overgrown with trees, shrubs and other
vegetation. This makes for ideal cover and protection for trout, but
can be maddening for fly fishermen. Additionally, the river is heavily
loaded with softball-size cobblestones, making wading a bit tricky.
to more than a decade of work by the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited and other
conservation organizations and agencies, however, the Norwalk supports
one of the best populations of wildly spawning brown trout in lower
Fairfield County. The state also stocks the river with more than 5,000
adult trout each year, including some that range from 2 to 10 pounds.
What to use
Like other area streams, the Norwalk River has an abundance
of insect life providing prolific hatches. In recent years, water
quality degradation has caused the state to list the river as
"impaired" and some insect hatches appear to be in decline, but fishing
is still excellent in late April, May and June.
Mianus and Saugatuck Rivers, the Norwalk River does not have a Trout Management Area, meaning the season
runs from the third Saturday in April through the end of February.
of its narrow size, the Norwalk is best fished with a short rod and
light lines. A 7-foot 3- or 4-weight is best, and rods up to 8-foot,
6-inches can be used. A 9-foot 4- or 5-weight will likely mean more
time untangling your fly from the trees than catching trout.
Norwalk River's best insect hatches comes in late May and early June when the
sulphurs and light cahills swim to the surface and fly into the air to
mate. The hatch starts late in the day, typically after 7 p.m., but at
times the sky will be blotted out with masses of insects. Prior to
flies beginning to show in the air, trout focus on emerging nymphs. An
unweighted pheasant tail nymph, or similar mayfly emerger pattern works
As with most small streams in the area, there is an
abundance of caddis fly larva in the Norwalk River, so an elk hair caddis is
a good choice, and bead-head caddis pupa are extremely effective.
is fairly easy to find places to fish the Norwalk River as it parallels
Route 7. Some of the most popular spots are in Wilton, and the best
fishing starts north of the Wolfpit Road bridge.
readily available in Wilton Center, at Merwin Meadows Park on Lovers
Lane off Ridgefield Road, at the Wilton YMCA, in Cannondale and points
north. Spend a half-day driving along the river and you will quickly
learn these and many other locations.
Guiding and lessons in Fairfield County and beyond