Farmington River is the perfect place for kayaking, fishing, canoeing, and just relaxing because it is so peaceful and relaxing. Known for its world-class fishing, boating opportunities, and scenic beauty, the Farmington River is a favorite destination for many outdoor enthusiasts.
The river offers a variety of calm waters and rapids for the adventurous. Because the Farmington River is so sensitive to rising waters, it’s important to plan your trip well. Besides, the river also provides the perfect setting for fishing, picnics, and wildlife sightings. From flat water to Class III rapids, the Farmington River has something to offer everyone!
How does the Farmington River compare?
The Upper Farmington
The upper Farmington River is an ideal place to kayak and canoe. It is a Wild and Scenic section of the Connecticut River and is mostly calm. However, you can find class I and II rapids in the river near Goodwin Dam. And if you’re a beginner, this section of the river may not be right for you. It also contains some rocks, which are not ideal for beginners.
Fly anglers will likely want to fish the west branch of the Farmington River, which extends from New Hartford to Riverton. You’ll need to fish with small, colorful flies and be prepared for a lot of fishing pressure during prime months.
And if you’re planning on kayaking or canoeing on the Farmington River, make sure you wear sturdy footwear. You don’t want to slip on rocks or glass. Having your feet stuck in the river’s current can cause a fall.
To minimize the chance of getting stuck in the river, stand with the water level at or below your knees. Remember to be aware of other kayakers and be aware of fishing lines, as you never know when the river might get backed up!
A Brief To The Farmington River
The Farmington River is located in Connecticut. It is 170 miles long with a drainage basin of nearly 2,000 square miles. There are two main branches, the East and West. While the East Branch is more picturesque, the West Branch is the best place to go fishing or kayaking. The West Branch is formed by the Colebrook Reservoir.
The Hogback Dam on the West Branch releases water from reservoirs at the bottom of the dam, which does not affect the river’s steady flow. The water is cold year-round, despite the long history of settlement.
Farmington has a rich history. In the 19th century, it was the site of hydropower for Hartford. Today, it is a favorite destination for top-level whitewater kayakers.
Today, the river winds through the town of Canton and a small impoundment behind the Rainbow Dam.
This dam is owned by Stanley Black & Decker and operated by the Farmington River Power Company. After passing the Rainbow Dam, the river winds through riparian forests and natural levees. The Farmington River finally joins the Connecticut River.
The river also feeds into Long Island Sound. It has several offshoots that lead to tranquil coves and beaches. Enders Island, a small island in the river, is one of the many islands within the Sound. Enders Island is famous for its beautiful gardens and a serene retreat. For a truly unique experience, take a kayak and explore the island!
Best Time To Go Kayaking In The Farmington River
The Farmington River is an ideal place to kayak and fish, thanks to its wide, fast-flowing channel and bountiful upstream spawning areas. The best time to go kayaking and fishing is usually in the spring or summer when the water is warmer, and there is more fish activity.
In the winter, when the river is colder, there may be less fish activity, but you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can look out for cold water kayaking guidelines from here.
Kayakers should be sure to bring plenty of food and drink since there is no convenient source of sustenance along the riverbanks. Fishing for largemouth spotted, white bass, bluegill, and other common fish can be good during the summer months. But be aware that the river can be quite crowded during the high season.
Anglers should also remember that a fishing license is required if they plan on taking any fish home.
10 Best Kayaking Destinations on the Farmington River
Many local residents use this river for recreation and drinking water. The intensity of the rapids varies, so be sure to check out the latest water levels before you set out.
The section from Goodwin Dam to Riverton is more challenging and has more rapids than the upper section. Beginners should plan their trips accordingly. There are also some rocks, so a guide can help you with more, but there’s nothing to worry about if you’re planning your trip ahead of time.
Here are the top kayaking and fishing destinations near Farmington River;
Bigelow Hollow State Park
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to kayak and fish, Connecticut’s Bigelow Hollow State Park is your best bet. Located just south of New Hartford, this park borders a state forest and offers scenic paddling opportunities. You can also find kayak rental stores at nearby Collinsville Canoe and Kayak and Mainstream Kayaks and SUPs.
Bigelow Hollow State Park has 9,000 acres of open space and an 18-acre pond. There are two boat launches in the park, but the park itself does not provide kayak rentals. You’ll need to rent them elsewhere.
However, the park also provides kayaking lessons for those looking to become more experienced. The park is located in a state park and can be rented at other times if you don’t have a kayak.
Mount Tom Pond
There are many reasons why Mount Tom Pond is one of the best kayak places on the Farmington River. This scenic lake is perfect for beginners, and it’s surrounded by private property. In addition to being a top kayaking spot, Mount Tom Pond is a popular swimming and scuba diving destination.
Because of its quiet setting, you’re unlikely to encounter any other kayakers. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, there are kayak rentals in nearby Litchfield. The park also has a public beach area.
While Mount Tom Pond is popular, you should check out the parking and kayak rentals at Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve in Groton. The boat ramp at Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve is conveniently located near the Groton airport. The park has plenty of hiking trails and parking.
Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area
Newcomers to kayaking might be looking for a place that offers both calm waters and rapids. Pattaconk State Park is a great choice for novice kayakers and is perfect for beginners.
The quiet water is serene even on rainy days, but it’s not recommended for those seeking aggressive water. If you’d rather not venture into the water, you can also hike along some of the surrounding forested nature trails.
Visitors can launch kayaks at the lake’s launch site, which includes a beach and swimming areas. Motorized boats are prohibited on this pond, but they can paddle with a safety boat.
There is limited parking at this park, especially on weekends. Paddling at Long Pond is an excellent option if you’d like to explore the area and visit rope swings and swimming holes.
Parker’s Point on the Farmington River is a popular spot for kayakers, paddlers, and anglers. The Rainbow Dam controls the river’s water level, and when the water level is high, you’ll have no trouble paddling the 2.5 miles from Poquonock to Parker’s Point.
After that, the river flattens out to Class II, and there’s a final ledge rapid at Bear’s Den. Paddling down the Farmington River in the fall is a challenge, but the river is nearly runnable due to the lowering of the dam.
During the release, the river has about 600 cubic feet per second, which is roughly 1.5 meters per second.
Fishing In The Farmington River
The Farmington River is a popular place for kayaking and fishing in Connecticut. Therefore, fishing enthusiasts can try their luck on the Lower Farmington River. Thousands of trout are stocked annually, making it a prime location for fishing.
There are several seasonal hatches that you can observe on the Farmington River. In the spring, the Hendrickson and Red Quill hatches will occur. Then in May, there will be the American March Brown, and Light Cahill hatches. Between July and September, you’ll also find Caddisflies and White Drakes. And finally, there will be plenty of shade in the Holyoke area.
During the prime fishing months, the river receives high fishing pressure. However, you will have a good time catching trout, thanks to the abundance of aquatic insects. There are also several parking lots and hiking trails throughout the river. You will have plenty of opportunities to fish and kayak.
It runs approximately 170 miles and drains about 2,000 square miles of land. The main branches of the river are the East and West branches. The East Branch is much shorter and has a variety of wildlife, but the West Branch is much more popular for finding trout.
The West Branch was formed by the Colebrook Reservoir and is now home to the Farmington River Power Company’s hydroelectric generator. The West Branch is relatively undeveloped, with some open space named for recreational trails.
Farmington River Fishing Report
The Farmington River offers over 30 miles of prime fishing terrain. Trout fishing is abundant in the river’s tailwaters, with thousands of fish stocked annually.
There are two specially regulated Trout Management Areas on Farmington, and the river is accessible by car, bike, and hiking trails.
The fishing is excellent on the Farmington River’s scenic and historical banks. The Farmington River is one of the best tailwater trout fisheries in the northeast.
Moreover, there are several roads that line the river’s major pools, which offer great fishing. For the most successful trips, hire a guide to show you the best spots and explain the rules of the river. Whether you prefer streamer fishing or dry fly fishing, there’s a fish for you.
Farmington River Kayaking Guidelines In Short
While kayaking on the river, there are many factors to consider. Make sure you wear a PFD and wear a helmet. Remember that rivers can be dangerous, especially after heavy rain.
The current becomes stronger, the rapids generally increase in class, and there are cases of people drowning during high water levels. During high water levels on the Upper Farmington, there is also more mud, so be sure to bring your helmet, paddles, and other essentials.
The Farmington River is a popular place to kayak because of its many beautiful waterways and rapids. There are many places to kayak on the Farmington River, including in the main channel, on the smaller tributaries, and in the numerous pools and ponds.
Most popular spots for kayaking in the Farmington River include Parker’s Point, Mount Tom Pond, and Bigelow Hollow. There are also many public access points located along the river for those who wish to paddle without encountering any difficult rapids.
In order to launch a kayak in the Farmington River, one must first obtain a launch permit from the local government.
Permits are granted on a case-by-case basis and typically require an assessment of the potential hazard posed by the activity (such as the presence of fast-flowing water or other potential obstructions) as well as compliance with established safety guidelines.
In general, launching a kayak in any recreational river requires compliance with state law and local ordinances.
The Farmington River is well known for kayak bass fishing. Besides, the river is home to a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, trout, and brown trout. And the river provides access to both cold and warm water habitats, which means that a wide variety of fish can be caught.
The river also contains many types of aquatic plant life, including water lilies and cattails.
Access To The Farmington River
The Farmington River is accessible from both New Haven and Simsbury. Despite its name, the Connecticut River features several different types of water. While it has calm sections for paddlers, it can also be crowded with tubers during the summer.
Other access points for Farmington River kayaking and fishing are located in Windsor, CT, and Derby, CT. These are accessible via the river from the Waterbury Treatment Plant and Pleasant Street Park, which are located just one mile apart.
Depending on where you’re coming from, you may have to paddle downstream to the lower end. Most paddlers will access the river at this point only after 12:00 p.m. as the hydro facility upstream often does not have enough water to provide for safe boating before noon. But make sure you know what to do when kayaking at night.
Overall, the Farmington River is a great place to fish and kayak. It has a variety of fish, and the scenery is beautiful. The river is also easy to navigate. If you’re looking for a fun day outdoors, the Farmington River is a great option.