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1 March 2021

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Team Guidesly

New England's Best Steelhead Runs

New England's Best Steelhead Runs

The New England region is filled with fishing destinations. Some are still less visited than others, making them a real hidden gem; others are more popular than the rest. 

The waters in this region are abundant in various fishes: from herring to swordfish; from cod to flounders. That and many more. It's also a place rich in shellfishes such as clams, shrimps, oysters, mussels, lobsters, and scallops.

But one thing you'll surely enjoy in New England is going for Steelhead Trout runs. 

Steelhead Trout Fishing

Steelhead Trout is considered a unique fish because each develops differently depending on where they choose to inhabit and grow. Those who stay in freshwater are called Rainbow Trout because of the combination of colors on its body. While those who swim to saltwater as they mature tend to grow bigger with a more silver shade in their body.

 During spawning season from January to April, Steelhead Trouts go back to freshwater and is the best time to go fly fishing. Anglers love to fish for Steelhead Trout because it is very challenging to catch. Plus, they give out a very great fight when reeled in. The catch can be very rewarding, but that is if you know where to go.

Best Steelhead Runs in New England

New England has a lot of lakes and rivers that are excellent for fishing. Most of them are abundant with Steelhead Trout that's worth the catch. So, if you happen to be nearby, go and head on to an adventurous steelhead run.

Here's a list of the best locations to go for Steelhead Trout fishing in New England:

Deerfield River (Massachusetts)

The Deerfield River Starts opening in Vermont and then flows to northwestern Massachusetts and will eventually connect to the Connecticut River. What makes this river a great place for a Steelhead run is that its flow is regulated by five dams making it easier for a fly fisher to choose where to fish. One can fish from long and slow slicks to fast riffle water.

Anglers can find a variety of trout in this water: from Steelhead to Brown. Aside from that, there are also other wild fishes around. You're assured of a catch up to 20 inches long and especially those with big, powerful fights. Game fishing is, indeed, the name of the game here.

Flies are also abundant in the area, especially around March to June. 

Farmington River (Connecticut)

Connecticut River

One of the most in-demand gamefish in Connecticut is Steelhead Trout. This is why the state created Trout Management Areas where they stock hundreds and thousands of trouts before opening to the public during spring. And one of TMA's Steelhead Trout hotspot is the Farmington River.

There are plenty of Steelheads in this area, and they can be as big as 20 inches. Anglers would never leave home without catching one.

Fishing in the Farmington River comes with a list of regulations, and one of them is a strict catch-and-release system. Fly fishing is the primary method to catch trout in the area, but there's no restriction on the method whatsoever. However, there is a catch limit of two per day and a minimum length of 12 inches.

Androscoggin River (New Hampshire)

What used to be a polluted river is now a place full of vibrance and life and serves as an inspiration for the Clean Water Act. It runs Errol, a town south of New Hampshire, all the way to Maine. 

The Androscoggin River is home to many trout species, including Steelhead and Rainbow Trouts. Plus, you can find some salmon in this river, too. Besides fishes, you'll find many Alder flies in the area as big as Size 8, especially in late July. That makes Androscoggin River an excellent fishing site.

Rapid River (Maine)

Maine, Caribou

This three-and-a-half mile long river is home not only to many trouts and salmons but also smallmouth basses and creek chubs. And that's what makes Rapid River an excellent spot for trout fly fishing.

The waters are not only filled with different trout species but also some smaller fishes and bug life that they prey on. Going for a Steelhead Trout run in the area is easy and very much accessible. It might not be as big or long as other bodies of water to find Steelhead Trout, but their numbers are quite remarkable in the area.

Green River (Massachusetts)

Green River is located in Franklin County. It serves as a quiet and peaceful place for anglers who just want to get away from the city's hustle and bustle.

The place is a perfect body to have a small trout run with a bag limit of three trouts a day. There are no restrictions on the type of fishing, but lead sinkers, which weigh less than an ounce, are prohibited by the state. But that's nothing to worry about since there are available flies in the area. The Steelheads here are also not picky with the bait and would take on small spinners and worms.

Runners-up:

  • Battenkill River (Vermont)
  • Moosehead Lake (Maine)
  • Wood River (Rhode Island)
  • Kennebec River (Maine)
  • Ellis River (New Hampshire)