Outdoor Recreation Along the Naugatuck
Fishing, Paddling, Hiking and More!

The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it. — (Chinese philosopher)

Bird watching:

Fledgling Peregrine Falcon

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(Video: Courtesy of the NRRG's: Welcome To The New Age with the Naugatuck River Revival Group, 2013)

Common Goldeneye


Above, five males accompanying a single female, a kind of competitive courtship seen during fall pair-formation. Below, competitive courtship isn't always peaceful: a male charging at a courting rival. To see more photo's click here.


Male Osprey returns to Beacon Falls Nest with dinner. (Photo: Kevin Zak)


One of the nesting pair of Bald Eagles. (Photo: John Murray of the Waterbury Observer)


Female Eagle March 11, 2014 (Photo: Kevin Zak)

Fly Fishing:

Fly fisher, beaver and fish.MTS.Still001.jpg

Fly Fisher and Beaver in Platts Mills, Naugatuck. Featured in Welcome to the Naugatuck River (Photo: Kevin Zak)


Fishing guide Jeff Yates with an Atlantic Salmon caught while fly fishing on the Naugtuck River.

To contact Jeff email him at: guide@flyfishingct.com.

Fishing on the Naugatuck River Beacon Falls.  (Photo: NVCOG)

The Naugatuck River is one of the Connecticut's best kept outdoor destination secrets!  But not for long - we're here to tell you about the wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that exist both within and alongside the river.  The Naugatuck River offers something for everyone - take a visit today and offer the variety of fishing, paddling, hiking, birding, hiking, and other opportunities in the Naugatuck River Valley!


Locals and guests alike will enjoy fishing for the many species that live in the Naugatuck River.  Whether you like to fly fish or spin cast, fish for freshwater species or salt water varieties - the Naugy has it all!   The river is classified by the State of Connecticut as a Trophy Trout Stream and is home to three types of trout, including native coldwater Brook Trout.  Rainbow and Brown trout are stocked in the trout management area located between Route 118 in Harwinton and the Thomaston Dam.  The southern most reaches of the river from Derby to the Tingue Dam in Seymour are also considered tidal stretches.  If you're looking to catch saltwater species such as Striped Bass, this section of the river is your best best.  (Unfortunately, the Tingue Dam blocks passage of these migrating species, preventing them from moving farther north up the river. 

And if you're looking to try something new - why not go salmon fishing!  That's right - there's even Salmon in the Naugatuck!  The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stocks broodstock Atlantic Salmon in the river each year.  It's not uncommon for fishermen to catch 15-pound stocked Atlantic salmon from the river!  Try your luck along the stretch of river between Route 118 in the “Campville” section of Harwinton and the Thomaston Dam, or from the southern portion of the Town of Naugatuck into Beacon Falls at Pine’s Bridge.

Additional Fishing Information:
For more information about fishing the Naugatuck River, contact one of the following organizations:

Paddling (Kayaking and Canoeing)

The Naugatuck River is a well known kayak and canoe spot for many outdoor enthusiasts in Connecticut.  Depending on the time of year and recent rainfall conditions, the river can range from a relatively shallow, boulder laden gentle paddle to a swift ride through rapids.  During your journey, be sure to keep an eye out for the wide variety of birds, fish, and other wildlife that call the Naugatuck home! 

Paddlers should be aware that sections of the river do contain rapids.  These sections are dangerous, and can be lethal to even the best paddlers after heavy rain events.  Make sure to always scout your paddle route before you head out and to not attempt sections above your experience and skill level.  Read this article in the Waterbury Observer to learn more about the dangers of paddling unprepared.

Scouting_ the_Riverimages.jpegRemember to scout the river before you put in!

Additional Paddling Information:
For more information about paddling the Naugatuck River, contact one of the following organizations: 

The many faces of the Naugatuck River are featured in the photo's below.
Tranquil waters. Kayaking the Naugatuck River can provide hours of outdoor entertainment! However, paddler beware! After a storm or during a rainy season the river can be very dangerous. 

kayaking_images.jpeg The thrill of white water after a storm event. 

River_rescue_images.jpegThe rescue of 2 paddlers along Platts Mills. (Photo:Naugatuck Fire Chief Ken Hanks)

Hiking, Birdwatching, Snowshoeing, and Cross Country Skiing

Several trails and areas open to the public for exploration are located near the Naugatuck River, including a handful of state parks and forest.  Many towns and private organizations such as local land trusts, also offer publicly accessible recreational.  State parks and forests in the river corridor include: 

Additional Information:
For more information about where to go to explore the Naugatuck River by foot, explore the following resources:

Naugatuck River Greenway System - Perfect for Walking, Jogging and Gentle Biking

The Naugatuck River Greenway System provides a great opportunity for residents and guests to enjoy the beauty of the river by engaging in healthy activities such as walking, running, biking, or skating. While many sections are still in the process of being designed or constructed, visitors to the Naugatuck River can enjoy a long walk along the Derby Greenway as well as the newly completed Ansonia Riverwalk.  Visit the Naugatuck Greenway Page to learn more. 

Additional Information:
For more information about the Naugatuck River Greenway System and individual town projects, explore the following resource:


Looking for something more mentally stimulating than muscle building?  Try “Letterboxing,” which can be experienced in both the Mattatuck and Naugatuck State Forests. 

Mattatuck State Forest covers over 4,000 acres in the towns of Waterbury, Plymouth, Thomaston, Watertown, Litchfield, and Harwinton and is an important part of the scenic drive along the Naugatuck River.  The feature of focus on the way to this letterbox is certainly one of the more interesting natural landmarks at Mattatuck and one of historical significance - the Leather Man's Cave.  To learn more visit the CT DEEP's Letterboxing Clues for Mattatuck State Forest

Naugatuck State Forest covers almost 5,000 acres and is spread across Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Oxford, Bethany, Hamden, Cheshire, Ansonia, and Seymour. It is organized into five Blocks, named West, East, Mt. Sanford, Quillinan Reservoir, and Great Hill.  The letterbox is in the West Block of Naugatuck State Forest. The starting point is at the end of Hunter Mountain Road in Naugatuck. The hike is a short walk from the parking area.  Estimated time for a round trip is 20 minutes. To learn more visit the CT DEEP's Letterboxing Clues for Naugatuck State Forest

Additional Information:
For more information about letterboxing in the Naugatuck River corridor, explore the following resource:

Special thanks to our sponsors:
Naugatuck Savings Bank, Connecticut Community Foundation
Union Savings Bank, Wesson Energy, Inc., The United Illumination Company, Friends of Naugatuck River
The Platt Brothers & Company, Thomaston Savings Bank, Valley Community Foundation