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Candlewood: The Place To Fish In The Heart of Connecticut

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Candlewood Lake is a cold water lake in the heart of beautiful western Connecticut. This man-made lake was formed from the Rocky and Housatonic Rivers which are still the primary flows into and out of the reservoir.

Candlewood is known to provide an excellent fishing experience. Fishing is a popular recreational activity at Candlewood for both serious anglers and people just looking to wet a line with the kids. The Lake has lots of ideal fishing structure including rocky shoreline, islands, deep humps and quiet coves. Fishermen who visit Candlewood can expect species diversity, providing an array of

opportunities to pursue different fishing styles. Game species include black and white crappie, rainbow and brown trout, chain pickerel, largemouth, smallmouth and rock bass, walleye, white and yellow perch- each including opportunities for trophies.  Bass and trout are most commonly targeted. One excellent spot for trout is near the hydroelectric dam where moving cold water hosts resident trout near the entrances and exits of lakes and rivers. Largemouth bass are also targeted at Candlewood during Spring, Summer, and Fall. When searching for largies, target weedy coves casting to gaps in hydrilla beds, drop-offs and waters just beyond shallow sections of the lake. Electronics will be helpful finding deeper water near weed edges where diving crank baits, buzz baits, and jigs will all be successful.

Typical of the summer months,

 iBass360 anglers report having to put up with crazy boat traffic- boats towing tubes and skiers, canoes, kayaks, and jet skis everywhere. When this occurs it is best to fish the deeper water- main lake humps, rocky drop offs for smallies until 9am after which it probably too crazy, at least on weekends, to be on the main lake. You can then move to the coves to bang out some largemouths. A typical summer day- some rain, some sun, mostly humid. The iBass team managed some good fish but the recreational watercraft forced an early end to the outing.

Candlewood is still a BASSMaster favorite despite the mid-summer traffic. Fish will hit plastics deep and spinnerbaits and weedless swimbaits shallow. Specifically for the smallies, we recommend swimbaits on 1\2oz football head jigs, jig & pig combos, and 4″ senkos on a dropshot rig. Unlike many of the fisheries in PA and NJ, Candlewood is unlimited horsepower meaning fishermen best avoid the weekends. As the lake lays out, the northern section is best for smallies,  and the south is the place for largemouth. There are two good launches, one at Squantz, the other at Lattins.  As a destination vacation lake, Candlewood has plenty of hotels and motels to meet various budgets. One word of caution-  non-summer weekends often have tournaments running out of both launches but mainly Squantz so plan accordingly. Candlewood features several convenient facilities including marinas, boat landings, rest rooms, tackle shops, fueling stations, grocery stores, and boat rentals. There are a number of well qualified guides on Candlewood .The lake is 11 miles in length and 2 miles wide. It covers a total area of 5,420 acres. At its deepest point, Candlewood Lake is 90 feet- 40 feet on average. The shoreline of this reservoir covers a total distance of 60 miles. In 1926, Connecticut Light & Power Company’s board of directors approved a plan to build a man-made reservoir to produce electric power. What would become Candlewood Lake was the first large-scale project in the United States to employ the concept of a pumped-water storage facility- basically, water from the Housatonic River  pumped up a 13-foot-diameter pipe and held in a large reservoir.

When needed water would flow back down into a turbine which produced electricity. It took Connecticut Light & Power 26 months to complete construction of Connecticut’s largest lake including the building of the dam and the flooding of thousands of acres of farmland and forest. The project also required that 4,500 acres of woodland be hand cleared so that 1,400 laborers on the project could be housed in temporary work camps. Approximately 100 buildings, including schools, houses, barns and churches were demolished or moved.  On February 25, 1928, water was first pumped into the valley and by September 29, 1928, the lake was officially complete.


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