Laws in Connecticut

Does anybody know the laws concerning reservoirs in Connecticut? Am I able to take my canoe (no engine) on to the reservoirs? Also, is fishing of reservoirs permitted. I’ve been on the state DEP site but it has not been much help.



the only

– Last Updated: Aug-30-07 5:51 AM EST –

reservoir I know of you can boat on is "Lake McDonough" on rt. 219. Also known as "Barkhamsted compensating reservoir." A good rule of thumb, especially in these days of "homeland security" is if there's no launch ramp, hired help, or other people on the reservoir, stay off it.There are plenty of lakes to paddle and fish legally.

The laws are different on each one. Mansfield Hollow reservoir is a very popular paddling lake, and the rules are that you can boat, you can even use a power boat, but don’t exceed 5 mph, and don’t touch the water — seriously. There are “no swimming” signs all over, and human contact is supposed to be limited to launching boats and catching fish in most of the lake.

That said, I learned to roll there oh so many years ago. It’s a flood control lake primarily, and also feeds the water supply reservoir for Willimantic. Kids & dogs swim in it all the time.

You can also paddle Shenipsit Lake in Tolland…afetr having your boat quarrantined in advance to make sure you’re not bringing any nasties in on your hull – not really worth the hassle.

Others, I only know of Lake McDonough, which was already covered.

Regional Water Authority

Owns many of the resevoirs. While fishing is ok, I don’t think paddling is allowed at any of their locations. Info is on their website (link above).

What waters do you normally paddle on? Have you checked out Lake Zoar?

lake Zoar
I am a new to canoing and have not been to lake zoar yet, though it is within a very reasonable drive from me. I think I will check it out though. I called the R.W.A. and they couldn’t really help me concerning the reservoirs in my area.

Thanks for your replies,


Lake Zoar
There is a free launch on the West end of Stevenson Damn (Rte 34) (near the hot dog stand). You could also park at Kettletown state park on the Southbury side for a few $'s, and launch from there. - Tom.

I drive down 34 all the time, I think Lake Zoar will be my place to go.

Anybody recommend any other sites on Danbury side of the state that are worth going too? I know Squantz Pond and Lake Kenosia, but I would like to go to some place ‘nicer’.


Housatonic river
sounds like you’re more into flatwater than I am, but there’s some decent stretches of the Housy that are slow. Up around Kent School and north is real pretty. Sounds like you should avoid Gaylordsville area and Swifts bridge, as well as the covered bridge area, but there’s a lot of river left that’s nice. Up above Falls Village is real nice, and flat too, just above the power station.

Lake Lillinonah
Also part of the Housy, upstream from Lake Zoar. You can use the public boat launch and parking area on Hanover Rd.----Rich

Thats Awesome guys,

Thanks allot.

Glad to see
you put a little info in about yourself. It helps answer the questions more relevantly. Bantam river off rt. 63 in Morris area is another beautiful spot, though may be a bit overgrown right now.Got a snootful of albums here. If you look through them you’ll find pix of the Housatonic, Farmington, Shepaug, and Bantam rivers in Ct… Flat Brook in the Delaware Water gap is about a 2 hour 15 minute drive from danbury, and if you ever get into the moving water or need someone to help you out, give a shout. I primarily paddle “off season” as you’ll be able to tell by the bare branches on most of the trees.

I went out on Zoar, it was great, nobody was out because it was a work day. ahhh perfect