Coordinates: 41.43.27, -72.39.27
Wethersfield Cove is more of a pond than it is a cove, but it’s connected to the Connecticut River by a short canal, known as Folly Brook. The cove supports many species of freshwater fish as well as striped bass and is a popular fishing spot all year long for anglers looking for mixed bag action, but it’s especially popular for ice fishing or open water fishing before ice or after ice out. With an average depth of about 6 feet and holes as deep as 15, there are lots of options for anglers and species.
“It’s a great spot for a bunch of species, you might see 10 groups of guys camped out on the ice and all 10 of them are fishing for something different,” said Andrew Nichols, owner of Fishin’ Factory 3 in Middletown, CT. I called upon Andrew to help me out with this story because he’s my go-to guy for anything on the Connecticut River and he runs an awesome tackle shop. “It’s so popular for two reasons, it holds many species of fish and it’s super easy to access, there’s a boat ramp right there and, during the winter, you can literally drive right up to the ice.”
Andrew told me that the cove is loaded with panfish, especially yellow perch and calicos, which draws attention from ice-drillers and early-season boaters alike. The area also hosts big schools of golden and spotted shiners which provides an additional bait source for all the gamefish that frequent its waters. “A lot of sharp ice guys will fish Wethersfield for shiners too, stocking their bait pens for later in the winter”, added Andrew.
There are four larger gamefish that call this cove home, largemouth bass, pickerel, striped bass and northern pike. The best pike and pickerel catches occur from December through the end of March, and it is a known spawning area for northern pike. Big largemouth bass are pulled from these waters regularly with winter through the end of the herring run providing the best shot at hanging a hawg. “It gets a really good run of herring every spring which draws the attention of the pike, largemouths and striped bass,” Andrew told me.
Striped bass are frequent visitors and may be landed in any month of the year, while it is not known to hold a robust winter population of striped bass, ice fishermen land them every year and some of them are large. You may remember that an angler landed a 44-incher there through the ice last February—that fish ate a medium shiner intended for calicos. “Things can get real interesting when the herring show up,” Andrew added, “when a good shot of bass gets in there you can crush them on topwaters, big plastics and metal lips. And you never know when a pike might jump your plug!”
As far as species go, on any given day you might catch yellow perch, sunfish, calicos, white perch, largemouth bass, pickerel, northern pike, striped bass, bowfin and the occasional rogue walleye. In addition to these species Wethersfield Cove has emerged as a hotspot for carp fishing, especially in the spring through early summer. The Connecticut River has quickly risen through the ranks and is now known to be one of the best areas to target carp in the country.
Wethersfield Cove is right off I-91 in Wethersfield, Connecticut. You can access the water or ice or drop in the craft of your choosing by visiting Cove Park at the end of Main Street. With upwards of 10 species in residence, easy access and a reputation for great fishing, anglers of all styles and skill levels will find something to pull the string in Wethersfield Cove.