You might think of ice fishing as something people only do in Alaska or Minnesota...or the movies. You'd be mistaken, come late January or early February! Weather permitting, right in the Fairfield area, you can whip out your auger and put a line in ... not to mention spend hours of quality time with your family. This particular Mommy Poppins doesn't know a jig from a lure, but she did scour the state's fishing message boards for tips on where to find the honey spots. And if that's more of an outdoor winter adventure than you need, what about day-tripping out east to see the annual eagle migration? You can track them by land, sea, car, or train. Cabin fever, be gone!! And we've also rounded up where to see the Hartford area eagles.
Remember anglers, to ice fish you'll have to obtain 2017 licenses for you and any of your crew over 16. Be sure to pick up an Angler's Guide, too, for information on catch limits and other rules.
ICE FISHING SPOTS:
Seth Low Pierrepont State Park
Factory Pond (Norwalk River)
Margerie Lake Reservoir
West Lake Reservoir
Upper Kohanza (parking at South King St).
Lake Zoar, from the Shepaug Dam to the Stevenson Dam.
EAGLE WATCHING TOURS:
Shepaug Dam Bald Eagles
Bring extra layers (hint: over-dress!), your patience, and absolutely, positively don't neglect to make reservations -- they're free, but they're REQUIRED! Also review their website's "Plan Your Visit" page for a handful of places to stop en route that may give you a glimpse of the majestic birds. See website for directions to observation station.
2225 River Road, Southbury 207-267-4666
Connecticut River Expeditions
Complete with naturalist guides, free coffee/tea, and a supply of binoculars (first-come, first-serve, so if you have a pair, bring them), this promises to be a memorable adventure. RiverQuest has teamed up with the Connecticut River Museum and in February and March 2017, cruises will depart from the Connecticut River Museum docks. Online booking available for the 2 hour trips. Because of the length of the cruise, children under 10 are not permitted.
67 Main Street, Essex 860-662-0577
The Eagle Flyer
Shhhhh ... the same train that takes you to the North Pole also provides a great views of the Connecticut River Valley. Bring your binoculars and enjoy a 2.5-hour excursion while observing wildlife from the coziness of a heated vintage rail cars. Departs from either Essex or Haddam, February 18-20 and February 25-26.
One Railroad Avenue, Essex 860-767-0103
The Audubon Shop Eagle Tours
Spot eagles, ducks, birds of prey, and songbirds wintering along the Connecticut River. The excursion ends with lunch at Oliver's Tavern in Essex. Tickets are $25/person, including lunch. You can also reserve a set of binoculars for $4. Saturdays: February 6, 11, 18, 25; and March 4.
907 Boston Post Road, 203-245-9056
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connecticut River Expeditions
Originally published 12/19/2015.