The New Haven River

The New Haven River is coinsidered by some to be the Crown Jewel of trout fisheries in the Western Central Vermont region. It drains approximately 116 square miles in its watershed, and is part of the greater Otter Creek drainage. The New Haven River descends from the western side of the Green Mountains towards the Champlain Valley. The higher elevation mainstem finds its genesis flowing off the slope of Breadloaf Mountain in Ripton. The river turns northwest towards the mountain town of Lincoln. This section is characterized by small water, with cascading pocketwater, and unique rock outcroppings that form beautiful deep pools that can be popular swimming holes in summer, but also great fishing locations. This region hosts ideal brook trout water, and is diverse in its fishing options. Both the Upper New Haven River and its several tributaries can offer the smaller stream angler countless opportunities. In the town of Lincoln the river with a few smaller tributaries, has grown in size. As the river continues to coast down towards Bristol along Lincoln Road, the gradient again steepens. The access along this section is very good with several roadside pull offs and parks, including Eagle Park where a handicap fishing access in currently in production. Bartlett's Falls is a very frequented swimming location throughout the summer. This vicinity is primarily comprised of brook trout though some rainbow trout are available. The series of large boulders and waterfalls offers a beautiful locations, and unique geography which makes for a nice angling experience. As the river meets Route 17 just East of the town of Bristol, the gradient lessens and is comprised of several miles of ideal pocket water with a mix of Brook and Rainbow trout in the 8-14 inch range and also has cooler water and strong hatches. Access along the Bristol section is good as well. The river turns southwest as it leaves Bristol and enters the "Bristol Flats" region. The water still has sections of pocket water, but is also mixed with areas of gravel bottom and longer riffles and runs. Just below the Rte 116 bridge, Notch Brook a larger tributary enters the New Haven River in Sycamore Park. The next few miles the river varies in size and water type and does include some slower featureless water, but also good sectors of pockets, riffles and log jams. At the Nash Farm Bridge, near the River Rd and Halpin Rd intersection, another larger tributary, the Muddy Branch enters the New Haven. The slower water and deeper pools still make for quality angling opportunities. The river flows beneath Rte 7 and and enters the popular "Dog Team" section. This section is the last major set of fall proir to its confluence with Otter Creek just a few 1000 yards downstream. This region is a popular area to fish, and is annually heavily stocked. The series of waterfalls that vary from 8 to 2 feet in drop offer many pools for anglers to fish. This area also has strong hatches. fish size can vary from 8-16 inches on average with an occasional larger fish. The lower New Haven River is about 4 miles north of the Middlebury Mountaineer, and hosts miles of options for anglers. For information regarding a guided trip on the New Haven River please go to our guiding page below.