Spring Fishing on Lake Lillinonah, CT
By: Mark B. Scocco
Lake Lillinonah, located in Brookfield, Connecticut, is a 1900 acre impoundment along the Housatanic River Chain. The lake has been deemed a fish factory capable of producing not only large quantities, but also some decent stringers. In recent tournaments held there, six-fish limits have become frequent and winning weights surpassing the 12 pound mark are common. Spring is one of the best times to fish "Lilly". In the past, smallmouth had dominated the fishery, but recently, more and better sized largemouth are being caught.
In early spring, weeds are sparse and difficult to locate. If you can find them, fish them. The water tends to warm the quickest in these areas. Small worms and minnow imitations are good producers. A strong secondary pattern is deep rocky banks. Lilly seems to be lined entirely with this type of shoreline so locating the best areas may be tough. White or smoke grubs fished in these areas can produce a quick limit of smallmouth. The clearest, warmest water is definitely the key, especially in the Shepaug River arm. Smallmouth sometimes roam the flats at this time of year and can be easily fooled by faster moving baits such as Rat-L-Traps and spinner baits. Another early spring pattern is to fish "up-river" near Fischel Marine in the current. Smallmouth position themselves down-stream in eddy areas waiting to ambush some prey. Once again, small grubs work well with this pattern.
In mid-spring, around the spawn, the large coves and main lake shoreline cuts hold the best action. Cuts which are adjacent to deeper water usually are the best. Since the lake is generally clear, bedding fish can be seen and are easily spooked. Small baits and finesse tactics are required for these situations. Gitzits, 4" worms, rapala minnows and small lizards work best for these bedding fish. The most important factor is lure size and weight. Always go with the lightest weight and smallest bait that the situation will allow.
In late spring, look for deeper weed growth, which is usually 10-12 feet but may be found as deep as 18 feet. Also try to locate some of the many submerged islands that are in the lake. Larger plastic worms with rattle inserts and jig-n-pig combinations work well when fished slowly on the deeper weed lines and humps. Also good at this time are topwaters fished along drop-off areas. Zara Spooks and Pop-R's entice some explosive strikes from the smallmouth's.
There are few docks on Lilly and they do hold some fish, but the main cover is the vast amounts of submerged objects. Stumps, logs, flooded bushes, rockpiles, humps, and rock walls seem to hold larger quantities of fish in Lillinonah. The key to these areas is the water level. The water level is controlled by a dam located at the southern end of the lake and fluctuates sometimes a few feet on a daily basis. Savvy anglers capable of adjusting to constantly changing conditions can really load the boat. Moving water tends to position the bass in predictable locations. On rising water, fish the inside corners of docks, and the overhanging trees. On falling water, anticipate migration routes towards deeper water. Fish any cover along that route which may be holding areas starting shallow and working towards deeper water.
Lilly is loaded with fish. By following seasonal patterns and keeping an eye on the water level, these tips should help you to load the boat on your next outing to the lake. Remember to practice Catch and Release.
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