The MDC owns over 6,000 acres of watershed forest land along the West Branch of
the Farmington River surrounding the West Branch Reservoir and the Colebrook River
Lake Reservoir. Both reservoirs serve as a future water supply for the MDC.
The West Branch Reservoir (or Hogsback) is owned by the MDC and used for flood control
and hydroelectric power generation. The Colebrook River Lake is a multipurpose water
resource impoundment owned and maintained by the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers for
flood control, low flow augmentation and fishery enhancement. MDC operates a hydroelectric
facility at the Colebrook Dam.
The watershed forest lands are open to hunting according to applicable Connecticut
and Massachusetts laws and regulations. State wildlife officials should be consulted
regarding hunting season schedules and other applicable regulations. Much of the
property is accessible by foot for hiking, bird watching and nature study. Motorized
recreational vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes) are not allowed on these protected watershed
Fishing, ice-fishing and boating are allowed on both the West Branch Reservoir and
Colebrook River Lake. The West Branch of the Farmington River is an important Trout Management Area.
Boating access to the West Branch Reservoir is at the southeast side of the Goodwin
Dam. A car-top boat launch and gravel ramp is available, along with parking for
30 cars, and chemical toilet. Anglers can fish from MDC property at the car-top
access area and along the entire western shore. The gate to the area is closed at
night. The State and MDC stock about 5,000 catchable brown trout annually in the
spring. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and yellow perch are present. State regulations
apply for all species. The West Branch (Goodwin) Reservoir is located two miles
north of Riverton.
Boating access to the Colebrook River Lake is at the public boat launch owned by
the Army Corps located on the western shore, near the intersection of Beech Hill
Road in Colebrook. Facilities at the launch include a ramp with concrete slabs,
parking for 50 cars and chemical toilets. Boating speed limit is 20 mph and no water
contact sports are allowed. The entire shore is owned by the Army Corp and is open
to public fishing, except for a 100 foot area immediately adjacent to the Colebrook
Dam. The State and MDC also stock trout in Colebrook River Lake. Popular species
include rock bass, smallmouth bass and stocked trout. Colebrook is a flood control
reservoir that experiences extreme water fluctuations, which can affect the fisheries.
Colebrook River Lake is located on Route 8 approximately five miles north of Winsted.
West Branch - Greenwoods
The MDC owns another parcel of land farther south along the West Branch of the Farmington
River known as the Greenwoods property, which a very popular recreational area.
This roughly 400 acre parcel is located in New Hartford and Barkhamsted and straddles
the River. It is maintained as a wildlife habitat area in cooperation with the Connecticut
Department of Environmental Protection Wildlife Division. Vehicle access and parking
areas are available on both east and west sides of the River.
This is a very popular Trout Management Area.
A wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is conveniently located on the east side of
the River in the Pleasant Valley section of Barkhamsted, one-half mile south of
the iron bridge on Route 318/181.
The area is also open to hiking, bird watching and nature study. Dogs on lease are
welcome. Bicycling and motorized recreational vehicles are strictly prohibited.
The State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection stocks pheasant
and limited hunting is allowed according to applicable Connecticut laws and regulations.
State wildlife officials should be consulted regarding hunting season schedules
and other applicable regulations.