Colebrook River Lake, Sandisfield

Colebrook River Lake, Sandisfield

Sandisfield, Massachusetts 01255

Colebrook River Lake Official Website

Tips for Birding

Most of Colebrook River Lake is in Connecticut. Only the northern tip of the lake is in Massachusetts. Birders who keep their records by county and state will want to use the hotspot in Connecticut when crossing the state line.

About Colebrook River Lake

See all hotspots at Colebrook River Lake

Colebrook River Lake is located on the scenic West Branch of the Farmington River in Colebrook, Connecticut. Colebrook River Lake Access Road is normally open between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The boat ramp and reservoir areas are open daylight hours only.

Opportunities for recreation at Colebrook River Lake include an average 700-acre lake that is open seasonally for fishing and boating and has a large boat ramp available. Massachusetts and Connecticut fishing licenses are accepted, Connecticut regulations apply.

The lake and river are stocked with brown, rainbow, and brook trout and also contain largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike chain pickerel, catfish, and panfish. Either a Massachusetts or Connecticut fishing license may be used in the reservoir up to the old Route 8 bridge, though a Massachusetts license is required upstream of the bridge. This project is managed in close coordination with the Hartford Metropolitan District Commission (MDC). The hydroelectric power facility was constructed at the dam by the MDC under a federal license. The project is located on CT-8 from the Town of Winsted.
Corps personnel manage the natural resources at Colebrook River Lake through a multiple-use approach. The 388 acres of federal lands are not only managed for recreation, but for the benefit of forest and wildlife resources. Wildlife food plots, nesting boxes, open area patch mowing, and forest thinning are several techniques used to provide wildlife with food, cover, and nesting habitat. The MDC owns and manages the remaining reservoir lands.

The forest is made up of a wide variety of trees, including white pine, maple, oak, hickory, ash, and dogwood.

A variety of wildlife species are found in the wildlife refuge and throughout the reservoir area. White-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, red fox, raccoon, grey squirrel, cottontail rabbits, mink, and muskrat. Bird watchers may observe many species including osprey, great blue heron, egrets, turkey, ruffed grouse, and bald eagle. In the wetland area Canada and snow geese, mallards, and wood ducks can be seen during season migrations.

Forest Management includes thinning, selective cutting, and reforestation. These practices improve timber quality and enhance wildlife habitat. The dominant forest species include eastern white pine, hemlock, red oak, sugar and red maple, black, yellow, and white birch, ash, black cherry, shagbark, and pignut hickory. Visit the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Natural Resources Wildlife Division on the web to learn even more about Connecticut’s Wildlife.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Colebrook River Lake Official Website

Last updated November 23, 2023