The Naugatuck River is a 40.2-mile-long (64.7 km) river in the US state of Connecticut. It carves out the Naugatuck River Valley. The river flows from northwest Connecticut southward into the Housatonic River in Derby, Connecticut. One of the river's main uses is hydropower, which is used to power industrial plants among the river. The Thomaston Dam, which was completed in 1960, creates a reservoir on the river and helps to control floods.
Various Algonquian bands originally inhabited the Naugatuck River Valley, often included in the Wappinger tribe. The name "Naugatuck" comes from the Algonquian word for "lone tree by the fishing place". The valley was later settled by the English. Given the high potential for water power and rocky soil, the Naugatuck Valley soon became an industrialized area, often associated with brass works.
The East Branch of the Naugatuck River is 11.4 miles (18.3 km) long and originates in Winchester as a tributary of Lake Winchester at an elevation of about 1,375 feet (419 m). The West Branch, 5.9 miles (9.5 km) long, begins at the confluence of Jakes Brook, Hart Brook, and Hall Meadow Brook in the western part of Torrington, at an elevation of 780 feet (240 m). After winding through rural forested areas, the two branches enter downtown Torrington and join just north of East Albert Street at about 500 feet (150 m) above sea level. From this point on, the Naugatuck River largely parallels Connecticut Route 8. The river enters a forested, hilly area between Connecticut Route 118 and Thomaston. The Naugatuck River then flows through the largely industrialized cities of the Naugatuck River Valley with periodic sections of forested areas before entering the Housatonic River at Derby at about 30 feet (9.1 m) above sea level.
The Naugatuck River is a popular destination for fishing in northwestern Connecticut, though not on the same scale as the Farmington River or Housatonic River. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection stocks the river with broodstock Atlantic Salmon between Route 118 in Harwinton/Litchfield and the Thomaston Dam, and from southern Naugatuck to Beacon Falls. The Naugatuck has a trout management area between Route 118 and the Thomaston Dam, and is considered a trophy trout stream the rest of its length between the confluence of the East and West Branches and the Kinneytown Dam in Seymour.
Two crossings of the river are:
- Reynolds Bridge, a NRHP-listed open-spandrel concrete arch bridge which brings Waterbury Road over the river, in Thomaston (at )
- A bridge (Frost Bridge?), which brings Frost Bridge Road over the river, in the first crossing to the south of the Reynolds Bridge crossing
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011