Housatonic River

2008-07-15 15:18:26
Housatonic River, Connecticut - Freshwater Fishing Report
Cornwall Bridge

Davy Wotton Clinic Nov. 1st & 2nd-

We are bringing Davy back again- his Wet Fly clinic this Spring was excellent, and now we are offering another 2 day clinic, this time focusing on nymphs, streamers & wets. It is looking like we will do one complete day of assorted nymphing techniques- Davy fished competitively in Europe fro 15 years and is well versed in all types of nymphing, from indicator to Euro-style (Czech, Polish, Spanish & French). The 2nd day will be a mix of streamers & wets. This clinic will not include any fly tying, but rather will focus on his favorite techniques, his unusual/simple/effective rigging, the best tackle & his favorite flies. We are open to suggestion as far as modifying clinic ideas, he is capable of instructing on any elements having to do with any type of fly fishing. Davy has been a professional fishermen for almost his entire life, and is truly gifted when it comes to fishing. His years of experience and 200+ days on the water guiding each year on the White River system in Arkansas make him uniquely qualified to teach fly fishing, he truly is one of the best out there, period. He has fished in 40 countries and caught wild brown trout out of the White River up to 25+ pounds. The days will run 9AM-5PM & include lunch, cost will be $300 for the entire 2 day clinic.

Going to Alaska - Most of the fishing out of Alaska Rainbow Point Lodge is done on the lodge's "home waters" - the Upper and Lower sections of the Copper River, and the Gibraltar River. With the use of the lodge's Cessna 206 float plane, you can also access rivers that include the New Halen, Talarik, Kvichak, Nushagak, Mulchatna, Moraine, Funnel, Battle, American, Kamishak, Amakadori, and the "Cone."

Sunday, July 27 Arrive Anchorage, AK overnight

Monday, July 28 Depart Anchorage for Iliamna, AK on early morning flight, transfer to Alaska Rainbow Point Lodge FULL day of fishing

Tuesday, July 29 FULL day of fishing

Wednesday, July 30 FULL day of fishing

Thursday, July 31 FULL day of fishing

Friday, August 1 FULL day of fishing

Saturday, August day of fishing

departure for Iliamna to Anchorage overnight or late flight back to origination point. Price $6795.00 - Only a couple of spots left.

Doing another shop trip to Montana this year, September 6th-12th, 2008- Torrey will lead this one. Fishing was excellent last year, with fish up to 26" landed by the group, everyone hooked (but not necessarily landed!) fish in the 24" class. You will have options to fish both private & public waters, from Spring Creeks, to Tailwaters, to Freestoners. Pictures from the '07 trip are posted from each of the 5 days of fishing - with some highlights - go to the photo-gallery - and then click on the links at the top of the page to view the fun.

We are scheduling several different 1/2 day clinics for July & August, see below for Aaron's next Nymph Clinic on August 9th. Other clinics will include:

-Upper Housy Orientation/Warmwater Fishing clinic July 19th 10AM-6PM, $175- see below for more details. Learn the water while floating from Falls Village dam down to Push-Em-Up while getting instructed in how to catch Smallmouth & Pike on the fly.

-Carp on the Fly with Bob Scalzo July 26th, 9AM-1PM, $75. Bob is our local Carp Master, and he is eager to share his knowledge with you. You have seen the pic of him with a giant Carp on our website.

-Night Fishing Clinic with Tony Scuderi July 26th 2PM-6PM, $75. Tony is the Zen Master of fishing in the dark, with more 20" plus trout to his credit than you can imagine. Once he teaches you the basics, you can catch trout at night anywhere.

-FF for Smallmouth Clinic with Ethan August 2nd 9AM-1PM, $75. Ethan is our main guide, doing numerous Bass trips for us every season. Let him share his many hours of experience on the water with you and teach you how to consistently catch Smallmouth on the Housy and other rivers.

The Upper Housy River Orientation/Warmwater Fishing Clinic will be in our rafts and last a full 8 hour day- we are "reserving" 4 boats which can accommodate 2 anglers in each. Learn the water from Falls Village Dam down to Push-'Em-Up with getting instructed in how to catch Smallmouth & Pike on flies. The Upper Housy/Warmwater Clinic includes lunch & beverages- it will be taught from our rafts while floating the Housy. All clinics will be rain or shine, fully paid in advance & non-refundable. Call 860-672-1010 to reserve a spot in any of these clinics.

Nymph Clinic with Aaron - 9AM-1PM on August 9th. Response to these clinics has been nothing short of phenomenal. Guide Aaron Jasper (check out his website www.troutpredator.com) will demistify this deadly method of fishing. Master this skill, and you can catch trout almost anywhere with consistency, anytime of year and in conditions ranging from high to low water, water temps from the 30's to upper 60's, whether insects are hatching or not. Aaron fishes 200+ days a year all over the Northeast & beyond, and he will share his hard-won nymph fishing knowledge with clinic attendees. Key points such as leader construction, choosing proper weight amounts & type, strike detection, choosing the right flies, where fish lay under different conditions, choosing proper tackle (rods, lines, weights, flourocarbon, indicators, etc.) and many other important details will all be covered. This is our most popular clinic, we usually fill them. You should come away with the ability to go out and successfully catch trout on nymphs on almost any trout stream all by yourself. Cost is $75, paid in advance, nonrefundable- clinic happens rain or shine. It is part indoors, part outdoors. Bring a pad of paper to take notes, there will be a lot of information that you won't want to forget, including a simple & effective nymph leader formula, one of the keys to success. Also bring your fishing gear so you can put your new skills to use on the river after the clinic.

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We are selling raffle tickets in the store to raise money for stocking trout in the Housy in '08. Most of our guides have again generously donated their services to sell tickets- it will be $20 to purchase a chance for a guided fishing trip on the Housatonic with one of them. We are also selling tickets for another $1,000 Gift Certificate and a Sage Z-Axis 9' #5 4pc. fly Rod, and our Sage rep Brad Gage is generously donating a Sage Switch rod for the raffle, an 11' #5 Z-Axis, a deadly rod for nymphs, wets & small to medium streamers, it can be both Spey or overhead cast (hence the "Switch" name). ************************************ ************************************* *************************************

Favorite Products for July:

-Thingamabobbers- this just might be the ultimate strike indicator. Patterned after balloon indicators, it uses trapped air for floatation. High floating, as sensitive as yarn indicators, easier to cast, holds up as much weight as you need, easy to put on & take off, won't cast off. This is my current favorite indicator. 'Nuff said!

-Repel Lemon Eucalypus Insect Repellent Spray- If you are looking for a DEET alternative, something you feel safe putting on your skin or your kids, this is the best natural product on the market. Plant based, it gives you 6 hours of protection. We sell an insane amount of this stuff, people swear by it. Repels both mosquitos & ticks.

-Simms 3XDry clothing products- 3XDry treatment turns ordinary fabric into a high performance, wicking, quicker drying, stain resisttant product. Check out the Guide Shirt, Guide Shorts, and Superlight Zip-Off Pants. All are 3XDry & are perfect for the Summertime. The shirt is 100% cotton, very comfortable, and with the 3XDry it performs like a high-tech synthetic but with the comfort of all cotton. The shorts & pants are both perfect for Summer or tropical wear. Despite the Simms label, all 3 products are quite reasonably priced.

-"Vest Alternatives" from Fishpond & William Joseph- In my opinion, these 2 companies represent the finest choices for those of you who don't like traditional vests. A multitude of choices are available, using clever construction & state of the art fabrics. We are stocked up with all sorts of different options, from small to large, at all different price points. Somewhere on our Wall of Packs is the one for you.

-Simms Sandals- Whether you are looking for wading sandals with felt soles & toe protection, or just a very comfortable general use pair, Simms has you covered. Check out their River Sandals & Deck Sandals, we love 'em, own 'em & wear 'em.

-MonoMaster- this handy little device clips on your vest and quickly rolls up waste tippet & leaders and stores them out of the way to be diposed of later.

-Czech Nymph Leaders from Umpqua- 8 1/2' 4x fluorocarbon with 2 droppers. The quick & easy way to get Czech nymphing- just loop on your line, and tie 2 or 3 flies to the leader, the fluoro droppers are already in place and can be easily replaced due to the construction using micro tippet rings. Non-stretch thin Power Pro superbraid in the upper part of the leader will get you down fast and give you excellent bite detection & hook-sets.

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Torrey's books & videos for July:

New Books:

-All The Best, Celebrating Lefty Kreh- This new release chronicles the amazing life of Lefty Kreh, surely the most famous fly fisherman in the United States, if not the world. Much of it was written by Flip Pallot ("Walker's Cay Chronicles), but there are numerous contributions by a whole slew of other angling luminaries. Lots of pix from his boyhood through current times, along with many, many entertaining stories, and even some commentary from Lefty himself. The man has had an incredible life, and this book is a fascinating read. If you are a fan of Lefty, you will love this book.

-Fool's Paradise, by John Gierach- Here's his latest book for all you fans, 211 pages of carefully crafted words. Enjoy his unique wit & wisdom as he chronicles his life of fishing and his philosphy of life.

-Basic Stream Flies- Shows you how to cover the maximum number of situations with the minimum number of flies. 28 patterns are shown, with basic fly info, when to fish it, types of water it works best in, how to rig it, how to fish it, and detailed tying and instuctions. Includes variations to cover different colors & species using the same style patterns. Spiral bound to lay flat on your tying bench. Just like Thoreau said, "Simplify, simplify".

-A Fisherman's Bible for the Farmington River- Author Pete Chadziewicz is a CT native who has fished the Farmington since he was a kid. This all color book covers over 100 different spots, giving you access info (including GPS coordinates), rates fishing pressure & wadeability, shows deep spots/shallow spots, and has pictures of the spots with reference to the location & angle it was shot from. Several hatch/fly charts are included, as well as a fishing tip on almost every page. If you want to expand your knowledge of the river and places to fish, this is an excellent resource.

-Czech Nymph- There's been an explosion of American interest in this short line nymphing technique that the Europeans (Czechs & Poles esp.) have been using to kick everyones' butts in International Fly Fishing Competition. This is the 1st book translated into English, and it covers all facets you need to know, and includes about 150 nymph patterns, tackle, tying the special flies/choosing hooks, leader construction (quite different than what we are used to), fishing techniques, strike detection, etc. If you wanna know all about Czech nymphing, this is THE book, period.

-3 Self Published books by John Mordock- "Capturing Rogue Trout", "A Fly Fisherman's Guide to Catskill Coldwater Streams and Ponds", and "Northeast Trout, Salmon, & Steelhead Streams". John is an out of the box thinker who has fished extensively through the Northeast (esp. the Catskills), out West, and in Canada. His books are an interesting combination of scientific/biological facts, fishery data, anecdotes, fishing methods/techniques, and personal experience/opinions. I particularly like his "Capturing Rogue Trout" book, partly 'cuz it has a bunch of my pictures in it! It covers methods, flies, places & seasons when/where you have a shot at catching bigger trout (16-20" plus) out of normal trout streams. The Catskill book is chock full of interesting & useful info, and the Northeast Trout, Salmon, & Steelhead book is just a fascinating read about rivers in our backyard- it even includes a chapter on the Housy.

-Fly-Fishing Guide to Upper Delaware River, by Paul Weamer- This is the most thorough, well done and comprehensive book I've seen on the Delaware. Weamer is a former managing partner of Border Waters Outfitters fly shop on the river, and has also had articles in Fly Fisherman and other publications. He is a fly designer for Montana Fly Company, and best known for his Truform series of hatch matching patterns. This book covers the entire fishery- the Main Stem, East and West Branches. Access (difficult if you don't know it), hatches and fly patterns, seasons, places to stay and eat, fly shops and guide services, shuttle and river flow info, nymph/dry fly/wet fly/streamer/night fishing strategies, equipment, etc., it's all in there. It would be relatively easy to plan a successful trip using this book as a resource, and if you haven't been there the pictures will make you want to go! Excellent book.

Favorite Books:

-Caddisflies, by Gary LaFontaine- still the all-time classic piece on Caddis in my opinion, this book is a plethora of information and a fantastic reference, I often find myself pulling it out to look something up. Remember too, Gary grew up & lived in CT before he moved to MT, so much of what he learned & the data presented was gleaned from his experiences in CT. All his books should be in a serious flyfisher's library. One of my favorites.

Bestsellers:

-Essential Trout Flies, by Dave Hughes- When prolific author and magazine editor (FF & Tying Journal) Dave Hughes puts pen to paper, it's always worth reading. Excellent book that will help you systematically create & tie a core collection of universal trout flies. Dave shows you how to take an organized approach to tying & filling your fly boxes with some great patterns that work almost everywhere. This book is a steady seller in the shop, and I highly recommend it. Dave's approach will make sure you have the right patterns and uncluttered fly boxes.

DVD's:

-European Nymphing, with Jack Dennis & Vladi- There is a strong & growing interest in the European style of nymphing, those guys kick ass during international competitions. Weighted flies on dropper(s), no indicator, and relatively short casts are all typically part of this deadly system of nymphing. This DVD covers several styles- Polish, Spanish & French. Vladi from Poland, the "Father" of Polish/Czech style nymphing, put this technique on the map in competition, easily outscoring entire teams all by himself. He demonstrates the Polish technique, as well as ties Polish woven nymphs and his deadly "Vladi Worm", aka the "Polish Condom Worm". The host of this DVD is Jack Dennis, coach of Team USA. French, Italian & Portuguese fly tyers also show you how to tie some of their personal favorites. If you master some of the techniques presented, you wil find yourself detecting way more strikes (indicators miss many) and hooking a lot more fish.

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Tuesday Weather:

65 degrees & sunny this morning, high 78, low 64, sun today. Long range forecast: highs upper 70's to upper 80's, lows upper 50's to upper 60's.

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I have created a foundation for the Housatonic, a 501c3 - and all your donations will now be tax deductible - I will post more info later on. We are once again collecting donations to fund our private stockings of trout in 2008, for the Inner City Program of "No child left inside", and also for conservation projects on the Housatonic. Thanks to all who supported the cause last year- it really helped noticeably improve the fishing. Also thanks to those who have donated already in 2008.

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Tuesday RIVER REPORT:

Some of you may be aware of the poaching problem that seems to be increasing markedly in the last 2-3 years. It's been a problem downriver in the lower Bull's Bridge TMA for a while now, and now it seems to be working it's way in the upper TMA and the section below Cornwall Bridge down to Kent (the same area we privately stock with Rainbows). Harold attended a FAC (Fisheries Advisory Committee) meeting on 6/12/08, they discussed the problem with the DEP, and one of the things they recommended is for all of us anglers to make our local state representative aware of the problem & our displeasure over it, and the need for enforcement by Conservation Officers. Unfortunately, the majority of our too few CO's are tied up in state parks and also have to cover huge geographical areas. Write and/or call our state representative for this area, Andrew Roraback, and make him aware of the poaching problem and ask to have a regular presence by conservation officers on the river, especially on the weekends Spring thru Fall. His phone # is 800-842-1421, and his mailing address is:

Andrew Roraback

64th Assembly District

25 Bentley Circle

Goshen, CT 06756

Got quite a few odds & ends in, stuff we've been out of as well as new products and Summer stuff. For vest alternatives, we have some cool Fishpond packs we haven't carried before, such as the High Country Tech Pack, and we stocked up on William Joseph Packs. If you are looking for some nice Summer fishing clothes, check out the Simms 3XDry products- the Guide Shirt & Guide Shorts. 3XDry turns any fabric into a high performance, wicking, stain resistant product. Simms sandals too, both the Deck Sandal for every day wear, and the River Sandal for wading with felt soles and toe protection.

Another beautiful day on the river - cooler than usual this morning - nice sunny day. The bass fishing conditions on the Housy are very nice & getting even better, flow is down to about 600cfs & still dropping, clarity is good- this is a very wadeable flow and a great level for fly fishing. Saturday produced some quality sized smallmouths & a few pike too. Late morning to evening is the prime time slot, when water temps are highest and the bass are most active. Some Pike are mixing in on our bass trips, and our guide Keith has been sight fishing to & nailing nice Carp- the bigger ones can reach 20 and even 30+ pounds. Temps are ranging from the low 70's up to near 80, just where you want to see them to get the bass active & feeding. Water level has finally gotten down to a more typical Summer height of late, and that is also helping the bass fishing. Pike can be a "bonus" fish on bass trips, esp. when drifting from the dam down to Push-Em-Up, and the bigger ones can occasionally exceed 40". My favorite ways to catch bass are throwing big streamers (love the hard hits & ability to cover a lot of water fast), fishing crayfish patterns and nymphing with big stuff, or fishing topwater with poppers & other bass bugs. For smallmouth, no need to get up early, in fact they often fish better from late morning to early evening, when water temps are at their highest. This is the perfect time of year to drift the upper and lower sections for pike, carp and smallmouth - a big pike or carp puts a big bend in the flyrod.

Remember that from June 15th thru August 31st the Thermal Refuge areas near the tributary mouths/springs are closed off to fishing within 100 feet of the posted signs- most of the outer bank of the Sand Hole is posted off, so be aware of that. Church Pool & the lower end of the Wall are both off limits until September 1st. Now that Summer & warmer weather is here, the trout are moving into the refuge areas, so please leave them alone.

I (Torrey) am bartending Thursday nights at the recently opened Smokin' Barbecue in West Cornwall (right next to RSVP), near the Covered Bridge, so stop by when you are done fishing, food is served 'till 10PM Thurs-Sat, and lunch is served on Sundays.

Our Davy Wotton Wet Fly clinic this Spring was a resounding success, we were all BLOWN AWAY by Davy's tying & fishing abilities, he was truly amazing- even Aaron was totally impressed! For those of you who might be interested, I (Torrey) am going to try to set up a trip down to the White River system in Arkansas to stay & fish with Davy this Fall- he guides 200+ days a year down there, and has a small lodging facility. Call and ask to speak with Torrey if you are interested- 860-672-1010, the date isn't set yet but will be somewhere between September & November.

We are trying to get the DEP to extend the TMA to include the section of the Housy from the Rt 7/Rt 4 Cornwall bridge down to at least North Kent, if not all the way down to the center of Kent. It's going to take a lot of angler support to accomplish this, the DEP seems to have mixed feelings. There is a trememdous amount of ideal trout water in that section, and it would be awesome to see it managed to it's potential.

Check out the pictures on the website from the shop MT trip in September '07- check out some of the big fish caught on both public and private water. Click on Photo Gallery under River Reports, and you will see the link. If the pictures from the trip have caught your attention, Torrey will be leading a trip to the same place during the same week in '08- call us to sign up for it at 860-672-1010. This trip produced numerous trout over 20" in beautiful, uncrowded settings. Everyone on the trip hooked into (but not necessarily landed!) trout up to the 2 foot range and beyond, with fish over 26" landed.

If any of you see fishermen violating the regulations on the Housatonic (keeping trout in the C&R area, spin fishing in the fly zone, keeping more than their limit, fishing thermal refuges, etc.), please call the DEP Turn in Poachers hotline at 860-424-3333 and report it or call the store and we will report it. Even if they cannot get an officer there in time, every violation we document can help us to get a designated conservation officer on the Housatonic in the future. They keep track of the statistics, and if there is enough of a need, we hope to eventually get someone regularly patrolling the river from April to October, when it is fished the most. Poaching has started to become a huge problem, two years ago we started to see a lot of fishermen keeping trout illegally, and taking over their limit of bass- most don't even have fishing licenses. Last year was the most poaching I've seen here by far, and it would be a shame to see damage to the great fishery we currently have going. I'm routinely seeing & hearing about people taking trout out of the Park, Cellar Hole, Dun Rollin', Horse Hole, Shear Hole, and Push-Em-Up, among others- usually they are spin fishing with bait or using hand lines. Some people are fishing illegally out of ignorance, but many know what they are doing and will "play dumb" when confronted. The whole C&R area is clearly marked with multiple signs. Please do your part and report any violations you see. Thanks, it all helps in the long run.

A note on etiquette. In recent seasons, we are seeing more and more fishermen who crowd others and do not seem to be aware of proper etiquette. Nobody likes it when they have a big chunk of water to themselves and somebody steps in 20-30 feet away, and starts casting to the fish they are working on. When you approach a piece of water that another fisherman is occupying, ask yourself how far you would want someone to stay away if you were there first- try to stay at least a cast and a half away if possible. And DO NOT EVER throw to the same fish or water that another person is fishing, even if you can reach it. That is a HUGE no-no, do not be surprised if you get yelled at or get your ass kicked if you do that to someone- I'll have no sympathy for you. The Housy is a big river, and there is plenty of water for people to fish, even on a popular weekend. If the spot you want to fish is occupied, don't crowd that person, just go elsewhere. Believe me, there are TONS of fish (and big ones) all over the upper and lower TMA's, and outside of them also. Don't fish Corner Hole, Sand Hole, Cellar Hole, etc. on a busy Saturday at prime time and expect to have solitude- the easy access spots almost always hold the most fishermen. The Upper TMA is somewhere in the vicinity of 10 miles or so, and the lower one is about 2.5 miles, giving us all plenty of water to spread the pressure out in. Just make sure to practice courtesy and common sense, and treat other fishermen as you would like to be treated, and it will be a better experience for everyone.

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Lost and Found:

-Found- late June '08 fly rod in a tube near the Gaylordsville Bridge, call store & identify rod. 860-672-1010.

-Found- 6/4/08 wading staff in TMA- desribe staff & identify where it was left/lost and it's all yours. Contact the store at 860-672-1010.

Housatonic River Outfitters- Donates more than 1% of Gross Sales to Environmental Causes, Youth Organizations,Women's Groups, Local Charities and other Non-profit agencies

Fish Species: Smallmouth, Pike and Bass
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Water Temperature: 70 degrees
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About The Author: Captain Harold McMillan

Company: Housatonic River Outfitters, Inc.

Area Reporting: Housatonic River and Farmington River

Bio: New Englands Flyfishing and Outdoor Resource - We guide on the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers and the most experienced guides in the Northwest Corner.

860-672-1010
Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Harold McMillan