Almost full - Weekend clinic with Davy Wotton on "Wet Flies & Soft Hackles" this April 12 & 13- cost will be $200 for 2 full days, paid in advance, nonrefundable. Clinic is almost completely full now, so if you are interested I suggest signing up ASAP. It will be one full day of fishing and one full day of tying, and there will also be a "bonus" 2 hour evening session included on the evening of the 12th for those who can make it. For the fly tying part, the only tying stuff you need to bring is your vise, basic tools and some assorted threads- hooks & materials will all be supplied. Please have at least a low intermediate skill level for the fly tying, this is not a beginner fly tying course. Davy is a famous fly tyer and fisherman originally from Wales, transplanted to Arkansas where he runs a guiding (200+ days a year) & lodging business on the White River (his website is davywotton.com), the land of giant & world record brown trout. He is the creator of the SLF ranges of dubbing (great stuff) and numerous original fly patterns. In his lifetime, he has fished in 40 countries for a multitude of species, fished competitively, coached the US Youth Fly Fishing team, and is widely considered to be an expert's expert and a superb fly dresser. Some of you may have seen him on Fly Fish TV or maybe his "Wet Fly Ways" DVD, or his new "White River" DVD's. He is quite possibly the most knowledgeable wet fly fisherman alive- there is a 400 year tradition of fishing them for brown trout where he hails from, and he was taught by the old masters. The clinic, will be on wet fly, soft hackle & flymph fishing & tying- there is no better instructor on the subject, and wet flies are his favorite method.

Free River Orientation for the Housatonic River Bull's Bridge TMA & lower river, March 30th at 10AM- Response to the recent free orientation for the Upper TMA was fantastic, with many requests to do another one for the Lower TMA, so here it is. Torrey will show you the accesses for the lower TMA, as well as a few accesses between the upper & lower TMA's. Just show up at the shop, there is no sign up list or cost involved. We will all carpool together to the various spots. This will probably last about 2 1/2 hours, give or take.

We are having Sage & Winston days at the shop in April & May, when the respective reps will come in with a bunch of their rods & let you cast them, as well as be available to answer any questions you may have. Sage Day will be Saturday, April 26th, 10AM 'till whenever, Winston Day will be Saturday, May 10th, 10AM 'till whenever. This will also give you a chance to cast some of the new Rio & Sci Angler lines, as well as get your hands on Waterworks/Lamson reels. The Winston rep, Justin Sterner, will also be providing a 9' #5 BIIx rod as a raffle prize, as well as some SA fly lines and sunglasses- all money raised from this raffle will go into our nonprofit, "Friends of the Housatonic"- proceeds of which go toward trout stocking, funding the DEP's "No Child Left Inside" program, and toward conservation projects on the Housatonic.

Going bonefishing to Crooked Island, Bahamas - March 22nd to March 28th $2695.00 per person, trip is now full.

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. Harold took a group to MT in Sept '07 - pictures are posted from each of the 5 days - with some highlights - go to the photo-gallery - and then click on the links at the top of the page to view the fun. Torrey is leading a group there this Summer - Early September 2008 Sept 6th - thru Sept 12th.

We are scheduling a Spey Casting Clinic with Andre Scholz on May 24th from 10AM-4PM- Price is $100- give us a call or email and we will sign you up. Andre is working with Winston now, and he is a top Speycaster and apparently one hell of a presenter, showman & teacher.

Nymph Clinic with Aaron on Saturday, May 3rd, 9AM-1PM. Response to these clinics has been nothing short of phenomenal- our April one is full already, and this one is half full. Guide Aaron Jasper (check out his website 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 will be 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 March:

-SA Ultimate Trout Taper Fly Line with "Sharkskin"- This line has been a hush-hush project in development & testing at Scientific Anglers for the past few years, and now it is finally unveiled to the public. Just like Simms pushed the bar with their $699 G4 wader, SA is doing it with their new state of the art fly line at $99.95! Why would you want to pay $100 for a fly line you ask? Good question. Because somebody dropped you on your head as a baby? Maybe, but no. "Sharkskin" is a state of the art, textured finish of microreplicated depressions that vastly reduces friction, increases shootability, reduces air friction & creates increased lift for longer casts (sort of like the dimples do on a golf ball), traps air between the line and water to float higher, mends & picks up easier, and finally it sheds water on the backcast to greatly reduce spray when false casting. In real world conditions, these lines last 3 times longer, making the high price tag economical in the long run when you factor this in. New unique taper is truly all purpose, able to deliver flies anywhere from in close up to "way out there". I cast this line and was VERY impressed at the way it laid out and especially the ease with which it shot through the guides- and from what I understand, it's performance is even more impressive on the water. It makes a unique sound as it slides through the guides due to the textured finish- sort of makes me think of the way a sports car's engine sounds when you rev it up compared to a regular car. This line truly is a MAJOR advance over previous ones- it might just be the best line ever made. Try it and judge for yourself.

-Simms G3 Wader- new version- Truly new & improved, in my opinion this wader represents the best blend of high performace versus price. They recently revised the G3 wader, both dropping the price from $449.95 down to $399.95, as well as significantly improving the product. From the upper thigh down, it shares the same exact construction as the $700 G4 wader- seams moved to front & rear for durability, softer fabric, improved membrane (more breatheable, durable & lighter). Up top you still have the great fleece lined handwarmer pocket, a godsend on colder days. A better wader at a lower price, what more could you want?

-McFLYFOAM- If you have trouble tying Glo-Bug egg flies, try this stuff and your troubles will be over. Ties a neat, round, full egg with ease. Perfect for tying small eggs too, right down to micro sizes. The texture of the yarn also tends to catch on the fish's teeth, making it harder to eject the fly without getting hooked.

-Zelon- This is the stuff for tying trailing shucks, Serendipities (a deadly pattern on the Housy & elsewhere), wings and more. We have all the good colors in stock.

-Whiting Bird Fur- Sort of like a cross between webby saddle, marabou and pheasant rump, Bird Fur was originally developed for Spey Flies, but it ties fantastic streamers & leeches. Incredible action in the water, and quite durable. We now have a full array of colors in this relatively inexpensive tying material. It uses are only limited by your imagination- makes a deadly streamer for trout & bass.

-Lamson Konic Reel- This new series is arguably the world's best low $100 range fly reel. It shares the EXACT same sealed & machined conical drag system as the Waterworks/Lamson $400+ reels- in my opinion the best drag system out there, bar none. The difference is the reel frame & spool are die cast- they are Pressure Cast (as opposed to gravity fed) out of aluminum alloy- this produces a stronger product with less porosity than typical die casting does. Finish is anodized and then coated with polyurethane, making a gouge & abrasion resistant finish. The end result is a high performance, good looking reel for a little over $100- now that's a bargain. Currently the #1.5 & 2 are available, covering line weights #3-6. Bigger ones will be available in mid to late March.

- Rio Gold High Performance Trout Line- I've always liked the innovative and unique tapers Rio has come up with over the years, and this is their premier line. New taper makes it versatile at all distances & with different action rods, load well on short casts, gives great "loop stability" at distance, and handle a range of flies from big to small. Their new XS technology ("Extreme Slickness") takes slickness & dirt repellency to a new level, improving shooting, floatation and durability. Extremely high floating proprietary SFT ("Super Floatation Technology") tip with a welded front loop. I cast this line recently, and it is truly very slick and dirt repellent- at least equal to the Sci Angler AST lines. The one I tried had been cast & fished for a few months already, yet it still performed like it was new out of the box, even though it had never been cleaned. Gotta like low maintenance lines- more time fishing, less time fussing.

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Torrey's books & videos for March:

New Books/Calendars:

-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.

-About Trout, by Robert Behnke- The subtitle is "The Best of Robert J. Behnke from Trout Magazine". He is one of the wold's foremost trout biologists, and he provides species descriptions, conservation commentaries, and fisheries management history & lore. This is a collection of his best articles, each updated with new commentary and illustrated by Joseph Tomerlleri, one of the best illustrators in the business.

-Fly Fishing for Striped Bass- Author Rich Murray is a well respected hardcore striper addict who is self taught and known both for designing original, deadly flies, and also catching trophy Stripers in the surf. An engineer by trade, he has applied his inquisitive mind to deceiving Striped Bass on the fly rod, and he's very, very good at it. This book is in the Masters on the Fly Series, so you know it is both beautiful and extremely well done. There has never been a more thorough book on the subject- cover to cover it's way over 1" thick. Murray doesn't own a boat, and he will show you how to catch BIG bass from the shoreline, under all types of conditions. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you want to find more success with Stripers.

-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.

-Fishing Tandem Flies, by Charlie Meck- Prolific author Meck covers fishing with more than one fly at a time in the most comprehensive piece on the subject yet. Different ways(7) of connecting the flies, suggested combos, techniques/tackle/rigging, fishing hatches, favorite dries & subsurface patterns and more. Charlie did a nice job on this book.

Favorite Books:

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:

-Fly Fishing for Trout, with Harry Murray- The subtitle of this brand new DVD is "The Secrets to Catching: Cutthroats, Rainbows, Brookies & Browns. Join Harry Murray, a well traveled fly shop owner & prolific fishing writer from Virginia, as he shows you how to catch Brook Trout in an Eastern mountain stream, then fish a larger stream and learn techniques for Browns and Rainbows with nymphs & streamers, and finally venture to the Yellowstone River in Montana to catch Cutthroat. Suitable to both those getting into fly fishing and those with more experience too. Harry has fished with many famous fishermen over the years, and he will share his lifetime of knowlegde with viewers, helping to select & present flies properly, as well as correct rigging.

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Friday Weather:

35 degrees & light drizzle, high 38, low 24, 70% chance rain/snow today. Long range: highs mostly 40's-50's, lows mostly 30's.

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Our customer & friend Nick Daifotis has again generously offered to match all money raised for our new non-profit organization, whether through a donation or a raffle ticket purchased for 2008 - anotherwards, for every dollar we receive, he will match it, dollar for dollar, up to $3,000- thanks again Nick! ************************************

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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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FRIDAY RIVER REPORT:

Dropping slower now. We haven't received much rain at all, nor are we supposed to get a lot. All I expect this to do is hold the water level where it is for a couple days, then it should start to drop again. We are currently high but fishable, actually 200+ cfs below the normal flow for today's date. Nice sunny weather for the weekend, it will be in the mid 40's for Torrey's free Lower Housatonic (Bull's Bridg TMA) Orientation this Sunday at 10AM- just show up at the shop if you are interested, there is no sign up list or limit on how many can come. This time the river is at least fishable, so bring your gear and try out the lower or upper TMA's on the Housy. If you do venture out fishing this weekend, use "standard" early season high water tactics- medium to large nymphs, streamers & wets fished near the banks, out of the heavier flow. Try to present your fly slowly near the bottom, make it easy for the fish to eat it. Trout love to sit on current seams between fast & slow water- they use little energy holding in the slow water, and the faster current brings the food to them at a good rate. It's win-win for the trout. Until we give them a fake bug with a hook in it. So don't jump in the water on the edges until you fish it first, it's the biggest mistake I see fishermen make in higher water. Afternoon water temps have been averaging in the low 40's, but colder nights can see colder temps. The best time slot to fish is late morning to late afternoon- that is when the water temps are highest, it is most comfortable to fish, and you have your best shot at catching trout. We can also point you toward some smaller local waters. Remember that you currently have to stick to TMA's (Trout Management Areas), because the general trout season is closed until April 19th. That also means you can only fish the Housy in the Catch & Release areas, the sections outside of the TMA's are closed until Opening Day. We are well stocked with tying materials & books, so stop by. Only 2 spots left in the Davy Wotton Wet Fly Clinic on April 12 & 13.

Golden Stonefly nymphs (#6-10) are usually a top producer in late Winter/early Spring, along with other medium to large nymphs (#10-14 Hendricksons, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Larva, Princes, Copper Johns, etc.) & various slowly fished streamers (#2-10 Woolly Buggers, Halloween Buggers, Zonkers, Clousers, Slump Busters, Muddlers, etc.). March thru mid April can be a good time for catching big trout on the Housy. You don't usually catch a lot, but rather some quality holdovers that often average in the mid to upper teens, with an occasional fish cracking 20".

In late March/early April, remember that Housy trout are lethargic with water temps mostly in the low 40's and not inclined to move much to take your flies- you have to get your nymphs, wets & streamers right in their face to catch them. Cover the good water hard, making many drifts to thoroughly cover it and make sure you get your flies directly in front of them, because they won't move far at all to take your fly. Make it easy for the trout to eat your fly. Skip the faster water, trout tend to hang in the slow to moderate water this time of year- although on a milder, sunny day, it's not uncommon for trout to push into the pool heads to feed if the water warms a few degrees. Bounce bottom with golden/yellow stones, Hendrickson nymphs, egg flies, scuds, "standards" (Hare's Ear, Prince, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, etc.), and caddis larva. Stick mainly to the late morning to late afternoon slot for fishing, when it's mildest and the water is warmest- that's when you will have your best shot at catching some fish. Sunny days are often the best of all- rising water temps stimulate the trout to feed. If you like to fish with lots of elbow room, this is a great time of the year. Nymphs will be your best bet most days, but a slowly fished streamer (swing them with some subtle twitches) can get fish too- try a Slump Buster (a deadly John Barr streamer pattern) on a floating line and a 9' leader, the tungsten conehead should be enough to get you down near the bottom. You can also add a nymph or wet fly dropper above or below the Slump Buster to increase your odds of success.

We are stocking 1,000 good sized Rainbows below the upper TMA in the Housy in the first week of this April, thank you to DEP for issueing us the permits (remember that the season for them in that section is closed until 4/19/08). We are trying to get the DEP to extend the TMA to include that section 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 next year- 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.

Fish Species: Trout
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Water Temperature: 38
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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