We privately stocked 1,000 plump 15" Rainbow Trout below the upper TMA on 4/2/08-and plan another stocking on Sept 15th - we are again collecting money with donations and raffle sales. We strongly encourage you to release these fish so others can enjoy them, and also to allow them to hold over and get even bigger. Maybe sometime in the not too distant future the DEP will manage & stock that section of the Housy as a Catch & Release Trout Management Area? I hope so.

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 this week, 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 lookind for some nice Summer fishing clothers, 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 cooler, very comfortable morning. What was originally forecast to be a near 90 degree day now will just crack 80, I like that MUCH better. Humidity is very comfortable, and we still have very doable trout temps. We are looking great for this 4th of July weekend- water level keeps receding, we are at an excellent level of just under 800cfs, a perfect height to wade or float the river, and the morning water temps are still in the 60's. We are catching both trout & smallmouth. For trout I like mornings & evenings, although with the Alder/Zebra Caddis hatching, look for trout rising near the banks in the late morning to early evening period too- you can even blind fish Alder dries. For smallmouth, no need to get up early, in fact they often fish best in the afternoons & early evenings when water temps are at their highest- think streamers, crayfish patterns & poppers/topwaters. Mornings see the lowest water temps are the best time to do some nymphing in the faster water, evening to dark is prime for dries & rising trout. A few of the "regulars" have been doing very well for trout on dries in the early evening to dark period on Cahills, Caddis & Sulfurs- don't forget about spinners too, esp. for the Cahills. Some of the trout have been in the 18-20" class, both rainbows & browns. Flow is excellent for this time of year - low enough for easy wading and high enough to protect the fish. This is the 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. We will be open on the 4th of July. Had several very good fishing reports from last Saturday morning on trout, including some bigger fish- Big Ed had 6 over 17" in a couple hours, and Alex had a very good guide trip with 2 beginners. During warmer weather, fishing in the early to mid morning often yields the best fishing of the day- water temps are lowest then. We are catching a mix of trout & smallmouth, you can target either at the moment. Or you can mix it up and target trout in the AM, then smallies in the afternoon, and fish trout again at dusk if you want. As long as water temps stay moderate like they have, we can continue to fish the Alder/Zebra Caddis for the trout. All the rain over the past month has given us enough water to take the trout comfortably thru the early Summer. Current conditions & air temps should keep the water temps in the trout range for at least a while, prolonging the trout season.

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. Smallmouth are a good target from June thru September, with July & August being peak months- try big streamers, topwaters & crayfish patterns. Best surface action for trout is the dusk to dark period. Alder/Zebra Caddis are still on the water in the daytime, giving you shots at trout at a time of day when trout fishing would normally be slow. They love to hang out along the stream edges, esp. in shady areas along the edges of faster water. They are a big bug, best imitated by #10-12 patterns, and you can blind fish dries near the banks during this hatch. Look for them to be active in the mid/late morning thru early evening. We are still seeing Cahills, some Sulfurs, assorted Caddis, and Alder/Zebra Caddis. Most of the hatch activity in in the evenings, but Alder/Zebra Caddis are typically on the water from mid/late morning thru early evening- look for action with them near the banks, in sections with faster pocket water & shade. You can blind fish Alder dries in likely looking spots. Smallmouth are getting more active as we move into Summer now, with midday being a good time to target them. Seeing all sorts of Mayfly spinners on the water in the evenings, so make sure you have some with you- trout will typically sip them in gently or make a porpoising type rise. 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. Nymphing is the best choice overall when the fish aren't rising- focus mainly on the faster water. The rainbows we've been stocking the past couple seasons are still putting smiles on many an angler's face, truly fighting like smaller Steelhead- lots of broken tippets, so don't go too light! They are averaging in the 15-18" range, with bigger ones running to 20" plus.

Congrats to local teeneager Danny Marino- he made the Youth Fly Fishing Team USA and will be competing in Portugal this Summer representing our country. We will be doing some sort of raffle with him to help raise the money he needs to fund that trip. While Rainbows have been the majority of the bigger fish so far this season, there have been some very nice holdover browns landed, in the 20" plus class, both in & out of the TMA (C&R area). Quite a few of the 'Bows we stocked below the TMA have worked up into it already, and some bigger ones have held over from the stockings in '06 &'07- you will know it if you hook one of those, they've been snapping 4x tippets pretty regularly on the nymphers- consider beefing up to 3x in the fast water, esp. with bigger nymphs. With streamers go right to 0x or 1x.

We are trying to get the state to start stocking more and bigger fish to improve the fishery as they have done on the Farmington and the Naugatuck - they stocked 9000 trout in the Housy on April 25th - but the bulk of these were 6-9 inch yearlings and will become food for every predator in the river - our holdover rates have decreased from 40% to 18% and I firmly believe it is because they continue to stock these smaller fish. It has been years since we have seen large numbers of holdover fish rising in each pool. In addition - the DEP has discontinued stocking the 4 miles of TMA above Push-em-up pool. Some of this water is superb trout water and the arbitrary decision to stop stocking 4 miles of TMA is not making me a happy camper - just imagine if they did this on the Farmington River - there would be an uproar - but here - I and a few landowners are the only ones fighting to get them to return stocking of trout to the entire TMA.

We stocked 1,000 fat 15" Rainbows below the TMA early this April, plus 2,000 went in last year between the Spring & Fall- there is a good mix of recently stocked & holdover 'Bows down there, as well as some nice holdover Browns mixed in too.

Our Davy Wotton Wet Fly clinic was a resounding success, we were all BLOWN AWAY by Davy's tying & fishing abilities, he was truly amazing- even Aaron was totally impressed! Some deadly wet flies were learned & tied, patterns developed and proved for hundreds of years over wild European brown trout. 3 fly "casts", leader rigging, presentation from upstream to across to downstream were all covered, as well as how to properly dance your top fly on the water. These are some neat, highly effective techniques rarely employed by American anglers. If you stop in the shop, I'd be happy to set you up to tie some of these patterns, and advise you on the proper rods, lines & leader set-ups to fish them. If you missed the clinic or need a "refresher", I have plenty of copies of his 2 hour DVD "Wet Fly Ways"- it's excellent. 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 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, Smallmouth Bass - Pike
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Pike Fishing PIcture
Pike Fishing PIcture

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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.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Harold McMillan