Housatonic River Outfitters in Connecticut is New England's Outdoor Resource. We specialize in Fly Fishing for trout and smallmouth bass, Guide Services on the Housatonic River and Farmington River, Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking and Canoeing, and corporate trips and corporate events.
Choose a tab below to see that river's current condition
Water Level Wed morn 8/25: 509 CFS per USGS
Water Temperature Upper 60's at 8am
Water Clarity Clear
Release Schedule Natural Flow (constant/steady release, no flow manipulations)
Housy looks great- about 632 CFS & clear. Plenty of good fishing reports this past week on trout, bass & pike. Iso's (Isonychia) are the current glamour hatch, starting around 4-5pm most days and going into the evening- this hatch will only get better as we move into September, the peak month for that bug on the Housy. Iso's are my personal favorite hatch- they are a big bug (#10-12 this time of year) that hatches for a long period of time (late May through October on Housy), in daylight, brings large trout to the surface, and fishes well will nymphs & wets. Still seeing a few White Flies in late evenings, but the main hatch is done (began 8/5) and it is very light now. Look for Flying Ants anytime, it's that time of year (especially the day after some rain, it softens the ground & that is when mating swarms happen- it's easier for them to burrow into it then). We are catching a mix of trout, smallmouth bass, and pike, depending on when/where/how. Had some good trout reports this week, mostly from those fishing early or late in the day. Nights are still mostly down into the 50's, with 10 Day highs in the 70's-80's (we creep into the mid 80's from Monday through Wednesday, Thursday high 80/low 55, then back to 70's Friday). We generally focus on the bass/pike in the summer, they are the most active species then- this year trout have continued to mix in all summer due to the overall cooler temps most days. It was an easy summer for Housy trout, as the cooler temps combined with higher flows kept water temps down, and August has been cool thus far too. Although early morning water temps have averaged in the 60's on the Housy most days this summer, we remind you that the Thermal Refuge areas (cold water sources such as tributary mouths & spring holes) are closed off to fishing within 100 feet of the signs as posted, and this goes from June 15th through September 15th (prior to 2014 it was only through August 31st), the function is to protect the trout during hotter weather. Hasn't been an issue this year, but legally you have still have to avoid fishing those areas right now. Overall Smallmouth are still he most active fish on the Housy in the summer - there is no need to start early if you are targeting the bass, as they often bite better as water temps rise in the afternoon/evening. For smallmouth think medium/large streamers, bigger nymphs, crayfish patterns, and topwaters (poppers/sliders/deer-hair bass bugs). Don't forget about Pike, we get some big ones in the Housy and this is a good time of year. When it's cool enough to target trout (look for morning water temps in the 60's, which has been every day lately), think early/mid mornings, and during cooler days, again later in the day when the shadows hit the water & into the evenings. Smallmouth are a great midday target. The Housy is a prolific smallmouth bass fishery in the summer, and we get some nice pike mixed in with the bass (in the slower/deeper river sections where you need a boat to access them). Our fly bins are loaded with all the killer patterns you need, with new patterns arriving frequently.
The local brooks & streams are nice options if you prefer smaller waters, stop by for advice on ones to hit- the best times to target them is shortly after some rain, the trout are much less spooky then & easier to approach. Given at lest 1.2-2 feet of clarity, the Housy is fishable under 2,000cfs for wading anglers, and around 1,500 level & below becomes easier to read- you can start to wade around in spots at that flow, and as Housy levels drop into closer to 1,000cfs & below, wading conditions improve, giving you access to most of the river, and trout will hold all over at that level and lower. Mid 1,000cfs & up, fish the banks, as that is where the catchable trout are, and that is where the wadeable water is. You will often see water temps rise into the 70's on warmer, sunny afternoons in a typical summer (this one hasn't been typical!). This makes afternoons a good time to give the trout a break, and target the prolific Smallmouth Bass population- they are most active when the water is warmest and the trout fishing is slowed down or even completely shut down due to rising water temps.
We are soliciting doantions for our HRO private stocking of rainbow trout this fall, please help out if you can. These fish average 14-18", with a few topping 20". It's expensive, and every donation helps, be it large or small. Thanks in advance. The CT DEEP has documented them successfully reproducing in quite a few Housy tributaries (unlike most state stocked Rainbows, our fish are true Spring spawners). We increase fishing opportunities on the Housy by stocking these trout both below the TMA/C&R area, as well as in the upper section of the TMA where the state does not stock. OSI (Open Space Institute) manages our Friends of the Housatonic non-profit organization that all donations go into for stocking funds, and then they cut us a check when its time to stock. Please help improve the quality of the trout fishing on the Housatonic by donating, and remember this is a legitimate tax write-off due to our non-profit.
Make sure you purchase 2014 CT fishing license before your trip, as we DO NOT have a license machine in our store. You can purchase online- we have a license link on our homepage (on left sidebar), or just Google "purchase CT fishing license". Also, Mondays thru Thursdays most (but not all) Town Halls in CT sell licenses.
Two newer books of interest to Connecticut fly fishermen are now both available for sale in our website store/shopping cart for those of you who won't be making a trip here- "Flyfisher's Guide to CT" by Ron Merly, and "Fly Fishing Fairfield County: Secrets of Suburban Trout Streams" by Jeff Yates. Both books are excellent, written by local experts.
You can now redeem Amex CC points when shopping on our Amazon store online.
New & Favorite Products for August:
-Brodin Phantom Nets- these are, hands down, some of the nicest landing nets on the market. And, the new "Phantom" series (with the Ghost bags) are much more economically priced than the Ghost series- only real difference is they use plantation raised hardwoods instead of exotics. The "Ghost" bags aren't a gimmick, they are super-durable, the flies don't tangle in them, and because they are clear the fish sometimes actually swim right into them! They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and everyone is trying to copy them, so I guess that says something. These are the best nets on the market, in a variety of sizes & shapes, I try to keep a decent selection on hand, but find my customers wiping me out of these all the time! Nuff said.
-Cortland Competition Nymph Rods- they really hit a home-run with this series of 5 rods at an amazing price of $219.95 (includes rod/reel case). Models ranging from 9.5' #2 up to a 10.5' #4 to cover Euro style nymphing, with the 4 weights crossing over into indicator nymphing too. Joe Goodspeed from Cortland Line Co. did a great job overseeing/designing these rods, they have been bestsellers for us. I particularly like the 10.5' #3 as a specialized Euro nymphing rod, the action is perfect and my girlfriend Mandy SLAYS big trout with it. Thin blanks with a matte finish & black guides help with stealth, softer tips play trout great & protect tippets, and the rods balance out beautifully right in your hand to minimize fatigue. If you want to fish wets, these rods are also superb for that, due to their extra length & softer tips. Two thumbs up, and a steal at $219.95, you cannot touch these rods at this price. -Torrey
-Lamson Speedster reels- the latest offering from Lamson-Waterworks is a larger diamter, extra-large arbor, narrower reel that picks up line FAST. It features their unique, conical, silky-smooth drag, and a handle mounted a little closer to the reels' center to further speed up line retrieval. This reel should kick ass for fish that take out a lot of line- Steelhead, Tuna, Salmon, bigger trout, etc. Also great when you are moving from spot to spot frequently- it will save time reeling in your line. I've always leaned toward larger diameter reels for their superior line pick-up & more consistent drag performanc, and I've been a Lamson-Waterworks fan & user for a long time, so this one definitely gets a thumbs-up from me.
-Cortland Bi-Color Indicator Mono- If you like to Euro-Nymph or High-Stick/Tight-Line/Short-Line Nymph without a traditional floating indicator, you should check this stuff out to help you detect your strikes. It is comparable to the similar Jan Siman product, but at a much better price. The line is dyed in opaque, high-viz colors, and changes between a bright fluorescent yellow to fluorescent orange every 6-12" or so. You can incorporate this into your leader as a straight piece, or wrap around a dowel or pen and boil and then freeze to make a "Curly", aka coiled sighter, for a French-Style rig. This will be a very useful product for you nymphers.
-Glo Brite Floss- Euro-style nymphs with hot-spots (small areas of bright fluorescent coloration) are catching on in the past few years, and with good reason- they are often deadly! This European-made floss give you the best possible hot-spot colors, both in terms of range of shades, and intensity of fluorescent color. Tie your flies with the usual drab threads, and then use a few wraps of the Glo Brite to create a hot-spot at the tail of the fly or up front behind a bead. You can also use for more normal floss applications on brightly colored bodies, or for tags on the butts of salmon flies. Great stuff, I have all the best colors in stock. Don't neglect to try on some of your Steelhead nymphs & flies, hint, hint.....
-Hatch Finatic Reels- Wow, these newly re-designed reels are amazing, and we are CT's newest Hatch dealer. The heart of this real is the amazing, sealed, stacked-disk, butter-smooth, super-strong drag system that will hold up under the toughest conditions and not fail on you. Got myself a 7 Plus in the Fall of '11 to use on my switch rods (11' #7 TFO Deer Creek Switch & 11' 9" #7 Sage TCX Switch) for Great Lakes steelhead, that combo whipped up on a bunch of big fish and performed flawlessly, landing salmon to 30+ pounds. The new "Finatic" version of these reels has some beautiful, artistic machining & is lighter than the predecessor (but spools are interchangeable). These are reels that will take a beating, I'll put them up against anyone else's reels. Stop by the shop & check one out- the price tag ain't cheap, but the quality is superb. Two thumbs up. -Torrey
Torrey's Book & DVD Choices for August:
-50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish, by Terry & Wendy Gunn- Cool new book that will give you the info you need to hit some of the top trout fisheries in the country, written by husband and wife team that run a fly shop & lodge on Lee's Ferry of the Colorado River, a top notch fishery that is also in the book. Tailwaters, the trout streams below bottom-release dams, are some of the best fishing around due to the cold water releases & stable conditions they create, and this book gives you the info you need to plan a trip to one of these places. There is a basic overview of each fishery, and then info on hatches, seasons, effective flies, suitable tackle, and a list of local fly shops, guides, eateries, lodging, etc. A nicely done guide to point you toward some of the best trout fishing.
-12th Anniversary edition of Steelhead Dreams by Matt Supinski- when it comes to Great Lakes Steelhead, Matt is THE man, spending 300+ day on the water each season guding & fishing. This is a totally revised update of his original bible, and it is the current pentultimate book on the subject. Tons of new pictures, new text, updated information, and some new fly patterns. If you fish for GL Steelhead, you really should have this book, and if you have the original version, you need to get this updated one, lots of good new stuff in there. Two thumbs up.
-"The Angler as Predator", by Gary Borger-" the 4th & latest book from my favorite author in his excellent "Fly Fishing, the Book Series". This one teaches you to use our predatory, hunting skills in our fishing approach. Clothing, wading, casting/line handling, mental aspects of fishing, approach, how fish function in their environment & detect predators, and much more is covered. Just like all of Gary's books, this one comes highly recommended.
-Long Flies- Streamers, Bucktails & Other "Big Fish" Flies, by Gary Borger- I've been waiting for this book to come out, and it didn't disappoint. The 3rd installation in Gary's excellent Fly Fishing Book Series, this one covers streamers- history, various fishing/presentation techniques, rigging, tackle, leaders, and a wide variety of patterns (including many Borger originals) w/ color photos of them. Gary is just about my all-time favorite writer- his out of the box yet always practical thinking & approach has improved my fishing over the years, and his writing is always top-notch & interesting. He is a thinker, but he doesn't over-complicate things. Just like his other books, this one is full of relevant anecdotes that keep things entertaining. If you want to improve your streamer fishing & tying, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy. Two thumbs up. -Torrey
Fly Fishing Fairfield County- Secrets of Suburban Streams- author Jeff Yates is a part-time guide who has fished his local trout streams almost 30 years now. A fourth-generation Wilton resident, he thoroughly covers 20 trout streams from his home turf. Not only is there detailed access info, but he goes into depth on hatches, effective fly patterns, matching tackle to the often tight surroundings, where to catch wild trout, which streams hold bigger fish, etc. After you read this book you will be ready to tackle these fisheries, and hopefully find success in Fairfield County without having to make a long drive elsewhere. Jeff is very active in Trout Unlimited (currently president of his chapter), and he has an excellent & informative section on conservation issues/threats to the streams covered in his book (one of the best explanations I've ever read about the issues that apply to any stream remotely near civilization). He did a THOROUGH job, there is tons of useful info. Two thumbs up on this book Jeff!
-The Flyfisher's Guide to Connecticut, by Ron Merly- Hot off the press- CT's own Ron Merly (award winning writer & Sea Run Brown Trout state record holder) authored this excellent, much needed book. The Flyfisher's Guide series of books has been consistently top-notch, and this is no exception. Primarly a where-to as opposed to how-two book, it is thorough in it's coverage. The 2 best trout streams in CT, the Housy & Farmingtion, both have hatch charts and received extra-detailed coverage. Ron is a common sight in our shop, a Housy regular, and he catches his share of big trout here. Information is provided on the state's Brood Stock Atlantic Salmon fishery. The book also details another passion of his, the Sea Run Brown Trout fishery in CT- his state record fish clocked in at 10# 8oz out of the Saugatuck River. Fly/Tackle shops, guides/outfitters, accommodations, restaurants, airports are all covered for each area. Finally, a book that covers all the fly fishing opportunities in CT- if you fish freshwater in this state, you really should have this book, it's the new Bible.
-Dynamic Nymphing, by George Daniels- former captain of Fly Fishing Team USA, George is one of the more knowledgeable & accomplished nymphers in the world, and he has fished & competed all over it with some of the best anglers from many different countries. This is the best, most thorough book on nymphing I've seen yet. Covers all styles of nymphing from "suspension" (strike indicator & dry/dropper), to "Curly Q's", to the "tight line" methods (European- Czech/Polish/French/Spanish, and American High-Sticking/Short Line). It's all there, including a great section on his favorite 60+ fly patterns. Covers tactics for fishing under tough conditions- heavy fishing pressure/crowds, shallow water, cold weather/water, wind, etc. Also talks about fishing different water types- pocket water, riffles, runs, pools, as well as small streams. This is the current state-of-the-art book on the subject, I highly recommend it, it's in my collection. Great photos. I will have autographed copies in stock until they run out, then back to unsigned copies.
-Common Nymphs of Eastern North America- written by 2 experts from Penn State University, this book covers the subsurface bugs in our backyard streams. Absolutely superb photos of the insects, with matching imitations given. Traditionally identification & hatch-matching is done with dry flies, but this book teaches you to identify, match & fish the proper nymphs to successfully catch your local trout. Well done & spiral bound for ease of use. Two thumbs up.
-Reading Waters, by Gary Borger- another great new book from my fly fishing hero Gary. While there are currently two other excellent books on this topic (by Tom Rosenbauer & Dave Hughes), in my opinion this is the best one yet. Not a dry read either, Gary put tons of anecdotes in to keep it interesting & relevant. Plenty of pictures and excellent diagrams (illustrated by his talented artist son Jason). Reading water is a skill many lack and one that separates great anglers from average ones. If you aren't putting your fly where the fish actually are, then the best equipment, flies & technique are all for naught. Two thumbs up, I now own a personal copy of this book.
-Fishing the Film, by Gary Borger-
For sure, Gary is one of my "fishing heroes", and anything he writes should be required reading for fishermen. In typical Borger form, it is packed full of useful information. If you like to catch fish on top, most of the time they are feeding on emergers, cripples, spinners, etc. floating in the FILM, not actually on top of the water. Plenty of great illustrations by his talented son Jason. Many great stories/anecdotes to keep it all interesting and relevant.
-The Orvis Guide to Prospecting for Trout, by Tom Rosenbauer- Recently revised & updated, this was already one of the best books in print on general trout fishing strategies, techniques, fly selection, and a personal favorite of mine, and now it's even better, with new info, flies & color photos. It even has an extensive chapter on the often neglected wet flies. Most of the time on most streams, trout aren't rising, and prospecting is a necessary strategy if you want to catch trout consistently- don't be stuck when there are no hatches. Great book, in my personal Top 10.
-The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide- this is the best beginner to intermediate guide out there, bar none. In fact, just about everyone should own this book as a reference regardless of ability level, it's that good. It was recently updated with the latest info, equipment, techniques, flies and pictures. Tells you enough to take the confusion out of things, but not so much that you are overwhelmed. Much of this was written by Tom Rosenbauer, one of the best writers & fishermen out there- rarely are outdoor writers excellent writers AND excellent fishermen, but Tom is both. This book pretty much covers all facets of fly fishing. Highly recommended by me.
New & Favorite DVD's:
-Waypoints, by Confluence Films- these are the same guys who brought you the best-selling & award-winning Drift, Rise & Connect DVD's. Fantastic fish porn from both fresh & saltwater with a variety of species, this one rocks! Also some good interviews and interesting profiles, giving you insight into what makes some fishermen tick Shot in Chile, Venezuala, St. Brandon's Atoll, Alaska, and India.
-"Skagit Master 4- Cracking the Code, featuring Tom Larimer"- the long awited 4th volume covering the Great Lakes is finally out. Tom Larimer hosts all segments, fishing with a handful of different guides on a variety of different types of tributaries. Just like the other DVD's in this series, this is all about swinging flies for Steelhead on two-handed rods. Part entertainment, part informational, you Great Lakes Steelheaders will find this one much more applicable to our Steelhead fisheries. Some great footage showing you how to approach various situations, from casting angles, mends, flies, rods, lines, sink-tips, etc. Good stuff. This is a 2 DVD set, 140 minutes.
-"Streamers on Steroids", with Kelly Galloup- The subtititle is "The next generation of articulated streamers, tying five Kelly Galloup original flies with irresistable action." He is the man when it comes to streamers, with one book on the subject, and this will be his 5th DVD on that topic. Kelly shows you some of his latest creations, including a deadly articulated Crayfish fly, the "Nancy P". Also his "Barely Legal", "Tips Up", "Boogie Man", and the "Pearl Necklace". Each pattern has some unique attribute(s). 1 hour 45 minutes in length, shot in HD. All of Kelly's DVD's are excellent, he has more covering nymphing also.
-The Dead Drift: Indicator Nymphing Simplified & Perfect, w/ Aaron Jasper- new release in late January '13, this is his best DVD to date. Thoroughly covers the how, when, why & where of Indy nymphing. Shot on several different fisheries, with a buch of footage done on the West Branch of the Delaware in NY/PA, and also rivers out West in OR & MT. You get to see him catch a lot of nice trout while demonstrating & explaining his techniques. He shows you how to build a simple but highly effective leader system, and how to modify it for different sets of conditions. Shot in High-Def, he did a great job on this one. Highly recommended.
-Midge Magic Fishing & Tying DVD's with Davy Wotton- the latest DVD release from Davy, whom we have come to the shop every Spring and conduct various clinics (this year I'll probably have him do a full day on Midge fishing). Now living & guiding in Arkansas on the White River system, Davy Wotton is probably most famous for his wet fly fishing & his "Wet Fly Ways" DVD (superb & a best seller), but he is also highly skilled at Midge fishing, and it's the other favorite of his. All trout streams contain Midges (and he loosely uses the term Midge to refer to small flies in general), and learning how to fish them from top to bottom can only help your catching. Disc #1 is on fishing, dics #2 is on tying. You can buy them individually, or as a complete set at a $10 savings. Techniques are shown for slow/flat water, moving water, and deep/fast water. He details how to construct relatively simple special leaders, how to rig up, and how to approach the fish. The tying DVD show 8 patterns, most of which are his own simple but deadly creations. Midging is arguably some of the most technical trout fishing there is, and I think he did a great job tackling the topic. This will help you up your game. Two thumbs up from me (Torrey).
-Low & Clear- totally new DVD, this one has already received all sorts of awards & kudos. Here's the press release on it:
"During a winter flyfishing trip to Canada, two old friends, J.T. Van Zandt and Alex "Xenie" Hall, learn they've have grown apart in more ways than one. J.T., the thoughtful even-keeled son of a songwriting legend believes there's more to fishing than catching fish. Short-tempered Xenie, a "firewood salesman," sees it differently and fishes like it's a race against the clock. Their different approaches to fishing and life emerge and clash on the snowy river banks and damp hotel rooms of British Columbia in this true story of a friendship stretched to the breaking point. An exploration of life in the disappearing wilderness of the West, Low & Clear unfolds with moments of humor and pathos, success and failure, as J.T. and Xenie find themselves on a fishing trip that could be their last."
-Skagit Master 3- Steelhead Flies Beyond the Books- another long-awaited release, this one focuses on the fly patterns rather than casting, approach or rigging. Out of the box modern Steelhead flies with names like The Grizzly Bear, Reverse Marabou, Orange Blossom, Fish Taco, Underachiever, Ska-opper, and of course Ed Ward's now infamous Intruder are all tied. Tiers such as Hannah Belford (Simms poster girl), Tom Larimer, Eric Neufeld, Jeff Hickman, Ed Hepp, Scott Howell, Ed Ward & Jerry French are all featured. This DVD also shows you how each fly swims in the water, and explores how light & dark flies appear in various water & light conditions. Filmed in the Pacific Northwest & British Columbia, these patterns have relevance to Steelheaders in the Great Lakes too- they are applicable anywhere you want to swing flies for them on a two-handed rod. $1 from each DVD sold goes directly to the Western Rivers Conservancy. I'm sure this will prove to be top notch, just like the first 2 DVD's in this series, they have been best sellers for us. -Torrey
-Heart of the Driftless- New DVD, all about the great fishing for wild trout in the Driftless area of Wisconsin, a palce with a veritable cornicopia of high quality little trout streams. The SW corner of the state had no glacial drift, and the result is a plethora of spring creeks/limestoners, often boasting trout densities of several thousand trout per mile (and these are mostly narrow streams), with some topping out as high as 8-10,000 per mile! This world class trout fishing was filmed by master cinematographer Robert Thompson, and reviews for this DVD have been glowing- check out the 3 minute trailer on the internet. A little over an hour of footage, and also includes another 1 1/2 hours of bonus footage. The trailer looked excellent, I don't think you will be disappointed.
-High Sticking and Reading Water, with Kelly Galloup- Graphic demonstrations of high stick nymphing with detailed lessons on reading water are the heart of this 90 minute instructional video. Kelly shows you numerous ways to become a better nymph angler, including high sticking where your fly line is kept off the water to insure a good drift. Along with a host of close-up angling sessions the production is filled with graphic illustrations that teach you how to read water. In this condensed look at four days on the river you'll learn about where to fish and how to be a better nymph angler. 5 Chapters: Incudes: AFTERNOON DAY ONE Open, Fishing Pocket Seam and High Sticking DAY TWO Don't Mend, Read the Run, Big Brown Mistake DAY THREE A Good Drift, The Lift, Boulders, Pockets, More DAY FOUR High Stick Rod & Nymph Line, Nice Fish DAY FIVE Fly Selections: Midge, Caddis, May, Attractors Kelly Galloup is a great instructor, and in the video he dissects the river and clearly explains where and how to fish a variety of water types. Learn both tight-line and indicator tactics, along with a variety of tips on rigging. You'll see some nice fish along the way but more importantly you'll discover how to nymph fish with a high rod. As Kelly says, "It's all about a good drift", and this is an essential form of presentation for fishing your flies properly. Fly Placement is critical in your nymphing system and Kelly takes the time to explain where to place what type of fly on your leader. He looks at midges, mayflies, caddis flies and attractor patterns.
-European Nymphing- A Strategic Approach, w/ Aaron Jasper- Our former guide Aaraon has made quite the name for himself in the Euro nymphing world- his 1st DVD sold an easy 300 copies in one year at our store alone (he sold 5,000 copies)- that is a TON of DVD's in the fly fishing arena, more than we have ever sold of any one single DVD. He is a guide, writer, fly designer, presenter & fanatical fisherman (close to 250 days a year). This is the follow-up to his 1st DVD, and it is excellent & jam-packed full of very useful information you won't find elsewhere. This DVD is organized into 10 different situations/scenarios (things like high/cold water, early season pocket water, mid season pocket water, stocked trout, fishing pool heads, etc.), and Aaron shows you briefly at the beginning of each segment what his tackle, leader set-up & flies will be and explains why. Then you watch him in action catching trout (a lot!) while he explains what's he's doing in a voice-over. All scenes were shot on public trout streams where you & I can fish, not footage from overstocked private streams for pellet-fed pushover trout. Shot & edited in High-Def, there is almost 4 hours of footage, all for $29.95- this is a GREAT deal. Two thumbs up from me (Torrey). Check out his excellent website at www.troutpredator.com.
-Connect- the next installment from the Confluence Film guys who brought you the epic DVD's "Drift" & "Rise", this one was shot in Africa, Yellowstone, Maine, Japan, Alaska & Cuba. Includes well-known anglers Jeff Currier, Craig Mathews and others. Expect great cinematography, sound, and just an overall great "vibe".
-Off the Grid-This release from Beattie Outdoor Productions (they did the award-winning DVD "Nervous Water, a best-seller for us) is available now, and it's very good. Run time is close to 3 hours, there are 3 feature films, and 12+ short films and an action cut. Here is their description of it:
"Shot in Mexico, Alaska, British Columbia, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Florida, NW territories of Canada and a few surprise locations. This fly fishing film is about places that are off the beaten path. It is about people that live the fly fishing lifestyle, not to be a name, but because fly fishing is part of their soul. It is about unspoken hatches, unknown fish, and Rivers that will go unnamed. Two years on the road filming in an assortment of locations around the world. All of the films are connected by a common theme: there are places that, for our crew, were out of the ordinary. We basically tried to avoid as many of the "Big Name" waters, hatches and fishing grounds as we could. "
-FlyNation- great DVD with top-notch cinematography, and featuring Spey Casting hottie April Vokey- she is reason enough to buy this DVD! 5 different mini-stories, covering brook trout, steelhead, Atlantic salmon, & saltwater species (tarpon, permit, etc.). Shot on/in Skeena, Gaspe, Florida, Iceland, and Fortress Lake. I was impressed with this DVD (esp. at only $19.95), and did I mention April Vokey was in it? Very well done & recomended by me (Torrey).
-Wet Fly Ways, with Davy Wotton- one of our all time best selling DVD's, and one of the most informative we carry. It's the next best thing to actually having Davy Wotton at your elbow while you fish. Watch this DVD, and you will be able to successfully employ a variety of deadly European-style wet fly techniques/rigs on the water. It is a highly effective system of fishing, perfected in Europe for hundreds of years over wild brown trout, and so much more than the down & acrosss swing employed by most Americans. Buy it, watch it, and catch more trout. Davy Wotton is a Welsh transplant and may just be the best living wet fly fisherman in the world. Yes, he's that good. Excellent, informative DVD that I highly recommend.
-Czech Nymphing 101 & Related European Methods, with Steve Parrott-Parrot co-owns the Blue Quill Angler in CO with Pat Dorsey, and has been into Czech/Euro type nymphing for a while now, employing the various methods on the hard-fished technical waters he calls home, such as the South Platte. Czech, Polish, French & Spanish methods are covered, as well as methodology (strike detection, hook-setting, casting, line control, etc.), equipment/gear, fly selection & line rigging, and he ties 4 weighted nymphs for the camera. Great reviews from Kirk Deter (Editor-at-Large for Field & Stream) and famous CO guide & author Landon Mayer. Now that I've personally watched it, I think this DVD is very well done, easy to follow, and well shot.
-Skagitmaster 2, Steelheading Outside the Box- The sequel to the original Skagitmaster (with Ed Ward), this one features expert steelheader Scott Howell, part of the Ed Ward Skagit crew. Learn how to fish a Skagit line & swing flies in all sorts of tough & different conditions. He even fishes on top for them. Footage was shot in Oregon & British Columbia, and he catches a bunch of wild steelhead for the camera while demonstrating techniques. This DVD is excellent- if you are a "swinger", you gotta have this one.
-Searching for Steelhead- Michigan steelhead guru Kevin Feenstra has specialized in swinging streamers to catch steelhead in the Great Lakes tributaries, and this is the new Bible for that approach. He is a very innovative fly tyer, and his steelhead streamers are both unique & deadly. Great explanation both verbally & visually of how to do it properly from A to Z, including proper lines/sink-tips, flies (including tying instruction for some of his personal go-to's), seasons, small rivers/big rivers, etc. This is a very well done DVD and I rate it highly.
-Czech Nymph- Johan Klingberg and the Czech National Fly Fishing Team show you how to rig & execute the deadly "Czech Nymphing" technique. The Czechs are some of the best in the world at competitive fly fishing, and they will show you also how to build special leaders, favorite flies, and how to tie some of them. These methods are equally applicable in the USA. Shot on multiple rivers in Europe, you don't want to miss this one. Great cinematography, and highly informative, this one nicely blends instruction with entertainment.
-Rivers of a Lost Coast- Chronicles the legendary west coast angler Bill Schaadt (considered by many to be one of the best Steelhead/Salmon fly fishermen that ever lived, and the subject of a 1974 Sports Illustrated article titled "The World's Best"), and the coastal California fly fishing community he was part of- a competitive and often ungentlemanly one. Going back to the 40's & 50's, this DVD uses a combination of old photos, never before seen video footage, headlines and interviews with legendary anglers such as Lani Waller, Russell Chatham, Hal Janssen and others. Schaadt was a Russian River legend, catching salmon & steelhead when nobody else could. By the 70's & 80's, these fisheries were already on the decline for a variety of reasons, and this DVD is a fascinating account of both Schaadt's world, and the degredation of great wild fisheries through overfishing, dams & pollution. This movie is excellent, I was quite impressed.
Please donate & help us out on our HRO private rainbow trout stockings- a big "thanks" to all of you who donated to make our fall 2013 stocking happen. Stocking is expensive, it costs us a minumum of $5,000 to do it, and some of the bigger stockings have run us up to $10,000. The quality of the rainbows we stock is superb- they are big, fat fish averaging 14-18", sometimes even 20"+, and they fight like a smaller steelhead or a Delaware River bow. Unlike the state stocked rainbows, these are true Spring spawners, and as such have been successfully reproducing and adding some wild bows to the fishery (they shocked a few big wild rainbows up to 20" in 2013!). Pretty cool I think. But, we need your donations to support this, any size is welcome & greatly appreciated. We normally stock 2x per year, both Spring & Fall to improve the quality of the fishery on the Housatonic, and extend out the fishing area.
I have TONS of cool new items in the store- excellent new Cortland nymphing rods (at $219.95!), flies, Simms DeYoung T-shirts, Housatonic River T-shirts (2 colors, all sizes), books/DVD's, etc, so stop by. The state stocked 9,000 browns & bows in late September (and they did an equally large stocking in the Spring, making for a total of 18,000 trout stocked). Combined with holdovers already in the river, that means plenty of trout for the anglers. No excuses now! Expect the occasional 18-20"+ holdover browns & bows to show up sometimes.
Electroshocking in August 2013 showed good holdover of the trout in the Housatonic River C&R section. Unlike some hotter years, the trout were well dispersed and showed up in all areas they sampled. There were a decent number of big trout, both browns & bows, sampled in the 20-22" class, including a couple of wild rainbows around 20 inches (scale samples showed them to be 3 1/2 years old, a fantastic growth rate). They also sampled quite a few nice Housy trout that had migrated up the lower ends of major tributaries. .
Don't automatically wade out up to your waist when you approach the river, start close and fish your way out or you may spook many of the catchable trout (especially if flows are up). During periods of higher flows (not uncommon on the Housy), it often pushes many of the trout in relatively close to the bank, sometimes literally to within inches of it.
Please purchase your 2013 fishing license online or at a town hall, as we don't have a license machine in the store. Stop by the store and check out all the new DVD's & books I've added, we have quite a few titles now.
Harold commissioned CD Clarke to paint the covered bridge - he owns a couple of his paintings and they are spectacular - we are selling this painting at the store.
We stock all the materials available to tie the infamous "Vladi Worm" for sale in the store (pink "latex", pre-bent Daiichi 1870 hooks, lead wire, Maxima Chameleon tippet & proper threads). We also carry a pretty good selection of other materials, tungsten beads, lead wire, "hot spot" materials, hooks, back materials, underribs, etc., that are orientated toward tying weighted patterns for Euro (Czech, Polish, French, Spanish) style nymphing.
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 has had mixed feeling about this in the past, but they seem to be starting to warm up to the idea. There is a trememdous amount of ideal trout water in that section, and it would be awesome to see it managed & stocked to it's potential.
Poachers/illegal fishermen have been active in recent years, both in & out of the TMA, although thankfully extra DEP enforcement in 2011 & 2012 (funded by GE PCB settlement) put a big dent in this, with special thanks to CO Tate who went above & beyond the call of duty in reducing illegal fishing in the TMA. People have been keeping fish in the TMA (esp. in Horse Hole) & spin fishing in the Fly Fishing Only section (esp. in Cellar Hole & the Park), as well as fishing down below the TMA without licenses and keeping more than their limit of fish- without a license, all fish kept are illegal. We need all of you to be proactive and call in violations, the DEP needs to receive calls from people other than us calling all the time from the shop. The TIPS (Turn in Poacher) hotline # is 1-800-842-4357, the last 4 digits spell out the word "HELP" in case you forget the number. And for the record, all calls made to the hotline are logged and they look at the data each year to see where they need to beef up enforcement. While they are way underfunded & understaffed in terms of Conservation Officers and cannot always respond to every call, they will make every effort to dispatch one if at all possible. Get as much info as possible- number of people, general description, vehicle & plate #. Take a pic of them & their car if possible with a digital camera or even cell phone. If we get some more of them nailed, the word will get out that you don't want to poach on the Housy. This is a problem we can all help to improve with a simple phone call.
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 worse 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.
Lost and Found:
Simms wading staff - lost in the Park in April 2012. Contact : Ed Mickiewicz at (860) 749-8713
*******************************************-6/22/13- Lost IN the Housatonic River just above the Covered Bridge, one St. Croix "Bank Robber" Rod w/ matching reel. If found call Spencer at 203803-0151
-3/31/13- Lost in the lower parking lot in the Park (near the upper boat ramp that is blocked off with posts), one super-thin clear plastic Orvis fly box with 100+ nymphs in it. If found, please contact Steve Feinberg at 914-953-8822, or drop off at our store.
Water Level 2/28/14- Medium/low in TMA
Water Temperature TMA- Low/Mid 30's in AM, rises on sunny/milder days
Water Clarity Clear
Release Schedule Total flow of about 250+cfs in TMA/C&R area- 232cfs from the dam in Riverton, Still River gauge is frozen
February 28th, 2014-
Been a brutal winter, with only brief respites from the cold & snow here and there. Starting to see the small #18-20 Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies (Capnia) crawling on the snow/ice stream edges, look for milder days for best hatching. Soon enough the somewhat bigger #12-16 Early Black Stones will also show up. Weather is all over the place in the long range forecast, with some nights below zero, but also some days up into the mid 30's. At least we are moving into March, albeit it's "coming in like a lion", but it also almost always goes "out like a lamb". Soon enough we will be fishing in days averaging in the 40's, and the fishing will pick up, and certainly at least be more pleasant to be outside. This Saturday March 1st doesn't look bad, with a high of 30, not windy, and some peeks of sun mixed in with the clouds. Monday 3/3 a significant snow is likely, and Sunday night through Wednesday will be pretty darn cold, with more subzero lows and cold days- temps moderate after that. I've had some tough fishing this winter, even took a zero or two on a couple outings, despite the face I know I was fishing over a high density of trout. But also mixed in were a few really good, double-digit trips with some up to about 20". Pretty much been all nymphs for me, but a very slowly/deeply fished streamer can connect with bigger fish, and I've seen fish rising at moments. Milder, sunny days without much wind have been best of all, but there haven't been many of those so far this winter. Nymphing is the go-to winter technique, look for softer/moderate water where the trout can hang out in the cold water without expending much energy- think mostly pools & deeper/slower runs. While you may see them move shallow to feed during bug activity, they will tend to favor somewhat deeper water most of the time in the winter- when water temps are in the 30's and the trout's metabolism is greatly reduced, security/comfort takes precedence over feeding. For nymphs, try bigger Stoneflies (#6-10), Pheasant Tails (#14-20), Caddis larva (both uncased & cased), Egg patterns, Winter Stoneflies (especially #18-20 black to imitate the Capnia), Polish-style Woven Nymphs (#8-12), Midge larva/pupa (#16-24), and generic/attractor nymphs (Lightning Bugs, Princes, red Copper Johns, etc.)- they all producing at moments. Some days the fishing has been very good, but with all the cold temps it's made the trout sluggish and many days you work your ass off for one or two fish, sometimes none! This usually correlates to water temps (and to weather it warmed or cooled, with rising water temps ideal in winter & early spring), and to fishing pressure, which at moments can be high on the Farmington, especially on milder days & weekends. Don't be afraid to venture outside the year 'round TMA/C&R area and into the newer long seasonal TMA/C&R section, there are trout throughout, but a lot less anglers. If your are fishing tiny dries/emergers on flat water, you may need to go pretty light on your tippet. I recommend lengthening your tippet to 4' or longer before going to ultralight tippets, going longer like that is like dropping down a couple of tippet sizes, it will enhance getting a drag-free float. For nymphing, I mostly use 5x fluoro, sometimes 4x on bigger flies like #8-10 Stonefly nymphs and bigger Polish Wovens, and maybe 6x on the really small stuff. No need to go lighter than 6x for even the tiniest nymphs, and I don't usually find it to be necessary, especially with fluorocarbon tippets. Dry fly fishing will sometimes require some pretty light tippets, especially for small flies fished on flat water, but I always try to use the biggest tippet practical for the situation, so I can play & release the trout quickly and not overly stress them. It's not sporting or ethical in my opinion to play a trout for 10-15 minutes on a ridiculously light tippet, as it can kill the trout.
In the permanent 5 mile TMA especially, the fish see lots of pressure and can be VERY picky when you are targetting flat water risers in the more popular pools (Church, Greenwoods, Ovation, etc.), so make sure your presentations are top shelf- accurate & drag-free (use a long leader, with an extra-long & relatively light tippet), and change your flies frequently. Under normal flows, nymphers should play around with some smaller flies on fluorocarbon tippets, although Stonefly nymphs & Rubber Legs are exceptions to the small nymphs. Caddis larva in olives to greens in the #12-18 range are very effective at moments too, and don't forget about Cased Caddis, there are a TON of them in the Farmington. The takes on nymphs can be VERY subtle, so stay laser-focused or you won't even detect many of the hits. Set the hook on ANYTHING even remotely suspicious, or you will miss many subtle takes. Dry fly guys will find that CDC patterns, emergers, cripples, and pupal patterns can sometimes work magic on tough fish in flat water.
New regs in place now- from dam in Riverton down to bottom of lower TMA (21 total miles) is now ALL C&R from Sept 1 thru 6AM on 3rd Saturday in April, and the Upper Year 'Round TMA in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford has now been permanently extended (as in not a seasonal TMA) upstream for about 1.5 miles right up to the bridge abutment at the tail of Whitemore (this includes the entire Campground). So the upper TMA is C&R 12 months a year all the way up to the tail of Whitemore, and all the water above that to the dam, and below the upper TMA all the way down to below the lower TMA (Collinsville) is a SEASONAL TMA (Sept 1st thru 3rd Sat in April) that reverts to Trophy Trout (2 fish, 12") from Opening Day thru the end of August. This means that in March & April, inistead of being stuck in the two modest sized TMA's, you will have 21 miles of river to fish, and the upper TMA has been permanently increased by almost 50%. Excellent move CT DEEP, thank you!!!