Northwest Corner, Conn. -- 2020

patrick62

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I almost typed "Northweat Corner." That would have been embarrassing.

Step One -- Town Hall in Salisbury to get a new license. Incidentally, last year (or was it the year before) the legislature decided to add a $5 "trout stamp" to the inland license fee of $28. As many of us said at the time, why not just make the inland fee $33? Or even $35? You don't even get an ersatz stamp.

It was stupid then and it's stupid now. Pfui.

Thank you for your support.

Step Two -- I know what the little blue lines look like -- a little high, and at just enough elevation to make some residual snow and ice likely. But larger tribs like the Blackberry and Furnace might be worth a look.

We haven't had a really big snow storm yet. We had about eight inches a few weeks back but it melted off in pretty short order. I define "big" as a foot or more with accompanying weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 

skunkedalot

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trout stamp- supposedly, the money goes to deep so we have more trout and fishing opportunitys.
of course, this is CT where money is immediately diverted to another pet project.
they would not just add the money to the general license fee- they remember that last time they raised it- people went nuts.
you dont HAVE to buy a stamp but if you fish our beloved Hous for smallies, you need the stamp.why?
because you just might catch a trout in the summer smallmouth season. they have us by the short hairs.
 

lookard

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Fished the Housatonic above the West Cornwall covered bridge this weekend. First time up in the area based on Harold's recommendation. Since the temps were warm, I decided to started with the faster water but didn't connect with anything. So I dropped back around to find different water - slightly slower. And found 2 fat chunky rainbows. Their hits were super subtle. The sighter paused ever so slightly and I set the hook. Pink is the key.

Spoke with a gentleman who was shopping at the Housatonic river outfitters about going to the salmon river later in the month. Super psyched about it now. Probably gonna try more pink flies.
 

patrick62

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Little blue line patrol later today. I'm thinking that after a couple of frigid days, a gain of 15 degrees and some sun will get some trout, somewhere, interested in a little snack.
 

lookard

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Was on the Housatonic yesterday. Went to the faster water to search for trout thinking that they would go there with the warmer temps but I didnt catch any in the riffles. I got a measurement of close to 40F on my thermometer. Found them in the slower and deeper sections in the runs and holes. The rainbows were on eggs and the only brown was on a size 18 duracell jig. The brown jumped straight out of the water. That was unexpected.

Tried a coated braid as my leader. Seems to work out well. Its also hydrophobic so maybe it will reduce my issues with leader sticking when I fish in the rain. It was super windy and the golden hues of the reflections made it really difficult to watch the line.
 

patrick62

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I found a few wild fish -- browns and brookies -- over the warm and windy weekend. Wind wasn't really a factor as I was down in the hollows and ravines. Big and bushy ruled the day. Nobody cared about nymphs, which was weird. Had one bigger fish flash a big conehead bugger but he promptly went to earth, I know not where.

If you're going to give me two 60+ degree days in a row in January I'm going to take them.
 

lookard

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I went to the Housatonic River this weekend and I was struggling to find the fish at the deep holes at the first spot I started at. The flow was a lot slower compared to my past experience there. So I thought perhaps the trout were in the faster water above the deep spots. But didn't connect with any. Met another flyfisher who was swinging nymphs through the run. He too didn't connect with any at that area.

So I decided to move to a different spot when the wife returned on her mountain bike ride.

At this second spot, things were more promising. It was a 3/4 ft deep riffly part of the river. As I make my way upstream, I connected with 2 rainbows and lost 1 brown from a bad hook set. At this point the end was about to set, but I was determined to find another. I applied a lump of neon yellow wax on to my sighter to make it easier to see in the fading light. Later, I stuck a torch light on my cap to try to see the sighter determined to get another trout.

Eventually, it was impossible to see the sighter. Now, I was just going by feel alone. I had sorta dialed down the retrieve to get in contact with the nymphs. And I connected with a trout. At first, I thought it would be trout the size of those rainbows I caught earlier. But then it just took line out and swam upstream. And stayed down on the bottom. But with the fish upstream I used side pressure to tire him out. In the middle of the fight, the dropper leech caught on its tail. And I lost control of the fish as it bowed out. It started just going downstream and I got out of the river to run after it on the rocks in the dark. The torch had a filter on to soften the light and it wasn't really throwing light out. But I managed to turn the fish to the side where there was slower water.

After a few short spirited runs into the main flow, I managed to net this fish using the little light from my torch. It filled the net! Personal best brown trout. My hands remained absolutely warm even though I stuck it into the water. That was how much adrenaline I had.

IMG_20200201_174028.jpg

IMG_20200201_173704.jpg
 

skunkedalot

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congrats- that is one beautiful Brown. A remarkable catch considering it is winter.
Way to go.
Cant wait for spring. lets hope the river is not sky high again this year.
 

patrick62

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The Lakeville Journal website is down at the moment and I have no idea when it will return. So for my legions of fans here is my 2019 mostly Northwest Connecticut wrap up. Okay, legions, wake up. And I mean both of you.

Jan 2 fly fishing year in review


On January 1, 2019, it was warmish at about 50 degrees, the streams were mostly free of ice, and I figured if Nature was going to just hand it to me, I’d take it. I spent a happy couple of hours on the Stream That Must Not Be Named catching brook trout until an abrupt change in the weather sent me scurrying home, where I curled up on the couch and pretended to watch college football.

February -- Mid-month it became technically feasible to wet a line in the Farmington. So I did. Result: I caught one sluggish brown trout and a cold.

March -- March is, of course, International Tackle Fondling Month, so I cleaned lines and organized flies and checked waders for leaks and bought new spools of tippet. I also curled up on the couch and pretended to watch college basketball.

April -- Official Opening Day found me, as per usual, interviewing fishermen on the banks of the mighty Blackberry River. Or trying to. The weather was awful and there weren’t many anglers out there. The one guy I talked to hooked his ear, and thank goodness for barbless hooks. (Otherwise the dateline on the story would have been Sharon Hospital.) This year the Henderson hatch didn’t get blasted out by high water. I had a particularly good afternoon on the Esopus in New York, catching big rainbows with Hendrickson dries.

May -- Tenkara madness seized me and I experimented with a number of different rods, lines and tactics. It all led to the same conclusion -- Tenkara is a great method, except when it isn’t. Standard operating procedure for me now is to carry the fly rod and stick a Tenkara in the backpack. The problem with this is sometimes it falls out. But this is less a problem than an opportunity to sharpen those rusty tracking skills.

June -- Annual week at Catskill cabin was nice and quiet. Everything went well. I found a couple new brook trout streams. I didn’t fall down and hurt myself. And a fishing buddy gave me a guided tour of streams in Greene County, in and around Hunter, N.Y.

July -- Another fishing buddy gave me a prototype rod. It’s a fixed line rod, about six feet long, made from a spinning rod blank and sporting a polished wooden handle. I dubbed it the Phunk Stick. It works pretty well, with a piece of running line from a defunct #6 weight forward fly line and added tippet. The inventor told me to treat it rough so I used it on smallies in the Housatonic and largemouth in a lake, as well as brook trout in little blue lines. It performed well.

August -- I reread all the Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker and fished for bass and brookies.

September -- As above, except I was rereading P.G. Wodehouse.

October -- There was a stretch of about six weeks where the Housatonic fished about as well as I can remember. There was one ridiculous day when I caught about 70 newly stocked rainbows, but the real action was with big browns (and some rainbows) who for whatever reason were just out and about. Horsed up some real beauties, even in heavily fished areas in the Trout Management Area. Also presided over the first fly-fishing experience of an old high school pal, who subsequently became infected and ever since has been asking about what sort of rod to buy and are these waders worth the money.

November -- It slowed down as it got colder, which is par for the course. I spent more time on smaller streams, for no particular reason other than it’s easier to not get cold on them. Having promised someone trout for the table back in the spring, and forgotten about it, I yanked a dozen or so recent rainbow stockies out of the Blackberry over the course of three afternoons. I made it as hard as possible, too -- barbless hooks, successively lighter and smaller rods, and itty bitty flies attached to gossamer tippets.

December -- Stupid snow and stupid rain plus stupid warming up in between kept the rivers high and inaccessible. There was a brief window of opportunity mid-month in which I renewed my acquaintance with Furnace Brook along Route 4, which is a great stream if you can ignore the gentle sounds of constant traffic above your head. There’s nothing like tossing a tricky cast in close quarters while a fleet of orthodontists on Harleys is going by.

For 2020 -- Goals are to spend more time on the Farmington, more time on the Esopus, and to visit my friend in a state prison in Pennsylvania -- which just happens to be located near some pretty decent trout streams.
 

Wizumz

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Hit the Farmington yesterday, first time there so it was more exploratory with minimal hopes of hooking into something. Conditions seemed solid with the sun out and water temps up. BUT I caught nothing :/

We saw a couple of other fishermen, no one seemed to be catching, I understand winter trout is tough... never done it before.

My two rigs I switched between were: black woolly bugger (decent weight, but not a conehead) with a blaze orange head stripping through the deeper portions we came across, then I spent most of my time indicator nymphing with a mop and zebra midge setup. No rises, or bumps, but I'm also horrible at trout fishing so who knows. I felt that I wasn't getting deep enough, but I had no split shot or heavier flies to work with, so I had to roll with the punches.

I really liked the river, though it seemed low... maybe it's always that way? I've heard it's a fairly low river in comparison to the housatonic, where I've always gone in the past. Looking to go next weekend to take advantage of some free time and nice weather, probably hitting the housatonic.
 

lookard

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I've always found it difficult at the Farmington river during the winter season. When I was euro-nymphing there two weekends ago (right after I heard they stocked the river), I was covering a run in a manner that I thought was thorough. I hooked up twice and landed 1 of the fish. Feeling good, since 1 fish is better than the zero I always get at the Farmington, I swung back around to the bottom to start on it again to let the other fisher (who was also euronymphing) make his way up. Boy was that guy a fish catching machine. He must have pulled out 7-8 trout from that section that I pulled 1 out. After a while, I was just watching how he was doing and had to ask what fly he was using. It was a black sos. So I tied on an sos from my box. But I never got any bites on it. Later, as he was about to leave he gave me the fly that he was using. I also found out that he was a guide.

After a break, I went back to the run and hooked 2 more fish. It was on a pale yellow egg pattern.
 

patrick62

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Took a whack at the Hous yesterday for a couple hours. Didn't catch anything except a stick. It was a big stick though.

I was at the Elms, River Road side, where the wading is, relatively speaking, fairly easy.

Nonetheless at 900 cfs and change the river was moving along at a good clip and I floundered a little.

Mostly it was nice to get out of the damn house.

I have a 3 p.m. event to cover in Salisbury so I think today's exercise in preseason futility will be on the Riga brook. Since the road is closed that will involve a fair bit of walking, if nothing else. And a bit of exercise that doesn't involve an apparatus where I work up a sweat and go precisely nowhere is one for the "win" column in my book.
 

patrick62

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Spent a few pleasant hours on Blackberry at Beckley Furnace trying out some new gear. State stocked the area with rainbows back in early November I think and a lot of them are still around.

Note that general regs closes Feb. 29 and reopens second Saturday in April, in case someone is thinking of taking a ride.
 

lookard

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Went to the Farmington on Sunday. Went to several spots and it was not until the last pool that I hooked up. Its was a really beautiful day, very sunny. But the wind was a really killer. I had to really overweight (a 5.5mm tungsten crystal meth that I tied up for the salmon river) my point fly to fish at some of the spots because it was so open. Halfway through, I went to get the 9ft 5wt and the 200 grain skagit commando head to practice some swinging. I want to get more into the swinging flies so I can try it when I am at the Salmon and Madison rivers.

Hooked up on a size 18 black nymph and a size 14 egg pattern.
 

patrick62

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Boy do I get antsy this time of year.

Snow is pretty much gone from all but highest elevations. "High" being a relative term; the Taconic Plateau and southern Berkshires would be considered a gentle rise elsewhere.

Still, it's what we've got, and there ain't any snow on it.

We're in the state-imposed limbo between the end of trout season Feb. 29 and "opening day" the second Saturday in April. But the little blue lines I frequent are either open year-round or not listed at all.

So I've been out and am planning to go later today once it warms up a bit.

Had a "Curse of the First Cast" moment last week, on one of the unlisted streams. Nice fat nine inch brookie came right up and grabbed a big Stimulator on the first toss; didn't get a single flicker of interest for the next two hours.

Hous is a little too vigorous for me at 1330 cfs, and I don't have the time to go over to the Farmington and back. (Stupid work.)

I'm experimenting with Seaguar Finesse flurocarbon for tippets and droppers on the recommendation of Mr. Troutbitten, who says it's superior to the Berkley Vanish I have been using quite happily for several years. We'll see.

I've been testing out the Vedavoo Beast sling pack on the blue lines and for the most part I like it. I think the key is to use one big fly box like the Tacky Catch All. (Although I am reluctant to buy yet another $#%&! fly box.)



It gets awkward digging around in the pocket for smaller boxes. I can even stick the five foot Tiny Tenkara rod in it and carry something else.

Once we get into April I'll spend a few afternoons getting tuned up on heavily stocked streams like the Blackberry. It's like batting practice then. I usually dig out a rod I haven't used in a while and anoint it the "it" rod for the new season. SOmetimes I even follow through on this.
 

lookard

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I'm experimenting with Seaguar Finesse flurocarbon for tippets and droppers on the recommendation of Mr. Troutbitten, who says it's superior to the Berkley Vanish I have been using quite happily for several years. We'll see.
I also just bought the 5.2 lb one to use as 4.5x sized tippet. Its been great! I was previously using Vanish 4lbs. The 8lb line was great for nymphing at Salmon river and Madison river!
 
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