Northwest Corner, Conn. -- 2020

patrick62

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March 26 -- Blackberry River

Gov moved start of regular season up, would have been April 11. State stocked a week ago I think. They were podding up. Caddis coming off but they ignored it. (Must have missed that class at hatchery.) Caught about 25, all deep. Hooked one monstrous rainbow, not a stocker. Alas 6.5 foot 3 weight was not up to task. I know, poor workman who blames his tools, but the 10 foot rod I was using earlier would have been better. I hooked the kid on the left, about 130 pounds I'd guess.




 

patrick62

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Went back with a bigger rod and caught the one I tickled yesterday

Blackberry is not a big stream.

For reference my boot is about 12 inches front to back


 
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patrick62

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I'm limiting myself to small streams within five miles or so. Rarely see anyone else on these and if I do it's easy to avoid them. It's what I do anyway.

The Housatonic is too high to wade safely and the Farmington just enough of a drive that I don't think it's responsible to venture over there. WHat if the car breaks down, or something like that, etc.

Too bad because the Farm flow is just about perfect. Oh well.
 

whalensdad

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I'm thinking the same thing as far as distance. Wanted to go up to the Willimantic or Tankerhoosen, but it's an hour drive for me. I'm also reluctant to take a kayak to any lakes near me. Need to do some thinking to see if there is a wadable location near me.
 

patrick62

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Just me, a 10 foot 3 weight, and a conehead wooly on the Housatonic River between the dam and power house yesterday.

Two shots of pike. I don't like pike, especially their large, well-developed teeth, and I forgot to bring forceps, so I cut the leader. It wouldn't have fit in the net, which did accomodate the first smallie of 2020, which looks to be about 16 inches long. If the water level looks like this, it is relatively safe to fish the no-man's land between power house and dam. Relatively.
 

patrick62

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Life continues in the Weird Era. Rained buckets Sunday so yesterday streams like the Blackberry were pretty high. Hous is way up and another inch of rain expected Friday, not at all part of the plan. If it would warm up a bit a lot of water would get sucked up by emerging plants but what can you do?

Fish little brookie streams, that's what.

A buddy reported some decent action on Mohawk Pond from his canoe yesterday. Brookies and browns on dries. I might take a ride over there today and see what I can do from shore.
 

patrick62

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Tippy-toed up Wachocastinook (aka Riga) Brook today. Spent about two hours with very little to show for it. Took a break and headed a little further upstream, where the road climbs away and the stream valley gets steep. And that's when crazy wild browns -- not brookies -- started hitting a size 10 parachute Adams. I keep a couple handy to serve as indicators on multi-fly rigs, but this was just me, the Dragontail Zoom tenkara rod that fishes at 8, 9.5 and 11 feet, and a lot of very cold water.

They completely ignored anything subsurface.

The state stopped putting browns in maybe 15 years ago, so these are their descendants. Its mostly browns, and damn spooky ones at that, up to the stone bridge and another 200 yards up. Then the brookies start to take over.

The road is still closed in case you're thinking about taking a socially-distant ride, so you'll have to do some walking.
 

patrick62

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Only saw three fish yesterday afternoon in the Stream That SHall Not Be Named, and caught them all. Goodish brookies, all 10 inches or better, which is gargantuan for this stream. One took a size 16 Bread and Butter, the other two a flymph tied on a jig hook with a small tungsten bead. Did this with an eight foot Tenkara rod I hadn't used in a while, the Wetfly Kodomo, which usually comes in under $100 at outfits like Sierra Trading Post. They make a couple longer ones too.
 

patrick62

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Same stream yielded two largeish brookies (one on Bread and Butter nymph/fly rod, one on kebari fly/Tenkara rod) and nothing else. Hendricksons were bursting out but cold not interest them on any approximation, vague or realistic, top, middle or bottom.

Watched a touring motorcyclist stop, take a look, and try his hand with a small spinning rod. It seemed to me to be a recipe for getting hung up, and lo! that's what happened. He gave up after 15 minutes.

 
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patrick62

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State stocking trucks have been busy. Farmington -- again. And the humble, hard-fished Blackberry got more fish.

I knew something was up yesterday when I got a double of stocker brookies on nymphs right under the bridge at Beckley furnace.

Went back over today during a lull in what seems like an endless succession of raw, rainy days. Much of the same. Scrambled into the area downstream of the furnace area, fished wets and nymphs and caught a bunch of fish, some of whom had been there a while. Then the wind blew up and it was starting to rain sideways so I beat it.
 

skunkedalot

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Today, snow covers the ground in my neck of the woods and I bet in the NW corner, it REALLY covers the woods- WTF.
Weird spring in an even weirder year.
 

patrick62

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Yesterday I took the first serious 2020 foray into the Wachocastinook (aka Riga) Brook, a class I wild trout stream in Salisbury.

By "serious" I mean clambering in there to the point you either have to keep going upstream until you hit a) an old logging road or b) get to the falls in order to get out of there and up to the dirt road.

Or you get to the Point of No Return and, well, return.

Started about 10 a.m. and fished mostly unsuccessfully until about noon, when the switch was flipped and they started hitting things.

Including: Deer Hair Sedge and the more traditional and bulkier Elk Hair caddis dries; assorted soft-hackle wets, traditional and kebari; smallish but heavy nymphs, particularly a size 16 Rainbow Warrior.

As per usual the fish were small, nothing topping eight inches.

I was surprised to see how far up the browns were before giving way to brookies. The browns have probably been there all along and I just didn't catch them. But my estimate of the line of demarcation and the neutral zone has moved upstream significantly, by maybe a couple hundred yards of stream. (Hard to estimate distances in there.)

I used a 6 1/2 fiberglass rod, rated 3 weight but overloaded with a DT4, It's an Aventik rod, made up for Housatonic River Outfitters. I bought one (inexpensive) largely to show some solidarity with the fly shop but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Also stuck a Tiny Tenkara rod in the pack. It's a five-footer and packs down to maybe six-eight inches. For a line I used the lightest furled leader from Cutthroat, and added tippet. This rod wouldn't be my first choice for the job but as an adjunct it's fun and well worth the $50.

Unhappily the Canon point and shoot decided to die again. It got dunked earlier this spring and I gave it the bag of rice treatment, and for a while it worked. But it has apparently relapsed and sits, mute and unblinking, on the kitchen counter, awaiting disposal.
 

lookard

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Caught my first river smallmouth on the Housatonic. It was awesome. I was fishing for trout on the euro rig. The bites were fairly subtle with the nymphs. I was having a rather difficult time finding the trout. Need to work on the dry fly game with the sporadic rises that I was seeing. Perhaps I was fishing too deep while most of the fish in somewhere in the middle of the water column. Should have gone with a dry dropper. Also don't have much experience with the dry dropper technique.
 

patrick62

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^Now you're hooked. So to speak.

Now that the flow is down to a manageable level, it's suddenly summer, and the water temps are up. I was getting 64 degrees yesterday at 11 a.m. I'm wet wading.

So it's smallie time.

Thermal refuge regs go into effect June 15.

I fished this morning and caught one fish, but it was a doozy. SMallmouth, bronze colored, vertical strips, about 16 inches long and half that wide. Big slab of a fish, caught on a size 12 Surveyor jig nymph. Tickled a couple on woolies and big soft hackles but no dice. Sun was brutal and a slipped in the mud and banged my knee pretty hard so I called it a day and went home. Knee's nice and stiff but no lasting damage.
 

lookard

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I went back to the Housatonic yesterday. It was a much cooler day and the wind was unrelenting. Went to target the fast boulder strewn section and found mostly rainbows and 2 smaller browns. The euro-rig isnt much fun with bobbers and long casts, but I was too lazy to walk all the way back to the car to get the 5wt. So I stuck with it. Its was probably good since I could lift up most of the line and leave only the bobber to drift. Every time I think the wind had died down enough, I would only get 2/3 casts sans bobber before it kicked up again.
 

patrick62

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WHen the water is low between the Great Falls and the power station I like to wet a line -- because you never know what's on the other end. Porbably a smallmouth or panfish, but it could be a pike, a carp, or even a brown trout with a poor sense of direction. Hell, I've caught brook trout in there.

But there's a problem.

The day-trippers are out in force, both at Great Falls and at Bulls Bridge. I can't blame them for wanting to get out and do something after being cooped up.

But they are foolish, not to mention reckless.

A freelancer for my paper took some lovely photos of half a dozen teens jumping off the falls. Right at the spot where a kid drowned a few years ago. (Granted, the water was much higher in that incident.)

If you look at that basin beneath the falls at low water, you will notice that it is filled with sharp, jagged rocks, tree limbs, and whatever the hell makes its way down the river.

It should tell you something that even the whitewater kayak people, who thrive on danger, avoid the place.

Then there are the guys who bring surfcasting rods to catch eight ounce rock bass. They specialize in leaving great wads of 60 pound mono for the birds to enjoy.

Then there's the Instaface crowd. Their M.O. is to pose for photos at the top of the falls. One of them was looking at his hand computer yesterday and damn near fell.

I didn't have my hand computer with me. I never do when fishing. It would have taken me 10 minutes to get back to my car and make a 911 call. Assuming I could get a signal.

Help is at least 30 minutes away. These people either don't know this or don't care.

Recently I have delivered stern, apocalyptic warnings to several groups of casual day-trippers. They go something like this:

"See these boots I'm wearing? Felt soles with motorcycle ice racing studs screwed in. Why? For traction on the slick rocks that have been polished by millions of gallons of moving water over the centuries. And see this wading stick?

"You are wearing sneakers. They will not work. You will fall down.

"This is not a casual hike. I have been fishing here for 20 years, and I take extraordinary precautions, and even I take a spill once in a while. But I am prepared for it. You are not."

Sometimes they are polite. Sometimes they tell me to go boil my head. And once in a great while they take my advice and go for a ramble on the far more congenial forest trail on the Falls Village side.

Every year somebody gets seriously jammed up. This year is going to be worse.
 

skunkedalot

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Sage advice- wading the Hous and playing around near and in it with out proper footware etc is a foolish thing to do. you dispensed great advice.
hopefully even the rude folks will remember what you said. they will after they have crushed their knee on said pointed rock(s).
 

lookard

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I've never actually fished the upper portion of the Housatonic river. I usually only go as far up as Adams brook. Its definitely a place where I use my wading boots with studs and wading staff. The rocks are no joke.

I should look further upstream for colder water in the summer months.
 

skunkedalot

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the hous is predominately a smallie river in summer. the tribs that enter the river are off limits for the summer as those areas are the only place where trout might get cold enough water to survive. that said, the river is a great smallie resource. fish range from micro to 18 inches or so. you will find very good smallie action if you are willing to take a walk and get away from the roads.
 
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