Fly fishing the Housatonic in CT

Fly fishing the Housatonic in CT

I think this is a Ganoderma tsugae. Mushroom experts, please feel free to correct me!

On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending a wedding in Litchfield, CT for two friends of mine.  My girlfriend was part of the wedding party, so I had free time on Saturday morning to explore the area while she was preparing.  I’ve always loved this part of Connecticut, and it is exceptionally beautiful in the summer months.  There are plenty of green meadows, aging barns, and meandering small streams dotting the landscape.

I spoke with some locals (always a must!) at a pre-wedding party, and they suggested I check out the Housatonic if I had time.  I was glad they did.  I’ve never fished it, but have read before that the Housy is like a western stream in the east.  While I’ve not spent much time in the west, I can see what they mean from the pictures I’ve seen of western streams.  It’s a much wider river than I’m used to, and the water levels seemed a little higher than normal.

The first spot that I settled into was wrapping up a Trout Unlimited picnic, so I was wondering how hammered the spot would be.  I headed down to the water, and quickly caught a little small mouth on a size 20 nymph.  I tried a few different areas, including riffles and a pool, and didn’t have much luck.  I did manage a larger smallie using the streamer from my previous post.

After about an hour or so, I decided to head up to the Housatonic Meadows State Park, which is a mostly C & R area.  I found a random spot to pull off the road, and walked through the woods to the river’s edge.  I was happy to see that I was on the shady side of the river.  I noticed a couple other fly fishers on the opposite side of the stream, that was taking a beating from the sun.  I started tight lining a shady little pool and quickly caught a brown, which I was excited to see.  After catching a few smallmouth, I was starting to get worried I wouldn’t find a trout on this trip.  It took a size 22 nymph that I tie with a purple head.  I don’t know what it is about that fly, but it often works when nothing else will.

First trip to the Housatonic. Happy to have caught this brown.

Shortly after I caught the brown, the other two fly fishers took a treacherous wade over to my side of the river.  I was a little concerned they wouldn’t make it, but they kept their balance and didn’t find any holes.  I think they realized that the shady side was the place to be, and I hope they had some luck too.

I found a lot of dead crawfish. I imagine a heron or other bird must have been having a field day.


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