WM ABRAMS RODMAKER
THE HOUSATONIC RIVER
The Housatonic River flows through western Massachusetts and down into Connecticut where it spills through some of the Berkshire foothills at an average rate of about 900-1000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in season - runoff may reach an unwadeable 5000+ and mid-summer flows reduce to as low as 150 or less. Although Connecticut is considered by many to be heavily populated, this Nortwest corner of the state is still full of open tracts of land and the Housatonic corridor is very picturesque. Most of the best part of the river is easily accessible - sometimes a bit crowded but timing makes a big difference and many days you can have some of the finest pools to yourself. And whatever private land there is often has a railroad easement that allows anyone willing to walk plenty of fishy isolation as well.
The insect life here is extremely diverse - a Fly Fisherman's dream - as the river flows through a tremendous limestone bed (Lime Rock, CT - as in the race track) just before it reaches the Housy TMA (Trout Management Area). We begin with Blue Quills followed by our famous Hendrickson hatch in April/May, then have substantial and overlapping March Browns, Grey Foxes, BWOs, Sulphers, Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, Cahills, Yellow Drakes, Tricos, then in August the Housatonic White Fly that Ray Bergman wrote about (luekon) becomes it's classic blizzard at dusk. The season ends with a mix of very small Diptera, Sulphers, BWOs, big Isonychias and flying ants, tapering off to tiny Black Stoneflies throughout the winter. During season thrown in among the mayflies are Tan & Brown Caddis, Yellow and Brown Stoneflies, big Dobsonflies (Hellgrammites), Alders, Green Caddis, Crane Flies and heavy Black Caddis hatches. Fish range from 10 to almost 30 inches, a holdover 15" fish being about average an 18" being nice and most pools hold at least one 20" plus fish but they are very picky at that size. All that said, there are times when the fish aren't rising; nymphing pocket water is effective and the big fish chase streamers - sometimes coming clear of the surface on the strike. Camping as well as classic New England accommodations are right close all along the river but reservations are suggested as Lime Rock racing events, and local prep school's parents weekends tend to fill up Inns and B&Bs fast.
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