Home forums Organizations Events Photos About Conservation Search Contact

FLY FISHING THE HOUSATONIC RIVER IN CONNECTICUT

Arrow Fly Shops Arrow Water Flows Arrow Fishing Reports Arrow Driving Directions
Arrow Lodging Arrow Guides Arrow Places to Eat Arrow Real Estate/Properties
The Housatonic River is in Northwestern Connecticut and flows out of the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. This river is a tremendous trout fishery, and is considered by many as one of the best in the eastern half of the United States. A 10.4-mile stretch of Trout Management, together with a stretch of Fly Fishing Only water, offer a large number of holdover fish in the 14- to 18-inch range. And many 18-plus-inch class fish are caught here each year!

The northern reaches of the Housatonic in Massachusetts are comprised of the East and Southwest branches. The Southwest Branch begins at Richmond Pond near the town of Pittsfield. This section of river runs through urban surroundings, but has some beautiful, slow-moving water. Consistent hatches of Mayflies and Caddis, accompanied by good stocking, make this section very good for early-season fishing. Access to this section of the river is limited to bridges and areas close to US Route 20. Lebanon Avenue and Chapel Street provide some access, since they parallel the river for a few of the upper miles.

The East Branch of the Housatonic begins near the town of Hinsdale as a small, swampy stream. This section is difficult to fish because of its size and brushy banks. The boggy bottom and abundance of overhanging vegetation will test the casting and wading skills of any fisherman. This challenging angling keeps pressure to a minimum, enabling many trout to hold over.

Fly Fishing Map Icon

CLICK FOR MAP

Hinsdale Flats Wildlife Management Area (WMA) provides fishermen with great access to the river. Below the WMA, MA 8 parallels the river again, giving fishermen access. Thanks to the easy access and variety of water, this section attracts many anglers.

At West Cornwall, the Trout Management Area (TMA) begins near Route 112 and Route 7, and runs downstream to Route 7 and Route 4.

Hatch Chart
This is the most popular 10.4-mile stretch of river, and usually is the section people reference when they speak of the "Housy." The beginning of the TMA, well above the covered bridge in West Cornwall, is made up of long, deep, slow pools followed by short riffles and runs. Here, the bottom of the river consists of mostly silt. Keeping that in mind, the Green Drake hatch (silt dwelling bug) is one you should look for from mid- to late-May. Approximately a mile above the covered bridge, the river begins to run fast and swift. The best way to access the TMA, above the covered bridge, is from the eastern side of the river. There are several dirt roads that will help you get to the river. Below the covered bridge in West Cornwall, the river picks up speed, and has large pools, beautiful pocket water, and runs. This is a big river that is very capable of holding many trout, and also can be dangerous to wade, at times. Fishing the pockets with nymphs can be extremely productive, especially in times of high water. Large trout up to 18-plus inches are frequently caught in this fashion. Throughout the TMA, there are several named pools -- actually too many to list. You can pick up a good map at one of the fly shops in the area; it will assist you in your venture. Some of the noteworthy pools are The Elms, Garbage Hole, Carse, Monument, One Car, Two Car, and Church pools. All of these pools, plus many others that we haven't listed here, are very dynamic and enticing. The Trout Management Area ends at the Route 4 Bridge.

Below Route 4, the fishing becomes less accessible and less productive due to the shallower pools and a lack of cool water. At times, the river can run very high because of a nearby hydroelectric dam. Water temperatures also vary greatly, and you should monitor them before you head out to this part of the Housatonic. During periods of high release water, it's a good idea to fish the pockets and eddies with nymphs. Usually the water is shut down in the afternoon, so levels subside for the evening hatch. If the water is high when you arrive, don't be intimidated; just be patient and fish the banks as noted earlier. You may find that it's very worthwhile.

Hatches on the Housatonic are very diverse. A large number of Mayflies, Stoneflies, and Caddis are available in these waters. Check the Hatch Chart, and call a fly shop located along the river for more specific information.

For some good fishing, try the Housatonic in Western Connecticut.