Housatonic Fly Fishing

Last weekend, May 27th-30th, I hopped a train out from Boston (my Jeep being in need of repair) to meet up with family and begin our annual Memorial Day weekend camping trip.  We almost always go fishing, although I’ve only been fly fishing a handful of times.  We were headed the the Housatonic river in Cornwall Connecticut, the premier “classic” east coast trout fly fishing river.  Last year we headed down to nearly the same area, for an entirely different adventure–backpacking a small section of the AT from Jug End in Mass to RT. 41.  This year we opted for some more relaxing car camping.

A little background on fly fishing

I’m still a beginner when it comes to fly fishing, but I felt like this trip I was finally starting to get the hang of things.  There’s a lot of know how to fly fishing, from which fly to use in what river at what time of year, to being able to actually cast said fly where you think a fish is.  Not to mention untangling your line after a (inevitable) bad cast, or re-tying your line completely waist-deep in the middle of a river.

While that may seem complicated and frustrating, I actually find fly fishing to be very relaxing, and rhythmic.  There are two main types of fly fishing, nymphing with a fly below the water, or casting a dry fly on top of the river.  We nymphed almost exclusively, since no trout were rising to eat the flys–even at dusk.

Bash Bish Falls

We fished a good amount on Saturday, but I didn’t get my camera out until Sunday when I convinced my family we should go for a hike.  While their idea of a hike was a little different than mine, we still had a good time. We drove north to Mass, through New York, to get to Bash Bish Falls.

Bash Bish Falls

From the overlook at Bash Bish Falls

I snapped a few quick photos of my family and the falls, we hung out for awhile, and then headed back to camp for more fishing.

My parents enjoying the view

My parents enjoying the view

My sister with her SLR

My sister with her SLR

Fly Fishing Take Two

After heading out and gearing up at my Dad’s favorite spot on the river, I decided to stow my camera in my chest pouch and risk losing it in the event I fell into the water.  Luckily I didn’t, and we fished the evening away right up until we had to get our headlamps out to find our way back to shore.

You’ll notice there aren’t any photos of actual trout caught during our time on the river.  You’ll have to believe me when I say both my sister and I each caught a decent size trout on Saturday, and a few smaller fish on Sunday.  Since this section of the Housatonic is catch and release only, it was hard for me to get my camera out in time for any of my sister’s fish, and impossible when I had my own fish on the line in one hand, while unhooking it with the other.

Our only disappointment was that although there was a nice evening hatch (flys surfacing on the river), no trout were rising to eat them.  We attributed it to the river still being high from the long winters runoff.

Early Evening on the Housy

Early Evening on the Housy

New Gear

My Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2

My Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 all set up.

Part of this trip that I was excited about was trying out my new purchases–a ultralight 2-man backpacking tent weighing in a 3 lbs 6 oz, and a new 45 degree down sleeping bag, weighing in at 1 lb 3 oz.  It was great to get used to these on a comparatively luxurious car camping trip, rather than on the trail.

The interior of my abode

The interior of my abode, complete with pillow.

I was extremely happy with both.  We got caught in a strong thunderstorm Monday morning at 6 am, and since we were camping on trampled dirt, my tent ended up in a sizable puddle–and stayed completely dry inside for the duration of the 4 hour storm!  I also think the tent is roomy enough to actually use with two people, although in continuous wet weather I might feel a little cramped.  What I was not happy with, was discovering that my sleeping pad had sprung a number of miniscule leaks, leaving it deflated every morning.  I attempted to patch it without success.  I’ll try again when I’m at home.


Though the storm soaked a lot of our gear, it didn’t stop the book sale my Mom wanted to visit.  I was disinterested at first, but scored 3 great outdoors books for only a few dollars.  I got National Geographic’s  guides to both the National and State parks, as well as a book on rock climbing techniques.  Along with a book I grabbed off the family bookshelf–Ray Jarine’s Beyond Backpacking, I should have my reading cut out for me, to get even more psyched about trips this summer and fall.  I’ve been engrossed in Jardine’s book, his approach to backpacking and thru-hiking, and I’d like to note he invented the Spring Loaded Camming Device, which was revolutionary.

Extra Photos

Since I risked bringing my camera out with me, I’ll include a few photos I took to give you an idea of the Housatonic.

Waiters, the most stylish outdoors attire.

Waders, the most stylish outdoors attire.

Upriver from where I was fishing

Upriver from where I was fishing

My Dad and Beth downriver from me

My Dad and Beth downriver from me. Excuse the blurryness.

3 thoughts on “Housatonic Fly Fishing

  1. Laurie

    I am pleased to read that our weekend was a success despite the rain and view the beautiful river photos since I usually don’t get to see the views except from the shore sketching. Maybe I should finally learn to fly fish and we can all enjoy a trip out west to Yellowstone. Glad you liked the Kent Book Sale. It is the best annual used book sale ever!

  2. Mike

    Nice write up! BTW, Waiters serve you trout on a plate, Waders help enable you to catch your own trout!


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