Housatonic Streamer Report: Party Like It’s 1986

I can still remember that October day almost thirty years ago. I had just been let go from my first job, and since I was still living at home (opportunity), I decided to fish my brains out before my parents starting bugging me (motive) about acting like a responsible young adult. One of my adventures took me to the Hous. It was sunny. The flows were perfect. And I had two containers of mealworms and a can of corn to impale on my Eagle Claw snelled hooks. This was at a point in my fishing life where counting fish was critical to defining success. (Idiot.) The final tally was seventeen trout. I couldn’t wait to get home and brag to my father.

These days, the upper Housatonic doesn’t get nearly as much attention from me as it should. Even today, I only managed two-and-a-half hours. But, oh my goodness, what an amazing little session.

The plan was streamers. Last night I tied up a couple old favorites, soft-hackled versions of the classic Black Ghost and Mickey Finn on #6, 3x long streamer hooks. Since I would be fishing with a floating line, I added a large black brass cone head, seated with weighted wire. Ten minutes in, I still hadn’t had a bump. What was a spotty sprinkle hard turned into a steady rain. I was thinking this might not be my day.

Wrong. Once I moved out of the shallows (I still don’t know the river as well as I’d like) and started delivering the Black Ghost into some deeper runs, the hits began in earnest. They took the streamer on the swing. The dangle. And the strip. Sometimes they’d swipe, miss, and come back for more.

After a half-dozen or so, I switched over to the Mickey Finn. Boom! What a pig of a rainbow. Most of the customers were cookie cutter foot-long rainbows, but this wannabe steelhead went on the reel almost immediately. A few of the rainbows today had those telltale wide pink bands, large intact fins, and the disposition of a feral cat. I really wanted that gator brown, but these fish were keeping me well-entertained. I looked at my watch. Two hours in. I had no idea how many fish I had done battle with.

On the way out, I stopped at one of the name pools to watch another angler cast to rising fish. I only stayed for five minutes. Dozens of trout were feeding in a gentle foam line, sipping tiny BWOs.

When I got into my Jeep, the gas gauge said almost empty.

Bullshit. My tank was full.

Long before I started fly fishing, I knew the Mickey Finn was an effective streamer for fall trout on the Hous. While I’ve made a few changes in materials for my soft-hackled version, the color scheme is the same. Yup. Red and yellow and silver and black are tasty.

10:14 Housy Raindow

6 comments on “Housatonic Streamer Report: Party Like It’s 1986

  1. Sumner Jaretzki says:

    Lovely stuff indeed. Since I’m too busy to get out there, I take some real pleasure in the fishing you’re doing. You’re probably fishing for lots of folks!

  2. Steve Culton says:

    Just trying to do my part….

  3. tidewaterfly says:

    Steve, I always enjoy your reports & stories! I too often fish vicariously via your posts! Since you’re a streamer buff, try a Clouser style tied full with black ostrich herl & a few strands of copper or bronze Flashabou. It’s an excellent leech imitation. One of my favorite stream Smallmouth patterns, and trout like it as well!

    You might want to invest in a locking gas cap too! The thieving bastages!!!!

    • Steve Culton says:

      I fear I have done a poor job of storytelling — in the last sentence, I was referring not to my Jeep’s gas tank (which was indeed near empty before I hit the water) but rather to my emotional tank, which was full of positive energy.

  4. tidewaterfly says:

    Ah, my mistake! I guess I’ve read too many accounts of such thievery lately from fellow anglers, so I assumed……!

    Of course we both know the consequences of that!

    Thanks for the clarity!

    Your story telling is fine. My comprehension needs work however!

  5. ray hamilton says:

    Yes, your stories are fine. The streamer looks good enough to eat and so the bows did justs that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s