Noah’s Ark — er — Housy Report

Drat this cursed rain! Last year the river was pathetically low. This year it’s disgustingly high. The upper Housatonic has been mostly unfishable this month, and as a result we’ve missed out on what’s normally a very productive period. I’ve been feeling bitter about the whole thing, so I decided to take a drive out to the river and see what the conditions were first-hand, and maybe even wet a line. You know — you don’t know if you don’t go.

After peaking around 7K cfs, the river dropped about a thousand cfs a day in the trout TMA until it stalled at 2.1K. It’s holding there now (with more rain on the way, of course). At 2K+, the river is either raging whitewater or a vast, featureless glide. This mark is normally a series of riffles and pockets that dumps into a deeper run flanked by frog water on one side and a rocky flat on the other. Now it’s this garbage.
Speaking of garbage, the shores are littered with debris. Most of it is natural, like this driftwood, but there are also tennis balls, plastic bottles, and other man-made crap. This photo was taken ten feet away from the present water line.
My heart sank at my first sight of the river. I don’t know why, but I expected that perhaps the water would have cleared up a bit. Wrong. Depending on your location, its color ranges from tea-stain to chocolate milk. Visibility ranges from one to two feet. The culprit is silt, which is everywhere, particularly along the riverbanks. Your first couple steps off the bank will be a sinking experience. Never wade into low/no visibility water unless you know the bottom structure intimately, and then, never stray into the current. Studded boots and a wading staff are a must. Be smart and stay safe.
Here’s the thing: fish don’t know that the river is flooded. They’ve still got to eat. While you can’t wade to places you’d normally fish in high water, the beauty is that the bass aren’t out in the raging torrents — they’re in the calmer water close to shore, particularly as the daylight transitions to dusk. I fished two evenings this week. One was not good — only one 8″ smallie to hand. The other was a little better, including this slob that could be measured in pounds. What a battle in a 2K flow!

3 comments on “Noah’s Ark — er — Housy Report

  1. John M Pavao says:

    nice smallie. You are a better man than I, I wont wade at 2000 cfs or 1000 or 500 for that matter.
    We are possibly getting screwed out of the white fly hatch. Unless it is really late this year which means next week. With another dumping of rain today and tonight, it is not looking good. The key is the head waters in the Berkshires. If they get heavy rain, it is all but over. But kudos for you for giving it a shot. thanks for report.

    • Steve Culton says:

      I saw one white fly each day. Hopefully nature finds a way, but I’m dubious that even if the hatch does go great guns that you’d see any amount of strong surface action at this water level. Nymphing the white fly hatch may be the way to go. Ugh to the rain. I won’t be going back until it drops a bit.

      • John M Pavao says:

        It is pouring at my house right now…………………..
        Yeah, as my friend Patrick said, it is looking pretty grim. Lets hope for a miracle or a very late hatch. thanks again for the report.

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