Mill River Trip

This past Saturday, I met up with about 20-30 local anglers to take a whack at the Mill River in Connecticut. The outing was coordinated and arranged by the Mianus TU, which had us meet up at the commuter lot off of exit 41 of the Merritt Parkway and car pool to the river (a great forethought as, even though there is ample parking at the river, there wouldn’t have been enough if we had all brought our own ride). Once there, the majority of us fished a small section of the river, south of the Merritt Parkway, which had just recently been stocked. A few others headed out in separate directions, with some heading a little closer to the highway for some wild brown action. The river is very accessible, with parking close to the river and a great trail system along the way. There were also one or two good pools to work, also easily accessible. The only drawback is the fact that you run into a few unleashed dogs throughout the day, who can easily spook the fish, but it was definitely not as bad as the Mianus in that respect. Unfortunately, I don’t think many (if not, any), of us were able to catch any, although, I heard some folks who headed closer to the highway were able to catch a few small native browns. Other than a small stonefly here or there, I think it was a little too overcast and never really warmed up enough for any major hatch activity. But whatever. I still had a great time. I had never fished the Mill River before, so this was a great opportunity to expand my local repertoire (the river is less than 40 mins from my house in NY). Also, when driving back to the commuter lot at the end of the day, we passed over the Saugatuck, another river I want to try out soon. I never realized CT had such great rivers close to home and I’m stoked to try some more!

Unfortunately, I was so busy yapping and fishing that I didn’t think to take any pictures, so you’ll have to just trust me that the place was beautiful. For a great map and directions, click through to the Mianus TU website and check it out for yourself. Remember, only the trout management area is open at this time of year and it is catch and release only.


Work and Play

Last Saturday, my nephew and I volunteered to help plant trees along the banks of the Norwalk River in Connecticut. Jeff Yates of the Mianus TU chapter planned and organized the project for the chapter, which had a great turnout of both members and non-members (at least 20!).  The group planted about 50 large pine, sycamore, tulip and cottonwood saplings along  an area of the river that had been damaged by storms and runoff. The trees will help stabilize the banks and provide a canopy to protect its trout population. Reminder: the Norwalk River is NOT open for fishing yet. The chapter will also be coordinating a Norwalk River Cleanup on April 27th. You can find more details of the Mianus TU events on their website.

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(the last photo in this series was taken by Lawrence Frank Photography)

To feed my addiction, last night I met up with a boatload of fellow like-minded fish porn connoisseurs at the Black Door bar in midtown NYC for a little “pre-game” drinks and food before the 2013 Annual Drake Magazine Fly Fishing Film Tour. Thanks to the Junior Committee of the American Museum of Fly Fishing for sponsoring the drinks and food and thanks to the Urban Angler who hosted the films. The films were fantastic. I especially enjoyed watching Brent Taylor’s film “Reel: A Day on the River” for the second time and got a kick out of the tour’s “MC”, Hank Patterson, the “self proclaimed fly fishing genius”, from Trout Jousters (you can check out some of their videos on their website). I had a blast. You should definitely plan to make it to the festival next year.

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First Fish of the Year

I don’t really have the means to fly to the Keys or another tropical paradise for winter fly fishing, so I try to take advantage of the local streams as much as possible. I had made it out on the East Branch Croton River a few times in December and January (one of the few NY rivers that remain open to fishing all year long), but was not able to hook up. Then, a few days ago, I read that stocking has already begun in some of the Connecticut rivers, where the trout management areas are currently open. So, after kegs and eggs with the family and heading out to the White Plains St. Patrick’s Day parade, I dropped the kids off at home and took a trip out to the Mianus River on the border of Stamford and Greenwich yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful day out and I was able to hook up with my first trout of the year, an adolescent brown and a rainbow/brown hybrid, which were most likely recently stocked. I nymphed with a two-fly rig and an indicator, with a small zebra midge at the end. Today looks even nicer out and I’m tempted to go again.

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I am already much more organized this year. Check out the new food-grade bin that I have preloaded with my gear, ready to carry from the basement straight to my trunk. I purchased two of them online, one is preloaded with freshwater gear and I plan to use the other one for salt water (a little trick I picked up from Tom Connor’s two-bag travel system for saving time and avoiding forgotten gear). The bin also keeps wet and dirty gear from making a mess in the car.

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Events, Events, Events!

Going to events like these have opened my eyes to a world of opportunities in the area. For example, after last month’s presentation by Jeff Yates at the NYC TU meeting, I decided to go ahead and book a few days with Jeff over the summer to learn the ins-and-outs of fishing the CT shoreline. I can’t wait to expand my skills and get out there and fish the salt! Following are a literal plethora of opportunities in the area to use in expanding your horizons. Bonefish, salmon, banquets, movies, beer – what else could you ask for!? I hope to see you out and about.

Croton Watershed:

3/9 – Croton Watershed TU Annual Dinner at the Pleasantville Country Club. Click here for more information.

April Meeting – Restigouche Lodge manager Bill Hartnett discusses the Restigouche watershed, prime season, and Atlantic Salmon tactics and gear.

May Meeting – Rich Strolis presents streamer tactics for trophy trout.

And there is always something going on over at The Bedford Sportsman.


3/9 – The West Branch Angler presentation about the Upper Delaware and flies that catch big trout (John Miller). Also, fly tier and jazz pianist Jonny Kink will be in the shop tying up some of his renowned flies. At Orvis NYC.

3/12 – NYC TU meeting at 7 pm. Flies and Pies (bring your vise, tie some flies and eat some pizza). At Orvis NYC.

3/16 – Phil Shook will be presenting on Fishing for Bones, Tarpon and Permit in Mexico, followed by a bonefish tying session. At Orvis NYC.

3/20 – 2013 Annual Drake Magazine Fly Fishing Film Tour. Hosted by Urban Angler but screened at the Helen Mills Theater – 139 West 26th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenue). Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. The films start at 7 pm, but from 5:30-6:45 pm The Junior Committee of the American Museum of Fly Fishing is hosting a happy hour  at the Black Door.

3/29 – The Restigouche Lodge will be presenting a seminar on fishing for and catching Atlantic Salmon. At Orvis NYC.


Mianus TU reported that stocking has begun, with 1,150 trout released into the Mianus River trout management area and 650 trout into the Mill River trout management area, with expectations to stock the Saugatuck River trout management area with 850 fish in the coming days. Remember, all rivers in CT are closed to fishing from 3/1-4/20 except for catch and release in the trout management areas.

3/12 – March Meeting – renowned bamboo rod maker and author Hoagy Carmichael will share his stories of the Five Big Fish of the Cascapedia River.

3/16 – River Restoration – help restore the Norwalk River and install native plants that will prevent stream bank erosion, shade and cool the river and provide habitat and protection for trout.

4/13 – Mianus TU Annual Banquet at the Stamford Yacht Club. Click here for more information.