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From Ron Merly’s Desk, September

Ron Merly shows the size of the fish that can be caught on the annual Nutmeg TU camping trip along the Housatonic.

The saltwater action was spotty this season but when it was good, it was really good. Some very large stripers were caught in our area earlier in the season including a 65 pounder caught off of Bridgeport. Sea bass continue to be caught but mostly at night. Overall, right now the fishing in southwestern Long Island Sound is slow.

On the freshwater end of the spectrum, we are in a drought. The Housatonic River is lower than it has been in a few years which will affect the survival rates of the trout. The rest of the streams in the state remain low as we presently have a deficit of more than 1 1/2 inches of rain. We are so very fortunate to have the Farmington River in our backyard. The river has been running well and fishing well. Hatches are early in the morning through mid-day and the action has been dropping off in the evenings for the past month. The fish were keyed in on Needhami flies for the past few weeks but seem to prefer the tricos now. Terrestrials are also working well as I landed a 24.5″ brown trout on an ant. I also caught a beautiful wild brookie on an Adams at the head of Ovation Pool so sometimes it pays to think outside of the box a little bit and move away from what the fish are constantly seeing. Good luck and tight lines.

Ron Merly

Chapter meeting, Tues, May 19, 2015, 7 PM, at Port 5, Bridgeport

Bill Closs will discuss his recent trip to Patagonia, Argentina, for our May meeting.

Bill Closs is a lifelong fly fisherman, with many fly fishing adventures and trips to all of the New England States, as well as, New York, Penn., Montana, Georgia, Florida, Alaska, Michigan, Quebec, Canada, Kamchatka, Russia, and Patagonia, Argentina, and Belize.  Trips to the Amazon and Mongolia are scheduled for 2016. Many of these trips have been made by private plane that he flies for business and pleasure.  Yes, he has even joined our Nutmeg TU group on our past outings to the Catskills.

He owns property 10 minutes from the Farmington River near Riverton, CT, and in Rangeley, Maine where he fly fishes extensively in both places.

The presentation on Patagonia is approx. 50 pictures of rafting, camping, and fishing the Alumine and Le Mas Rivers in Patagonia, Argentina.  The base camp lodge for the fishing group is also a working cattle ranch.

Bill Closs is a fellow angler and his presentation will consist of a brief review of pictures and commentary, and then he will be open to questions and discussion.

Bring your questions!  If you have ever wanted to fish outside of the US, this is an excellent opportunity to find out how you might accomplish this type of travel!

Closs 25 lb Salmon 2011


Environmental issues put rivers at risk

Ron Merly, holding a nice Atlantic salmon from the Naugatuck River, says, “Do not let the state take this fishery from us!”

Ron Merly, holding a nice Atlantic salmon from the Naugatuck River, says, “Do not let the state take this fishery from us!”

The trout season has officially ended except for the designated TMAs. Opening day has been switched to the 2nd Saturday in April this year so mark your calendars. A few of the open areas on the Farmington have been producing some beautiful browns for those fishing nymphs in these very cold temperatures however most of the state’s streams remain icy or slushy.

The Kensington Hatchery is up on the block for the third time so write letters immediately. The comment period is nearly over. The Kensington Hatchery produces all of the eggs used in SIC and TIC and is the only hatchery in the state capable of raising Seeforellen brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The loss would be a travesty for Connecticut’s fisheries and would also set precedent for more cuts to the state fisheries rather than increasing monies allocated to DEEP.

While you are writing, you might consider writing the Connecticut Siting Council in opposition of an enormous power plant that is proposed very close to the Oxford Airport. This plant will save the average Connecticut customer within a 10 mile radius of the plant approximately $35 annually as most of the power will be sold to residents in R.I. and Mass. The cost of this plant will be six trout streams, the lower estuary of the Housatonic and Long Island Sound.

The proposed Towantic Power Plant will draw more than a million gallons of water annually from the Pomperaug River which is formed by the Nonewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers as well as Sprain Brook. Currently, these streams run very low during summer months. The plant will be built right near the headwaters of the Little River which is right on the fringes of over development as it sits. All four of those streams contain wild and holdover trout. The grey water or outflow from the plant is proposed to release all of this very warm and not very clean water into the Naugatuck River upstream of where a 6.5 million dollar fish bypass was recently completed. The Naugatuck flows into the lower estuary of the Housatonic a relatively short distance downstream. The estuary contains the largest wintering over populations of striped bass in the northeast. This would be a huge step backward for Connecticut as the Naugatuck and Housatonic have come such a long way ecologically.

Remember, there has been nothing invented by humans since the dawn of time that does not break or fail. what will happen when this plant breaks or fails. Would the damage take decades to repair itself or will the damage be permanent?? Either way, this is not good for Connecticut.

– Ron Merly

Good fishing rings in 2015

Nutmeg TU member Jim Lynch recently caught his first Atlantic salmon.

There are still a good amount of peanut bunker out in the harbors and anglers are catching the occasional striper and yet, the better action has been in the lower estuary of the Housatonic. Atlantic herring have arrived in good numbers and those can be caught using a sabiki rig on an ultra-light spin fishing set-up. Herring are an excellent food source as well as being great striper bait.

The upper Housatonic has been blown out due to all of the rain in recent weeks and is now coming back down to a fishable level. The Farmington continues to give up a steady number of larger rainbows and browns which have been bulking up for the winter months. The Atlantic salmon fishing in the Naugy continues to thrill anglers and I recently fished there with fellow Nutmeggers John Kovach and Jim Lynch, who caught his first Atlantic Salmon.

John Kovach and I also joined Mianus T.U. at their annual New Year’s outing on the Norwalk River for some fly fishing. Despite the cold temps, more than 30 anglers showed up and many browns and bows were caught in a few different sections of the Norwalk. A few holdovers and some beautiful wild browns. I started the New Year off with a 6 inch wild Norwalk River brown and that was a great start to the year!!

Tight lines!

Ron Merly