Conservation Reports

June 2018

Conservation Report
Sam D’Ambruoso, Conservation Chair
We need help for 2018/2019.  This a call for volunteers. With your help and participation, we have a number of projects that we would like to do for 2018/2019:
1. Tree planting on the banks of the TMA.  This one is right in the by-laws about protecting erosion control.  We did a lot to stop this by planting a number of evergreens and other trees along the banks where we spotted erosion in the mid late 1970s.  We need to do this again.
2. Stocking of fingerlings in feeder streams of the TMA.
3. Annual clean-up of the TMA.
4. The Mill River Refuge Project.  All ready well-underway and being handled by DEEP and Trout Unlimited.
Come and join us!  All we are asking is a few hours of your time to give back to the Housatonic TMA which has given so much to you over your lifetime. Call Sam at 203-417-7120.
We are researching leads on grants for the project and will pitch the idea to some potential donors. We have close to $10,000  reserved for this project in the Housatonic River Fund held by Trout Unlimited.  The over-all project will cost $45,000 to $55,000 all from grant funds.

 May 2018

Conservation Report
Sam D’Ambruoso, Conservation Chair
A Call For Volunteers!  We have a number of projects planned  for 2018/2019:
1. Tree planting on the banks of the TMA.  This one is right in the by-laws about protecting erosion control.  We did a lot to stop this by planting a number of evergreens and other trees along the banks where we spotted erosion in the mid late 1970s.  We need to do this again.
2. Stocking of fingerlings in feeder streams of the TMA.  I will be talking to DEEP about this.
3. Annual clean-up of the TMA.
4. Other conservation projects that you think are warranted.
5. The Mill River Refuge Project.  All ready well-underway and being handled by DEEP and Trout Unlimited.
Come and join us!  All we are asking is a few hours of your time to give back to the Housatonic TMA which has given so much to you over your lifetime. Call Sam at 203-417-7120.



Conservation Report Fall 2014 – Dan Kenny

We have three items to mention this month.

Housatonic Trout Conservation Fund (HTCF) The HFFA Executive Board has formed a subcommittee to review and formulate a HTCF spending plan. We will present it to the other HTCF member organizations. There is approximately $21,000 remaining from the 2004 hydro relicensing Coalition fund. We are asking for club members to volunteer to serve on this subcommittee. To volunteer there will be sign up sheets made available at club meetings or you may contact me at

Please help us out.

The HFFA River Clean Up is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015.  To volunteer there will be sign up sheets made available at club meetings or you may contact me.  Please help us out.

The Furnace Brook Fish Ladder is presently under construction and we hope it will be completed in October.  Mike Jamstremski, of HVA, is coordinating a volunteer effort for those interested in observing and documenting fish passage through the new ladder. To volunteer contact Mike at

Please volunteer.

Furnace Brook Project

An article about the Furnace Brook Fishway project can be found at the attached link, although HFFA wasn’t mentioned in the article, the HVA credit the HFFA in a Facebook post sharing the article.



Conservation Report June 2014 – Dan Kenny

Our May 17 Housatonic River Clean up, picnic, and the fly fishing “How To” seminar was a big success. From 9-12 we cleaned eight sections of the TMA north of the Route 4 bridge up to the Push Em Up Hole. We designed a system of eight designated work sections and assigned a work team to each. We cataloged those sections for future use for the 2015 clean up. The work teams picked up trash and posted TMA regulation signs where needed. A total of 24 members and friends from HFFA and the Long Island Fly Rodders (LIFR)participated. Thanks also to Housatonic River Outfitters for recycling our collected trash.

 At noon, Paul McCain, of LIFR, provided a great barbeque lunch for the volunteers. Club members, such as Craig MacBride, also contributed other culinary delights.  After lunch members enjoyed and participated in a “How To” fly fishing seminar that involved casting instruction from a certified instructor and then in a picnic table session on terminal tackle techniques and knot tying.

Special thanks to HFFA members and guests who volunteered. They were Mike Shannon, Dave Harduby, Tom Maguire, Craig MacBride (with friends), Walt Sliva, Matt Popielarski, George Berendt, Wayne Gustafson, and Bruce Pomeroy.

Up Next

Thermal refuge tentative (weather permitting) work dates are on Saturdays – June 7, 14, and 21 @ 9:00 meeting @ the Furnace Brook Thermal Refuge. More specific confirmation info will be sent, via emails to HFFA members, other club(s) past volunteers, as we get closer to those dates.  If you want to be on added to the volunteer list please email me at .

Tight lines! Strong tippets! Secure knots!


Conservation Report October 2013 – Dan Kenny

I hope you are getting in some great 2013 Fall angling. Lots of large holdover trout are being caught up on the Housatonic recently. Some were brown trout with no CTDEEP tracking markers such as adipose se fin clippings or implanted die marks. This indicates these large brown trout were either wild or stocked as fingerlings in the tributaries years ago.

This large trout holdover rate is a result of a combination of factors – good summer flows, moderate air and water temps and our thermal refuge work completed in recent years.

Special thanks are extended to our members who volunteered and assisted us in 2013. Your efforts make a big difference and make the Housatonic River a better angling experience.

We are again counting on your help in 2014.

We will need more volunteers at the May 17 river clean up to also assist with posting many TMA regulation signs. Poachers and regulation violators have torn down many signs.

Paul McClain, of the Long Island Fly Roders (LIFR), has again offered to solicit LIFR members to participate. Paul will again provide us with a free shore BBQ lunch directly after the clean up from 12:00 – 1:00.

2014 Conservation Projects and dates are:

River clean up and sign postings Saturday, May 17, 9:00 -12:00

Thermal refuge work  – Saturdays – June 7, 14, and 21, 9:00 – 12:00. These dates are subject to change due to river flow.

We will have sign up sheets at our membership meetings or you can reach me at  .


Conservation Report May 2013

Dan Kenny

Special thanks for Mike Humphreys, CTDEEP fishery biologist for his
thorough update on trout sampling data from 2012. As a follow up, I will post some of his data analysis on our website.

Hendricksons have started! On Saturday, April 13 I witnessed two Hendrickson duns float by me above Two Car Hole. They should be emerging in greater numbers this week.

As for angling, in the TMA, it has been very good for those dead drifting nymphs deep and especially #12 prince nymphs on droppers below larger golden stonefly nymphs. I have had two seven fish days, with two over 16”.

Saturday, May 4, is the HFFA annual river clean up. Please join us. Register by emailing me at There seems to be a lot more trash road side along the river access points this year. We need volunteers. We will meet
at 9:00 am at Monument Hole in the Park. We will supply heavy duty garbage bags. Please be prepared and bring work gloves, work boots (waders) and tick repellant. At noon a picnic is being planned for all those that volunteered. We
will also be replacing some CTDEEP fishing regulation signs.

Saturday, May 18, June 22, and July 8 are the tentative HFFA Thermal refuge work dates which are dependent on cooperative river flows. We will keep all posted via HFFA hotline notices as we get closer to those dates. In 2012, despite some very warm weather, there were very good holdover rates due to our refuge work. This was especially evident at the Furnace Brook refuge where CTDEEP fishery staff spent almost 4 hours collecting, measuring and releasing several hundred trout. They said it was the best sampling they ever experienced in this refuge.   Please sign up and help us save trout and preserve great angling.




Conservation Report    March 2013

Dan Kenny

Housatonic Coalition – Update

Last month we reported that we were close to a resolution as to how to re-organize the former Housatonic Coalition with the purpose of spending remaining funds on future trout conservation projects. Well, we have a plan. We approached the Ct Council of Trout Unlimited in January to see if they would entertain forming a committee since they were both one of the founding contributing members and were an existing 501C3 entity.

The CT Council of Trout Unlimited, by a unanimous vote, has agreed to form a committee to accomplish this goal. Since 2000 they have held the donated funds in an interest bearing savings account. Presently, there is approximately $20,000 remaining.

The language of the actual vote is as follows. “The council shall form a TU Committee tasked with spending the balance of the Housatonic Coalition Legal Fund to benefit the Housatonic River coldwater fisheries conservation, headed by a TU member, with not more than 6 and no less than 4 committee members. The committee should be as diverse as practical and represent the stakeholders of the original Housatonic Coalition Legal Fund. The committee shall be drawn from HFFA, HVA, CTDEEP, the scientific community, and the fishing business community.”

Jim Glowienka, Chairman, CT Council of Trout Unlimited has asked that I be the Committee chairman. I have accepted. Over the past couple of weeks I have drafted a charter for this Committee that elaborates on the kinds of projects on the Housy that we will contemplate, drafted the organization of the Committee, drafted the processes for reviewing and approving projects, how to request reimbursement, an initial list of desired committee members, and a voting authorization process. I am also working on drafting future fund raising/grant writing process.   I am hopeful that the proposed draft will be reviewed; modified if need be and accepted very soon. The new committee will known as the “Housatonic Trout Conservation Fund Committee” (HTCFC)._________________________________________________________________________ Housatonic Trout Fishery Update

Mike Humphreys, CTDEEP Fishery Biologist, will be our guest speaker at our April 4 club membership meeting. He will provide us with an update on the health and status of the trout fishery within the Housy TMA’s. We are pleased that Mike will also serve as the CTDEEP committee representative on our new HTCFC. Mike has years of experience working in this watershed and also with past and present fishery management plans. He and his staff work with club members on conservation projects such as thermal refuge enhancements. Please be sure to attend this meeting and bring any questions you might have.

Conservation February 2013

HFFA  Conservation Report  February 2013  Dan Kenny

We have a few items to report on this month.

2013 Conservation Work Schedule

All club in-river conservation work dates have been scheduled and will continue to be posted in our newsletter.

As always we need volunteers and appreciate your support. Please email me at to sign up for those events.  If for any reason any of the dates have to change due to weather conditions we will send each member an email notice with as much advance notice as possible. I spoke to Mike Humphrey, CTDEEP biologist, regarding our proposed thermal refuge work date schedule. He and I will watch weather forecasts and predicted river flows closely as we approach the proposed work dates should we have to email you with a re-schedule date.

Presentation CTDEEP – Housy Fishery Update

Mike Humphrey, CTDEEP, has agreed to be our guest speaker at our April membership meeting. He will update us on the 2012 Housatonic River sampling assessment data and other conservation/fishery issues.

Furnace Brook Fish Ladder Project Update

CTDEEP, USFW, HVA, HFFA and other interested parties have agreed on final work plans for the Furnace Brook Fish ladder remediation. This work is scheduled for this summer when flows are low. This schedule assumes all NRD approvals have been granted. HFFA requested that work occur in August after trout have left the refuge near the confluence with Housy.  CTDEEP will assist coordinate and monitor the work in a manner that posed least risk to trout taking refuge.

Volunteer/participate 2013 Housy Angler Catch Survey

We are looking for members to participate in an ongoing trout marking identification survey in conjunction with CTDEEP Inland Fishery annual visible implant elastomer tag/clip chart. We would like to make this chart and survey available on HFFA.NET. This helps gather additional important sampling data. CTDEEP stocks various sizes and species of brown and rainbow trout each Spring and Fall.

Housatonic Coalition Reorganization – Update

Sam D’ambrouso and I have worked for just over one year to develop a plan to establish a collaborative method to reorganize the former Housatonic Coalition and to invest the remaining funds in Housatonic trout conservation projects. Our accomplishments to date are as follows – secured approvals from all 1999-2000 donor organizations for reinvestment in trout conservation projects; conducted exploratory meetings; developed organizational models; consulted with CTDEEP; established a framework for by-laws; indentified two core objectives – thermal refuge enhancement and biannual aquatic insect samplings; investigated methods/costs to attain 501c tax exempt status; developed a new organization name the Housatonic Trout Conservation Fund; reviewed liability/insurance/cost issues necessary to incorporate which is a prerequisite to becoming a separate 501c; and explored a sponsorship relationship with HVA .

We are pleased to report that we may be close to final proposal.


Conservation Summer 2012

A lot has happened since our conservation committee last reported. Naturally, a lot of angling may be the big reason why we are a little late reporting. But here we go.

River Cleanup – We had a great club turn out at our annual Spring river clean up. The Long Island Fly Rodders Association provided a great shore lunch for us at the Monument Hole. We were surprised to follow another organizational clean earlier that week – so there was little trash to pick up but we also kept busy posting “fly fishing only” and “no fishing in the thermal refuge” signs.

Thermal Refuge work – We completed two day thermal refuge work days, one day in May and one in June. We covered the prime refuges at Furnace Brook and Mill Brook. We had a good turnout of club volunteers, had help from HVA, and great guidance from our friends from CTDEEP Inland Fishery – Mike Humphreys and Brian Eltz. Lots of rocks were rolled and timber placed strategically to provide good refuge and boy did the trout need it this summer as we had multiple 3-4 day heat waves with main stem river water temps reaching 80 degrees. Fortunately, the refuge flows from Furnace and Mill were much cooler. We saved many trout!

Tree planting at Mill Brook refuge – The club donated $300 towards tree re-plantings next to the Mill Brook refuge. Our cost provided a 20’ Sycamore tree planted closet to the mouth of Mill Brook.

August CTDEEP Sampling results – CTDEEP Fisheries staff conducted main stem and refuge samplings of bass and trout. I attended and observed along with members of the Academy of Natural Science at Drexel University. Very few trout were sampled in the main stem but over 480 trout were sampled in the Furnace Brook refuge (a CTDEEP record amount) and close to 100 at the Mill Brook refuge. Below are photos provided by the Paul Overbeck, of the Academy. All fish were measured, identified by die injected markings, revived and set free – there was at least a 95% survival rate.

Our refuge efforts really paid off despite the heat waves.


Conservation May 2012

The Housatonic Rive Clean Up – May 19

The Housatonic River clean up is Saturday, May 19. We arrive at 10:00am at the Housatonic Meadows State Park up-per picnic grounds near Monument Pool. Wear good traction shoes and gloves. Let’s make sure we all get out there and clean up the banks of the River. We will provide trash bags.

We will also assign a small crew to replace CTDEEP – TMA fly fishing only, catch and release, and thermal refuge signs.

We will provide refreshments afterwards. Many of us stay after to fish – please join us!

The Long Island FlyRodders has offered again to provide a shore lunch after the clean up at Monument Hole. Please RSVP tor lunch to by May 11.

Other important conservation dates

Thermal refuge work dates – May 26 and June 16

Based on angling results this Spring prior to the CTDEEP 2012 stocking, record numbers of 15-20” holdover trout are being caught and released. Our 2011 refuge work saved many trout and is providing great angling!

Housatonic Fishery Conservation Fund

The re-establishment of the Housatonic Coalition, made up of other donor conservation organizations, is underway. An organizational planning meeting is scheduled in late May – day TBD. We are working on plans to put the remaining $19,000 Coalition funds to good use on Housy trout habitat/conservation projects. The HVA continues to be of great assistance in identifying worthwhile projects ides and funds to pursue.

Conservation December 2011

On November 16, 2011, I was informed of the below conservation work just completed. See the below photos.  In September Hurricane Irene destroyed the Mill Brook bridge near it’s entrance to the Housy. HFFA and CTDEEP met a week later at the Wandering Moose Cafe (within walking distance to the site) to discuss and plan for river conservation projects.   CTDEEP Fisheries staff Pete Aarestad, Mike Humphreys, and Brian Eltz observed the damage and apparently an opportunity to have the bridge work done with trout in mind!  They coordinated bridge replacement work that included significant thermal refuge and fish passage work with CTDEEP AND CTDOT. Mill Brook is a significant wild brown trout tributary to the Housy.   Note the beautiful fish passage work and the channeling of cool water to delta refuge new. It is obvious that heavy equipment was utilized. This gives our refuge work volunteers a good base footprint to maintain in future years.

Wouldn’t it be great to see this type of work at the Furnace Brook refuge bridge. Sounds like something we will promote!

This work product is a model for the type of refuge work they we will continue to promote.

Pictures speak a thousand words.

Please see the river clean up and thermal refuge dates in this newsletter.

Volunteer sign up sheets will be available at the membership meetings or you can email us directly at

Dan Kenny – Conservation Committee


Conservation November 2011

Reviving the Housatonic Coalition – Fund Agreed Upon Conservation Projects

Sam D’Ambrouso and Dan Kenny met with some of the former Housatonic Coalition member organization contacts on October 9 for morning of angling and later a working lunch.

Angling was good with prince and isonychia nymphs bounced on the bottom in 1,300 cfs flows.

In attendance at the noon meeting, at the Wandering Moose Cafe, were Sam and Dan from HFFA; Jim Glowienka, chairman, TU CT Council; James Belden, president, TU Candlewood Valley Chapter; Jim Fedorich, president, TU Northwest Chapter; and Lloyd Banquer, HFFA/TU member and past president Housatonic Rainbow Club. The meeting lasted a couple of hours and concluded with an agreement to proceed with a plan to re-organize with the objective of working on agreed upon conservation projects in the TMA. Many others were invited but did not respond or could not attend.

Topics Discussed

Housatonic Coalition background.

Do we re-form? Who holds the remaining funds? What conservation projects can we invest in? Do we use to funds to become a 501c not for profit LLC before we proceed?

Donation History and Balance Amount

.         Jim Glowienka distributed copies of August 2, 2011 letters sent to the TU chapter(s) presidents explaining the remaining coalition fund balance of $19,000 and asking if their chapter contribution could be reinvested in a revived coalition.

·         The TU Ct Council was asked in 1999 to be the caretaker of the $28,000 raised funds.

·         There were 76 total donors of which 10 organizations donated/pledged $19,800 or 71%. They included Theodore Gordon Flyfishers – $6,000; HFFA – $4,000; TU Nutmeg Chapter – $2,000; TU Mianus Chapter – $2,000; FFF – $2,000; TU Candlewood Valley Chapter – $1,000; TU Naugatuck Chapter – $1,000 pledged; TU Thames Valley Chapter – $1,000 pledged; and TU Hamonassett Chapter – $800 pledged.

·         Since 1999 the coalition spent $9,000 for legal fees to fight for run of river flows. This means if all donors could be reached they would be entitled a 64% prorata refund.

·         Jim Glowienka also presented a spreadsheet listing all donors, amounts, and last known addresses.

Consensus to proceed as follows

·         All agreed with the concept to re-form and focus on a collaborative approach to fund conservation projects in the TMA

·         Jim Fedorich to seek pro-bono legal help for “not for profit” organzation fee.

·         Plan to meet again in January 2012.

Update to follow in 2012

Conservation October 2011

The Conservation Committee was busy in September with much to report.

At the time of this report, September 15, 2011, water levels have receded to 1,220 CFS which is a very fishable flow for Isonychia nymphs, emergers, and duns. The extended forecast looks good!

Goodbye Irene – Goodbye!

On September 2, Sam D’Ambrouso and Dan Kenny met with Pete Aarestad, CT DEEP Inland Director and biologists Mike Humphreys and Brian Eltz, in Cornwall.

  • Inspected the thermal refuge work, Garbage Hole handicap site, and the Mill Brook bridge damage caused by Irene.
  • Shared a very broad range of TMA conservation ideas.
  • Some notable ideas were trout tagging and telemetry studies to track migration. Install hidden real time CAM recorders at the Furnace and Mill refuges to monitor fish in the refuge, predation, and poaching. Install an underwater camera to track trout migration passage at the new Furnace Brook fish ladder site. Plant disease resistant American Elm seedlings.
  • Pete agreed to summarize and report back to us with the best projects that HFFA can assist with.

On September 8, the Fishery Advisory Council (FAC) reported on the following CT DEEP Inland Fisheries good news.

  • State fishery hatcheries were virtually unscathed by the impacts of Irene and have been saved and fully funded in the FY11-12 budget.
  • The Housy TMA will be (was on 9/16/11) stocked with 3,000 survivor brown trout yearlings, 5,000 adult rainbows, and 1,000 trophy size brown trout.
  • Six mainstem and two thermal refuge areas were sampled by CT DEEP this summer. Low mortality was observed.
  • Thermal refuge work over the past two years was effective in providing shelter and cool water for trout despite main stem water temperatures exceeding 80 degrees on some days.
  • If not for natural flow, many trout would have been lost. Old pond and release flows would have overtopped those refuges with lethally warm water.
  • Increased level of law enforcement has helped alleviate human poaching; however, bird predation is still an issue.
  • Congratulations to Greg Sharp, a HFFA member, who was elected as the new FAC Vice Chairman.

We have planned a Housatonic Coalition meeting, for October 9, Housatonic Meadows, at 9:00 am.

  • Past active members were invited – new members are welcome.
  • Fish from 9-12
  • River lunch provided at 12. RSVP to Dan Kenny
  • Discussion on conservation projects to choose to be funded by remaining Coalition FERC relicensing funds and more afternoon fishing.

Mark your calendar – 2012 Conservation Project Dates

–          River CleanUp and tree seedling plantings – May 19

Conservation June 2011

River Clean Up

Wow !! What a group of volunteers we had at the Annual Clean-up of the Housatonic River, this past Saturday, May 14!  This was one of the largest turn-outs we have had in recent years. Thanks to all of you.

We had HFFA and Long Island Flyrodders everywhere in all sections of the River – even as far up as Rt 7 near Salisbury !  Trash collections were light. People are paying attention in not depositing trash along the River. A special thanks to Paul Mccain and his team of Long Island Flyrodders for providing manpower and his annual picnic for clean-up volunteers.  This year, Paul and the Long Island Flyrodders provided a chicken barbecue. After the clean-up, many volunteers fished in the afternoon as well.

Those that helped this past Saturday were Tom McGuire, Matt Popielavski, Robert Kubicko, Bruce Tubby, Max Ruggiero, Allison Brown, Bruce Pomeroy along with Dianne and Allison, Walt Sliva, Eileen and Russ Bevans, Fred Monahan (and a team of hardworking Boy Scouts), Dan Kenny, John Barry, Rick Huntley, Steve Vaughn and his family, Rich Linikas, Nick Friedmann, Steve Grossman, and Dan Van Buskirk.  If we missed anybody, our apologies. We had other volunteers show up and grabbed a garbage bag and just went to work.  Thanks once again to all you in helping preserve the Housatonic River.

Sam D’Ambruoso

Conservation April 2011

Trout stocking for 2011

Wow!!!   The State produced 665,000 catchable size trout for preseason and inseason spring stocking.  In addition, 21,800 yearling (7-9″) trout have been produced for special programs such as TMA enhancement or sea-run trout fisheries.  Stocking began in early March and 387,000 trout will be released prior to Opening Day (April 17).  Included in the total number is 15,000 “survivor” brown trout yearlings (7-9″) and 4,000 surplus brrodstock (3-10lbs).  Why is this important?  Get those young people on the water and teach the sport of fishing. There were 227,510 fishing licenses in 1990. In 2010, that number dropped to 123,405.  We all know we’re all getting older as the “baby boom” of World War II advances throughout the coming decade. We also know that there are not a lot of young people fishing and enjoying the outdoors. It’s up to us to help foster and educate the sport…or we will have no sport in the future.

The Housatonic Clean-up

The Housatonic River Clean-up is Saturday, May 14 at 10:00am at the Housatonic Meadows State Park upper picnic grounds. We normally meet at the Monument Pool.  Wear good traction shoes and gloves. We will provide trash bags and refreshments afterwards.  Let’s make sure we all get out there and clean up the banks of the River.

DEP Inland Fisheries Objectives on the Housatonic for 2011:

At the recent Fisheries Advisory Council meeting, I had a chance to see the DEP’s Inland Fisheries objectives for the Housatonic.  They are:

1, At the Housatonic-Cornwall and the Bull’s Bridge TMAs, conduct trout and sampling annually, and have an angler survey in 2013.

2. In the TMAs, maintain trout abundance and size distributions at levels that provide quality fishing by maximizing trout survival over multiple years.

3. Maximize angler catch rates and satisfaction by determining the best trout species, strain and size composition, and optimal timing for stocking

4. Enhance thermal refuge areas in conjunction with volunteer angler’s groups.

5. Asses the performance of the Survivor strain brown trout in the TMAs and investigate the potential for developing a strain best suited for the Housatonic River.

6. Continue to assess smallmouth bass throughout all sections of the river, and determine the most appropriate management options.

7. Complete assessment of catch-and-release regulations for smallmouth and trout on the Bull’s Bridge TMA under increased law enforcement.

8. Monitor variations in river water temperature via temperature recorders deployed at standard sites along the river.

HFFA leadership in the coming 2011 will help determine what the best projects are that will dove-tail with the State’s objectives.  As usual, our conservation projects will only happen if

Marine Regulations

Marine recreational fishing regulations will be finalized during the month of March. Watch for a possible slot limit on the Connecticut River for stripers ranging between 22″ and 28″ but only 2 per season per angler.  Operative word: possible.  This is not in the regulations just yet.

The season approaches…get everything ready.  See you on the River!

Sam D’Ambruoso

Treasurer and Conservation Chair

Conservation March 2011

This information was just received from the Housatonic Valley Authority. Next Thursday, February 24th, the Commerce Committee will be holding a public hearing regarding Bill 1020 – An Act Concerning Water Resources and Economic Development. This bill would require the streamflow regulation process to completely start over. Even more alarming, the bill would prevent the passage of any regulations that truly provided protection to our streams. In essence – real protection would only be given where withdrawals do not occur – which of course does not provide protection at all!

It is obvious now, that despite repeated bluffing that “we are almost there”, those opposed to the passage of streamflow regulations apparently do not wish to compromise. Instead they are proposing this new legislation which would completely ignore the work done over the past five years, and, in particular, the intensive collaborative efforts that have occurred between the environmental groups, water utilities, businesses and other stakeholders over this past twelve months. We cannot afford to go back to the drawing board on this issue.

A copy of the text of the bill is as follows. It is also available to be viewed at


If you can attend the hearing we desperately need you to do so – we apparently did not make our voice clear enough during the last round of streamflow regulation discussion and now we are in danger of losing our chance to garner protection for our rivers. We need to make our presence known at this meeting – the Commerce Committee needs to know that the citizens of Connecticut do value our streams and we do wish for them to be afforded protection.

Please contact your elected officials and the members of the Commerce Committee via email, letter or phone as soon as possible.


The Commerce Committee will hold the public hearing following a 10:00 A.M. committee meeting on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford. Please submit 40 copies of written testimony to Committee staff one hour prior to the start of the

hearing in Room 1D of the LOB. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. in Room 1D of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.  Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee.

Conservation January 2011

Zebra Mussels

As you may know the Zebra mussels were reported as a first infestation in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinoah.  They were reported to be in Laurel Lake, MA and now in 6 miles of the River in Mass. There are a number of State committees studying the problem.  We do know what will kill them…sodium chloride…which has no other ill effects on the River since it is delivered in small doses.  However, it is very expensive method.  One small pond had the zebra mussels taken out to the tune of $400,000+.  Scientists, in time, will find a way to deliver the proper medicine in a more efficient manner.

Striper Developments

The State of Connecticut is encouraging all striper fishermen to have hand sanitizers with them when fishing for stripers.

Sanitizing the hands is important after touching some stripers that may have a skin infection as noted in our prior reports. I think a good alternative for the colder months is using a pair of diver’s gloves.  Apparently, judging from this warning, there must be some evidence that the infections can be carried to humans.

Striper slot limit

Currently under development by DEP,  it appears there may be a slot limit for stripers between 22″ and 28″ for the Connecticut River only.  This slot limit will be controlled and reported on index-type post cards that each angler is scheduled to mail in reporting their catch.  Each angler will get 3 cards; one fish per card.  All this is in very formative stages and was recently discussed at the Fisheries Advisory Council on December 9.

Salmon in the Naugatuck

The release of 300 salmon was schedule for the morning of December 10 in the Campville and Beacon Falls area of the Naugatuck River.  If you can brave the cold weather, this is a great time to try for one of these fish.  Recent cold waters and very high streamflow in the Naugatuck has curtailed some angling efforts.

Fishing Surveys

DEP has conducted rapid assessment surveys to gauge angler utilization at fall stocked areas in western CT during late September to mid November.  A total of 171 survey counts were made when conditions would be considered good for fishing. On average, the Housatonic TMA had the highest angler use (15.0 anglers/count). Trout Park Ponds had an average of 2.3 anglers/count, followed by other trout ponds with 1.1 to 1.2 anglers/ count.  The popularity of the Housatonic continues.  With another 9,000 trout scheduled for release this Spring, it should only become more popular.

Other cold water news

DEP stocked 24,000 sea-run browns trout parr in six coastal streams.  It is hoped that most of these parr will migrate to salt water in the Spring, 2011.

Big striper caught

A Marine Trophy Fish Award for striped bass, catch and release, in the near shore category, is being awarded to Chris McDowell. The fish weighed 47 lbs and was 48”. It was caught at Valiant Rock.  The Third Annual Trophy Fish Award program Ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 19 at the 14th Annual Northeast Fishing and Hunting Expo, Feb 18-20 at the CT Convention Center. See for details.

Streamflow regulations

We just sent out a letter to Senator Joan Hartley in support of the stream regulations now due out December 21.  I will be at the meeting in Hartford on behalf of the HFFA in support of the regs.  Although it does not necessarily effect the Housatonic, it certainly will at downstream areas especially when we consider that some of the streams and tribs are used for trout and other sporting fish propagation.

Sam D’Ambruoso

Conservation Chair

Conservation November 2010

The following information was supplied, in part, by the Inland Fisheries Division for Fisher-ies Advisory Council which meets once a quarter throughout the State. The HFFA attends these meetings to bring our members the latest information on the Housatonic TMA and other areas of angling interest, both fresh and salt water.

As many of you know, zebra mussels were recently discovered in Candlewood Lake and Lake Zoar.

We will have more information as it becomes available with respect to the TMA. We reported earlier that they were already in the main stem of the Housatonic at the Connecticut/Mass bor-der. Candlewood Lake and Lake Zoar may be the result of boat hulls being infected.

All Trout Management Areas and a number of trout ponds were scheduled for stocking this fall, with the new stocking regime (first implemented in 2009) for the Housatonic River Trout Management Area (TMA). This was completed in mid-September (3,000 Survivor yearlings, 5,000 small adult rainbows and 1,000 trophy browns) went into the Housatonic River. Only major deep water holes were stocked in the Housatonic since those areas had the most wa-ter. Other stocking schedules were being reassessed in light of the extended periods of dry weather and low flows being experienced. Stockings of many rivers were possibly delayed or cancelled, with the scheduled fish instead stocked into lakes and ponds.

To determine potential wild trout contribution to the Housatonic River trout fishery, a num-ber of its tributaries were included in a wild trout survey and the sampling revealed 14 previously undocumented wild brook trout populations in tributary streams which have the potential to act as nursery and spawning areas. Additionally, for the first time ever, wild young-of-year rainbow trout were found to be abundant in almost every perennial tributary to the upper Housatonic (eight streams). This widespread rainbow trout reproduction can be attributed to a private stocking of large spring-spawning rainbows, and the cool wet summer of 2009 which enhanced survival, con-dition, and spawning potential of these large stocked fish.

With the help of DEP Staff, the HFFA, and other volunteer angler groups, five Housatonic thermal refuges were enhanced to increase trout survival through the hot summer. Work com-pleted on the upper Furnace Brook refuge was particularly effective in providing shelter and rela-tively cool water for trout through the summer. A high number of mortalities were observed due to unusually hot and dry summer. River temperatures reached into the mid 80s on many afternoons. If not for natural flows, virtually all trout–even those in the most protective refuges such as Fur-nace–would have been lost, as under previous pond-and-release flows, very warm main stem water would have overwhelmed the pockets of cooler water in refuges. Mortalities were also at-tributed to bird predation and poaching on exposed and vulnerable trout within refuges. An in-creased level of law enforcement helped to alleviate the poaching problem.

The DEP deployed a total of 74 temperature recorders. In western CT they were placed at 31 locations within the main stems of the Housatonic and Shepaug rivers, and at the confluences of all major tributaries to the upper portions of these rivers to determine potential for enhance-ment of thermal refuges for trout. Recorders were scheduled to be retrieved and data scheduled to be downloaded this past September. These data will be very useful in documenting the effects of the unusually hot, dry summer on water temperatures, and should contrast sharply with data collected in 2009, a cool wet summer.

Sam D’Ambruoso,

Treasurer, Conservation Chair

Conservation September 2010

Housatonic River TMA

Thermal Refuge Enhancement Work

By Dan Kenny


In 2008, the CTDEP Fisheries rolled out a new fishery management plan after three years of studying the impact of the new run of river flows. The plan consisted of a few key components. The first was a doubling of annual stocked fish from 9,000 to 18,000. They reintroduced stocking adult and yearling rainbows. They stocked adult browns.  They continued the annual stocking of 9000 browns some of which are survivor strain.   They distributed the numbers of fish equally in the spring and fall in 2009. They also committed to assist volunteer groups to work on improvements to existing thermal refuges, to identify new refuges, and to help identify alternative methods to promote maximum trout survival through the summer months.

In 2007 and 2008 flows were much higher and air temps much lower than normal providing optimum river conditions for trout growth, survival, and holdover rates. The only negative was that because of higher flows we could not conduct as much in-river thermal refuge enhancements. The free flowing sections of the HousatonicRiver, unlike the FarmingtonRiverand the East and West branches of the Delaware River, do not benefit from deep impoundment releases of cold water in summer months. The Housy summer water temps are similar to other large un-impounded rivers like the Beaverkill – thus unless there is regulation to prohibit angling in thermal refuges areas (mouths of feeder brooks) and promoting maintenance  and enhancement of thermal refuges annually trout mortality increases in summer months. Trout survival in waters like these is dependent on cooler summer river/air temps, less angling/handling pressure, less predation, and greater access to thermal refuges for trout. Refuge work requires annual modifications due to winter ice jams.

We also need to anticipate that mother nature will throw us a curve ball every 10-15 years with a very prolonged warm and dry period that may have greater than average impacts (fish kills) which was the case this year. We should not get discouraged as we have seen this in the past and the river has rebounded with good numbers of holdovers.

This year we had lower than average flows from March through May with some rain in early June so our refuge work was delayed until July. In June HFFA and the Ct Council of TU began an email campaign to assemble a team of volunteers to work on selected sites on days were flows were <500cfs.

Our first 2010 project opportunity, based on flows, was at the Furnace Brook refuge and the Church Pool refuge on Tuesday, June 29, from 7 to noon so not to disturb any trout heading for refuge during the hottest time of the day. The day before, 30 trout were observed in the refuge, before any enhancement, during the hottest part of the afternoon. Mike Humphreys, CTDEP biologist provided a work plan and plenty of personal muscle. CTDEP had previously secured all necessary permits to allow for our work. Volunteers from HFFA were Dan Kenny, Glenn Fettes, Jr., Phil Maxwell and Tom Kelley. Also helping from TU were Mike Piquette, Ron Merly, Frank Plona and 1 other TU member. As shown in the attached photos we nearly doubled the size of the Furnace refuge via rolling boulders and we also created good natural log canopy over a portion of the refuge to discourage animal and human predators. The trout really liked this cover. We then created a 4 foot wide channel directing cooler refuge water 100 feet down river to the Church Pool. The day was very hot. Later in the afternoon we observed hundreds of fish primarily large rainbows entering the refuge.

Our second 2010 project was conducted at the Mill Brook refuge just upriver from the covered bridge on Sunday, July 11 @ 7 AM. As we arrived we observed several trout directly under the MillRiver bridge and a couple dozen in the main stem below the confluence. Mike Humphreys was unable to attend but previously prescribed our work plan which was to direct all cooler water from the Mill down an 80 foot long, 4 foot wide and 2 feet deep culvert through the dried river bed to a lower area in the main stem directly under the Covered Bridge. We did that and also allowed some seepage to enter the mainstem in an oxygenated mainstem area slightly up river. In attendance were basically the same group of volunteers plus HFFA members Sam D’Ambrouso and Seamus Brown. We finished there around 10 and proceed to work on less significant refuge flows located at PineSwamp and CarseBrooks. We conducted some cool water channelings at both sites and finished our work around noon. After lunch we watched dozens of large size rainbows enter both enhanced areas at the new Mill Brook refuges.

Within about two weeks I had reports that the population mix in the Furnace and Mill refuges changed from primarily large rainbows to a couple hundred of trout, mostly browns, of all sizes. I personally witnessed this change is on July 31 and later had additional confirmations from other sources. We suspect most of the large size stocked rainbows that first took refuge were lost due to warm dry conditions around July 15 as well as some of the smaller stocked rainbows. We suspect this may be because most strains are less tolerant to warmer flows as compared to brown trout.

This thermal enhancement process as stated above is part of the fishery management plan. We got off to a late start promoting this project in 2010. We plan promote the 2011 project, on an ongoing basis, in our newsletter and in our website. Weather permitting we would like to start work in early June.

I would like to extend specials thanks to all the volunteers from HFFA and TU who helped and worked hard in the river this summer. Thanks to Jim Glowienka, CT TU Council Chairman for also promoting this project. Many of our members also are members of other conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited. I am pleased that this was a collaborative effort.

I have received compliments from CTDEP and river guides on our work product. CTDEP is already looking at additional work sites and as well as new cool water flow diversion options for 2011.

For those members who believe in and enjoy working on in-river conservations projects please get in touch with Dan Kenny of HFFA to get on the volunteer list for 2011.

HFFA has a strong reputation on conservation achievements in the past – the Charles Downing Lay Award for Outstanding Conservation Efforts; National Wildlife Federation President’s AWARD; Outstanding Achievement Award from the Federation of Fly fishers; and Ct Sportsmen Alliance -Outstanding Sportsmen Organization Award. I would like to see our efforts on this project lead to achievement of our goal first and hopefully be acknowledged by an award.

Finally, despite the very severe drought conditions this year I know we made an impact. This Fall when you hook up and release beautifully colored browns and bows with perfect fins – those are the survivors that we saved!

Imagine the collective impact we will have on trout survival and growth if we commit adequate resources to this project every year! I hope we do because it is in our conservation and angling interest.

See you on the river!







Conservation May 2010

Current Housatonic River flow at March 22 is 3,290 cubic feet per second; not exactly “two weight water”. There is still a lot of snow pack water coming through. The frigid water levels are coming down rapidly, however. Many anglers are fishing other smaller TMAs throughout the State. There should be a plentiful supply of trout in the River. The State stocked 18,000 trout last year in the upper Housatonic TMA as well as 8,500 in the Bulls Bridge TMA. Help us protect the supply of fish by careful handling when releasing them. Make sure you have barbless hooks. It makes life a lot easier when releasing fish.

Housatonic River Clean-up: The annual River clean up is Saturday, May 15. We will meet at the Housatonic Meadows State Park in the upper picnic area at 10am. Bring gloves and good walking shoes. We will supply the garbage bags. We need your help on this. Please plan on attending.

Striped Bass: As many of you know, there is a disease problem (microbacteriousus) with striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay area.  Some of the fish have sores on their bodies and the problem appears to be getting worse. Anglers are being advised not to handle the fish. There has been a concern…and we emphasize “concern”…that the microbacteriousus may be contagious. There is nothing is writing about this at this point. However, we are advising anglers to use precautions when handling stripers this season. Do not touch them if they have sores on the bodies. At the same time, commercial stripers quotas are being increased for the advantage of the commercial people. That’s a bit confusing to say the least especially with the Chesapeake Bay problem. All this spells big pressure on stripers this season.

Happy days ahead. Remember to take a kid fishing.

Sam D’Ambruoso Treasurer and Conservation Chair

Conservation March 2010

This past week, as I went through mountains of old documents and files in the cellar, I came across the old fish-stocking HFFA records from 1975 through 1977. These were the days well before the TMA and well before the on-set of the personal computer.  I was Conservation Chair at that time and for the 18 years that followed.

We used to accept donations from members for the sole purpose of stocking fish in the River. And what fish they were- 2, 3, 4 pound browns and rainbows and sometimes heavier. Live fish in those days were a mere $1 and something a pound. They were delivered by Davey’s Trout Hatchery and other Pennsylvania hatcheries to the waiting HFFA members on the River who eagerly placed one or two of these fish into prime holdover sections. Our stocking teams, anywhere between 15 and 20 members at a time, placed a serial numbered yellow tag through the dorsal fin of each fish which was accomplished on the stocking trucks.

These were the very early days of catch and release policy being established for fisheries. When a fish was caught, before it was released back into the waters, the Members would take the tags off the fish and would send the tags to the Club. Besides a serial number, we had our HFFA address on the tag as well. Members would report were the fish were caught and we would measure migration patterns. One time a pair of browns migrated from the Sand Hole down to Kent Falls State Park. We charted migration patterns by hand.  These were the days before the personal computer – if you can imagine that. We eventually went to 16” caliber of fish. We got more for our money which in those days amounted to more fish in the River. These were also the days of a State stocking of 18,000 to 24,000 fish per year.

These records will be available at the next March meeting in case anyone wanted to take a look. Perhaps you can recognize some names of past members. I even have the old Membership list. At the very least, you can see the amount of contributions along with the volunteers that we had in those days which went a long way in helping the growth of organization.

Sam D’Ambruoso                                                                                                               Treasurer and Conservation Chair

Farmington River Survey


I have fished the Farmington River over 30 years.  The fishery has come a long way in the last 35 years.  It has grown from a small trout, put and take fishery to one of the best  streams in the northeast.  Some changes are being considered in the management of the TMA.  These changes are intended, at least in part, to continue the steady improvement in wild trout in the river.  I have put a brief survey together to learn how other fishermen feel about some of the issues involved.  I have shared this with Neal Hagstrom from the Fisheries Dept and he is enthusiastic to see everyone’s feedback as well. I hope to get as much involvement as possible.   Please pass the link to this survey on to your membership and anyone else you know who might be willing to take a few minutes to complete the survey..  The more people we have participate the more our voice will be heard.

There are two ways you can send the survey through email.  You can send folks directly to the survey by linking to

So, if you want, you can include something in your email like – “Please take a few minutes to complete this Farmington River Survey,” so when readers click on it they go directly to the survey.  Alternatively, you can refer folks to which is a blog I put together to present the survey.

Email to your members is likely to generate the most responses but if you are willing to post it to your site, once again you have two choices.  You can embed the actual survey in your site with the following code;

<iframe src=\”\” width=\”760\” height=\”4975\” frameborder=\”0\” marginheight=\”0\” marginwidth=\”0\”>Loading…</iframe>

Or, you can simply put a link up on your site to either or

which will take them directly to the survey form.

Whatever you can do would be greatly appreciated.  I think you would agree, the Farmington River has grown into a first rate trout stream.  Changes to management policies should be considered carefully with input from its most important constituency, we fishermen.  At the same time, prospects of catching quality wild trout is exciting as well.

I look forward to hearing from you, your members and other fishermen you can pass this message on to.  Thanks for your help.

Greg Miller

Handling and Releasing a Fish    November 2009

A short note.  Well maybe not so short, on the handling of fish.  Handling of the fish we catch and then releasing them back into the water is a crucial point in conserving a catch and release fishery.  Here are some simple steps that I think will work to help us with this objective:

1. Before you make the first cast, make sure the hooks have no barbs on them.  It makes releasing fish a lot easier. It also prevents those unsightly sores we see on the fish’s mouth from being previously caught. In Montana, some guides are cutting the barb off and just experiencing the rise of the trout to the fly and perhaps a few tugs of the line before it releases itself.

2. Make sure you are using a catch and release net.  Many of us still have a deeper net that was used to make sure nothing got away.  It’s not really needed anymore and it also helps in not quickly releasing the fish.

3. If you are not using a net, make sure you wet your hands first before you touch the fish to release them. A wet hand helps protect the skin of the trout with can develop a fungus especially in warm weather. Trout have delicate scales; you just can’t see them.

4. Don’t play the fish to death!  In the warmer months, lactic acid will build up in the fish if it is played to long on the end of a line. You risk losing the life of the fish if this happens. You should not be fishing for trout if the water temperature is around 69 degrees.  I know…some say 70…I like a little extra precaution

5. If you find you have a trout wiggling everywhere when its taken out of the water, trun the fish turn belly up while holding it.  That will hold them still while you take out the hook.

6. If the hook is down the gullet of the fish, cut the line. Pulling on the hook only insures death of the trout.  An embedded hook will release itself in a few days; the trout will live…and be a little smarter the next time.

7. When releasing fish, especially large ones, make sure that you do so in slow water.  Sometimes you gently have to move them back and forth in the water to move some water through the gills.  Don’t release the fish until it releases itself from your hands. If your in rapids, release them facing downstream and close to the waders as possible.  Waders will form a small pocket of slower water.

The above steps can help ensure a healthy catch and release fishery.  Talk about these steps with angling friends. Make sure they are followed.

Sam D’Ambruoso
Conservation Chair


Annual River Clean UP May 2009

On Saturday, May 16, 2009, the Annual River Clean-up was held along with the annual picnic provided by the Long Island Flyrodders. We had plenty of trash that was collected off the River banks. We want to thank the Housatonic Meadows Fly Shop on Rt 7, Cornwall Bridge, for allowing us to deposit some waste filled garbage bags at their own collection point and also the DEP for helping us with trash disposal.

The HFFA runs on the work of volunteers. We would like to thank the following people: Eileen Bevans, Russ Bevans, Allison Brown, Dan Kenny, Bill Lanzoni, accompanied by our youngest volunteer ever: his 8 month old grandson Derek; Fred Monahan, Mike Piquette, Max Ruggiero, Walt Sliva, Tom Toomey, who videoed the event, and Jim Woodworth.

The Boy Scouts, lead by the HFFA past President and now Head Scout Master, Fred Monahan were also volunteers. We would like to thank Scout Master Rob Fortin, and Boy Scouts, Braden Disbrow, Danny Woronick, and John Turenne.

As usual, the Long Island Flyrodders were in attendance as they are every year. We would like to thank Paul McCain for all the efforts with the picnic this organization provides for clean-up volunteers. We also want to thank Tom Cooleen, Cliff Dies, Nick Friedman, Morty Schneiderman, Dick Van, and PeteYuskevich.

Get involved and volunteer with the HFFA. We are only as strong as our participation. We have plenty of work to do in the coming months. Hope to see you all on the River.

Sam D’Ambruoso
Conservation Chair