The HFFA was founded in 1961 as “The Housatonic Fishermens Association”
It was organized to stop the threat of making Route 7 into a major highway
which in the minds of the veteran fisherman on the Housy would harm the
fishery as it did on the Beaverkill in New York when Route 17 was rerouted.
When that never happened the association took on the task of being
custodian of the river.
– Cleaning up the river banks every year on Good Friday
– Stocking large trout in the river
– Planting fish eggs
– Reintroducing the Green Drake and other projects
In 1969 it was moved from the meeting place in Naugatuck to Hamden at a
library on Whitney Avenue and revitalized with many new ways of getting
membership attendance at our monthly meeting and eventually moved to a
larger place at Brooksvale Veterans Hall in Hamden.
In 1977 an advisory was issued for the Housatonic River water shed. This
advisory extended from the MA. border to both Lake Zoar, and Lake
Housatonic both several miles downstream. This advisory warned about the
possible connection of PCBs and cancer. It was discovered after studies that
PCBs were cancer causing agents. It was also discovered that several
species of fish found in the water shed contained larger than accepted
amounts of PCBs. Trout were one of these species. The advisory suggested
that eating any of the species on the list be very limited .
In April of 1980 HFFA received the permit allowing the club to stock what was
then just a fly fishing area, with the amount of large tagged fish that we had
been stocking for years. Just a few days before DEP was scheduled to stock
the fly and open areas of the Housatonic, then Governor Ella Grasso ordered
DEP not to stock. This decision was based on the growing concern with the
The summer of 1980 saw but a handful of hardcore regulars still fishing the
river. Although those who did fish did not catch large numbers of fish, the fish
that were caught, were for the most part all holdovers. For several years
HFFA had suggested that a holdover population of trout did exist in the
“Hous”, now here was the proof.
In response to the Governor’s decision not to stock the river, HFFA retained
the law firm of Dana and Wiggins of New Haven, and proceeded to file a
lawsuit against the State of CT. After many debates and discussions it was
decided that a suggestion by HFFA to make the area of the Housatonic in
questions just the 2nd TMA in the state acceptable by all parties.
The rest is history, as the Housatonic TMA has become one of the most
popular areas of it’s kind in all of the northeast.
Submitted by John Springer and William Blotney
HFFA AWARDS RECEIVED
1973 – Connecticut DEP “Environmental Award”/Member – Federation of Fly Fishers/Connecticut Sportsmen’s Alliance
1982 – National Wildlife Federation – “President’s Award”
1984 – Connecticut Sportmen’s Alliance “Outstanding Sportmen’s
1988 – “Outstanding Achievement Award” Presented by Eastern Council
Federation of Fly Fishers
1988 – “The McKenzie Cup” International Award Presented by Federation of
1989 – “Charles Downing Lay Award” Presented by Housatonic Valley
Association for Outstanding Conservation Efforts