Its been a strange winter. Today Punxsutawney Phil said we’d get 6 more weeks of winter, and yet it was 60 degrees in NY yesterday! Well, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I got out on the water. This year, I vow to explore more CT streams. In fact, there are a few streams and rivers in CT closer to me than the East Branch in Brewster, which happens to be blown out at the moment. I decided upon the Mianus River in Fairfield County, CT, just outside of Stamford because it was only an hour and 10 minute drive, had a TMA (trout management area) which meant it might have “holdovers” from last year, and it has a good reputation.
I bumped into Jeff Yates, the local TU chapter president, who was about to lead a stream walk with some engineers, a hydrologist and concerned citizens. The Mianus chapter has done years of work on area-streams, and several erosion projects on the Mianus. Yates was a really cool guy who was excited to see a New Yorker on his homewaters. He gave me a couple flies, Jeff’s Killer Caddis, and a copy of his new book which I will be putting to good use this spring.
Taking Yates advice I started humping and headed for the most remote area of the Mianus River Park. There I found a log laydown across the tail of deep bend which scoured a beautiful 6′ pool. The water was emerald green and bright. I realized I needed to go deep and to have action, to look like an injured baitfish coming over the log. I tied on a black beadhead bugger crept up the embankment and cast three times. From under the embankment a silver streak darted out and grabbed the bugger and I raised the rod setting the hook hard. My 5wt bent nicely and then I realized I had a good fish on and had to keep the tension on and land him quickly. If this trout had taken a run in the current, he would have broken my 5x, I was certain. I quickly got him to the shore and scooted into the water, missed him with the net–realized–he was longer than the net! One more reach and he was in.
What a fish! Since the Mianus receives a fall stocking as the TMA period opens, I knew there was a chance for a +15″ fish, mine was 17″. Skinny, he clearly wasn’t eating much, but then winter is tough. I did spot some big #10 grey stoneflies popping off in the late afternoon, but no rises. For certain, I will be back on the Mianus once the weather warms up and before the regular put-and-take season opens in April. An angler I met on the river suggested that DEEP might stock early this year.
Finally, I got a chance to take in the erosion projects that the Mianus TU chapter had done. It was beautiful work and no doubt is preserving this little stream’s quality and characteristics. I could tell they had more work to do, as there were some clear streambank problems, but the stream seems in VERY capable hands. I’m considering asking the NYC TU chapter if they want to lend a hand during the Mianus spring stream day. I’m certain I’ll be there. Here’s a good trailmap for your reference should you be interested. If you’re in NY or CT, I suggest getting Yates book too, because you won’t find much research online and only a local like Jeff knows the secrets of this overlooked county.