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I live next to the Stevenson Dam, which impounds Lake Zoar. Downstream of the dam, is a river-run lake known as Lake Housatonic. And downstream of the Derby Dam that impounds Lake Housatonic, is the tidal Housy, where I spend much of the fall, winter and spring, chasing striped bass. When I first moved here, Lake Zoar was my bass fishing classroom, where I taught myself the basics. For years, I fished it a lot. I don’t fish it much any more, except for a few late season outings each year when the largemouth bunch up in deep water.
But in 54 years here, I’ve probably fished Lake Housatonic fewer than 30 times. And most of those trips were in the 90s and early 2000s. I recall launching my G3 there a couple times, so I must’ve fished it after 2014, but I’m going to guess I didn’t do well then, or I wouldn’t have waited so long to go back.
Today was the day I finally went back to Lake Housatonic.
I motored up river looking for inspiration. What I found, was a memory. A stretch of bank that just had a familiar vibe to it, like I’d done well at at some point in the distant past. I picked up a rod I’d tied a small spinnerbait on. That was from memory, too.
I’d like to say I caught one right away. But it wasn’t quite that easy. Fifty yards or so farther upstream, I tossed the spinnerbait to the trunk of an old fallen tree, and it immediately got hit. I swung, and a smallie rocketed 2 feet out of the water. Another 50 yards and two deadfalls later, it’s twin did the exact same thing.
Neither one of those fish was over 13 inches. But they bit, they jumped, and they made me smile. I quickly noted that the middle tree — the one that didn’t produce a fish — was newer and fuller, with plenty of smaller, twig like branches. The others had been down much longer, and just the trunk and a major branch or two remained.
Maybe I just didn’t find the sweet spot with all the potential targets the newer deadfall presented. Or maybe the fish just needed a break to sit next to, and didn’t want all that cover.
Rather than waste time pondering that, I just committed to throwing that little white spinnerbait at large,’clean’ logs coming off the bank. Counting the first two, I hit 11 such deadfalls total, and caught 6 smallies off the pattern. Two of them were in the 15 inch range. The rest were closer to 13.
But I never had a largemouth bite doing that, so I picked up the flipping stick and started flipping a jig into weed pockets, the “nastier” trees I’d bypassed while catching smallies, and docks. It was a dock that produced ny one largemouth of the morning. It wasn’t a great fish, but it was definitely my biggest of the day,
In all, I fished about three and a half hours, and felt good about 7 fish in that span, from a place I haven’t been to in forever. Oddly, I never felt like I was fishing new waters. It’s not the same as it was the last time I fished here, but then again, neither am I!
I don’t believe it will be another 14 years before I spend another few hours, or maybe a whole day, if it’s not sweltering, at Lake Housy. It had better not be, because I’d be dangerously close to ninety if that were the case. No, I believe I’ll launch at Indian Well a time or two again before the State Park locks up for the winter.