Housatonic River Outfitters

When Harold McMillan, owner of Housatonic River Outfitters, asked us if we’d like to, “spend a day learning how to fly fish – learn local lore and watch eagles and ospreys hunt the wanders,” we didn’t have to think twice and sent a resounding “YES please” reply.

As often is the case, two days, ok maybe one day before we’re meant to be heading out on any given Unlocking Litchfield adventure, we start a “what the heck are you going to wear?” thread. For this occasion Lora Googled – “what to wear fly fishing?” – and immediately sent me a screen shot of the answer in images, with an LOL in caps. I’ll wait while you Google….go on….

…funny huh?!

When we asked Harold what we needed, his instructions were basically to bring shades and wear warm wool socks. To go with our socks, we decided to wear jeans, a warm sweater, and a puffer jacket! Housatonic River Outfitters would provide any equipment needed; waders, lines, flies, etc.

To fit us for waders we were asked, “What’s your shoe size, height, and weight?” We look at each other in horror and Lora takes the words right out of my mouth, “Before breakfast or after breakfast?” Completely different weights – ladies, are we right?

Looking pretty cute no?

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Harold gives us a casting lesson out in a field next to the Housatonic River (or the Housy if you want to sound like a local), which is right across the road. 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock. 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock – that’s how we whip our line back and forth. Harold’s a patient teacher; patient as we use our rods as light sabers, patient as we each catch a leaf, and patient as we fix our hair before heading down to the water. If we fall in and it’s going to be on the blooper reel, well, we want nice hair. You’ll just have to watch to the end of the vid to see if it was necessary (plus you don’t want to miss the bloopers at the end!).

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Harold warns us that the rocks are like bowling balls covered in grease, so we walk very carefully into the water. We say “weird” a lot because it’s a very weird sensation to walk into a river towards the end of October and feel like you’re getting wet, but you’re not. Weird.

I kid you not; within about 5 minutes Lora has caught a fish [Lora’s note: they told me there was a 5% chance of catching a fish, and well, I wanted to be in the 5%]! She’s so oblivious to this fact though and is chatting away to Harold and I (as he’s teaching me 10 0’clock, 2 0’clock again) that Harold has to tell her she has a “fish on!” I think they heard our screams from Cornwall Bridge to Bull’s Bridge. Go Lora!!

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(I think I decided I’d try to karate chop the fish?)

Sadly, Lora had a case of LDR (long distance release, for those not down with the fishing lingo). She was rooting for the fish the entire time and didn’t want the fishy to be hurt, so she was glad when it got away…but guys, it was THIS big!

Despite having done a spot of deep sea fishing before, I had no luck. I guess fly fishing is a completely different kettle of fish. (sorry)

We had such a fun day fishing; if you’ve never tried it we thoroughly recommend it. It’s an extremely peaceful, tranquil activity (other than when we’re squealing over catching a fish) that anyone can enjoy. Housatonic River Outfitters knows all the perfect fishing spots in the area and are happy to take out families, corporate groups, couples, and bloggers with camera crews!

We learned that HRO rents snowshoes and offer guided snowshoeing tours in the winter – we’ll be sure to go back to check that out. Apparently it’s one of the most effective calorie burners there is, and I do enjoy burning a calorie or two! [Lora’s note: I’m in!]

One last thing…ladies, Harold is single, so if you need an introduction just give us a shout…(Unlocking Litchfield Matchmakers…now there’s an idea.)

Bev’s Favorite Thing: Being at one with nature and imagining myself in “A river runs through it”

Lora’s Favorite Thing: Getting a fish on my line when they said there was a 5% chance we’d catch something. 😉


Housatonic River Outfitters – 24 Kent Road, Cornwall Bridge, CT 06754

Website – www.dryflies.com

Phone – 860-672-1010

Article by Beverley Canepari. Photos by Lora Warnick, Tim Lenz, and Sierra Zaborowski. Video by Tim Lenz, music by BenSound.