Float trip

First trip to the Hoosic River. Floated it with a couple buddies who have a raft. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Hoosic from various people. It’s sort of a poorly kept secret.

Superficially the river looks great. Large enough to float (at least in the spring), tons of woody habitat, deep slow pools, nice bouldery runs, bend pools, dropoffs, really everything you could want.

The issue with the Hoosic, like other medium and larger rivers in Mass, is that the water gets a bit too warm in the summer to be premier trout water year-round. Upstream dams, loss of riparian forest, and urban runoff all contribute.

However, the Hoosic and many of it’s tributaries do have pockets of cold, oxygenated water suitable for trout in the summer – so there is some holdover habitat, it’s just not extensive enough. Other issues with the Hoosic include PCB pollution found in the sediment, channelization through concrete chutes in North Adams, and dams and perched culverts cutting off potentially key spawning and refuge habitat in tributaries. Again, the same can be said for nearly all of our larger trout rivers here in Mass (well, except for the PCB issue…).

I don’t want to sound too negative here. Our larger trout rivers, some more so than others, support very good fisheries. I just wanted to make the point that they could be so much more if given a chance.

The float was great. The fishing was sort of slow though. Water temps were low 50’s so good but a couple degrees would have helped make the fish become a bit more aggressive I think. We mainly fished streamers throughout. It’s awesome streamer water! We landed one stocked Brook Trout near the start of the float on a deer-hair sculpin then went fishless until the end where my buddy landed a good Brown Trout on a white articulated streamer.

On a side note, we saw several different bugs in the air (small tannish caddis, possibly Hendrickson mayflies, and medium size stoneflies…sorry about the lack of detail but I was concentrating on ripping streamers). Nothing seemed to be rising to anything though.

Anyone else fish the Hoosic? I like it and even though it’s far away I certainly can see myself exploring it more intensely in the future.

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44 thoughts on “Float trip

  1. oh ya man there’s a ton. A few obscure posts that no one reads, that you have to actively search for, know the name of the river, ect. But no I’m a cool trendy guy with a camera and a blog that has some readers, lets name the river, tell them about it, and get every googan out there! It’s a poorly kept secret, better let the cat out of the bag! But congrats you got out there one time and let every reader know about it. A lot of work went into figuring out that river by real fishy dudes, those guys didn’t name it but you did. Pretty soon we’ll have everyone out there shoulder to shoulder just like every other river. It’ll be a great bonding experience!

    1. You didn’t do any work finding the fishery, exploring it, putting in the hours. Just heard something cool, went out and ripped some streamers brah! Then told everyone reader in New England to go there. Good for you.

      1. Its a nice river and that was a sweet brown. I think everyone needs to relax If you fly fish and live in New England and haven’t heard of the hoosic than you probably don’t fish much. Everyone needs to chill out with secret spots. You live in MA trout fishing is decent at best get a grip with your secret spots…Is everyone ok? there are a handful of rivers that have big and or wild trout in MA and all you hardos are going to keep them a secret. Ya all you anonymous guys are real cool! Why don’t you guys move to a state with some serious blue ribbon trout streams and miles of secluded areas if no one can fish your PCB filled MA streams. Get a grip everyone we are talking about the hoosic like it’s the maddison in Montana or something learn to share and respect the water Jesus christ. Sorry some other dude found a river that everyone knows about and two guys think it’s a big secret lol. its a major tributary to the Hudson River everyone in VT MA and NY knows about the quality trout in that river lol people are funny.

        1. Ya a lot of people know about it. there was a time when people who fished knew about the Farmington too. Now everyone who owns a rod fishes the Farmington. I’m just saying do we have to broadcast it to everyone who fishes?

    2. Adam is a really thoughtful guy, and a conservation expert with three fisheries degrees–and, I think your comment is unfair. He wrote about a public river. He didn’t ID exact spots. Most anglers don’t own boats.

      Moreover, the Harrison guys guide on that river, and the state stocks it and publishes it on their schedule.

      A point of this blog admittedly is to help anglers get out. My view is that we need more anglers to build political influence. If not, as Troy has written, public lands will increasingly be at risk. There is a price for that. That means more crowded rivers. But, I think that’s a worthy price to protect the fisheries.

      My two cents….

      1. I hear you. I just don’t think everything needs to be broadcasted. I may be a little off base but Things spread rapidly. I apologize for being a dick. The mayflies that were hatching were paraleps. Once the temps rise it’ll be Hendricksons.

        1. You are not, bro. I think these discussions are good. You made it a little personal regarding Adam in your comment, about the camera and all. So, that’s really what prompted me to jump in.

          If you ever meet Adam, which I have, you’ll see that he is incredibly humble and thoughtful. A great guy, who is doing great work for the ecosystem at MassWildlife.

  2. IMO, unless the fish numbers are like the Deerfield, or Swift, or Farmington CT, you aren’t going to attract many fishermen. My read of this article was that it was a nice day to be out, but fishing was poor. And yes I know about the quality fish in the Hoosic, but not tempting enough for me to travel there cause I can fish all day and hook up more frequently on waters a lot closer. Now, if you were posting pictures like I see on the Farmington that’s another story!
    I think the real danger is posting small streams where its not C&R and meat packers can really have an impact on native fish.

  3. Whoa there everybody! This is a little crazy. I am the last person to spew out information about a sweet spot, but in my view this post doesn’t so much do that, like AT ALL. I have literally never fished Mass and I know about the Hoosic. I mean come on, no specific spots were given and the first paragraph lists a few of things that are wrong with the river and would turn some people away. You really think this is going to bring the crowds to the river? Jeez.
    Great post. That last fish is a beauty. Gotta be a bit over 22in!

  4. I figured I’d better chime in here. First off let me start by saying how much I appreciate the positive atmosphere permeating this blog, it’s really refreshing that for the most part everyone who comments or contributes is thoughtful and constructive, even if they disagree. I also would like to say that I realize that different people have different opinions and I respect that. I’m always interested in learning more about how people interact with and use the resource.

    The Hoosic is not a secret. My using the phrase a “poorly kept secret” was tongue-in-cheek. I’d say that most fly anglers I’ve talked to have mentioned the Hoosic – fly shops, guides, regular fisherman, other bloggers, etc. It may have been relatively unknown 15 years ago but those days are long past. I’d argue that in 2017 there are really no major rivers anywhere in the state, or even in New England, that are undiscovered. Furthermore, the day we fished the river there were 3 guide boats full of clients and no less than half a dozen wading anglers in just a short section of river on a Monday.

    Mentioning a river is not going to automatically increase fishing pressure. The readers of this blog are already aware of the Hoosic. I also didn’t sell the fishing that much. We landed a couple fish and one nice one – I don’t think that will open up the floodgates. There may be a few people that stumble across the blog and find themselves wanting to visit the Hoosic River. Is that such a bad thing?

    In my opinion more anglers that appreciate our fisheries can only be a positive. Keeping rivers a secret smacks of elitism and exclusivity – problems that fly fishing in particular has suffered from in the past. Discouraging anglers from certain areas cuts off a fresh influx of potential advocates for conservation and protection of a valuable resource. Now more than ever we need individuals that are willing to lend their voices and their time to help protect our aquatic resources. How are they going to do that if they aren’t allowed to develop an appreciation for the rivers they don’t know about?

    I realize that some people learn their spots the hard way but not everyone is the same. Believe me I’ve learned a lot of spots the hard way. I’ve had to because in a lot of cases information was hard to come by. Some people have limited time, limited funds, live far away, etc. and giving them some, admittedly very generic, insight on where to try is something I’m entirely on board with.

    Finally I’d like to address the personal issues that “anonymous” seems to have with me and my blog post(s). I love flyfishing, I love to take photos, and I like to share these experiences as best I can with others. I don’t think anyone would describe me as trendy and I never say brah haha! I’d love to extend an invitation to “anonymous” to meet up on the water sometime and fish together. We can discuss our differing opinions and I bet we find that we have more in common than first considered – we may just be coming at it from different perspectives.

    Thanks

    1. Couple things: 1.) suggesting opening up a fishery to new anglers that haven’t earned it the old fashioned way rather through a blog would increase conservation is laughable. Considering that in most cases, outside stocking Meccas like the swift, increased pressure = dead fish. 2.) our wild populations of trout in ma, on most rivers suffer with increased pressure b/c it’s not the Missouri with 10,000 fish/mile. people will drag these fish outta the river to obsessively take pictures for their instagram account in the middle of august releasing it only to watch it float down stream belly up. Not b/c they are bad people but b/c they have learned through the anonymity of blogs/internet instead of being taught how to respect a fishery one on one…learning organically.

      1. Capt. Obvious/Sad Fishing Guy:

        I agree with point #2. Our rivers are not ripe with wild fish, and I too think we in the Northeast face waters that are pressured. We have a large population.

        Example: There are more people in Boston than in the entire state of Montana. I have family in Montana. It truly is fly fishing paradise because there are just very few people per square mile and fantastic conditions for fish. So, relatively lower demand and a relatively higher supply of fish. It is one reason that state no longer stocks. They don’t have to.

        I get that too much pressure is bad. It is why I no longer personally blog about the Swift. It is why I don’t name certain “freestones” that cannot handle fishing pressure. It is why, when someone gives me a spot, I promise never to tell another soul–and, I’ve kept my promises.

        But, those are personal choices. I’m cool if other people think differently.

        Moreover, I have a different take on point #1 because of this: The Hoosic has been in the public eye for a while. Guides take clients often to that river–and, you can bet those clients are coming back and telling friends. Pages 27 to 29 of Tom Fuller’s ubiquitous Trout Streams of Southern New England have a detailed account of the Hoosic. I mean, it’s right there for everyone to see. That book was first published in 1999.

        So, how does one “earn” the right “the old fashioned way” to fish a public river? Does hiring a guide count? Does reading a book count?

        So, my sincere questions are:

        1. Where do you draw the line on what is earned or not? You find the river yourself, a friend takes you there, you read a blog post, you read a book, or you hire a guide?
        2. Who gets to decide for everyone else what is earned regarding the right to fish public waters?

        I am behind Adam 100%. It’s a generic post that doesn’t name spots. If you don’t want us to post about public rivers that the state stocks, then you also should ban fishing guides and books like Tom Fuller’s.

        1. I appreciate you considering what I have to say. And I hear you on the “Public Waters” thing. But you are missing a HUGE difference when you equate my reference to the “oid fashion way” to guided trips, books, and blogs.
          I see the old fashion way as this: You take a long ride to a distant river and poke around. Your first dozen trips are fruitless but you are determined to figure it out..so with time and determination you do. You find this river b/c you read about it in the book you mentioned…or….you have proven to be a responsible angler to a trusted friend and he/she tells you about it.
          To equate the exposure of a river from books/guides to the power of the internet is absurd. Half of the flat billed bros currently reading this rigging up for the weekend do not read books they troll the internet and slap Why Knot stickers on their Yeti Tumblers.
          The barrier of entry to these rivers is extremely low with the advent of blog post like these.
          You obviously haven’t fished this river very long b/c the guiding on it (at this level) is only in recent years. If you have fished this river for awhile you would be witnessing, just like me, the exponential changes since guides have hit the river hard.
          For someone to admit to only fishing a place once and run to the internet to talk about it is a stark contradiction to the conservation everyone is chirping about. It is blowing something up they have no understanding of at all. The rivers fish cannot deal with the pressure. It is not a tailwater stocked with thousands of fish and like Miles mentioned the main stem ISN’T stocked.
          Oh by the way the reason I don’t put my name on this thing is the same reason I don’t post about rivers and spread my fish pictures for the world to see….I rather fish healthy rivers than feed my ego.

          1. Capt. Obvious/Sad Fishing Guy/Third Name/Fourth Name:

            If you have fished this river for awhile you would be witnessing, just like me, the exponential changes since guides have hit the river hard

            That is a total bummer. Sounds like what was once an unknown river that you’ve enjoyed for a long time is now being transformed by guides as a high-traffic area.

            I see the old fashion way as this: You take a long ride to a distant river and poke around. Your first dozen trips are fruitless but you are determined to figure it out..so with time and determination you do. You find this river b/c you read about it in the book you mentioned…or….you have proven to be a responsible angler to a trusted friend and he/she tells you about it.

            That really resonates with me. I’ve poured through the Tom Fuller book, and others, to scout areas. I’ve spent many hours walking around with a fly rod and catching nothing–or, learning which stretches of which waters can be waded. I personally don’t have a boat and don’t enjoy floating. For me, it’s “wade or fade.”

            You obviously haven’t fished this river very long

            No, I actually have not fished it at all, ever. My role is that I defend Adam’s right to post about a public river that gets stocked by the state.

            like Miles mentioned the main stem ISN’T stocked

            That is an important nuance that you and Miles are stating, which is understandable. There are wild fish there, in one stretch, that are vulnerable.

            But, note that Adam did not write about where he fished on the river. He didn’t ID spots. I looked at his photos as someone who has never been to the Hoosic and would not be able to ID the spots in the pics.

            Until I read your comments and Miles’, I didn’t know that there’s a north branch, a south branch and a main stem–and, that the last of which has wild fish. So, the irony is that your desire to keep low traffic, which I understand, has actually added more granularity to anyone looking to target wild fish on the Hoosic.

            The other irony is that this now has become the most-commented post ever on this blog. That is relevant because the search engines give much weight to the number of comments on a blog post. That means they will eventually very much elevate Adam’s post, and your comments about where the wild fish are, higher in search results.

            In closing, I think I better understand your POV and Miles’. I respect it. I don’t agree with 100% of it, but I hear better where you’re coming from. I also greatly respect Miles and have for a long time. So, I’ve been trying my best to listen more and react less on this topic.

            Edit:
            This is a long shot, but I wonder what it would take to make wild trout areas 100% C&R. For example, Connecticut has designated certain areas as “Trout Management Areas” and “Class 1 Wild Trout Management Areas.” There are different regulations, such as the mandatory use of barbless hooks, for example.

    2. sounds like we have a good advocate for cold water fisheries here! Drop me a line I’d love to exchange some info! 14136264738

  5. I was on the Hoosic Monday as well, waded a bit upstream from where you were. Hooked up with a couple stocked brookies, landed one. Also noticed some small stones and mayflies but no surface feeding yet. First day tighlining and I’m totally into it. Really been enjoying your blog, keep it up!

  6. Having fished for almost 60 years I long for the good old days of no internet . You had to explore and learn on your own . Much more rewarding . Now you just turn on a machine , do a little reading and you’re an expert . Just my two cents . Dan

    1. Great point. My most satisfying moments have been when I’ve stumbled on spots based on my own scouting and caught fish on flies I developed and tied.

      However, I still observe that 10 percent of the anglers land 90 percent of the fish. I think that is because there is no better way to learn than to get out there and experiment. Technology helps in certain ways, but only helps so much on developing a sixth sense for spots, technique and fly selection.

      Your thoughts?

  7. It’s simple. The fishing would be better for everyone if social media/blog posts like this didn’t happen. You can rationalize it all you want, but fishing/secrecy go hand in hand, and it’s too bad people can’t just enjoy it while keeping their fucking mouth shut. Holy cow.

      1. FYI, when you write two comments under two “names” but are actually the same person with the same email and IP address, we see it as bloggers.

    1. Miles, I believe we’ve met a few times. You may not remember, but I do. I really respect everything you’ve done. But, I do disagree with you. If you’re that Miles McCloy and are up for it, email to me your phone number? I’d love to hear more about your POV and try to understand.

  8. Sounds like a mixed feeling by readers of how reports should be posted. Going forward I hope the bloggers stay mindful of this.

  9. And the saga continues… I’m going to say my piece here and then I’ll be done with this post. It’s time to move on, people have their different opinions and I really don’t want to get dragged into a never-ending argument on the subject of “secret spots”. I respect that some people don’t mind sharing information while others would prefer not to share. While personally I belong to the former group, I’ll try to be more sensitive to the feelings of the latter from now on.

    I was not trying to rationalize my choice to post about the Hoosic River, as one commenter suggested. I was simply giving context to my beliefs. I feel that it is an appropriate post and I explained why I thought that. We can agree to disagree if you like. I’ll speak to the broader issue in a moment but the fact remains that the Hoosic is not a secret. By any stretch of the imagination. A rudimentary Google search turned up a number of reports, river descriptions, blog posts, etc. I have no less than 3 books on my shelf right now that have complete write-ups on the river. Talk to literally any fly angler within 200 miles and at some point or another they will mention the Hoosic unabated. Guides as far away as Boston take clients there regularly. Hell I knew about it and put it on my list of places to fish even before I moved here! It is not a secret.

    In my opinion this blog is about a community of like-minded fly anglers that share information. That’s why we have several regular contributors and a number of guest posts. Sharing information means sharing what we experience on our local rivers and stillwaters. If I truly believed that the Hoosic was a super secret spot then I would have not given the name. In that case I probably wouldn’t even have posted about it – because what is the point then? Anybody can post photos of big fish without any details but that is better left to those wanting to get likes on Instagram or some other social platform. The purpose of this blog, in part, is to share information with our readers and provide some insight into the resource. It’s not a bragging board for trophy shots – there has to be content otherwise what’s useful or interesting? Our readers are a responsible, bright, and conservation-minded group and whatever we post about here is likely not going to contribute to the eminent downfall of the fishery as some might believe.

    I’ve moved around a lot in my life. I’ve lived in 7 different states in the last 10 years. If it wasn’t for online research and forthcoming fellow anglers how would I be able to find good places to fish? The resource is there for everyone. People still have to make the physical effort to get out. They still have to have the skills to catch the fish. Not everyone has the luxury of living in one place their whole life and slowly acquiring local knowledge through trial-and-error. Not everyone has the free time to do that either, or the funds.

    I’ve said my piece, here and in my previous comment, I’ll try to be more aware of those that strive for secrecy and think twice about posting specific river information. I’m not saying I won’t ever post specifics anymore but I’ll be more aware of the reaction I may receive in return if I do.

    Thanks!

    1. Agreed. Post what you want, Adam. I think your posts are great. People may want to roll back time to the pre-Internet days, but that’s not realistic.

  10. as a fisheries biologist and conservationists, you should be made a aware of a few incorrect facts you have stated. The s. branch and n. branch are stocked. The section you fished is not, and when i have submitted many scale samples of large fish in that section I was told they were all born in the river by state biologists. The river is already being fished beyond capacity, and you should aware of the impacts social Media posts can have on wild trout fisheries. Go check out the battenkill. Also, you mention that “not everyone has a raft”. Duh. However your post will undoubtably contribute to more wading and boat anglers. As you noted, it can be a Tough river to wade, and so more and more and more people filling up the spots and spooking/pressuring sensitive wild fish is not good for us waders. Why is it so hard to understand that certain things should be earned, and not just learned on social media? That’s part of what makes flyfishing what it is. For wade fisherman, the fishing has gotten significantly worse over the last few years. This is because of posts like this. So for people who have enjoyed exploring and learning on this river for a long time, it’s a real bummer. I understand the Harrison’s post pics and whatnot, and we have argued as friends about the issue for years, sometimes very contentiously. However, they are making their livelihood, and they don’t mention river by name, even though their pics have gotten more and more obvious. You are not doing this to support yourself, but simply Spotburning a special place because the enjoyment of experiencing the river apparently wasn’t enough for you. If I were you and just learned a secret like this I’d be tryin to get in some good fishing before things get any worse. Basically, it comes down to this; which do you like more, blogging or fishing? Cause posts like this are not good for the fishing, and as a fisheries bioloigist familiar with freestone wild trout fisheries that hold large fish, you should be aware of the potential damage in a significant increase in pressure. Get a clue.

    1. Hi Miles, I didn’t want to continue further down this road but this is clearly a very sensitive subject for you. I admire your passion but I just think your enmity might be slightly misplaced. Maybe neither of us are communicating our positions quite clearly enough. I’d be glad to discuss further via email if you’d like. If not then good luck to you.

  11. Well I for one am glad you reported about the fishing possibilities on this river, you guys are doing a great job with this blog. I may never get a chance to fish it so don’t worry those of you that feel you own it.

    Mike

  12. It’s interesting to re read these post from nearly a year ago. Since this post the Hoosic has been hammered by people from all over New England.
    I have been fishing that river for years, far before the Harrison’s started out there. It was a sad sulphur season last summer when upon arriving I found 3-4 cars parked in every pull-off in Mass. Plates ranged from PA, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and NH.
    I simply turned my truck around and left. There is not enough river or fish in MA to support those numbers of people.
    No arguing anymore b/c frankly it is over…the river is screwed. The F$#*ing foot bridge built across it, the guides on it, the blog posts about it, and everyone that follows the Harrison thinking that they are in “the know.”
    Let me tell you…you are most certainly NOT “in the know.”
    Stop commenting on instagram post citing “the river” or “secret river.” IT IS NOT A SECRET ANYMORE and has’t been for years now. Call it by name the HOOSIC in North Adams, MA.
    You have all contributed to its demise.
    Congrats.

  13. ^^^ dude gets it. Shit happens. It’s unfortunate but unavoidable with bloggers and FB and IG…… Find more water and learn it.

    1. Miles,
      I have found some water since that I like, but frankly at this point the most attractive option are the Catskills. The rivers there are NO secret at all but with higher fish numbers and NY land rights I feel better fishing out there. Even though I hate the private land rights in NY, I kinda respect it b/c it naturally creates refuges for trout away from the euro nymphing and “jig ‘n’ pig” tossing Harrison followers. I have to imagine their minions have purchased every 10′ cortland 3/4wts and they are all pitching 1oz streamer patterns with 30′ of mono.
      Not fly fishing in my book…but I am the idiot that holds onto the older tenents of the sport.
      Hope you find some water for yourself too Miles.

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