September - 2014

Newsletter of the Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter
Trout Unlimited

Publisher: Cathy Unger
Contributors: Bob Gregorski, Ernie Ludwig

Tungsten BH Czech Mate Nymph - Hare's Ear

A Messagefrom our Chapter President
The Connecticut TU Council is proud to pass on our recommendation for re-certification of all eight of our chapters;  009 - Northwestern Connecticut,  129 - Farmington Valley,  217 - Nutmeg,  258 - Mianus,  281 - Naugatuck-Pomperaug, 282 - Thames Valley,  309 - Candlewood Valley  &  446 - Hammonasset.  
Collectively we are a powerful force for conservation, protection and restoration of our cold-water resources in the great state of Connecticut and leaders in youth environmental education. Thanks to all our members for your support.

Upcoming Events

2014 Meeting schedule

Monthly meetings meetings are starting back up on September 3rd at 7:00 PM the first Wednesday of the month in the Community Room at the, ION Bank, (formerly the Naugatuck Savings Bank), 87 Church St., Naugatuck, CT.  For further information call Dom Falcone at 860-274-4103 or or visit  

End of the SUMMER Event
FLY FISHING on the Farmington River on August 30th

This year the board members are hosting the event and have set a date of August 30th for our fishing trip on the Farmington River this year. We will meet at Whittemore Pool at 7 am for coffee and donuts in the morning and burgers and dogs on the grill for lunch. All chapter members are welcome and we hope to see a good crowd as in the past. Please let us know if you will be attending so we can plan the right amount of food for the event. Contact any of the people below either by phone or email.


Steve Farnham   Ph. 203-509-2419 or email:
Ed Dearborn     Ph. 203-263-6229 or email:
Ernie Ludwig     Ph. 203-639-2643 or email:   

A River Walk event to promote conservation practices sponsored by the Ansonia Nature Center is going to be held on September 27th from 11-3 in the afternoon. We have been asked we would participate by setting up a table to tie flies and talking about our chapter. Please consider volunteering a little time to help us out. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

October upcoming events for the Naugatuck/Pomperaug TU Chapter
Eastern Brook trout presentation by Steve Culton 
Author, guide, expert Fly Tyer and Angler

Steve Culton SteelheadJoin us and bring a friend on Wednesday, October 1st for our evening program with Steve Culton.  Steve is a Connecticut-based guide and author who I've had the pleasure to attend and listen to him talk. Steve will give us a presentation on The Eastern Brook Trout, and it focuses on the fish, its environment and small stream tactics. Bring a friend along for an enjoyable evening.


Event Info
Wednesday, October 1st, 7p.m.
At ION Bank (formally the Naugatuck savings bank) the center of Naugatuck Community Center.

Poor Man’s Tarpon Bob Gregorski

September in Connecticut, marks the beginning of some the hunting seasons, fall trout stocking and peak saltwater fishing season for several species. Trout seekers should have good trout fishing for several weeks in the waters that have been stocked. On the saltwater scene, anglers can target: bluefish, stripers, false albacore, Atlantic bonito, porgy, fluke, black sea bass, tautog (split season) and hickory shad.

Hickory shad typically show up in the 3rd week of April and the season can last into December. My Fishing Log Journal shows that Frank McDonald and I have caught four hickory shad in the Connecticut River on 12-14-2001, and I caught two in the Niantic River on 12-20-2001. Some fisheries biologists believe they are reproducing in the Connecticut River based on small juvenile fish (less than 4 inches) caught during the summer. Some recreational anglers consider hickory shad "CT Mini-Tarpon."

“Fish on! It’s coming your way”, I shouted to the angler fishing down river from me. “It’s a good one, so I’d like to see it up close”, I added. The angler obliged by quickly reeling in his line. “Thanks”, I said. The silver leaper broke water twice in a valiant battle. The outgoing river current was strong and the mouth of hickory shad is tender. I did not want to force the fish in. After a few minutes, I managed to get it to the base of the board walk wall, lifted it out of the water carefully, grabbed it by the lower lip, removed the willow leaf lure and returned it to the river unharmed. It was about 15” long and weighed about 1.5 pounds. That fishing action happened last week while I fished from the DEEP boardwalk in Old Lyme.

Recently, the hickory shad fishing there has varied from poor to excellent. Well, that’s fishing!

Here’s more biological and angling information about this exciting game fish. They are lots of fun to catch, particularly when bass and blues are not in the area you are fishing. Many anglers fish Catch & Release for hickories. Some anglers target hickory shad for sport or to use them as bait for large stripers. I’ve caught hickories that members of several age classes; they ranged from 10” to 17” however, most were 12”-15” long and weighed 1.0 to 1.5 pounds. The Connecticut record weighed 3.25 pounds. These “mini, tarpon-like fish” hit and fight hard, breaking water many times. Anglers loose some shad due to them having tender mouths which do not hold a hook well.

Here’s a brief description of the shad. Alosa mediocris: Bluish-green above; sides whitish-silver; dark spot at the shoulder; bottom lip protrudes beyond upper lip. Note: The lips are even for American shad. Like all members of the herring family, they spawn in freshwater and live mostly in saltwater. Range from Nova Scotia to northern Florida. Adults weigh up to 3 pounds. They are a good food value, but are bony and difficult to fillet.

They are available in Connecticut waters from mid-April through early December. My logbook shows the earliest and latest catches to be April 14 and December 20.

Use light spin or fly tackle. Spinning line 4 or 6 pound test with willow leaf with split shot up ahead or small jig head (1/8-1/16 ounce) with plastic curly tails or bucktail jigs will catch lots of shad. Fly rodders use 5 wt. to 7 wt. outfits, 6-pound tippets and small bucktails or streamers. White and chartreuse are favorable colors. Many anglers use freshwater outfits when fishing for hickory shad.

Technique: In waters that are moving, cast directly across and let the lure or fly drift or use a slow retrieve. In quiet water, cast and retrieve fast in warm water and more slowly in colder water.

Taking youngsters fishing for hickory shad is a lot more exciting for them than fishing for snapper blues. Both species fight hard, but the shad are much larger and do aerial displays, which every one likes to see, and the larger ones will make your reel drag sing.

Locations: In the fall, schools of hickory shad have been feeding in the lower sections of the Connecticut and Mystic Rivers and in the Niantic, Lieutenant, Black Hall, West (Guilford), Back, Pawcatuck, Saugatuck, Hammonaset, Mianus and Housatonic Rivers and various bays and estuaries. In Rhode Island, they may be present in the larger salt ponds, Narrow River and areas in Narragansett Bay.

A double landing of 15" hickory shad; one grabbed the willow leaf dropper & the other a white jig head/white curly tail.
Caught and released & photographed by Bob Gregorski

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Free Membership for Women
Expanding TU's Membership Base.

And speaking of new members, do you know any women who enjoy our sport, conservation or both? Well, TU is interested in attracting more women to the organization and for a limited time is offering women free memberships. feel free to share this information with any women anglers or conservationists you might now. Let's all work to expand our influence.

  Membership Renewals:
Recent changes have been made to TU's policy toward membership renewals. Individual chapters no longer receive a portion of each renewal. As such, please send renewals directly to TU national or renew on the web site.

Trout Unlimited's Mission

To conserve, protect and restore North America's cold water fisheries and their watershed.