Newsletter of the Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter
Trout Unlimited

Publisher: Cathy Unger
Contributors: Bob Gregorski, Ernie Ludwig

Ernie Ludwig  | Vice President  | Naugatuck/Pomperaug Chapter                   
203-560-2053 | |
Tungsten BH Czech Mate Nymph - Hare's Ear                                                                
Hello all,

Please read the following information regarding our new location for meetings in Naugatuck;

The Naugatuck/Pomperaug TU Chapter 281 will no longer be meeting at ION Bank after Aug,15 2015. Starting in September we scheduled to have our meetings at ION 's Community Center Building at 270 CHURCH Street, Naugatuck, CT. The ION Bank Community center building located next to the YMCA which is just up the street from where we originally held our last meeting in June. The building is to the left side when facing the YMCA. There is plenty of parking on the opposite side in the parking lot.

Hope to see you all there on Wednesday September 2nd.

Ernest J Ludwig VP Naugatuck/Pomperaug Chapter TU

Ph: 203-639-2643
Cell: 203-560-2053

Bob Gregorski
Bob Gregorski

Bob Gregorski, head of the Naugatuck Watershed Association, who stocked the first salmon in the Naugatuck River in 1992, fishes in Linden Park on Wednesday. This is the 60th anniversary of the flood of 1955, and the river is much cleaner now thanks to the efforts of people like Bob Gregorski and others such as Naugatuck ROTC cadets, Trout Unlimited, and other volunteers who cleaned up and also planted streamco willow bushes, as seen behind Gregorski, every year that help evade erosion off the banks. Darlene Douty Republican-American

The Naugatuck River of 1955, which stormed its banks and destroyed neighborhoods, was not just an angry river 60 years ago, but a dead one.

The Flood of 1955

"There were no fish in the river," said Steve Gephard, a fisheries biologist for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "I've heard that when the state Department of Health did a survey of the river, they couldn't even find bacteria living in it."

How did the river get from there to the present, when a portion is close to losing its official polluted status?

Stricter state and federal environmental laws passed in the late 1960s and early 1970s started the process. Many industries that dumped wastes have since disappeared.

The eight municipal sewage plants along the river were upgraded or replaced, the most significant being Waterbury's in 2000.

But much of the turnaround has been a grassroots effort.

Bob Gregorski is a 76-year-old retired math teacher from Pomperaug High School. An avid fly fisherman, the Middlebury resident was one of the instigators when the Pomperaug chapter of Trout Unlimited changed into the Pomperaug-Naugatuck chapter in 1984.

"Nobody was touching the river back then," said Gregorski, who is also president of the Naugatuck Watershed Association and an outdoors columnist for the Republican-American. "We thought it was a diamond in the rough."

"We saw such degradation and abuse of the river, and we thought we should try to do something about it," said Frank McDonald, 84, a former state Supreme Court justice and another member of the chapter.

In 1987, Trout Unlimited got state permission to purchase trout and stock them in the river. "We figured if only some survived, they'd be the hardiest fish on the planet," Gregorski said.

Shortly thereafter, the DEEP started stocking its own trout. In 1992, it started stocking Atlantic salmon.

TROUT UNLIMITED INVITED community groups to join its cleanup efforts, working with a dozen different school organizations and three scout troops. Thousands of people have taken part in more than 60 cleanups in the Waterbury-Naugatuck stretch of the river over the last 30 years.

They have lugged everything from lawn mowers to car transmissions to sofas out of the river, while planting more than 20,000 trees and bushes to reduce erosion and restore the riparian habitat.

Hickory Shad and Snapper Blues —- Bob Gregorski

‘Be here-please’, I said aloud as I approached the banks of the SSS River (a tributary of the lower Connecticut River. When I reached the shoreline, I stopped and intensely scanned the water surface for action. My hope was that hickory shad would be there in good numbers. Then about 50 yards upriver there were several splashes on the surface. They looked like ones made by hickories. Stripers leave a different disturbance on the surface. ‘Yes! Hope they move down toward where I was standing.’

My first cast was fruitless, but on the second, as soon as my lure hit the water the line tightened, my rod bent forward and line began moving off my reel. I pulled the rod back with medium strength. That silver, 16-inch hickory did not like what I did and went airborne. It leaped about a foot above the surface and crashed into it broadside.

During three recent fishing forays, the fishing was ‘gangbusters’! Many hickories ranging from 12 inches to 16 inches were released. The shad were hooked using flies with a fly outfit and jig heads and willow leafs with a spinning rig. Hopefully they will remain in the lower river and its tributaries until at least Columbus Day.

Hickories range from 10” to 17” and weigh 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 lose some shad due to them having tender mouths which do not hold a hook well.

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. Small bucktail flies (1.0"-1.5" long) work the best.

This time of year, two fish that some anglers, like me, fish for are snapper blues and hickory shad. I take fishing outfits for both. Snappers are 5-8 inches long and feed heavily before migrating southward. Any light-weight fly or spinning outfit will do. Tiny flies, lures and bait fish will catch snappers. The Snapper-Popper is one of the most popular lures used to catch these hard fighting small fish. Basically it is comprised of a foam popper which creates a wakes and makes noise when pulled through the water, a two foot length of leader to which a hook is attached. Covering the hook is plastic tubing which may be one of many colors. The rig is cast and reeled with a slow to fast speed. Both actions attract attention and may represent a pod of swimming baitfish trying to swim away quickly. Snappers will fight for that single dressed hook. Or, the single hook can be replaced by a small spoon, spinner or fly. You can make your own rig. A heavy leader may be attached to a torpedo-shape casting bobber and retrieve it as described above

Presently, schools of snappers are marauding small baitfish along the coast, in harbors, bays and river estuaries. They are fun to catch with ultra light fishing outfits. Freshwater outfits (fly and spin) can be used. A small, frozen shiner on a hook about two feet below a bobber is a good outfit for youngsters to use. They are fun to catch with ultra light fishing outfits.

Youngsters have a good time catching and releasing these terrific small terrific fighters. Snappers can be caught from shore, the surf, jetties, wharfs and boats and while wading in breachways and salt ponds.

When practicing Catch & Release, it is better to bend the barb of the hook down creating a barbless lure. Barbless hooks are much easier to remove from hooked fish, especially thrashing bluefish with razor-sharp teeth. An adult should remove all blue fish that are hooked. That’s for the safety of the kids and avoids scaring them so they will not want to fish, particularly for small blues.
Carpe diem!

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.