The Mianus River is a popular Connecticut trout fishery. I had chance to discuss trout fishing on the Mianus with Trevor Harvey. Trevor discusses his favorite ways both with fly fishing and spinning gear to catch the trout of the Mianus River.
How long have you been fishing the Mianus River?
I have fished the Mianus River off and on for about twenty years, but I started putting in a lot of time into that body of water about five years ago. What makes it a particularly special place to me is that it’s only about twenty minutes from my house. I can fish it in many different ways and perhaps most importantly, I can fish it almost any day of the year.
How would you rate the difficulty of the Mianus River on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a really hard stream to fish?
I would rate it at a 3 but it’s one of those places that you can make it as hard as you want it to be. The reason I say this is because it incredibly accessible, there is a lot of fishable water, and the state does an excellent job of stocking. The only thing that makes it difficult is that it is overgrown on most of the bank so casting can get a little tricky, especially with a longer rod.
In what ways, positive and negative, does the Mianus River differ from some of Connecticut’s other trout streams?
I would say that the biggest difference is that a large portion of the river is a trout management area with decreased creel limits and single hook artificial for a large part of the year. That results in the trout staying in the system longer and having a better chance to hold over. Other than that much of it is in a park, so there are a lot of hikers and dog walkers around so it can take a some getting used to.
What is the typical breakdown of your catch between Brook, Brown and Rainbow trout on the stream?
I believe that almost of the trout caught out of the Mianus are stocked by the DEEP, though a fair number may have spent years in the River. If I had to break it down over the last few years I would say that it’s been about 35 percent rainbow trout, 35 percent brook trout, and the remainder split between Browns and Tiger trout. This could also be because of how I like to fish. If I decided to throw bigger mouse like flies and fish more at night there would likely be an uptick in brown trout in the numbers.
What are your favorite hatches to fish on the stream?
My favorite hatches have to be any of the mayflies. If you catch it right this time of year, on a warmer day in the afternoon the still water really comes alive and there is a great dry fly bite. I generally like to keep it simple and use a traditional sulphur dun, or plain Adams, thrown with a somewhat shorter 4wt rod.
One of the things I love is that while you love fly fishing you are not afraid to pick up a spinning rod. What spinning gear are you using?
Admittedly I’m not a purist about fly fishing, and do find myself spin fishing a fair amount especially lately with my daughter in tow. As far as baits, the two that I always seem to come back to are gold trout magnets made by Leland lures, and Rapala x-rap in the 1 1/2in size; all thrown on a 5’2 Gloomis trout special with a Shimano Stradic reel.
The biggest tip I can give is fluorocarbon lines. I fish four pound fluro almost exclusively. Though there are some definite downsides to it, I think they are far outweighed by an increase in sensitivity, as well as invisibility that I think leads to more bites.
I know that the trout fishing on the Mianus in the colder months can be really strong. But how does the stream hold up over the summer months?
The answer to this is pretty simple for me; get there early and get deep. There are some good holes on that river. I just find a way to get enough weight, whether through lines, or tying a fly with a bead and a bunch of wire, to end up near or on the bottom. Then fish it slow and methodical.
What advice do you would have for anyone fishing the Mianus for the first time?
I don’t know if I can think of many that specifically apply to the Mianus other than keep an eye on Connecticut DEEP stocking reports. It may not be the most sporting way to fish but we all know it’s fun to catch 30-40 trout in an afternoon.
Second, don’t be discouraged, if it looks like there are 100 people at the river. There is still plenty of water, and the cars you see are owned by people walking not fishing.
The other points fall under fishing everywhere. Don’t be afraid to move and change tactics when what you are doing or where you are isn’t working. There are plenty of fish in these rivers and sometimes it takes some legwork to find them. Don’t be scared to put your fly or bait somewhere where you could lose it. That nasty structure, which is most likely to snag and break you off, more often than not, is exactly where these fish are holding.
Last question is a personal one. What was your dad’s influence on you as an angler and outdoorsman?
My Dad is a huge reason why I am as obsessed with the outdoors and specifically fishing as I am, but in a very hands off way. By that I mean he gave me every opportunity to fish I could ever want. I still can’t remember a family vacation as a child that we didn’t end up fishing a few days.
Then when I wanted to try fly fishing the first time at like seven years old he got me a rod that afternoon, and my own tying vise maybe a week later. While at the same time he never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do, and short of a little advice here and there he let me make my own mistakes and learn from them.
This is the approach I hope to take with my daughter. She is still a little shy of one but already has about 15 “days” on the river and has loved every minute so far. I hope she continues for the rest of her life, but if in the future she decides she doesn’t like it then I’ll let it go. The last thing I want to do is watch her actively dislike something I love to do.
Great information Trevor for anyone wanting to fish the Mianus River. Follow Trevor’s catches on Instagram @tlh_outdoors.