The Pootatuck River quietly flows through Newtown, CT, largely unnoticed as it moves under Sandy Hook on its way to the Housatonic. Along its path are the town recycling center, a local cemetery, schools, churches and a number of restaurants. Its final stretch, downstream of Sandy Hook and entering the Housatonic, is the focus of this post.
Named after the Potatuck Tribe, a section of the river upstream of Sandy Hook is designated as a Class 1 Wild Trout Management Area (WTMA). Personally, I’ve found some of the better fishing in areas on either side of the WTMA.
In the last mile, the Pootatuck passes two interesting buildings that have been upgraded and remodeled from their original use as manufacturing facilities. The one below is the larger of the two. The black sign still reads Fabric Fire Hose Co.
According to local records, rubber coat manufacturing began in Sandy Hook in 1841. By 1852, production was focused on packing rubber and belts used in factories. Through a change in ownership and advances in rubber production, the factory began to make high pressure hoses like those used by fire companies. In 1901, the Fabric Fire Hose Company took over the buildings and continued production until 1978. The dam below is on the plant grounds and frequently draws visitors and fishermen.
The state regularly stocks waters outside of the WTMA in the Spring. With a little hiking you can find quality trout like this 16+” brookie that I landed on a 3 wt. using a woolly bugger. That said, flows tend to drop in the Summer. Trout are replaced by panfish and smallmouth, but they still take a fly and make a fun afternoon.
Regardless of whether you’re hiking, exploring or fishing, this section can take you to some promising water and pretty scenery. You’re also likely to see remnants and artifacts of days past, when these buildings were still in full production.
And while the state has done a good job of stocking smaller streams this year, you can still find some wild gems as well.
Hope that Spring is coming your way, bringing with it the opportunity to get out and try some early season fishing. Enjoy!