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The Housatonic River is a river, approximately 149 mi (240 km) long, in western Massachusetts and western Connecticut in the United States. It flows south to southeast, and drains about 1,950 square miles (5,100 km2) of southwestern New England into Long Island Sound. Its watershed is just to the west of the watershed of the lower Connecticut River.
The Housatonic rises from four sources in far western Massachusetts in the Berkshire Mountains near the city of Pittsfield. It flows southward through western Massachusetts through the Berkshires and into western Connecticut, and empties into Long Island Sound between the towns of Stratford and Milford.
The river's total fall is 1430 feet (959 feet from the confluence of its east and west branches). Its major tributaries are the Williams, Green and Konkapot Rivers in Massachusetts, the Tenmile River in New York, and the Shepaug, Pomperaug, Naugatuck, and Still Rivers in Connecticut. It receives the Naugatuck River at Derby, Connecticut, and the Still River south of New Milford, Connecticut.
Five dams impounded the river in Connecticut to produce hydroelectricity, the Falls Village, Bulls Bridge, Shepaug, Stevenson and Derby dams. The last three dams form a chain of lakes, Lake Lillinonah, Lake Zoar and Lake Housatonic, from New Milford south to Shelton.
The Housatonic River is a popular whitewater paddling destination beginning at Weatogue, CT and continuing to Gaylordsville, CT. The Housatonic River is also a popular fly fishing destination. Fly fishing on the Housatonic River has been compared with many western rivers and boasts some of the finest trophy trout fishing in the eastern United States. The most popular area for fly fishing is between the Falls Village Dam and the town of Cornwall Bridge in Litchfield County.